Comic character first played by Johnny Carson in 1971 on THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JOHNNY CARSON/NBC/1962-92.
As the Art Fern skits unfolded, an announcer’s voice (Ed McMahon) intoned, “It’s time once again, friends, for the Mighty Carson Art Players. One of the mainstays of daytime television is the late-afternoon movie. It’s usually hosted by the happy-go-lucky bigmouth who’s very happy to bring you the film feature, but a lot happier to bring you more commercials than you can find up Eighth Avenue. And now, your host…Art Fern.”
Art Fern, the mustachioed host of the TEA TIME MOVIE began, by saying. “Hello Southland friends” and then proceeded to introduce wacky films, assisted by a dumb but well endowed blond known as “The Matinee Lady” (Carol Wayne) who suffered Art’s groping fingers and sexual innuendoes during the films.
Art Fern hosted such films starring “Jack Lemmon, Jack Haley, Hayley Mills, the Mills Brothers, Dr. Joyce Brothers, and Spawn the Wondercarp in Dracula Gets Bombed on a Wino; or “Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. Junior Gilliam, Stu Gilliam, Stu Erwin, Irwin Corey, and Spurt the Wonder Skunk in Gidget Takes On Fort Ord; and “The Jackson Five, The Four Tops, The Three Stooges, The Doublemint Twins, and Furball the Wonder Cat in Tarzan Breaks His Loincloth.
To find the locations of the businesses that sponsored the TEA TIME MOVIE Art Fern directed his viewers,by asking, “How do you get to (Fill in business name)? Take the Ventura Freeway to another freeway until you get to the Slauson cutoff. Stop the car. Get out of your car. Cut off your Slauson. Get back in your car and travel until you come to …the fork in the road.”
The Art Fern character was parodied on NBC’s SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE with comedian Joe Piscopo assuming the guise of the “Tea Time Movie” host.