♪♪♪ [ Orchestra plays 'The Tonight Show' theme ] -From Hollywood, 'The Tonight Show,' Starring Johnny Carson.
This is Ed McMahon, along with Doc Severinsen.
And, now, here-re-re-re-re's Johnny! -Yeah!
[ Applause ] ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Hi-yo!
[ Whistling ] -This is going to -- It's going to take me a minute. Just a second.
[ Laughter ] Oh, God.
You look like Walt Disney threw up on you.
[ Laughter and applause ] -I like it!
-Does that stuff come out?
-Oh, I hope so.
[ Laughter ] Before my wife comes home.
[ Laughter and applause ] [ Whistling ] [ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ Pow!
[ Scat singing ] ♪♪♪ [ Scat singing ] ♪♪♪ [ Whispered scat singing ] [ Cheering and applause ] -Ladies and gentlemen, he was the incomparable bandleader on 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson' for 30 years and on stages across America and the world for more than 60 years.
Let's give a hand for the legendary Doc Severinsen.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Thank you very much!
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] [ Playing 'The Tonight Show' theme ] ♪♪♪ How do you like this outfit, girls?
[ Cheering and applause ] Long as I'm here, I'm gonna keep jivin'. [ Laughter ] I'm going to do the Shim Sham all the way up to my grave.
-The one and only Doc Severinsen.
[ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -I'll be back in a moment.
♪♪♪ -And, now, here-re-re-re-re's Johnny!
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Here's the thing about 'The Tonight Show,' and Doc Severinsen.
There wasn't YouTube, there wasn't anything.
You basically had three networks.
There wasn't even cable.
'The Tonight Show' was the only game in town for the crème de la crème, the best of the best.
For me, he was the musician of the day.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Doc Severinsen really knocked down a lot of barriers that made my job, actually, the easiest job in the world.
-We have got, on this show, the greatest band ever to work in television.
-The Roots, from Philadelphia, ladies and gentlemen.
-He had to go through it, first, to build the foundation of it.
Like he had to come knock down the trees.
When I see any of the gods of late night music, Doc Severinsen defined what we do.
[ Cheering and applause ] -'The Tonight Show' was everything.
Johnny, Ed, and Doc, they were the three most well-known people in America.
-[ Growl ] -Gah!
[ Laughter and applause ] -Whatever happened in your life that day, you could come back at 11:30 at night and touch base.
-[ Speaks indistinctly ] [ Laughter ] [ Scat singing ] -America stayed up 'til 1:00 in the morning to watch the show. That's unheard of today.
-The greatest trumpeter in the world and our orchestra. Doc!
-One of the greatest trumpet players of our day.
-Mr. Doc Severinsen.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -He is iconic.
I've always called him the most complete trumpet player who's ever played the instrument.
Any mere mortal will say, 'That's enough of that and I'm going to sit in a rocking chair and just take it easy,' but not this guy.
-He's the most dedicated trumpet player who ever lived.
♪♪♪ [ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] [ Crickets chirping, bird cawing ] -Got that... and the other one right there.
Never be caught without your boots.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Well, nobody's going to introduce us.
Howdy. [ Laughter ] -How are you? -Doing good. Doing good.
-Hey, everybody, this is Doc Severinsen.
[ Applause ] -You guys are going to set a lot of standards for a lot of people, so be good and don't look at me like that.
[ Laughter ] -So watch Doc for the tempos, watch Doc for the conducting stuff.
-I want to hear the energy and the volume.
One, two, two.
[ Playing 'The Tonight Show' theme ] ♪♪♪ -Well, one of the things I really respect about Doc -- after he left 'The Tonight Show,' he didn't go out and just be a fame hog.
♪♪♪ Doc went out and was a musician.
-I tell you what I'd like.
[ Scat singing ] One, two, three.
♪♪♪ Part of the commitment to being a professional is, when you learn something special, you pass it along.
Just start with the drum solo.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ That's good. One, two.
♪♪♪ When I was six or seven, my dad said, 'I'm going to give you violin lessons,' and I said, 'Well, I don't want to play the violin.'
And he said, 'Fine. You get up and sit in your high chair for one hour, or you can practice the violin,' so I got up in the high chair and I sat there.
And the next day and the next day and the next day, and, finally, my dad says, 'Well, alright, what you want to play?'
♪♪♪ [ Mellow jazz plays ] ♪♪♪ I was first trumpet in the high school band from the first day that I played in the band.
I was seven.
The trumpet was half as tall as I was.
I didn't know what I was doing.
♪♪♪ And, yet, by the time I was nine years old, I was the state champion on the trumpet.
Okay, let me just hear the saxes.
[ Scat singing ] And there are words to it and the words are, 'Dirty mother[bleep].' [ Laughter ] -Write it in.
-About triple forte and tight as a bull's ass in fly season.
One, two, three.
[ Playing 'The Tonight Show' theme ] It's not tight enough, yet.
I don't hear any angst or -- 'Waaah!'
One, two, three.
♪♪♪ Yes! Now!
♪♪♪ [ Humming, tapping foot ] ♪♪♪ Alright.
[ Scat singing ] -Cool.
Here we go. Ready? And... ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Anybody bleed?
[ Laughter ] Send some of those chops up this way.
[ Laughter ] Yeah, man.
-Hey, let's thank Doc once again.
[ Cheering and applause ] [ Applause ] -My pleasure.
I've always wanted to play the trumpet and I always liked playing it loud.
[ Laughter ] Take the biggest breath you can take and then use it.
And I mean really use it.
That's why I go [ Pats belly ] to the gym.
I'm 90 years old.
I still go to the gym three days a week.
That's what it takes to play the trumpet.
-What do you feel makes the best trumpet players of our time the best trumpet players?
