Milan Army Ammunition Plant employee celebrates 25th Anniversary of appearing on The Tonight Show wi
May 14, 2008
Milan AAP employee celebrates 25th Anniversary of appearance on Johnny Carson Show
By Darryl Howlett
Joint Munitions Command Public Affairs
MILAN, Tenn. -- One black framed, black-and-white photograph stand out among many in this bright office space in western Tennessee.
This year represents the 25th anniversary of one Milan Army Ammunition Plant employee's appearance on an iconic television show.
Rene Arrington, an administrative/protocol officer at the plant, reminisced about her 1983 appearance on "The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson."
"I remember going on the show the day after Thanksgiving," she said about appearing on the show with her singing two-year-old Boston terrier, Scooter. "My neighbor had left a note on my car saying, 'You need to put Scooter on the Johnny Carson show and have Scooter sing'."
Arrington, who is originally from Bradford, Tenn. (located 12 miles north of Milan), lived in California from 1980 to 1984 with her husband, Mike, who was serving in the U.S. Air Force while stationed at Edwards Air Force Base. Arrington worked as a government typist and clerk for civilian payroll.
"I never even thought about having Scooter sing on the show. I never stayed up that late to watch (Johnny Carson's) show," she said.
Among the celebrities making the rounds backstage during the "doggie" auditions was actor Robert Blake and of course, Carson's right hand man, Ed McMahon. Appearing with Scooter and the other dogs that night was actress Mariette Hartley and comedian Ronnie Shakes.
"I came down there to the auditions for an initial interview with 60 to 70 other owners and their pets. There were six of us at the end of the audition that appeared on the show. Scooter received a third place trophy and $50. First place went to this cute ol' Bassett hound.
"Johnny really enjoyed Scooter," she said. "He sat down right next to Scooter and said 'Come on, Scooter, sing for me'."
Arrington said she has nothing but praise for the former "late-night king."
"Johnny Carson was the nicest man," she said. "He played with the dog. He let my husband sit in his white Corvette. His car had a special parking spot labeled 'Mr. Carson.' He told my husband he could take the car for a spin. How many celebrities would do that'"
Arrington said she still watches the old tape from time to time.
Milan AAP is a subordinate installation of the Joint Munitions Command, headquartered in Rock Island, Ill. JMC manufactures, procures, stores, issues and demilitarizes conventional ammunition for all U.S. military services and selected non-Department of Defense customers. JMC serves as DOD's field operating agency for the Single Manager for Conventional Ammunition mission.