Floyd R. Turbo

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Floyd R. Turbo was a recurring comedic character on The Tonight Show, portrayed by host Johnny Carson from 1977 until his departure from the program in 1992.

Floyd R. Turbo was a middle-aged "everyman," a politically conservative type who taped editorial messages for television (ala Gilda Radner's befuddled Emily Litella character). In the days before Public-access television cable TV, ordinary citizens were alloted time on local television to air their views, usually in opposition to another's previously stated views, and at late or odd hours. Billed as "Mr. Silent Majority" (from a phrase used by President Richard Nixon) and based on characters Carson encountered in his northeast Nebraska childhood), Turbo dressed in a plaid hunting jacket and hat, and stood nervously in front of a TV camera as he delivered his opinions on gun control, war, women's liberation, and hunting, introducing himself each time as "Floyd R. Turbo, American."

The "R" in Floyd R. Turbo is said to stand for "Arthur."[1]

Carson once told Rolling Stone reporter Timothy White, "He's (Turbo) the epitome of the redneck ignoramus. I find the things (characteristics) each week when I go out to do...his gestures at the wrong time, his not knowing where he's supposed to be, his feeble attempts at humor, his talks about things he doesn't quite understand." [2]

Example commentaries[edit]

Nuclear energy[edit]

"And what's all this fuss about plutonium: how can something named after a Disney character be dangerous? So what if an atomic plant blows up? The people who say that, they are afraid to die. I'm not afraid to die because all my life I have lived by the Good Book, the American Legion magazine...They say atomic radiation can hurt your reproductive organs. My answer is, so can a hockey stick, but we don't stop building them....Sure, nuclear leaks will affect the forest animals. So what if a deer grows up with two rear ends? They're easier to shoot...So in my simple way, I'm asking that you support nuclear energy. Remember being an American means being powerful, proud and pushy, and in conclusion, let me finish by ending...Thank you."

Military drafts[edit]

"This station wants no draft. They want to deprive a boy of the Army. The Army is educational. The Army teaches you how to do dental work with the butt of a rifle....how to tell what time it is by making a sundial out of a dead person...how to make beer out of bird droppings and also how to make a rubber girl out of an inner tube...In conclusion, I say we should not end the draft. We should increase it. We have a moral obligation to give Bob Hope soldiers to entertain. Fellow Americans, it is an honor to be drafted and to serve your country. Thank you, bye-bye, and buy bonds."[3]

Hunting[edit]

"If God didn't want us to hunt, He wouldn't have given us plaid shirts; I only kill in self defense—what would you do if a rabbit pulled a knife on you?"

Baseball[edit]

'"Baseball the way it was meant to be played, on real grass, with no designated hitter and all white guys."[4]

Smoking[edit]

"All cigarettes now carry the Surgeon General's warning label. Who is this 'surgeon general' anyway? Did anyone ever see him? I don't trust any 'surgeon' who becomes a 'general', he may remove my hemorrhoids with a hand grenade!"

References[edit]