-I think it's what's in you.
How do you feel about other people?
Are you nice to other people?
Do you see the best in them?
Can you cry when you play a melody that's so beautiful, it deserves every tear you can give?
You're so filled with joy that it comes out in the form of tears and releases all the bad things you ever thought about.
All the sadness you've ever had in your life is gone and you're joyous.
That's why I play the trumpet.
I do it because I it.
You got to have some humor in your life.
Get a laugh out of life and you'll play better.
♪♪♪ [ Playing squeakily ] [ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ [ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] The happy people are the lucky people.
[ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ -When I was still a senior in high school, I went on the road with a big band.
-Those big band era jazz musicians, that's some hardcore, tough road lessons, you know, whatever that is.
You have to be fearless.
-We had a freewheeling bunch of guys.
Nobody asked me how old I was.
When you're a kid on the road with a bunch of older musicians, it ain't Bible school.
-You remember any of the tricks that you played in the Barnett Band? -Oh, yes, I sure do.
But we can't talk about them here.
[ Laughter ] Yeah, they're not fit for public consumption.
-Is that true? -That is true.
This was during an era that I was partaking lightly of the spirits.
I had had more than a body could consume and it wound up on the reeds of the entire saxophone section.
[ Laughter ] Of course, that was my last night on the band.
I was in the hospital for two or three weeks after that.
[ Laughter ] -No.
-Going to play in the big bands was like getting a doctorate in life.
I went to the school of hard knocks.
If you don't do good, you get fired.
-Thank you very much. Appreciate it. Bye.
[ Scat singing ] [ Scat singing continues ] -How about a hand for the legendary Doc Severinsen.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Hey, guys!
[ Cheering intensifies ] Let's do it.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Playing romantic jazz ] [ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -If you're playing the trumpet, I mean, performing, walking out in front of an audience at 92 years old and looking the way Doc does, it's just unheard of.
♪♪♪ He has a style that's uniquely his, so you feel he's able to get his personality beyond the bell, the trumpet.
He's a marvel of a human being.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering ] ♪♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪♪ [ Cheering ] [ Whistling and applause ] [ Cheering ] [ Birds chirping ] -You know, it's funny, you get involved with these wild animals that stay on your place and you feel responsible for them.
Okay, tweet-tweet, kids.
Come get your food!
[ Upbeat country tune plays ] ♪♪♪ I was born in 1927 in Arlington, Oregon.
It was a real western town.
The nearest hospital was very far away, so, my dad, being a dentist, assisted the local doctor in delivering me.
My dad wrapped me in a blanket and walked down the only real street in town.
The locals said, 'Well, look here, comes Big Doc and Little Doc.'
So, 'Doc' it is.
When you're a dentist in a small town, most everybody owes you money.
We were really poor.
This was the Depression and you never really forget that.
I was a small guy in a small town and all my buddies were twice my size.
There were fist fights all the time and, if they couldn't just settle it with their fists, they'd settle it with a gun.
It made me really tough.
♪♪♪ Okay. Let's see what we've got here.
You ever hear of blackstrap molasses?
It'll set you free.
It's called cowboy oatmeal and the idea is it's stuff you can carry with you out on the range.
Before I go to the gym, I got this for a base.
This is great stuff.
Five minutes after you take it, your ears start to get hot and tingly.
[ Funk plays ] ♪♪♪ -Look at that.
That is big boy weight.
Doc, he works out three days a week.
Remember that slow-mo we do?
You're doing great.
The only time I do not see him is if he's traveling and out of town on another engagement.
One more big one.
♪♪♪ Good job.
The first time I started training him, I thought, 'Okay, let's take it easy.'
He's an exception to the rules, what he is, and, every time we do something, he wants more.
-[ Grunting ] You don't come in here and just fool around, doing whatever you feel like.
One wrong move in this gym can take six months off your life.
-Engage that core.
-Where are we, Coach?
-A minute and a half in.
-Two's going to be it. -Okay.
Five, four, three, two, and one.
There we go. Two solid minutes.
-Everything that I do in here relates to the trumpet.
♪♪♪ It's all core.
-What are we on here?
♪♪♪ -In this gym, the folks are in awe of what he can do.
He's a freak of nature.
[ Playing 'The Tonight Show' theme ] ♪♪♪ -Doc Severinsen sat in with The Roots our first time in Los Angeles.
I said, 'Yo, how old is Doc Severinsen?'
Because, at first, it was like, 'Oh, he's still alive?'
-Oh, my goodness!
That was a treat.
-And, when they said 89, we all looked at each other like... 'Oh, boy.
Does he have a walker with the cane, like with the tennis balls at the bottom [ Laughing ] and that sort of thing?'
I didn't know what to expect and he just walked in like, [ Clap ] 'Alright, let me at it.
[ Imitating trumpet ] And, you know, he wanted to let us know, 'I'm still here.'
-We're truly honored to have you here.
Thank you so much. -My pleasure.
[ Cheering and applause ] Thank you.
-I hope to be at that level in my 90s.
I mean, I'm struggling now, with 50 around the corner.
[ Laughing ] Time doesn't affect him at all.
♪♪♪ -My original thing I wanted to be was a studio musician.
So I went to New York television, which is starting out.
It was the capital of music and entertainment.
I played the gigs.
I got the money the best I could.
I would play when I was drunk out of my mind and smoking grass and thought everything was wonderful.
♪♪♪ All I had to do was hit high F's with a hangover and then try to keep from puking on the floor.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Birds chirping ] [ Romantic jazz plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ I met my first wife, Jane, in an Irish bar in New York City.
She was in St. Louis, divorced, and a fan of jazz music.
♪♪♪ I didn't know it, at the time, that she had a pretty severe case of alcoholism.
