GLEASON SMOKES CARSON

Here’s Jackie Gleason appearing on The Tonight Show in 1985 and smoking more in this appearance than most people smoke in a lifetime (or at least in a few months). By this time Carson, a smoker of Pall Mall unfiltereds, had refrained from on-camera smoking but could often be seen having a final puff or two as they came back from commercial. Gleason, on the other hand, happily chain smokes through his entire appearance though I must say he doesn’t really smoke-smoke all that much–he likes lighting them and holding them more than sucking them down which might account for the fact that he lived well into his 70s with minimal health complications. His ill-fated one-and-out TV show ‘You’re In The Picture’ is discussed and we get the self-proclaimed ‘Great One’ giving us a ‘How Sweet It Is!’, one of those relic signature lines that comics used to have that are now simply a dead language to most modern audiences. Examples include Joe Penner’s ‘Wanna buy a duck?’, Dangerfield ‘I get no respect’ and–yes–Steve Martin’s ‘Wild and crazy guy…’, the latter of which Martin recently discussed on a Howard Stern interview as something he never thought was funny and that he was astonished to find took off into the cultural zeitgeist to the extent that it did.

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