(Above: Arte Johnson on ‘Laugh-In.’ Source: Decades)
If, like us, you missed the first two nights of Decade’s salute to the late Arte Johnson, don’t worry! For the next three days, you can still enjoy the comic actor in some of his classic Laugh-In skits.
Johnson, who died a week ago at 90, is showcased in this week’s Laugh-In episodes, which air weeknights at 7 pm ET on Decades. Tonight’s show, for instance, includes The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling introducing Johnson as a character named “Mr. Robot.”
Johnson’s most popular characters during his Laugh-In years (1968-1973, NBC) were a German soldier and lecherous old man.
The solider would pop up from behind bushes to proclaim preceding skits as “verrry interesting…” and often help end episodes by saying good-bye to Lucille Ball, whose Lucy Show aired at the same time on CBS.
The dirty old man would repeatedly try to seduce an old lady (Ruth Buzzi) on a park bench, but wind up getting smacked by her purse and then falling off the bench. The two characters eventually got married, though. Go figure.
Johnson had a career before and after Laugh-In, of course, mostly as a guest actor on TV series. These included a pre-Laugh-In episode of The Twilight Zone (“The Whole Truth,” CBS, 1961) and eight post-Laugh-In episodes of The Love Boat (ABC, 1977-1987).
Decades just happens to be airing a 36-episode marathon of The Love Boat this coming weekend (starting Saturday at 1 pm), so even with 249 episodes of that series to choose from, chances were good that one or more of Johnson’s episodes would pop up — especially since he guested on the series’ finale “Who Killed Maxwell Thorn?” And that episode will also close out the Decades weekend binge, Monday at 5 am.
Decades can be seen free over the air via an antenna hooked up to your TV set. To find your local station, visit the channel’s “Where to Watch” page.
Laugh-In can also be streamed by Amazon Prime subscribers, but The Love Boat is both unsinkable and unstreamable.
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