♪♪♪ By the time I got it all figured out, we'd had three kids.
♪♪♪ -I was the firstborn, and then Cindy came along two and a half years later, and then Al came along six years later.
-I will say -- -Tell them about the time you took that kid in the Jeep and turned it over in the creek.
-[ Laughing ] -That was a bad day.
-We went to turn around and he drove off a cliff into the creek and so we landed nose-down, thank God.
We could've been killed just the same.
-See these boots?
Well, they were right up his butt the whole way up that hill.
-What kind of parenting was going on?
♪♪♪ -Sometimes you're just so [bleep]damn scared that you're not going to be able to hold the whole thing together.
-You know, when you have a mother who is an alcoholic, there is one objective for that person in life.
It's not, 'How am I going to take care of my kids?'
'Where is my next drink?' is the next concern.
So we pretty much had to fend for ourselves.
♪♪♪ -One time, we were driving back to school after lunch and we got to this place where there's three roads -I totally remember this. -that lead off of this and I guess brakes were slammed on and the car is spinning around -We did a 360.
-and I thought, 'Oh, this is it.
We are -- This is not good.'
-I asked some friends of mine.
I knew they were in AA and I said, 'Can you help me?
I got little kids and a house and my wife is just totally strung out.
What do you think?'
And they said, 'Have you ever thought about yourself?'
And I said, 'Me?'
-You don't drink now at all. -No.
I had to come to the decision and one of the things that was difficult for me was the fact that I wasn't lying in a gutter someplace.
Everybody has their own personal bottom that tells you, 'Hey, you know, I got a problem here.'
Every day, I'd go to New York to work.
I lived in the suburbs and I would wake up the next morning at home and I wouldn't have any recollection of even getting in my car to drive home.
And this is not normal.
-Oh, wow! No.
-I went to a lawyer and he said, 'You have to leave the marriage and leave your children behind, if you have to.
Make a home for yourself, that's decent and would be a good place for the kids.'
-I had just turned 13, I think.
It was early August.
You came and got us one day and away we went.
-Yeah. -Never looked back.
♪♪♪ -So I gave her the house.
I got divorced.
And, at the same time, there was a woman who had been my childhood sweetheart.
She was married to an airline pilot who, [ Laughing ] as it turns out, was an alcoholic.
Evonne got divorced. We got married.
Evonne's two girls, Robin and Judy, I legally adopted them.
-The two families coming together was with the hope that all of our lives would improve.
It seemed like we were all being saved.
♪♪♪ -The following program is brought to you on NBC.
♪♪♪ [ Theme plays ] -From New York, 'The Tonight Show,' starring Johnny Carson.
-As luck would have it, I got hired to play first trumpet on 'The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.'
About five years later, I was asked to take over the band.
From the first trumpet chair to the spot in front of the band is about 25 feet and it's the longest distance I ever walked in my life.
♪♪♪ [ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -We have to do that more often.
I tell you.
[ Applause ] -Being a band leader is a whole nother muscle.
-We got something real special tonight.
-It's a night of Latin madness.
-Alright, Doc. -That's what it is.
-That's one of the things that's made Doc, vis-à-vis his personality, perfect for that.
You know, to stand in front of a microphone and talk about the band and talk to the audience and introduce the songs.
And a lot of people just don't want to be out in front.
-I was with Doc last night, and all the guys from the band, at their annual party and I said, if they all showed up today... [ Laughs ] ...they could do this great chart that they have.
It's called 'Ode to Billie Joe.'
Doc and the guys.
[ Applause ] -I told the guys in the band, 'I don't want to be just a painting in the background.'
Audiences recognized all the guys in the band and the guys in the band were at how people knew them by their first names.
First of all, Tommy Newsom had a huge identity.
Pete Christlieb and Ernie Watts, our two tenor sax players.
That was sort of a carryover from Count Basie's band.
-When I started doing 'The Tonight Show,' I was 23 years old, so I was scared of Doc.
He was a disciplinarian.
You know, he'd hear us getting a little loose around the edges and then he'd beat us up for a while and I would tighten it up.
[ Laughing ] ♪♪♪ -The 'Tonight Show' band, those were some of the sharpest, best musicians and could sit in with anyone.
Even though I had a strict, no-television household at the age of seven, eight, nine, I watched all those music guests on the show.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Now, the rest of the guys were big band guys.
They had been in the studios for years.
♪♪♪ -How many different bands did the guys play with, Doc?
-A lot of them been with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Tommy Dorsey -- you name it.
-Being a member of the 'Tonight Show' band, as a musician, I think, is probably the best gig in the world.
These guys, you know, got in about 2:00 and they were out at 6:30.
So you can do 'The Tonight Show,' as a musician, and then, you can play a club in Hollywood at 8:00.
♪♪♪ -They would do the show, go to the airport, fly to Las Vegas, do a Vegas show, and come back.
[ Laughing ] And they did that every day.
-When the band would go on the road, we're gone for two to three weeks.
Big town, small towns, no towns.
There was sort of a party every night, then.
And, when we had a party, it was extraordinary.
It's all private.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ This is a Grammy for the big band jazz recording with the 'Tonight Show' band.
Or it makes a perfect cup of coffee.
You can use it for anything.
This was Ed McMahon's shot glass.
♪♪♪ -Johnny comes back from commercial and that pencil is just going.
He's just beating that desk because that band is kicking ass.
And Doc, he would just blast that damn horn.
-Never realized how high those notes are, that Doc blows.
-Isn't this a night that you're glad that you're not the trumpet player?
-'The Tonight Show' was such a monolithic thing.
-Would you welcome Mr. Martin Mull.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -To be on 'The Tonight Show,' as a comic act, was considered the plum.
That was the brass ring.
