On June 3, 1992, presidential aspirant Bill Clinton, wearing cool-daddy shades and a groovy tie and wielding a mighty sax, opened The Arsenio Hall Show with a squawky version of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel”—it drove the studio audience crazy-pants. Having mortified himself as keynote speaker at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, when he jabbered at such length that his wrap-up words “In closing … ” were greeted with mocking cheers, Clinton let his yakety sax do the talking, making it known that Elvis was in the building.

It proved more than a personal political triumph; it blew a hole through the paper-mache walls between stodgy traditional politics and the bold new shameless go-go club of infotainment. Clinton on Arsenio made it possible for Barack Obama to appear on Between Two Ferns without everyone getting a goiter, for ABC’s The View to become a routine campaign stop and schmoozing depot.