Johnny Carson, the once and future king of late night talk shows, had Lee Marvin on The Tonight Show as a guest fairly frequently whenever the actor was promoting an upcoming project. In the summer of 1980, he did just that when The Big Red One was about to be released (the clip they show of it is terrific!)
Lee Marvin’s dapper entrance on Johnny Carson’s TONIGHT SHOW gives his customary greeting to Doc Severinsen and the band.
I discovered the entire show was posted on YouTube thanks to frequent blog follower, Shawn Marengo, god bless her. As she aptly pointed out to me, Marvin looked quite dapper in his 3-piece, apparently custom-made suit. May have been one of the handful of suits he purchased for the infamous palimony suit, according to his lawyer, David Kagon.
Screen grab showing Johnny Carson & Lee Marvin discussing THE BIG RED ONE.
Marvin and Carson were good friends, although I don’t know if they ever socialized outside of the show. Not that it matters as they have a very easy report with each other, as shown in the way Marvin subtlety corrects Carson on the pronunciation of the film’s title. They also joke amusingly about WWII reunions with former Marine Colonel Ed McMahon brought into the conversation. Marvin does fib a bit when he says he never goes to such reunions as his first wife gave details of his presence at such reunions to this author in Lee Marvin Point Blank.
Since the show was still in its one and a half hour format, feel free to do as I did and skip over the segment of Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes to get to Lee Marvin at around the 51 minute mark. Ironically, although he probably isn’t aware of it, Marvin’s good friend James Whitmore is in a commercial during his segment to hawk dog food. There’s also a humorous segment with Buck Henry that Marvin sticks around to participate in. Remember when talk show guests used to do that?
Anyway, without further ado, I give you The Tonight Show, circa June 25, 1980. Enjoy!
– Dwayne Epstein
Marvin, Rickles & Ali is not a law firm but the participants of a an early 1970s talk show. Insult comic extraordinaire Don Rickles was sitting in for Johnny Carson one night and was in top form as he skewered guest Lee Marvin, who got an assist from legendary boxing champ Muhammad Ali. Marvin appeared to promote Prime Cut(1972) apparently on his way to Hawaii. He comes off rather laid back but still on his toes as he was an old hand at such doings. I always enjoy his talk show appearances and have blogged about them before, such as the Dick Cavett Show and Merv Griffin Show. However, if you think Marvin talks about Prime Cut think again. He just apparently was not in the mood but you can read al about it in Lee Marvin Point Blank.
Screen grab of Marvin, Ali & Rickles.
It should be said that Marvin did not always appear sober when interviewed but he seemed to be sober here. I also want to apologize in advance for the quality of the video as I had nothing to do with the transfer since it was uploaded to YouTube by someone else. Mavin shows up at around the 35 minute 8 seconds mark, having followed Ali and comedian Don Adams along with Carson stalwart Ed McMahon. Adams and McMahon, like Marvin, were also in the Marines. Later on the same video is another clip of a show with Rickles and James Caan along with Karen Black which is pretty funny. Oh, and the clip before Marvin, Rickles & Ali is of Flip Wilson hosting Steve Allen, Jayne Meadows and poker great Amarillo Slim…..if you’re interested, if not, fast forward to Marvin, Rickles & Ali as they are all on their game and VERY funny, especially Ali! Oh, and a special “thank you” to regular blog follower Shawn Marengo for bringing it to my attention. Enjoy!
Paul Woodadge, military historian extraordinaire, contacted me recently to invite me on his podcast aptly titled WW2TV. Granted, I haven’t blogged here in a while but that was due mainly to the fact that I really did not have a reason to blog, that is until Paul Woodadge got in touch with me.
Opening graphic created by Paul Woodage for his WW2TV podcast episode, “Point Blank! Lee Marvin’s War.”
Happened like this: Woodadge had messaged me via Twitter months ago, but since I rarely visit that platform, I was not aware of his attempt. Well, once I did check my messages there, I immediately looked into the show he does (all pretty much by himself, I might add), was impressed with his content — i.e. his amazing research — and decided to respond to his request. We chatted briefly and since he had an opening available due to a cancelled guest, we set up a day and time to record the show..live! I checked with him about needing any images for his show and sent what I thought appropriate for a discussion on Lee Marvin’s military career and films. They were used of course, but he went even further, scouring the internet for graphics that corresponding to every single military-themed project Marvin ever did. As I said, he is a military historian extraordinaire: a stalwart Brit who’s lived in Normandy for 20 years just to be near the source of his WWII research! I was slightly reticent to talk at length about the subject, thinking I’d give away too much info that’s in Lee Marvin Point Blank but he assured me, his viewers will still be intrigued as it will be more like a ‘Greatest Hits’ teaser, prompting them to want to buy the book. Fears allayed, we did the show. I should add, since it was live, I was not aware of the comments being made by viewers as it went out and was pleasantly surprised by what I later read on the YouTube recording later. That, by the way, includes regular follower of this blog, Shawn Marengo, whom I thank for her participation. All that said, below is indeed the full nearly two-hour broadcast. Hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed doing it. Oh, and if you haven’t done so, be sure to read Lee Marvin Point Blank to get the rest of the story! – Dwayne Epstein