I'm not going to do anything intelligent tonight.
I've tried that and it just doesn't seem to work on this show.
[ Laughter ] -There were a lot of performers that used 'The Tonight Show' to announce their arrival.
If you were on 'The Tonight Show,' agents would be calling the next day.
Managers would want to talk to you.
-'The Tonight Show' had 40% of the market share, so, if we didn't have 25 million people watching the show, we didn't think we did a very good job.
-Ed, this is the car with seats made just like my pants.
[ Horn toots ] -Doc's role was to be the coolest guy.
Johnny couldn't really have a great show that he liked, if Doc wasn't there.
[ Cheering and applause ] They were a team.
-Now you're talking.
-Johnny was the king.
Ed was the foil.
-Welcome, once again, Carnac.
-And Doc was a star.
-Hey, gov, you got enough air to blow this thing?
[ Laughter ] -Oh, boy.
Alright. It's alright.
-[ Growling ] -I always liked when things were not going great and everybody had to recover -- Johnny had to recover, basically.
-I've been reading in the paper lately about Old Faithful and Yellowstone Park.
-Yeah. -And -- yeah.
Apparently, it's true.
Old Faithful is taking a lot longer between eruptions.
But then again, who isn't?
[ Laughter and applause ] Oh, come on.
[ Laughter ] Now, come on, let's hear it.
It's like talking in class. Let's all hear it.
[ Laughter ] -Well, we were saying, if things don't pick up here in a minute, we'd have a little dance music.
[ Laughter and applause ] -Some of the best moments were when we really went in the toilet and had to make something out of it.
[ Laughter ] [ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ -You got a band number?
[ Laughter ] You always complain you never get a chance to play a band number.
[ Playing 'Taps' ] [ Laughter and applause ] [ Whistling ] ♪♪♪ [ Laughter ] We haven't done this for a long time and we like to come up and see where everybody's from, play Stump the Band. We have a lot of great prizes tonight.
Anybody have a song? Hi.
Where's your Harley?
[ Laughter ] Vroom, vroom, vroom, vroom!
What's the name of the song, Terry?
-'Patty Cake Man.' -'Patty Cake Man.'
-Could she come to the band? -No, she can't.
[ Laughter ] No, no. Not tonight. Not on Friday night.
-♪ Patty cake, patty cake, baker's man ♪ ♪ bake me a cake as quick as you can ♪ -No, no. -♪ Put it in the oven ♪ -It can't be that one. Can it?
-Oh, that's nothing the way I sing it.
[ Laughter ] -Okay, Terry.
-Stump the Band came about when there was that moment where a guest dropped out at the last minute and you had a five-minute spot to fill.
-What's the name of the song?
-'Making Believe You're Here.'
-What did we do?
Let's let Johnny go up in the audience.
I know it. -Doc has it.
♪♪♪ -♪ Making believe you're here ♪ ♪ So that I can say something ♪ ♪ In your ear ♪ Stump the Band became a significant part of the show.
-Where do you get those outfits?
-Oh -- -You have some little old pervert in a basement somewhere that -- [ Laughter ] [ Changes accent ] 'Look what I'm going to make.'
[ Laughter ] -Doc Severinsen's wardrobe was as vital and important to the show as any guest that was ever on the show... -Did you see the size of the lapels on that jacket?
Look at the lapel. -...or the banter between Johnny and Ed. It was a staple.
-Of course, I have a gold lamé shirt, which everybody must have.
[ Cheering and applause ] You got it, kids.
-No, you should try wearing men's clothing sometime.
-Most band leaders do something in their dress to be a little bit different.
-Salmon pants, right? -Yes.
Yes. -And they're swimming upstream on me.
[ Laughter and applause ] [ Drumroll ] -Whoo!
[ Cheering and applause ] -And, when they get there, they're going to die.
[ Laughter ] -You don't dress in the same clothes as the guys in the band.
-I don't look at Doc's clothes before I come out and I don't look at them after I come out, either.
[ Laughter ] -I remember walking down Park Avenue and there was an Italian clothing store and they had these wonderful little ties that were just really wild.
I went in and bought a bunch and took them back and Johnny made a remark.
I thought, 'I'm moving in the right direction, here.'
-It's the gray fox.
[ Laughter ] Wow!
[ Laughter ] [ Cheering and applause ] [ Whistling ] You know, those coats he wears, they're like matador coats.
Those things weigh 40 pounds!
-What is that?
-This is your little old band leader under here.
[ Laughter ] -Looks like one big fungus.
That's the worst skin rash I've ever seen, that is.
[ Laughter and applause ] -You realize, 'Well, uh-oh.
I've created a monster, here and I'm going to have to feed the monster.'
I'm being used to keep that peacock sexually stimulated.
[ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ -Everybody loved his outfits.
It go with his personality, you know.
-Do you dig it?
-Yeah. -That's nice.
-Get me a set of whips and a tire iron and I can go anyplace in this outfit.
[ Laughter ] -You going to go out and have a knife fight tonight?
[ Laughter ] Look at that outfit.
-This is my Fire Island bowling jacket.
[ Laughter ] -Even as I would love to, I don't believe my wife would let me wear those things.
[ Laughs ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -A friend of mine hit me up and said, 'What's going to be your flash mark?
Because all you do is wear all black.'
My drum sets, that's my afro pick nod to Doc Severinsen.
-Every night that I was on 'The Tonight Show,' I bought my own clothes.
I bought my own trumpets.
I bought my own shoelaces.
My own underwear.
Everything was mine.
Now, I'm speaking about my underwear.
I'm even jazzier in my BVDs.
-BVD brand underwear.
Whatever you do, that extra comfort helps you do it better.
-I get the cable channels and I tune in and I see a close-up of Doc Severinsen and his trumpet, saying, 'I play jazzier in my BVDs,' so.
