HERBERT SCHLOSSER: I can remember the first time I saw it. I was in Boston staying at the Ritz for the Cincinnati-Red Sox World Series and I had been with Bowie Kuhn. You always sit with the commissioner if you're president of the company. That was a truly great World Series. We had dinner, and I asked if he'd like to see a new show we were putting on. And that was the first show in October of 1975, with George Carlin. Neither of us knew what to expect. Now Bowie is a nice man but very straitlaced, very proper, and a religious man. I sat on a chair, and he and his wife sat on the couch. He didn't laugh. And I thought, "Well, that's Bowie." And then after a while, he started to chuckle. And then he'd actually laugh. And I figured, "Well, if he likes it, it's going to have a wider audience than most people think."
AL FRANKEN: I felt very confident that the show was going to work. It was youthful arrogance, I guess. I looked around and I thought, "This has never been on TV before, and this will work, this should work, and of course it's going to be a hit" - which is an attitude I've never actually had since.
LORNE MICHAELS: The only note we got from the network on the first show was, "Cut the bees." And so I made sure to put them in the next show. I had them come out and talk to Paul Simon. He says, "It didn't work last week. It's cut." And they go, "Oh," and just walk off.
PAUL SIMON, Host: I was up for doing the very first show. It didn't seem like there was much downside risk. Then Lorne said, "No, let me just work out the kinks on the first show." But I would've been happy to do the first show. It would've been more historical. But he went with George Carlin, and I did the second one.
EDIE BASKIN: They had used publicity pictures of Carlin for the first show. I already had pictures of Paul Simon, so my pictures of Paul became the bumpers. And then Lorne said to me, "I think you should photograph next week's host instead of using publicity pictures." And that's how it all started.
PENNY MARSHALL, Guest Performer: I met Lorne when he came out and talked to Rob about hosting the third show. I wasn't anybody; I'd been on The Odd Couple, but Laverne and Shirley didn't go on until four months later. Rob was on All in the Family. I listened to Lorne talk to Rob at Lorne's apartment, and I kept my mouth shut. At the end, Lorne said to me, "Penny, what do you think?" And I said, "I think you're the most manipulative human being I've ever met, and you do it beautifully." And we've been friends ever since.
NEIL LEVY: Rob Reiner refused to go on after dress rehearsal. I was in his dressing room. It was hilarious because it was like a monologue, him going, "I can't do this show, I can't do this show! It's bad, it's horrible, I'm going to make mistakes, I don't know the lines, I can't do it, I'm not doing it, I'm sorry, that's it!" And it was like he was not going to do it. And Lorne just talked him through it. And of course Rob did a good show.