Johnny Carson gets a surprise from John Wayne

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson had shocks at times. Sometimes a remarkable story was told in a meeting. At times it was basically as wild as Kermit the Frog visitor hosting.

In this 1976 episode, John Wayne makes an unexpected appearance. John walks around in the background while Johnny talks about who will be on the show that night.

Ed lets out a “good gnacious” and the crowd cheers as Wayne takes the stage. He wears a tuxedo and has a mustache. Wayne admits he sauntered onto the wrong set.

After Johnny’s hand, Wayne takes a seat and they start an impromptu meeting. Johnny comments that he heard Wayne was in the structure. Wayne replies that he was available for a Dean Martin barbecue.


Wayne addresses the Wall Street Journal article about Carson. Carson thanks him for the award. The two famous people have a succinct conversation about safe and pessimistic press.

Wayne, struggling for words, allows Carson to speak. Carson asks what Wayne is up to, and the western star happily explains that he’s going to Carson City. Carson detects some humor in the connection, and Carson has noticed that he never saw any connection to the people there.

Carson then talks about Wayne quitting smoking. Wayne talks about still wanting to smoke but not being able to.

To be friendly, Ed, sitting next to Wayne, offers him espresso. Wayne says he can still have a touch of espresso. After a taste, Wayne says cheerfully, “This is the kind of espresso I like.”

Carson then works on the extraordinary swing Out Sweet Land for an hour and a half, to which Wayne will show up. Wayne discusses the show and how his old buddies first put it on. Carson also remembers talking about Jack Benny.

Carson inquires if Wayne has any upcoming commitments. Wayne says his latest film will be known as The Shootist. In this film, Wayne plays a gunslinger, however, Wayne states that in the Wild West, gunslingers were called Shootists.

Carson then addresses how some western legends had mourned the past. Wayne confesses this, but occasionally you should retaliate in the same way.

Carson talks about how a bunch of men would kill each other from behind. Wayne admits that if he had assumed he was scared of the guy he was fighting, he might have done that.

As the meeting ends, Carson expresses his gratitude to Wayne for getting on the show. Once again, Wayne Carson compliments this great article. Wayne leaves the stage as the band plays him off the show.

“The Shootist” was John Wayne’s last film job in 1976. He would die in 1979, breaking a tradition of many Western films. Johnny Carson gets a surprise from John Wayne

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