“Betty, White Hot!” a series of periodic flashbacks to key moments in Betty White’s amazing television career, continues.
On October 19, 2005, Betty White made her first visit to CBS’s “Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson,” opening a new chapter in the actress’ other career: professional talk show guest.
White has seemingly sat on every TV talker’s couch, beginning in the 1950s, when she became a regular guest on Jack Paar’s “Tonight Show” on NBC.
When Paar left, White wasn’t seen much on “Tonight,” even though she was friends with his successor, Johnny Carson.
Of course, this is Betty White, so there were no hard feelings.
“It made perfect show-business sense for Johnny to avoid using people were too closely associated with the Paar show,” she wrote in her 1995 memoir, “Here We Go Again: My Life in Television.”
During the ’70s, White was a regular on Dinah Shore’s daytime shows, as well as “The Merv Griffin Show,” which she described in her book as “the only one I actually enjoyed, as opposed to grinning and bearing.”
Once Carson had put his own stamp on “Tonight,” he began poking fun at White and Allen Ludden’s wholesome marriage during his nightly monologue. Sample: “Betty and Allen threw a wife-swapping party and nobody showed up.”
Carson also began inviting White to appear in his “Mighty Carson Art Players” sketches; memorable bits had the two playing California Governor Jerry Brown and his girlfriend at the time, Linda Ronstadt, as well as middle-aged versions of Adam and Eve and Tarzan and Jane.
These days, White regularly visits the “Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” but her favorite host is Ferguson, with whom she worked on ABC’s 1995-96 sitcom “Maybe This Time.”
On Ferguson’s “Late Late Show,” White often appears in sketches that find her taking odd jobs to pay the bills.
She has portrayed a speechwriter for John McCain (White on Sarah Palin: “One crazy bitch”) and – in the clips seen here – an accountant with a briefcase full of cocaine and a nurse who received her medical license in El Salvador.
White told Starpulse.com her “Late Late Show” appearances are “the most fun of anything I’ve done. [Ferguson] is just incredible. … The only thing is we can’t ever dare make eye contact when we’re working together or we both crack up.”
The next “Betty, White Hot!” installment will be posted Friday.
Here’s the late-night lineup for Wednesday, October 19, 2005:
11:35: “Nightline” (ABC), Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS), “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (NBC)
12:05: “Jimmy Kimmel Live” (ABC)
12:35: “Late Late Show with David Letterman” (CBS), “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” (NBC)
For the week of October 16, 2005:
Top novel: “A Breath of Snow and Ashes” by Diana Gabaldon
Top song: “Gold Digger” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
Top movie: “The Fog”
Top TV show: “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (CBS)
In the news: Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers was engulfed in controversy