[ Laughter and applause ] It's true.
[ Applause ] You thought you could sneak out on cable and do that, right?
We're going to test that theory some night, live on the air.
[ Laughter ] -For the average television viewer, Doc Severinsen was the musical comic foil to Johnny Carson.
People really don't understand that he was an ace musician and the best in his field.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Doc has this glorious joy that soars through his sound of his trumpet, not only the power of it, but the vocal quality to it.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -What makes Doc so special, ultimately, is his lyrical playing.
When he plays a ballad, he rips your heart out.
[ Playing 'MacArthur Park' ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -When you hear something like that, you know what great is.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Applause ] -In 1972, 'The Tonight Show' was moved to California.
A lot of the guys in the band and members of the crew [ Cacophony of honking horns ] were very excited about that, but it was a difficult move for me.
♪♪♪ My kids were in school in New Jersey and I didn't want to uproot them.
They stayed behind with Evonne and I moved out to Burbank by myself.
When I got out there, I was lonely.
Nobody's to blame for anything, but the distance and other situations made it difficult to stay married.
♪♪♪ -What are you doing for Thanksgiving?
-I was going to ask you if you got your turkey yet.
-Truthfully, do you help Mrs. Carson prepare the turkey?
-Just like you help Mrs. Severinsen prepare the turkey. [ Laughter ] -No. There is no Mrs. Severinsen there. -Oh, that's right.
That's right. -There used to be.
-I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do that.
-In fact, the fact that I never helped her stuff her bird was one of our big problems.
[ Laughter ] It's Thanksgiving.
I am, well, you might say, without wife.
-We've been together so long that I forget, sometimes, where we are, you know?
[ Laughter ] -Which wife we're on.
-On various Thanksgivings. -Oh, no.
-No. -In fact, that was one of the things we really fought about. -What?
-I wanted an oyster stuffing in the turkey and she wanted bread stuffing and she got bread stuffing and a lot of money.
[ Laughter ] He kind of kept after it.
So we got into it.
-You used to argue about what you're going to stuff the turkey with?
-Yes. -And that was one of the problems?
-She's still stuffing the turkey, with money!
[ Laughter ] -Well, it's nice to know you have no bitterness.
[ Laughter ] -My kids were having Thanksgiving over here, somebody else over here.
And when I get through, what am I going to do, go over to Chadney's and have dinner?
I don't think so.
-You really feel badly now.
I feel so terrible, if you're going to be alone this year.
[ Laughter ] -I didn't say I was going to be alone.
[ Laughter ] -You just said you ain't going to eat no turkey, right?
-Would you like to come to the house?
-This is the first time you've ever asked me.
[ Laughter ] -Well, you made me feel so guilty.
-I mean, when you ask an employee in front of 15 million people, 'Do you want to come to the house for Thanksgiving dinner?'
What am I going to say? No!
[ Laughter ] You know what I say? I say, yes, Mr. Carson.
I'd love it! -Can you come?
[ Laughter and applause ] ♪♪♪ -On 'The Tonight Show,' I was a secretary.
I worked for Johnny on and off over the five years that I worked on 'The Tonight Show.'
It was a thrill from Day 1 to my last day there.
♪♪♪ -[ Barks ] -Oh, boy!
♪♪♪ This is Lucy. Doc remembers Lucy.
She was just a puppy when we got her, a baby.
We got her in Mexico.
And this, this is José. José is 17.
I got custody of José. ♪♪♪ I'm glad about that.
I'm missing a Great Dane.
There they are!
Come on, come on, come on.
I met Doc in the 'Tonight Show' studio at NBC in Burbank.
I just thought he was so cute and nice, and that was it.
I mean, it certainly wasn't love at first sight.
♪♪♪ To hear him in front of the band -- a thrill.
[ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ I knew he was married, but, when 'The Tonight Show' moved to Los Angeles, his wife didn't move with him.
She stayed in New Jersey and so I thought they were separated.
I think I was gullible.
He wasn't being completely honest with me.
I just thought he was an available man and it turns out he wasn't, and it wasn't pretty.
He had filed for divorce and then, that went on for quite a while and then, finally, they were divorced.
♪♪♪ -Got some good news tonight.
I found out the past few days. -What?
-You didn't know? -Oh, I know, yes.
-About our orchestra leader.
-Oh, about this. -Mr. Severinsen was married on Saturday, yes. -On Saturday, yes.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Waah!
-[ Laughs ] [ Applause ] -That's nice.
Emily's a lovely girl.
-Yes. -She really is. -Thank you.
-Congratulations, Doc. -Thank you very much.
-Be happy. Be happy. -Be happy. -Yeah.
[ Cheering and applause ] -[ Scat singing ] Be happy.
And be tolerant. -Be tolerant.
-Be tolerant. -Be understanding.
-Be loving. -Be forgiving.
♪♪♪ -Doc and that trumpet, that's what he did.
♪♪♪ You know, over almost 40 years, I bet we only went to the movies maybe five times together.
♪♪♪ He just never had the time to do like couple things, you know.
Because you can't say to Picasso, 'Put the paintbrush down.'
♪♪♪ -When I'm away from the trumpet, I feel a little weird and it does things to me mentally and I love music.
I get a lot of my personal identity out of my relationship with the trumpet.
-I don't believe any trumpet player is completely rational or normal, 100%. The instrument itself messes with your head.
♪♪♪ -The only people that want to be trumpet players are psychotic, crazy, nut jobs that love, you know, torture and routine, basically.
-I'm not sure he's ever really grown up because he's arrested and locked into that horn.
It has consumed him.
It identifies him.
It's been his gateway and his prison.
