Show Business: Hip Hokum

When top studio Trumpeter Doc Severinsen became music director of the Tonight Show in 1967, he started by wearing sober suits on-camera. Then one night he wore a colorful Pucci tie, and Johnny Carson kidded him about it. Next Doc showed up in a zippier suit; more kidding. Soon the routine evolved into the ritual that is now familiar to millions of viewers: an ever more outrageously garbed Doc leading the band through the opening theme, then turning to await the gibes. "That looks like Roddy McDowall's diving-board cover," Carson will say of a white jumpsuit trimmed in rhinestones. Or, of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!