You Got Style
· Pointed Takes on Style Delineated ·
January 23, 2005
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· For the Class That You Showed ·
Style he may have had, but "class"? Please explain yourself here, Mr. YGS.
Yes, though I should excuse myself first for lifting without credit my title from Bette Midler's rendition of Mercer & Arlen's "One for My Baby" — sung when Mr. Carson retired in 1992. Bette Midler's was an inspired addition.
For me "For the Class that You Showed" suggested the essence of Carson's appeal. If you think of him as an aristocrat, Johnny was always the best, for thirty years the undisputed ruler of late-night TV. But if you shift to his more nominal appeal, you see even better what made Carson so classy — always fitting himself to the condition of the "class" he so stylishly entertained.
In our most private of hours, he mirrored for us the main point of American living, business-like, professional work. Always the consummate professional, he ever appealed to the quick of American commerce ("I'll be right back") while retiring, off air, to his more secluded, private, personal life.
Simply, Carson was a natural pro, appealling, like Mark Twain — quite another genius of an earlier day — always to America's dominant middle-class values.
My thanks. of course, for your prompt.
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