♪♪♪ -With the trumpet, it is just a relentless, never-ending struggle.
It's your yoga. You have to do it four or five hours a day, and that's it.
♪♪♪ -What a burden he had to bear all of his life, that pressure of being the star, the golden boy.
♪♪♪ -The trumpet is a jealous mistress.
♪♪♪ She's always there, tapping you on the shoulder, saying, 'You know, we haven't practiced today.'
-Every essence of his molecular structure is from the relationship with the trumpet.
Anytime I've been around a great musician, that their significant other went like this... it just fractures in some way.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Hey, Chris!
How you doing, man?
Good to see you. -Great to see you.
How are you? -Wow, you look sharp.
Look at you.
-May not remember this, but, in 2002, we chatted and you said, 'Chris, I've been following your career.
You're doing great. Do me and yourself a favor and never walk onstage without wearing a suit.'
And I've never -- I've never once -- -I said that? -Yeah.
-Maybe I was kidding.
-God! What if it was all a joke?
-Oh! [ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ -Okay.
♪♪♪ [ Playing romantic jazz ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -92, and you can play that great.
♪♪♪ Really something to behold.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ The trajectory of his whole career, from, you know, picking up the instrument at six to being 92 and the impact that he's had, well, to trumpet players, he's the Michael Jordan.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ Whoa, okay.
-[ Laughs ] -That's the beginning of side 1.
[ Upbeat funk plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -There's about 50 years of fooling around with this stuff to get to the one horn.
It becomes pretty personal.
If it gets any more than that, the horn is not going to play the way I think it should.
-My work with the trumpet is based on meditation.
When I'm not playing it, I'm thinking about what I could do to make it a little bit better.
♪♪♪ [ Plays ] -Hey, you're going to meet Doc Severinsen now.
-In a minute. -Cool.
-Hey. How are you?
-An honor to meet you.
-Arnie. -Arnie Harris, yes.
-Yeah, nice to meet you. -And this is Jamie Leduc.
Jamie, this is Doc Severinsen. -Hey, Jamie. How are you?
-Nice to meet you.
-How long have you been playing?
♪♪♪ -Go ahead, keep flying. -Okay.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -Can I help you? -Yeah.
-Put your hands here, right in there.
-Now -- [ Inhales sharply ] [ Exhaling ] -Oh!
It needs to be four.
-Yes! -As it comes out.
It's like singing a song.
You got to have air... -...to sustain a notes.
-Yeah. -Otherwise, they fall.
-There you go.
♪♪♪ You can do that.
-Okay. Put your mouthpiece on the horn and just do it.
♪♪♪ Now, hit the next -- [ Vocalizes ] ♪♪♪ Okay, now run the scale up.
♪♪♪ There you go!
Now, the G.
♪♪♪ -There you go!
-Oh, my God!
-Dang! -You knocked him back.
-Whoo! -Go ahead, take a shot at me.
-[ Laughs ] I don't think it's a good idea.
[ Laughter ] -[ Thumping ] -But, wait, are you holding your breath?
is that why it's thicker?
-No. It can't be, because you're talking... -I'm talking to you.
...so that can't be right. -I'm breathing.
I'm breathing. -I wonder why it's different.
-Because I got a lot of muscle. -Huh.
-From doing it. -is there a way to build that up?
Put this part -- -That has to go down.
-There you go. -Then it's that.
-Now, up off your knees.
Are you cheating?
No, you're not.
Leave that -- diaphragm stays in that position for low notes or high notes. Doesn't matter. Okay.
I'm all through.
And I guess you could say there the rest of the afternoon, if you want.
[ Laughter ] I got to go spend some time with people that are not half as interesting as you are.
-Thank you. -You're the highest part of my day, buddy. -Yay!
[ Cheering and applause ] What was that?
What was that?
-Whoo! -What was that last note you hit on?
What was that last note on the trumpet?
C. [ Piano plays ] -It was a B-flat, concert.
High B-flat, concert.
-Concert B-flat. -And it hurts!
[ Laughter ] -Is that the highest note you can hit on the trumpet?
-No. It depends on what happened the day before.
[ Laughter ] -But that's a high note, a high B-flat, right?
-You're getting in the danger zone with that.
-Do the high B-flat again and then see if you can go above it.
[ Laughter ] [ Drumroll ] ♪♪♪ Do the high B-flat and then see -- -Do you have any idea... [ Laughter ] -No, I don't.
-...what you're asking me to do?! -You can do it, Doc. -23 years, you've never asked me anything.
[ Laughter ] -That takes great embouchure, as they say, right?
-Let's hear it, Doc. -Great embouchure.
-You can do it.
-Sneak on up.
-Well -- [ Laughter ] Can we have the whole band play?
-No! I don't want to cover over this.
-Pbbt! [ Laughter ] -I want this clean.
♪♪♪ [ Laughter and applause ] ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] [ Cymbals crash ] [ Laughter ] [ Whistling ] -After years of speculation, rumors, cocktail party conversations, and just plain old gossip, Johnny Carson has finally made it official -- he is not going to stay on television forever.
-It is coming to an end, you know, next year.
I've always wanted to be a shepherd.
[ Laughter ] -Is that right? -That's right.
-That's odd. A shepherd. -I don't know.
Well, it's just one of those things that appeals to me.
-You know, we were coming up to 30 years.
So Johnny made the announcement a year in advance, 'One year from today will be my last 'Tonight Show.'' -Why do you have to do this? Why do you have to quit?
-[ Laughing ] [ Cheering and applause ] -Don't go!
-[ Laughing ] -The set, which I assume you're dismantling and setting up at your house.
[ Laughter ] Because it's easier to talk to people like this, isn't it?
-Yes, it is. -Don't you wish, when you had a guest over, you could just say, 'We're out of time'? -The response of the public to Johnny leaving that show was no small matter.
