Ed McMahon, Second Gunman


Speaking of being unable to remember anything Johnny Carson ever said or did, here's a tidbit that took me by surprise. Before launching into a death-spiral of talk about fascist media consolidation and Mort Sahl, this fella cites something pretty damned interesting:

Try to imagine Jay Leno devoting an entire Tonight Show to Michael Ruppert, and the topic of Dick Cheney's role in the attacks of 9/11. Or David Letterman conversing for an hour with Dr Nick Begich, co-author of Angels Don't Play this HAARP, on the weaponization of the ionosphere.

Because as bizarre and unlikely as those scenes would be, 37 years ago this month, Johnny Carson spent 50 minutes with New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison—and millions of Americans—on the subject of the state-sanctioned murder of John F Kennedy.

Audio files of Carson's Garrison interview can be downloaded from this page, but a big note of caution: distortion makes them all but unlistenable. If anyone knows of better quality samples (or even better, video), please let me know.

For me, the unintended takeaway from this is that once again I'm amazed at what a Q rating Jim Garrison actually had at his peak. I don't remember the sixties, though I've seen Kent Brockman's stock montage, but the Oliver Stone movie barely alludes to Garrison's career as a media star, making out like he spent all his time going doggedly from crime scenes to courtrooms, with no time for publicity. You get a little better sense of Garrison's media stardom in Gerald Posner's Case Closed (Posner may actually mention this Carson appearance; I can't bring myself to check), but holy moses, you're really struggling to get the message out when Johnny gives you the whole hour. Was there ever a time when JFK conspiracy theories were an obscure underground phenomenon? Life ran very high in those days!

Update: Posner does mention the Tonight Show appearance: Pages 442 and 447 of the hardback edition (eminently suitable for reading or elevating one's feet during an extended stool), pages 440 and 444 of the paperback edition. Among other interesting factoids: It was apparently Garrison who started the idea of media companies' being tools of the defense contractors Jeff Wells alludes to in his blog post. (In Garrison's case, RCA's ownership of the Peacock Network.)