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12 March: Crime didn’t pay for Carson

Carson's comedy couldn't get past the crime fighters. (Photo: CBS.)

Carson’s comedy couldn’t get past the crime fighters. (Photo: CBS.)

It’s hard to know if and how he complained, of course. But up to and including the day he died, Jack Carson—otherwise a distinguished character actor in film—was a perversely inverted testament to the adage that crime doesn’t pay.

When he graduated from hosting the West Coast-only series Signal Carnival to his national CBS series in 1943, Carson at 9:30 p.m. Wednesday nights ran smack up against Mr. District Attorney . . . and got clobbered. On a night when the average Hooper rating was 13.4, Mr. District Attorney delivered a whopping 21.4. Carson’s 8.9 wasn’t even within two county lines of it.

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