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'Tonight Show' leaving Burbank; mayor threatens hunger strike?

March 21, 2013 |  3:09 pm

Johnny Carson

Burbank is not just sitting back and letting NBC move its signature tourist attraction back to New York City after 40 years. It’s fighting back.

Robin Abcarian“I am going on a hunger strike,” Burbank Mayor Dave Golonski said this afternoon. “I’m going to protest.”

A hunger strike? How dramatic! Just as I was getting excited, he burst my bubble: “No, actually, we are drafting a letter asking NBC to reconsider.”

PHOTOS: Classic 'Tonight Show' moments

 “Will you at least beg, plead, offer huge tax breaks?” I asked.

“Yes, yes and no,” Golonski replied. “I also suspect they will hear from a lot of our residents. This is a blow to our community. ‘The Tonight Show’ and Burbank have been together for so long. It’s been an iconic part of Burbank, a storied part of our history.”

Like many Burbankers, Golonski has seen “The Tonight Show” many times in person, but as a town father, he has also been featured on the show. “I threw a silver dollar across the L.A. River in a reenactment of George Washington and the Delaware River,” he said. “It was a long time ago.”

(I had absolutely no idea what the mayor was talking about, so I turned to Google. According to the Interwebs, Washington was reputed to have tossed a silver dollar across the Potomac to demonstrate his strength, but historians believe it is more likely he threw a piece of slate about the size of a dollar across the Rappahannock River. Which is funny, because Mayor Golonski didn’t really throw a silver dollar, either. He threw a fender washer.)

Golonski thinks the impending departure of “The Tonight Show” is a loss not just for Burbank, but for the region. “'The Tonight Show’ has been part of the Hollywood experience that tourists enjoy when they come here. We think it would be a shame to have all the late-night programming produced out of the East Coast.”

A letter is all well and good, of course. But I wish he’d reconsider the hunger strike. I mean, if he wants some publicity.

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 --Robin Abcarian

Twitter: @robinabcarian

Email: robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Photo: Former 'Tonight Show' host Johnny Carson. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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