-Raise our goblets, hoist our glasses.
On May 22nd, we're out on our asses.
[ Laughter and applause ] -He said, 'I want to leave on my own terms.'
And he said, 'I've always prided myself on my sense of timing and it's time to go.'
♪♪♪ How many ways are there to say goodbye, and especially when you're saying goodbye to 30 years?
-This man over here, there's never been a better trumpet player in the world and television is going to lose the last big swing band -Yes. -in the world.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Indeed. Thank you.
-And, before we leave here, I want to thank you, Johnny, for making life such a joy.
And it's going to be awfully hard every night about that time when we hit that theme and you walk out there through that curtain.
And I wondered if maybe, once a week, you can come to my house and walk out through the -Sure. -draperies in my living room.
[ Laughter and applause ] -I'll do that.
-But the guys and I want to thank you for giving us a place to play our music.
-Thank you. -Yeah.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -And so it has come to this.
I'm 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 want to thank the gentleman who shared the stage with me, for 30 years, Mr. Ed McMahon.
[ Applause ] Mr. Doc Severinsen.
[ Whistling and applause ] And... [ Applause ] ...you people watching, 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 will like and come back, that you'll be as gracious, inviting me into your home, as you have been.
I bid you a very heartfelt good night.
[ Applause ] ♪♪♪ -People say, 'What's the biggest thing that ever happened to you in your life?'
I say, 'Becoming the bandleader of 'The Tonight Show.'' ♪♪♪ It was a set of circumstances that I don't think will ever happen again.
♪♪♪ -When 'The Tonight Show' ended, I think both Doc and I thought we were 'retiring.'
I certainly retired.
-Our next guest was the musical director of 'The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson' for 25 years and now performing with Tommy Newsom and Ed Shaughnessy.
Please welcome Doc Severinsen.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ -We left L.A. and moved to Santa Ynez, California.
We went and had this wonderful ranch and started populating it with animals.
We got four pigs.
This is Porky's water dish. -C'mere, Pork.
-Porky. -Come on out.
-[ Oinking ] -Three mini horses, two regular horses, and, of course, dogs and cats.
-And the first six months after the show was off was really difficult.
But it's one of the reasons we're here.
-Instantly, he started leaving to travel and work.
♪♪♪ I don't know that he ever truly processed the end of 'The Tonight Show,' because he didn't have to.
He never stopped, -I'm on the road about 46 weeks a year, Larry.
-Work it, Doc! Work 'em, baby!
[ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ -The Doctor and the Doc Severinsen Orchestra!
♪♪♪ [ Applause ] -People from around the country are mourning the death of Johnny Carson.
His nephew tells CNN he passed away early Sunday from emphysema.
-His death marks the passing of a show business legend and a man of warmth and sincerity.
-On the Friday before he died, I said to my wife, 'You know, we haven't had Johnny out for dinner.
Well, he loves the way you make that roast pork.'
'Why don't we give him a call, see if he can come out.'
She said, 'Well, [ Crying ] I think we've waited a little too long.'
And, on Sunday, phone rings.
It was Jeff Sotzing, his nephew.
And he -- -'Johnny died at 7:00 am.'
And I have to tell you... ...life has never been the same since then.
He gave me some guidelines to go by.
And anytime I'm faced with something like this, I just ask myself, 'What would Johnny do?'
And then I try to do it.
[ Melancholy tune plays ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Bells tolling ] -The general emotion was sadness, kind of disbelief.
I think both of us were depressed.
So much of Doc's behavior has to do with his aging, his fear of death, and running away from it, running to something youthful.
♪♪♪ In December of 2006, we moved to San Miguel.
Moving here was not about retirement.
He called it a youthful thing to do.
♪♪♪ We went out one night to hear a guitarist and a violin player.
♪♪♪ -I played.
He was listening.
He started telling me jokes about musicians and all these things, you know.
Very nice man.
♪♪♪ He said, 'Well, by the way, my name is Doc Severinsen.'
And I say, 'Nice to meet you,' and I walk out.
I didn't know who he was, you know.
[ Laughing ] ♪♪♪ -I swear it wasn't six months later that they were playing as a group.
♪♪♪ -I'd have to say that we played, I don't know, something like 500 concerts together.
-Yeah, between 500 and 700 times with him.
♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] -Bravo!
-I knew his heart wasn't here in the marriage and then, Doc left.
He's not going to retire.
That's not in his DNA.
He will play that trumpet as long as he can.
I hope he can play it a long time.
♪♪♪ I'm happy for him, now, that he's with a trumpet player.
I am not bitter.
José is embittered. I'm not.
♪♪♪ [ Laughs ] ♪♪♪ [ Birds chirping ] [ Romantic jazz plays ] -This is part of my early life.
Doc Severinsen Parade Preview for -- It was actually the Rose Parade, which would've been January 1, 1974.
I was part of the McDonald's All-American Band and, that year, Doc Severinsen recorded two tunes with the band as part of that.
♪♪♪ This says, 'To Cathy. Love, Doc Severinsen.'
And I don't remember when he wrote that.
It was pretty special to be able to be in the band that recorded with him.
And, of course, I couldn't play for several minutes, just being near him.
It was -- I'm going to cry.
[ Crying ] But it was very, very special.
♪♪♪ Around 2006, he called me.
He was coming here with his San Miguel 5 group and I realized that, when he left, I missed him.
-My babiest boy.
-[ Barks ] -You my good boy.
-[ Barks ] -In 2010, he came here with his new line of trumpets and then, he just didn't leave.
I could tell, 'You're in love with Doc Severinsen.
Really brilliant move.'
