The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson holds a revered place in the history of late-night television. The show, which premiered in 1962, featured Johnny Carson as the iconic host for over three decades until his retirement in 1992. Carson’s wit, charm, and comedic timing made him a beloved figure, and The Tonight Show became a cultural institution during his tenure.
For whatever reason, Johnny Carson famously had multiple “talking” birds on his show but could never get them to actually talk. Until finally in 1981, animal trainer David Frank shows up with Poncho. Poncho is a double yellow-headed Amazon parrot, who Frank said learned to talk and sing from two women who were his first owners. After that he spent 12 years at an animal park performing with Frank.
Things start out well, with Poncho saying “Hi” when prompted–which Johnny notes is better than other birds he’s had on. Then Poncho begins singing, which rocks Johnny back in his chair.
He opens with “Bali Hai” from the musical South Pacific, the follows it up with “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.” Johnny’s reaction, and the crowd’s, is hilarious. He finishes up with “Springtime in the Rockies” and everyone, including Johnny, is suitably impressed. Watch the video below and please leave us a Facebook comment to let us know what you thought!
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