The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on October 30, 1996 · Page 28
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 28

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Wednesday, October 30, 1996
Page 28
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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 3O, 1996 APPLAUSE THE SALINA JOURNAL Jay Leno takes long 'Tonight Show' haul By KEITH MARDER Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES — Jay Leno arrives at NBC's Burbank studio around 8:30 every weekday morning. He builds up to the taping of "The Tonight Show" at 5 p.m., then he stays to tape a few bits for future shows. That puts his day in the office at about 14 hours. But, wait, there's more. At 11 p.m., Leno is at his Beverly Hills home with writer Jimmy Brogan working on the next day's monologue. And, to relax on the weekends, Leno hits the road to continue honing the stand-up act that made him famous. Work. Work. Work. It's an incredible pace that Leno has kept up for almost five years. Yes, it's been almost five years (man, you're getting old) since Leno took over "The Tonight Show" from the king of late night, Johnny Carson. These days, the days are even longer for Leno, Who is promoting a new book titled "Leading With My Chin" (Harper Collins; $22), for which he reportedly got a $4 million advance. But if he has not found much leisure in his life, Leno is getting a payoff. He won an Emmy in 1994, and he has won the weekly ratings war with CBS rival David Letterman since Aug. 21, 1995. And if, as he approaches his five-year anniversary, he hasn't achieved the dominance of Johnny, he professes to have found a level of comfort in his late-night role. "I like doing this better and better every year," Leno said. "It's like in high school, in your senior year, you finally figure everything out." The new book, written with Bill Zehme, a senior writer at Esquire, is not to be confused with an autobiography. It is a collection of amusing tales and mishaps on the road from a man who, in the heart of his stand-up days, logged a million air miles one year. The hardcover does not mention any of the battles Leno went through to get "The Tonight Show" job or his struggles to keep it in the early days of the rivalry, when Letterman's "Late Show" dominated. Leno's ex-manager, the late Helen Kushnick, who he fired shortly after she got him the NBC job in '92, also didn't get a mention. "She wasn't mentioned, and neither was my agent," Leno said. "I was traveling so much I would call in and find out where I was going next. There were not many funny stories with them. The book was originally going to be called 'Road Stories,' everything up to The Tonight Show.'" Those were the days when Leno had a listed phone number, which he kept until he became "The Tonight Show's" permanent host. He is known as a "nice guy," one whose apartment in Boston turned into a flophouse for traveling comedians early in his career. He said guys would come to his pad (hey, it was the '70s) and introduce themselves as joke tellers just to have a place to stay. Comic Larry Miller, a Sherman Oaks resident, friend and fellow comic who is on the ABC sitcom "Life's Work" and who used to work the clubs with Leno, said his friend Jerry Seinfeld may be the hardest-working man in Hollywood — executive producer, head writer and star of his own series — but he has no doubt about who's second. "No one ever worked harder than Jay. What he does is monumental — nine new minutes every night. It's staggering," Miller said. "He was always, always a great comedian. Anyone who invests affection in Jay will never, ever be disappointed or hurt by it and receive a great deal in return for it. He's the funniest, finest, hardest-working guy I ever knew," Miller continued. Without much fanfare, Leno donates tons of money to charities. For instance, all of the proceeds from his four wacky "Headlines" books and one called "Police Blotter" went to children's charities, including one that provides pediatric AIDS services. His reputation as the best stand-up comic out of a stellar class including Letterman, Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Billy Crystal, Freddie Prinze,. Steve Martin, Andy Kaufman and Miller is nearly universal. Bob Hope and NBC finally part By KEITH MARDER Los Angeles Daily News LOS ANGELES — After a world-record run with one network and 93 years on the planet, Bob Hope has decided it's time to explore his options. Hope, in an open letter printed as an advertisement in several publications Wednesday, said, "Guess What? I've decided to become a FREE AGENT ... So, watch out Michael Jordan.... "I've enjoyed 60 memorable years with NBC. Sixty years ... I started before the peacock and he wound up taking my parking -space!..." Asked what precipitated the announcement, Hope's longtime publicist, Ward Grant said, "He's 93 years old and has worked for NBC for 60 years. I think he's entitled to do this without (explaining)." Hope hasn't done interviews for months, Grant said. The venerable comedian has one more special yet to air on NBC — "Laughing With the Presidents" Nov. 23 featuring President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton; former President Bush and his wife, Barbara; and former President Ford and his wife, Betty, among others. And NBC will continue to air the Bob Hope Chrysler Golf Tournament in January from Palm Desert. NBC Sports has asked Hope to continue introducing the Associated Press All- America Football Team, and Ward said he would. Hope will be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the entertainer with "the longest-running contract with a single network," according to his publicist's statement. "We respect Bob's decision and salute this consummate entertainer on the longest run by any star on any network in the history of broadcasting," said an NBC statement issued Wednesday. In addition to his remaining chores on NBC, Hope is in the midst of a national tour with his 12th book, "Dear Prez, I Wanna Tell Ya!" He is working on another book looking at all the music with which he has been associated, and he is also marketing a series of home videos and working on a new Bob Hope Museum of Comedy. Plus, he plays golf daily. Hope made his radio debut on the "Capitol Family Hour" in 1932. His first appearance for NBC Radio was a guest on "Rudy Vallee's Thursday Night Show" in 1934. He hosted his first NBC broadcast in January 1935 for Bromo Seltzer. Shortly after that, NBC signed Hope to do his own radio show. Tuesday nights became "Bob Hope Night" and he continued on radio until April 15, 1956. PROKFES^SIQNHL Nearly Me® Mastectomy Products Call Ginger today for more details. 1331 Armory Road, Salina, 825-4400 or 1-800-572-6177 331/3% Off Christmas Merchandise! Mowers ^ (Wreaths, Ornaments, Trees, Stuffed Animals, Etc.) John Wood &ASSOC. INSURANCE • FINANCIAL Specializing In Employee Benefits JEAN CURRY 2737 Belmont Blvd. 823-5129 We'll always be there for you. 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