Doc Severinsen Talks with Alan Colmes
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Jan. 25, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
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ALAN COLMES, CO-HOST: Johnny Carson (search) might be gone, but he will never be forgotten. And earlier today, I got to sit down with Doc Severinsen (search), who for 25 years was the music director and bandleader on "The Tonight Show."
COLMES: People make a lot of Johnny having being a recluse and, you know, someone who you never really got to know, even if you worked with him and were with him every single day. Is that an accurate reflection?
DOC SEVERINSEN, FORMER "TONIGHT SHOW" BANDLEADER: Well, I think "recluse" is a bit of an overstatement. He was a very private person, but then, you know, he belonged to the whole United States. The United States thought they owned Johnny Carson.
SEVERINSEN: And he had very little private life to himself. And so he was very protective of what he was able to salvage. And that was right up until the end.
I mean, you know, here is a guy that had multiple death threats every week and, you know, all kinds of cuckoo birds coming at him. And I was there for one of them and got an up-close taste of what it was like for him. And I remember after that episode, I never, ever second-guessed his desire for privacy.
COLMES: I've never heard that. I find that remarkable, given how beloved he was, to hear you say that -- death threats. I can't imagine that he would incur that.
SEVERINSEN: You know, it happens to many celebrities. And, if you haven't had any yet, stick around, you will.
COLMES: Not looking forward to that.
SEVERINSEN: Not from me, Alan.
COLMES: No, thank you for clarifying that.
Do you spend a lot of time -- do you watch late night television now? Are you at all in tune with that world, or do you kind of avoid all that at this point?
SEVERINSEN: I don't avoid it, but quite honestly, my hours are different now. And also, when you were there with Johnny for 30 years and saw the way he did it, there's nothing fulfilling about watching what's out there for me. And occasionally I will watch a little of it and enjoy it. But I have many other interests.
COLMES: Are you still picking up the trumpet?
SEVERINSEN: Oh, every day. You know, I still do about 46 weeks on the road every year.
COLMES: That's terrific. I really appreciate you taking time to talk to us. You represent, to so many of us, so many hours of great entertainment, Doc. We really appreciate your time.
SEVERINSEN: Well, listen, it's somewhat of a pleasure to be here. It's nice to be able to talk about it to many people. And it's cathartic in a way, and it's painful, but it does help.
COLMES: Any final words you would like to say about Johnny and your experiences?
SEVERINSEN: Well, the thought came to me that, for many of us who did this show, and for many people who watched the show, just because Johnny left there, didn't give them the closure they needed.
But I would say that his passing gave us that closure, because I think we all realize now that he's not coming back. We will never see him again or the likes of him.
COLMES: He will be missed. Were you a "Tonight Show" fan at all?
HANNITY: Yes, I am. I watch Jay Leno every day now.
COLMES: Yes. I loved Carson. I thought they had a great chemistry, he, [Ed] McMahon, Doc Severinsen, and, of course, Johnny.
HANNITY: That was just terrific. I mean, yes, it's great at the end of the night, you wind down, they make you laugh.
COLMES: Not everybody wants a political debate show at that time of night.
HANNITY: No, I like it, because I stay up late at night. I'm a late night nut. And then I get up early. I don't sleep a lot.
COLMES: And I'm late doing radio, where I'm going to go and do it right now on FOX News Radio.
That's all the time we have left for tonight...
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