When Johnny Carson Visited The Planet of the Apes

This post from the MovieFanFare Archives is being reposted as we celebrate Planet of the Apes week here on the blog.

Back in 1973, actor and singer Paul Williams (who is perhaps best known as the co-writer of “The Rainbow Connection” from The Muppet Movie) appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson to perform the song “Here’s That Rainy Day.” Sounds like an ordinary appearance, right?


Williams, who was promoting Battle for the Planet of the Apes at the time, sang the song while wearing his makeup and costume from the movie. (He even smokes a cigarette for added comedic/dramatic effect). It was an inspired publicity gimmick, one that which Carson introduced with his trademark deadpan humor. The result is pure television magic that continues to entertain all these years later. I don’t know about you, but I go ape everytime I watch this. Sorry.

Trivia: “Here’s That Rainy Day” was Johnny Carson’s favorite ballad, which helps explain why Williams sings it here as opposed to one of his own original songs.