Dorothy Mengering 1921 – 2017

Peter Lassally worked as a producer on three important shows in late night: The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. A soft-spoken gentleman, he was in his office on Ferguson’s show six or seven years ago when I asked him what the three… Read on



From TCA17 to Taffel’s 16mm TV rarities

Did you know Sammy Davis Jr. could not land a special on a U.S. network TV schedule in the late ’50s — so he made one in Canada instead? That’s just one of the things I learned Monday from my pal Stan Taffel, 16mm film collector extraordinaire. Taffel is the president of Cinecon, an annual Los… Read on


PBS profiles “Honest Liar” The Amazing Randi

PASADENA, Calif.–“No matter how smart of well-educated you are, you can be deceived.” That’s the message delivered by James “The Amazing” Randi in The Independent Lens production “An Honest Liar.” The entertaining and surprising doc airs March 28 on PBS. At 87, Randi looks more like Jasper Beardly on The Simpsons than Harry Houdini. His… Read on


This week’s Podcast: CFC BBQ & Rivers

This week, CHML’s Scott Thompson wanted to know how the heck a slob like me gets invited to cool stuff like the Canadian Film Centre TIFF BBQ. Connections, I tell him, specifically my old pal Slawko Klymkiw, the CFC’s Mr. Everything. I give the CFC’s TV program a good plug, mainly because it is an… Read on



Joan Rivers 1933 – 2014

I was speaking with Late Night host Seth Meyers Wednesday about several things, including his upcoming Toronto appearances at JFL42 as well as his animated series,  The Awesomes. We were wrapping up, and I thought I’d better bring up one more subject: Joan Rivers. The latest report suggested she was “resting comfortably.” In Rivers-speak, that was code… Read on


Jay Leno leaves Tonight with no respect

It was thirty years ago, my first time in Hollywood. I was at the offices of TV Guide Los Angeles, at the time located on a top floor of a tower on Sunset Boulevard. I step into the elevator, and there’s Jay Leno. This was well before he became host of The Tonight Show. Despite… Read on


This week’s podcast: Leno out, Fallon in?

Fallon with Mariah Carey: ready for his Tonight Show coronation? On this week’s scintillating podcast, CHML’s Scott Thompson wants my take on rumours that NBC are dying to shove Jay Leno aside so Jimmy Fallon can take over the Tonight Show.It does seem as though Leno’s days on Tonight are numbered. He still wins in… Read on


Fifty years ago Sunday: Carson’s Tonight debut

Was up north painting the unplugged cottage and a bit behind on posting, so missed this milestone from Sunday: the 50th anniversary of the first Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson. Carson’s official debut on Oct. 1, 1962 only survives on a short audio clip. As has been noted here before, the first 10 years of… Read on