Johnny Carson Sidekick Doc Severinsen Shows Up at Knoxville Concerts

Since early this year, attendees to Knoxville Symphony Orchestra events have been doing double- and triple-takes in the Tennessee Theatre when one particularly distinguished-looking gray-haired gentleman walks by in the lobby, often alone.

"Can that be—?" "That looks just like—!"

Being symphony people, they don't make a fuss. And the fact that his attire doesn't fit gawkers' expectations introduces just enough doubt not to jump to conclusions. But it seems to be true that one of the newest season-ticket holders to the KSO is, in fact, Mr. Carl "Doc" Severinsen. The trumpet-playing leader of Johnny Carson's NBC Orchestra from 1967 to 1992, Severinsen was the subject of a thousand jokes by the host, mostly having to do with controlled substances or his vibrantly loud jackets.

He was also spotted recently with a date at a classical performance at the University of Tennessee's Cox Auditorium. The story, and we don't vouch for any of it, is that Severinsen, who doesn't look 84, is dating one of the KSO's principal instrumentalists, and that he's keeping a home, and quite a few dogs, somewhere on the outskirts of the city. When we spotted him, he was wearing a conservative pin-striped jacket.