Sorry, Gary Owens, but one of very best things to ever happen to “beautiful downtown Burbank” is now officially ear-marked for February 2014 east coast relocation. The Tonight Show will soon be Jimmy Fallon‘s to re-invent, within Lorne Michaels walking distance.
As LA Times reporter Joe Flint recently reminded, it was Owens who first coined the phrase as a radio announcer and then made it famous on Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In. Although NBC may well find a worthy TV ratings successor to occupy the main studio at Alameda and Olive, it will never quite be the same:
Carson, who moved The Tonight Show from New York to Los Angeles in 1972, also used the “beautiful downtown Burbank” line but never tried to take credit for it.