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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Hard Act to Follow by Henry Bushkin; 360 Guy Books


Within a year after Johnny's move to Los Angeles, he implored Henry Bushkin to join him in Hollywood. Together they carved out Henry's job description: lawyer, agent, manager, and tennis partner. For Johnny, it was more important that Bushkin be there rather than have any job or set of issues to deal with. Other than being Johnny's lawyer, of course. His job was to protect him. There was no definition other than that.

Some friends have said that the introverted Carson simply found someone who understands better than most what made him tick. Bushkin was part of a Hollywood tradition- lawyer-confidant. Bushkin and Carson then became partners, and it enabled the lawyer to gain great stature and the ability to step beyond the normal protocols of entertainment lawyers.

But after almost two decades of great success the relationship ended. It had run its course. And A HARD ACT TO FOLLOW shares with its readers the rollicking years when Carson and Bushkin shared great times together.


Every since I was in high school I have been fascinated with the psychology of Human behavior. WHY people do and say the things they do. What makes them tick. What could make them better? I definitely wanted to pursue the career, although it never happened.

More than just learning the psychology of behavior and the mind of normal people, I have always been intrigued with the rich and famous. They can't be classified with normal people because they don't have the limits that we do whether it be money, vacations, or expansive houses.

Normal people become depressed because they don't have enough money to buy the house they want, pay their car payment, or be able to stand financially on their own two feet after a lay-off.

Most of the problems that the rich have, have absolutely NOTHING to do with money. In this book we see both the bad and good sides of Johnny Carson. We see that he could be absolutely fine one moment, and then explode the next.

He drank a LOT, womanized all the time, and turned down 2 million dollars each year for only 2 days of modeling suits.. How crazy is that? Most people would jump at the chance to model for 2 days for $2 million dollars. That would be a dream come true.

Also most normal people would love to own their own movie producing studio, but Johnny didn't really need the money and didn't want to make the effort on his part. Sure- he gave money to those who needed it around him, but why turn down a chance to own something so significant?

I really liked this book. Because the author was Johnny Carson's right hand man we get to see a side of him that nobody else could have written. Henry Bushkin ended up being much MUCH more than just a lawyer to Johnny. He was basically his companion, his mess cleaner-upper, and his friend.

Henry never seen himself as Johnny's friend until Johnny himself said it, but that's exactly what it was. He tells some very interesting stories about their friendship, their vacations, and just normal days in the life of Johnny Carson.

We see him go through 4 wives and have 2 sons, all of which he could never outright give affection to. We see him love his father, and until the day she died- try and impress his mother. He was and still is the most successful Tonight Show host and she still never paid him a compliment to tell him how proud she was of him.

This is the "barrier" behind Johnny Carson's "ticks", He could never truly accept compliments from anyone because the compliment he wanted most- he never received. His problems stemmed from his cold-hearted mother.

I love looking in the past- always have. Although Johnny was hosting the Tonight show before my mom was even born (almost) I still knew who he was (who doesn't?). This book doesn't only contain insights about the famous Mr. Carson, but it also has some on some of the most famous people during the era's of 60's-80's.

My favorite movie when I was little was "The Wizard of Oz" and I loved that Henry mentioned that Judy Garland always had to be hypnotized before she went on stage.. I never knew that. He also mentions plenty of other celebrities such as Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and others.

This isn't just some other tell all book. It actually took me back to the places and the times that he describes and made me feel like I was sitting in the room with them. Watching them drink expensive alcohol and carry on while Johnny Carson told jokes at their table.

I could actually see Johnny pitching a fit when he had to wait 10-15 minutes on their boat.. I could SEE all of this because of the way the writer describes everything. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall.

This book isn't a biography per se but it shows most things that biographies don't. This is like reading someone's journal from back then..

I really liked it..!!

If you would like to read it (WHICH you should) It's a very interesting book.. You can preorder the book A Hard Act to Follow.



Jessica Renee


This post was written by:

Jess is the creator of Stylish Southern Mama + Southern Rambles. She is a freelance writer + designer, Social Media Marketer, and Journalist. She has 2 amazing kids, Aidan and Adisyn, and has been with their dad Adam for 12 years, and has 2 amazingly adorable dogs; Harley + Cheyanne! :)

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