It seems the jokes didn’t end when the cameras stopped rolling on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In, the much-loved NBC comedy sketch show that originally ran from 1968 until 1973 and, over the course of its 140 episodes, featured countless appearances by celebrities. One such guest was John Wayne. He received the following fantastic letter of thanks in August of 1973, just a few months after the show’s final episode had aired. It was written by the show’s hosts, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.
Rowan and Martin
August 16, 1973
To Our Very Best Pal JOHN WAYNE (Or Occupant):
When Dick said to me “Say Dan, we should have JOHN WAYNE in our Hollywood Boys Glee Club”, I couldn’t have agreed more. I said “I couldn’t agree more, Dick, because I have considered JOHN a marvelous performer since his (
her) wonderful performance(s) in SINGING COWBOY, DONOVAN’S REEF, and BOYS IN THE BAND.” (Note to secretary: If he ( she) hasn’t done anything lately, send version B on the cheap stationery.)
Anyway, JOHN, it was great having you with us on AUG 16, 1973. We enjoyed your singing,
acting, dancing. Thanks again and regards to your wife, husbandor whatever.
In closing, Dick and I both agree that of all the celebrities you, JOHN, were the best one.
Very truly yours,
Dan and/or Dick
P.S. One last thing, JOHN. This is a personal note just to you, so please don’t embarrass us by mentioning it to anyone else.
Charles Nelson Reilly
William Morris Agency
NBC Public Relations
New York Times