I never dreamed that I would hear those words from back stage on the NBC Tonight Show, but on June 4, 1975, that opportunity came.
I was in Philadelphia where I had just finished taping The Mike Douglas Show, when I received final word that I was going to appear with Johnny Carson. I called home with the great news! My father answered. I said, “Dad, guess what I am going to do next.” He responded, “Tell me.” “I am going to be on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. There was dead silence on the other end and then I heard him say, “Who is Johnny Carson?” Even though my father did not know who he was, my mother did and was very excited for me.
I arrived at the studio in Burbank California at 3 P.M. for the 5:30 taping. The staff worked with me to make sure that every detail was covered. The backdrop was a huge canvas with an outdoor scene painted on it. They even had a fire pit with hot coals ready for me to cook on.
As I stood waiting back stage, I heard Ed McMahon announce, “Hereeee’s Johnny!” The show was off and running. I was the first guest on that night. Right off the top I showed Johnny how to start a fire with two batteries and a fine grade of steel wool. I gave him the batteries and he put them together like they go into a flashlight. Then he placed the fine grade steel wool on the bottom and brushed it across the top of the batteries. The steel wool burst into flames. This ignited the next 17 minutes with idea after idea.