Irving Davis

Irving Davis and Mark Malkoff

Irving Davis joins Mark to discuss holding the famous curtain open for Johnny Carson for nearly twenty years, saving Johnny from a crazed fan charging the stage, and his nightly ritual with Johnny backstage before the show.

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2 comments on “Irving Davis

  1. Incredible. I’ve thought about this man for 30 years and had no idea who he was. His were the last eyes I looked into on March 20, 1986 – right before everything changed. Calm, fatherly, I just knew everything was going to be fine. As a juggler, nerves are the enemy and Mr. Davis held the space for Kings and Queens to be their best. At our 2nd appearance on the show a few months later, I was hoping to see him again, in his role, so that everything would be ok. There he was, like the sun and the moon, dependable, welcoming, and happy.

    My favorite episode to date, Mark. Thank you.

  2. So many questions I have that I wish Mark would have asked, like:

    1) Was there a technique to holding open the curtain and when to let it go? Was there a hook attached to it that Mr. Davis grabbed on to that he had to pull?

    2) Did Mr. Davis ever have a mishap with the curtain, like letting it go too soon and having it hit a guest?

    3) What was the curtain made of? How many different colors were in it? How did it get cleaned?

    4) Where is the multi-colored Tonight Show curtain now?

    5) I seem to remember that there was a death threat made against Carson by someone claiming he was going to shoot Johnny during the show. Carson once referred to it in his monologue after a joke bombed saying something to the effect, “why don’t you take a shot now?” Was Mr. Davis aware of this?

    6) What was it like on the show on Carson’s first return after his son Rick died?

    Great website, Mark. Love your show.