Friday, May 22, 2009

Standing in Johnny's Light

"And so it has come to this: I, uh... am one of the lucky people in the world; I found something I always wanted to do, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you—and I hope when I find something that I want to do, and I think you would like, and come back, that you'll be as gracious in inviting me into your home as you have been. I bid you a very heartfelt good night"

John was the kind of kid who marveled at the work of Groucho Marx, Jack Benny and Bob Hope.

Never forgetting what he learned from those legends, John set about to influence the careers of Steve Martin, Joan Rivers, Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Jay Leno, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld, among others.

Decades later, John's success as a performer was in some respects, only rivalled by his skill as a mentor. He was fond of saying, "Talent alone won't make you a success. Neither will being in the right place at the right time, unless you are ready. The most important question is: "Are your ready?"

John was always willing to lend a hand to those who had proven themselves ready.

Right up until May 22, 1992.

It was 17 years ago today, that the King of Late Night delivered his final performance as host of "The Tonight Show".

Johnny Carson's impact on television and pop culture is still being felt today.

Jerry was one of 22,000 guests who appeared at Carson's side over a 30-year run, hosting a show that at one point, accounted for 17 percent of NBC's total profits.

While Carson may have retired from "The Tonight Show" in 1992, he made one more surprise appearance when he walked on to the Letterman set in May of '94.

How many entertainers do you know can generate that type of ovation without uttering a single word?

There has never been another one like him.

Here is how it unfolded on May 22, 1992.

David Letterman once said that for 30 years no matter what was going on in the world, no matter whether people had a good or bad day, they wanted to end the day by being "tucked in by Johnny". Letterman credits his career to Carson's generosity, claiming his mentor's talent was unparalleled. "All of us who came after, are pretenders."

Evidently, Dave was one of those who had proven himself ready to be guided by his mentor's wisdom.

If mentoring is offering a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction, few have been able to supply it like John.

Hopefully, the brightest lights of top-notch mentoring will flicker in your future, providing the encouragement and guidance any top performer needs to make it.

Will you be ready to shine when it does?

"Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself, you'll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined" JOHNNY CARSON

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