Johnny Carson, the most beloved man in the talk show business besides Larry King, will be host of "The Tonight Show" for the last time tonight. In Carson's honor -- and to mask a lack of reporting effort -- today's column is turned over to Fragac the Magnificent. Now to Fragac's able assistant, Brent Musburger:
BM: We welcome to our stage that great mystic from the East, sage of sages, seer of World League point spreads and former part-time bus driver for Ken Kesey, Fragac the Magnificent.
As you know, I have in my hand several envelopes that have been hermetically sealed inside a Grey Poupon jar on Sununu and Kinsley's front porch. No one knows what is contained in these envelopes, but you, oh magnificent one, will ascertain the answer to the questions inside.
F: Thank you, you obsequious weasel.
BM: The first envelope.
F: Crunch, crunch, smash.
BM: Crunch, crunch, smash.
F: Yes, crunch, crunch, smash.
BM: Crunch, crunch, smash.
F: May your parking attendant be named Canseco. Crunch, crunch, smash. (Rip.) What was the sound made by NBA fans who sat down with a bag of Cheetos intending to watch a playoff doubleheader on Channel 2?
OK, so maybe television screens weren't smashed in all over Baltimore on Sunday. But there had to be a few frustrated folks who wanted to see the seventh games of the Cavaliers-Celtics and Bulls-Knicks series. Channel 2 was carrying an Orioles game, and the station picked up the second half of the Bulls-Knicks.
This wasn't news to anyone who had checked the listings, but WMAR still got complaints. "We got our usual reaction," programming director Emily Barr said. "It really wasn't too bad. We also got calls from people who are very supportive."
For those of us who are supportive of the NBA, prepare for more frustration. Though it isn't clear how the rest of the NBA schedule will run, Channel 2 has a few upcoming Orioles telecasts that could pre-empt NBC's coverage of the NBA Finals.
To be fair, Channel 2's contract calls for 50 regular-season Orioles games. Home Team Sports gets 85, and Sunday night and Wednesday night games are out for WMAR because of ESPN's exclusivity rights. Throw in a few games that are played on weekday afternoons, and Channel 2's choices are limited. To be even more fair, the Orioles obviously grab better ratings than the NBA.
But if life isn't fair -- and informed sources tell me it isn't -- then we don't have to be fair. So, the next time the Orioles get in the way of an NBA playoff game, let Channel 2 hear an unusual reaction.
BM: The next envelope, oh great one.
F: Stan Musial, Stan Charles and George Hamilton.
BM: Stan Musial, Stan Charles and George Hamilton.
F: May your livelihood depend upon the razor-blade concession in the Orioles clubhouse. Stan Musial, Stan Charles and George Hamilton. (Rip.)
6* BM: Name The Man, The Fan and The Tan.
Washington's new, all-sports radio station, WTEM (570 AM), debutsSunday at 11 a.m. with coverage of the Indy 500, followed at 3:30 p.m. by introductory shows from all of its announcers. For rTC Stan "The Fan" Charles' show on WCBM (680 AM), that means fewer opportunities to feature Phil Wood. Wood, whose regular appearances on WTEM will be on the weekends, is scheduled to do his first show 5 to 6 p.m. Sunday.
BM: Here is the next envelope.
F: The Indy 500.
BM: The Indy 500.
F: May your Preakness horse have John Candy as a jockey. The Indy 500. (Rip.) What do you call the crowd at the Colts' home opener?
ABC carries the Indy 500 on Sunday (11 a.m., channels 13, 7). Thisyear's technical innovation is a mini-cam the size of a lipstick that will be placed at turns 2 and 4. These cameras are supposed to offer another perspective on the speed of Indy cars, capturing their images as they head toward the cameras.
ABC is putting cameras inside six race cars, those of Rick Mears, Al Unser Jr., Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal and Michael and Mario Andretti. Announcers include Paul Page, Bobby Unser, Sam Posey and Dr. Jerry "The Race Doctor" Punch.
BM: I have in my hand the last envelope. (Wild cheering.)
F: May Sam Horn lead your Rotisserie League team in steals. ESPN. (Rip.) What do you call the special sense that enables you to predict Dick Vitale will say, "Get a T-O, bay-bee!!!" at least once next season?
ESPN will carry French Open tennis Monday through Friday, beginning at 9 a.m. each day. The network plans to turn loose Mary Carillo, tennis' best announcer, to search Roland Garros stadium for interesting matches and breaking news. Carillo will have a separate production unit at her disposal.
On Wednesday, ESPN presents "Outside the Lines: Men & Women -- Sex & Sports." The show is expected to include reports on sexual assault cases among athletes and the sexual behavior of male athletes. If this program lives up the earlier "Outside the Lines" on steroids, it should be well worth watching.
In the Rudy Valley: The boss had heard that I'd attended an Orioles game the same day as renowned sports television journalist Rudy Martzke. "So, did you introduce yourself?" the boss asked.
"Well, I rode up in the same elevator," I said. "But I was too intimidated to say anything. What do you say to one of your idols? I mean, this man probably has met Jay Randolph."
"You did nothing?"
"Not nothing," I said. "I did get a picture taken to commemorate the occasion."
"With Rudy?" the boss asked.
"No," I said. "With his car. The one with the 'Rudy TV' license plates."
Things My Boss Wants To Know: Now that Penn State has a commitment for the Blockbuster Bowl, could Oberlin get that deal with the Poulan/Weed Eater Independence Bowl? . . . With (( Jose Canseco saying he wants more inventive insults from fans in the bleachers, couldn't the Orioles spring for a ticket there for