Published February 27, 2008

While discussing Iconic Moments in Television recently, I argued that one of the biggest emotional wallops (we’re talking show biz here, not news or politics), was Johnny Carson’s second to last Tonight Show (his final with guests), in May of 1992, where Bette Midler serenaded him with a couple of songs. I own The Ultimate Carson Collection on DVD (highly recommended), and these final moments never fail to move me to tears. The same can be said of Bette – if you watch carefully, at the end of her last song, she rushes off stage before completely losing it.

For those not old enough to remember, Johnny Carson was the King of late night television for 30 years. All others are pretenders to the throne. All right, David Letterman comes close – don’t get me started on Jay Leno.

For those who do remember, here is Bette’s appearance on that penultimate episode. Fair warning – keep the Kleenex handy. Enjoy.

WORDSLINGER’S NOTE 2/20/17 – The original videos I had embedded here are gone. The only ones currently available are un-embedable. The quality isn’t great either, but … it’s all we’ve got. Still interested?  Heeeeeeere’s Johnny … and Bette.