Honestly, he is NOT retiring! Moments ago after 28 1/2 years, and a combined on-air time over 53 years of 17,000 hours (a Guinness record), Regis Philbin said goodbye to HIS show. He moved from NYC to California years ago after graduating from his beloved University of Notre Dame. In 1983, he returned to his home and eventually created what I have enjoyed since it went national in 1985 (not every day, but every day I was able). Whether it was with Kathie Lee or Kelly (Lee as Letterman refers to her), the warmth that Reege brought to millions will never be replaced. Succeeded but never replaced.
The celebration of his career in the morning began almost minutes following the announcement of his vacating the role on January 18, 2011. Support from fans both in the limelight and we ordinary joes poured in from all over the country. It culminated the past few weeks with extended tribute segments paying tribute to the legend. Last night, a Katie Couric special followed his backstage ritual and around the city. Something that surprise me as they made their way to Cardinal Hayes High School and the auditorium that was named after Regis: He never performed on the stage during his time at his alma mater. I could tell that he wished he had. During his “exit Interview,” Big Daddy stated that he was happiest when he was entertaining people (so he won’t be gone long). I could NOT agree more.
Later, David Letterman presented a gift to his frequent (scheduled or otherwise) guest: a motorized scooter. Regis went outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre (been there, inside, AND performed… but that is another post) and proceeded to crash after about five feet! Way to go Dave; kill the man hours before his final bow!
This morning was a fantastic send off. The audience was filled with friends, dignitaries, and other special people. We finally got to hear the details of Regis and Joy’s honeymoon…. something that has been hinted about for several years. Also interspersed were “Reflections by Regis” on his life. And what would a Regis celebration be without the 100s of people who have (for better or worse) come up with their own interpretations on the King’s unique personal.
For me, the greatest part of the show has been Regis, himself. He’s like the uncle everyone wishes they had (or actually do have, who knows). He is a remarkable story teller. In fact, I tuned in every morning I could to see the first 15 minute host chat and if the guests did not appeal to me, I turned the channel. He created a totally family feeling atmosphere by introduced his audience to Joy, his daughters Joanna and JJ, his son-in-law Michael Schur (a writer on The Office), and his grandkids Mr. Trouble and Ivy. Everyone on the show from Kelly to his executive producer Michael Gelman to the “Executive in Charge of Production” Art Moore (whatever it is he does besides sit in the corner begging for air time) were like an extended family coming into homes every weekday morning for an hour. Regis really did entertain for an hour with the extraordinary brand of “guerilla television” and made us feel better.
Thanks for the memories, Reege! We will see you soon!
And anyone looking for that GREAT Christmas gift idea:
How I Got This Way. I do like some reading material in actual book form instead of downloading it onto my Nook. 😉