Everyone's looking for the love of their life and then, when it arrives in the package of Doc Severinsen, you think, 'Okay, wait a minute.
Some mistake has been made.
[ Laughter ] ♪♪♪ He had his hat on one day when we were grocery shopping and a little kid went by.
He must've been about four years old.
Said to his father, 'There's a cowboy.'
[ Laughs ] Made his whole week.
[ Laughter ] 'There's a cowboy.'
[ Laughs ] Yeah, he's the love of my life.
-In a relationship, like I am with Cathy, I got somebody who really, really understands me and I understand her.
When you play the trumpet seriously, as I do and as she does, you become more aware of the necessity of both doing your work, and that includes the relationship.
♪♪♪ I think anybody who's been through breakups and lost family and part of your identity and your feelings, there are only so many times you want to go through that.
It's good to have you home.
Want a cookie? Oh, wow!
You got to wait 'til the scar tissue is gone and good, healthy things are growing together.
My babiest boy, yes.
You stand a pretty good chance of making the same mistakes again, until you just get too damn old for it to matter anymore and then just, 'Oh, to hell with it.
It's too late now.'
It's too late.
♪♪♪ -There we go, pretties.
-[ Laughs ] [ Upbeat funk plays ] -Iconic trumpeter and 'The Tonight Show' band leader Doc Severinsen returned to Rochester to perform.
-The legendary entertainer's popularity continues to play across the generations.
♪♪♪ -I just what I do.
♪♪♪ It's a way of life.
♪♪♪ -If it wiggles, walks, or crawls, we can get it on your foot.
-Don't have to break these babies in.
♪♪♪ -Welcome to the ITG Conference.
I'm Cathy Leach, president of the International Trumpet Guild.
♪♪♪ -The great Doc Severinsen is in town.
He's going to be joining the Kansas City Symphony this Thursday.
-I am going to go quietly into the night!
♪♪♪ -Here-re-re-re-re's Doc!
♪♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪♪ -♪ Oh ♪ [ Scat singing ] [ Scat singing ] [ Applause ] [ Scat singing ] [ Scat singing ] [ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ Thank you guys. Curtis & Reinhard and Grandpa Doc Severinsen, everyone.
♪♪♪ [ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Let's give a hand for the legendary Doc Severinsen.
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] -Here you are, listening to the music that we're making, and it gladdens my heart that you're here and that I'm here, and I thank the orchestra and all of you for making this a very special evening.
I have a large contingent of my family out here tonight.
I've got granddaughters, great-granddaughters, the whole nine yards!
[ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] Here we go.
[ Whistling and applause ] [ Playing 'Nessun Dorma' ] -'The Tonight Show' ended 30 years ago.
He's still rocking. That's amazing.
I can't imagine Doc ever considering retirement.
Really? What would he do?
-The thing that makes Doc stand out through all of these dramas, no matter how bizarre it gets, no matter what happened, he stayed on the track.
That's where it's at.
♪♪♪ -♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ -♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪ ♪ ♪♪♪ -♪ ♪ -♪ ♪ -♪ ♪ -♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] -You have to be reminded, every once in a while, to examine, 'What am I doing?'
You get a little call from someplace and they said, 'We just want to check you out and see how long you think you really want to be around.'
-Well, I'm glad to see you looking and sounding better.
-Yeah. -Yeah. Good.
-It's coming. -Yeah?
[ Coughs ] Oh, boy.
I don't like that. [ Clears throat ] -One night, I came home about 7:00 p.m.
He was in the bed, shivering uncontrollably.
His temperature had gone up to 101.9.
That's when I knew, 'We've got to go to the emergency room.'
They X-rayed his chest and said that he had pneumonia.
-It's a serious issue, so, good thing they got you in here.
-I like to have three workouts a week and, if you were in my shoes, what do you think you'd do?
Well, what do you think you do?
-I'm going to put a wrinkle in your plans, though, for the next four weeks, while you're on these I.V. medicines.
I'm going to have a temporary I.V. line in your arm, called a PICC line.
You can exercise, get out and walk, do stuff like that.
Not anything that's going to be intense.
[ Chirp ] -I'll walk with you.
I'm going to bring you a mouthpiece tomorrow.
-I honestly don't know what's going to happen.
I haven't played the trumpet this long since I can't even remember.
If I don't play the way I want to, I'll do something else.
The first appointment I had with my regular heart doctor, I'm trying to make out like it was a minor skirmish and he said, 'Let me tell you something.
You almost bought the farm.'
And that, I understood.
I said, 'Do you mean it was that close?'
He says, 'Yeah.'
-When your significant other is his age, you just treasure every day, being so close to these scares.
It does make me just value every second that we have together.
[ Laughing ] We have a saying, 'I prop you up.
You prop me up.'
And so that was my time to prop him up.
Must feel pretty good to get up and walk around.
-It does, yeah.
You know, I feel like it's going to take me forever to get my musculature built up.
One day, I was kind of short with her.
She didn't yell back.
She said, 'You know what you need?'
'What?!' She says, 'Well, you need to be on the outside of a good horse.'
[ Romantic jazz plays ] Because I had told her the best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse.
♪♪♪ Got the prettiest little ears.
♪♪♪ Look at you.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Laughs ] ♪♪♪ That's that.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ I love playing with this crew.
Boy, it's a return to forever.
♪♪♪ This is what I want to be doing.
♪♪♪ Now, I'm set to do some more.
I'm not going to stop now.
♪♪♪ This is where I am now and this is where I'm going to stay.
♪♪♪ You look back, you see some good, you see some not so good, and you figure out, 'How do I keep doing the good things and get rid of the bad things?'
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering, whistling, and applause ] The best I could say about myself is I might be a work in progress.
♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ ♪♪♪ [ Cheering and applause ] [ Whistling ]