This is a great story, and most of all, it's true... It shows you how you never know what can happen! :o)
A.J. posing for a Basketball photo!
Ok, here’s my story as I know it.
My brother Axl (yes, after Axl Rose, his favorite band Guns n’ Roses) was a Grey Cheek Parakeet, he was pretty talented, he could do some amazing tricks for a bird, like rollover, play dead etc… Well Johnny Carson called him and asked him to fly down to Burbank and be a guest on The Tonight Show back in 1990. So Axl flew down with a couple of his friends.
Well someone from the Tonight Show drove over to the Sheraton Hotel to see him do the tricks in real life. Of course he did all his tricks very well… At least well enough to keep The Tonight Show booking for the next day, May 4, 1990.
To celebrate the upcoming appearance, Axl's friends went out. One of the friends went back to the hotel early and fell asleep, eventually rolling over and sleeping on top on Axl who was sitting on the edge of the bed. Naturally we were all crushed … And so was Axl. There lay Axl not breathing… he had passed away, the night before his big performance on the Tonight Show!
Well, the next morning The Tonight Show called the guys and asked how everything was, and more importantly, how was Axl? They told ‘em, well it’s not going very well, Axl passed away last night…
The Tonight Show couldn’t believe the studly little bird was dead… Yes he was! Axl was lying on the coffee table with tissue paper draped over his lifeless body. The guys had no idea what to do.
The Tonight Show came up with a brilliant plan to honor Axl’s passing. They released a story on the Associated Press Wire, that tonight’s guest has passed away…Johnny Carson invited my brother Axl's owner Dave on The Tonight Show anyway… Dave reluctantly showed up.
He took the somber drive in the limousine to the studio to meet Johnny Carson and his team… Everyone was pretty silent as to what the plans were….
Then Ed McMahon begins by doing his thirty minute stand up comedy routine to get the crowd warmed up…. Then said those famous words “Heeeeeeeeeere's Johnny” Johnny Carson emerges from behind the long draped curtains… He marches right into his nightly monologue… As I hear, nearly the entire monologue was cracking jokes and making fun of Dave and his friend for being so dumb to carelessly end the life of Axl.
When Johnny invited Dave to come out from behind the curtain, Ed McMahon and band leader Doc Severinson all wore black arm bands. Doc’s band played Taps in the background. Dave walks out on the show, I’m sure embarrassed of their actions, and shakes Johnny’s and Ed’s hands. He sits next to Johnny and they begin asking the barrage of questions and cracking jokes…
Johnny surprised everyone and said “Dave, we have a present for you!” They brought out this wooden box, with a baby, only six weeks old, Indian Ringneck Parakeet in it. (ya, it was me they brought out to Dave, can you imagine what I was thinking… You are giving me to this guy, whose friend just killed Axl) I didn’t have much choice!
I heard Johnny Carson invite Dave to train me (sounded fun!) to do all the tricks Axl could do, and he and me could come back and be a guest on the show.
Guess what I went through for the next six months? You guessed it, birdy boot camp! Dave trained me I think everyday, day and night! I’m not sure how much school he attended during this time. But, I knew I would learn how to play more sports than Axl. Axl was good, but I’m a little smarter I think. Oh ya, my name is A.J. “A” for Axl and “J” for Johnny. That was nice of Dave to remember Axl like that… and I thank Axl for helping me get started in this business.
Six months later I returned to The Tonight Show, November 7, 1990, (yes, I had to bring Dave too) to see Johnny and the crew. They told me before the show that other “birds” had been fortunate enough to appear on The Tonight Show, however they locked up or froze up with stage fright and didn’t do a thing! And this had been happening for thirty years :o) You see, the studio is really cold, and there are so many people moving around, cameras moving, whoo it's a lot to keep an eye on...
I knew that wouldn’t be the case for me, not performing the tricks I'm talking about.
I performed all my tricks on the show, under the lights etc… Johnny was so happy when I did all my tricks…
After that day, so many people wanted to see me… TV Shows, Radio Stations, Magazines, Schools, Hospitals, Bird Clubs, etc, etc, etc… I received letters for over a year in the mail. Some days, more than 20 letters would arrive, asking every question under the sun…
Life has been great! I made a third appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on April 3, 2003, and 4th appearance in 2005.
I have made appearances at children's hospitals, children's inspirational events, Animal Planet's Pet Star, yes, I won when I appeared on that show on October 24, 2003.
Now here I am on my own website...in the past 17 years I have obtained a pretty good vocabulary and I'm still learning more tricks and cooler words, for a bird that is.
I play sports, do tricks and continue to learn and enjoy life. I have many upcoming appearances in the works. I will keep all of you updated and hopefully you'll get the chance to see me do what I love doing best.
Thank you so much for reading, I hope you find fun and inspiration!
Check out my Resume on the Resume Tab above...