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'Slowly I turned...': The funny story behind Al's 'Niagara Falls' reference

March 5, 2014 at 9:01 AM ET

Video: Al Roker was shocked to learn his longtime coworker and TODAY anchor Savannah Guthrie didn’t understand his reference to the venerable “Niagara Falls” comedy routine (“Slowly I turned… step by step… inch by inch”). So, Carson and the Orange Room team dug into cinema history to exhibit Al’s “vaudevillian knowledge.”

Al Roker kicked off his first weather forecast Wednesday morning showing gorgeous photos of a frosty Niagara Falls. As he began, he started with what he believed to be a common comedic reference.

"Slowly I turned... step by step, inch by inch," Al said, heading to his weather monitor. 

Only one problem: Though Al has made the reference before, not everyone understood it. Which calls for a bit of a comedy history lesson.

Turns out the quote comes from an old vaudeville sketch, and made it's way into various classic film and television shows. Check out some of the iconic variations of the "Slowly I turned..." routine Al referenced. 

"Abbott and Costello"

"The Three Stooges"

"I Love Lucy"



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