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TV Bandleaders

"Doc" Severinsen - The nickname of Carl "Doc" Severinsen, the trumpeter and bandleader on the NBC network late night talk show THE TONIGHT SHOW starring Johnny Carson. While growing up in Arlington, Oregon his dentist father was called "Big Doc" so Carl became "Little Doc."

The Cast of THE TONIGHT SHOW
Doc Severinsen, Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson

Doc was hired as bandleader for THE TONIGHT SHOW in 1967 after the bearded Skitch Henderson left the program. Doc's proclivity for bright colors (pink, mauve) and trendy designs in clothing, often made him a brunt of Johnny Carson's lightning wit. Doc had played for Tommy Dorsey, and Benny Goodman before becoming an NBC staff musician. 

One night when Doc wore a puce Pucci tie, Johnny Carson remarked, "I wouldn't wear that to fondle Randolph Scott's saddle horn!" Delighted with the uproarious audience response, the show's writers decided to make Doc's wardrobe a recurring nightly event.

Over the years, Doc wore such clothing items as crushed velvet knickers, rhinestone jumpsuits, flamboyant satin shirts and tapestry cloaks.


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