Johnny Carson Brought To Tears After Jimmy Stewart Read A Simple Poem

In 1981, legendary talk show host Johnny Carson was brought to tears by one of his guests, Hollywood icon Jimmy Stewart. The reason? A simple poem that Stewart had written about his beloved dog, Beau. The emotional moment has since become one of the most memorable in the history of late-night television.

Stewart had been a guest on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” many times over the years, but his appearance on November 19, 1981, was different. He had recently published a book titled “Jimmy Stewart and His Poems,” which featured a collection of poems he had written throughout his life. As part of his interview with Carson, Stewart recited one of these poems, entitled “Beau.”

Source: Broad Sheet

The poem tells the story of Stewart’s dog, Beau, who had been his loyal companion for many years. The dog had recently passed away, and Stewart’s grief was evident in the emotion he put into his reading of the poem. As he recited the final lines, which describe the moment when Stewart had to say goodbye to Beau, he began to choke up. The studio audience was moved by the raw emotion in Stewart’s voice, and Carson himself was visibly affected.

The poem goes as follows:

He never came to me when I would call

Unless I had a tennis ball,

Or he felt like it,

But mostly he didn’t come at all.

When he was young

He never learned to heel

Or sit or stay,

He did things his way.

Discipline was not his bag

But when you were with him things sure didn’t drag.

He’d dig up a rosebush just to spite me,

And when I’d grab him, he’d turn and bite me.

He bit lots of folks from day to day,

The delivery boy was his favorite prey.

The gas man wouldn’t read our meter,

He said we owned a real man-eater.

He set the house on fire

But the story’s long to tell.

Suffice it to say that he survived

And the house survived as well.

On the evening walks, and Gloria took him,

He was always first out the door.

The Old One and I brought up the rear

Because our bones were sore.

He would charge up the street with Mom hanging on,

What a beautiful pair they were!

And if it was still light and the tourists were out,

They created a bit of a stir.

But every once in a while, he would stop in his tracks

And with a frown on his face look around.

It was just to make sure that the Old One was there

And would follow him where he was bound.

We are early-to-bedders at our house — I guess I’m the first to retire.

And as I’d leave the room he’d look at me

And get up from his place by the fire.

He knew where the tennis balls were upstairs,

And I’d give him one for a while.

He would push it under the bed with his nose

And I’d fish it out with a smile.

And before very long He’d tire of the ball

And be asleep in his corner In no time at all.

And there were nights when I’d feel him Climb upon our bed

And lie between us,

And I’d pat his head.

And there were nights when I’d feel this stare

And I’d wake up and he’d be sitting there

And I reach out my hand and stroke his hair.

And sometimes I’d feel him sigh and I think I know the reason why.

He would wake up at night

And he would have this fear

Of the dark, of life, of lots of things,

And he’d be glad to have me near.

And now he’s dead.

And there are nights when I think I feel him

Climb upon our bed and lie between us,

And I pat his head.

And there are nights when I think I feel that stare

And I reach out my hand to stroke his hair,

But he’s not there.

Oh, how I wish that wasn’t so,

I’ll always love a dog named Beau.