Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ode to Bobbie

Speaking of people who dropped off the face of the earth, Bobbie Gentry released her last album in 1970, when she was only 26. She continued knocking around show business for a while, without a great deal of visibility; her final appearance in the public eye was on "The Tonight Show" on Christmas Night, 1978.

I wonder if they had a hard time finding guests to appear on "The Tonight Show" on Christmas. I'd bet money that Johnny turned the desk over to a guest host that night, which means that Bobbie Gentry's showbiz farewell would have come at the hands of Joe Garagiola or Roy Clark. If anyone has the means to figure out who was hosting that night, please let me know.

Bobbie did marry Jim "Spiders and Snakes" Stafford in 1979, but that lasted about as long as Stafford's hitmaking career.

7 comments:

Repoz said...

You are incorrect, sir.

It was, uh, er..uh Johnny.


"It’s assumed the woman once known as Roberta Lee Streeter is living a quiet life in L.A. After not being able to sustain early commercial success, on Christmas night 1978, she kissed Johnny Carson good night on The Tonight Show as the world watched, then vanished."

http://64.233.169.132/search?q=cache:z7r4XW6OcCsJ:www.philadelphiaweekly.com/articles/17534/cover-story+%22The+Tonight+Show%22+on+Christmas+Night,+1978+gentry&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=9&gl=us&client=firefox-a

T. Nawrocki said...

Well, maybe. That was written earlier this year, by someone who may or may not have seen the Tonight Show episode in question. Her source for that piece may have been the same as mine. Here at OPC, we don't fictionalize things we have no knowledge of, but sadly, some people do.

What we really need to do is rummage through Frank Costanza's back issues of TV Guide.

MJN said...

If you're willing to part with a $500 screener fee, you can view a clip of the Tonight Show episode of December 25, 1978: http://www.johnnycarson.com/carson/clip_licensing.jsp

I'm not that willing.

We can be certain that the host that evening was not Johnny Carson; not only was it Christmas Day, but it was a Monday. Johnny always had a guest host on Mondays.

T. Nawrocki said...

If I'm reading that Website right, it's really $800: $500 for the licensing fee, and $300 for a transfer fee. Ticketmaster would be proud.

MJN said...

OK, we're getting closer. My local library has the Chicago Tribune for December 25, 1978 on microfilm. Beneath the headline "Monday's TV talk", we find for the Tonight Show: "Substitute host John Davidson welcomes Patrick Duffy, William Walker, and Stephanie Edwards." Hmm. Either Bobbie Gentry was a late fill-in, or reports of her appearance on that episode are pure fiction. At this point, I'll believe either scenario.

Someone on an IMDb message board indicates that the episode is available for viewing at the Museum of TV and Radio in New York (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0055708/board/nest/70982374). I can't get there myself, but maybe some other reader can.

T. Nawrocki said...

The story about Bobbie appearing on that Christmas edition of the Tonight Show is awfully widespread on the Internet, but that just means one person reported it and a bunch of other sites borrowed the information. I'll see if I can dig up any more details on it this week.

Anonymous said...

I listened to the December 22, 1978, closing credits of The Tonight show via Johnny's official clip licensing site.

As the show ends, Johnny announces the guests for the following Monday night, which was Christmas. He says Bobbie Gentry will be on the show and that John Davidson will host. Unfortunately, since that show was not hosted by Johnny, it is not available on his clip licensing site. So I have no idea what Bobbie performed on that Christmas show, but Johnny did confirm she would be a guest...