Regis: Now, that's the way to go

OK, now I see some of the charm of Regins Philbin.

I've never been particularly a fan of his, but on this morning's farewell episode, he showed his skill -- an ability to keep it fun and to not overload the emotion.

Philbin promised he wouldn't cry and he didn't come close. By comparison, Kelly Ripa's voice choked several times. She had trouble reading (apparently) from a TelePrompter and reading from a paper, acknowledging: "It goes agains everything you've taught me -- to not write anything down and to speak from the heart."

By comparison, Philbin stuck to his own rule and kept deflecting excessive sentiment. Compared to Oprah Winfrey's preachy farewell, this one was low-key and fun.

The worst moments came when the "honeymoon story" didn't live up to its advance hype and when Ripa inadvertently made it sound like the president of the United States was there. Instead, it was the president of Disney -- the company that hit a negotiations impasse with Philbin, leading to this departure; he had nothing to offer except a plaque on the wall.

The best? Maybe the montage of Regis impersonators. Or maybe the current cast of "Rent," adapting its lovely opening number to say "995,600 minutes."

That's approximately the amount of time Philbin has spent on TV so far, in a low-key and fun way. At 80, he remains vibrant; his plans are indefinite, but he should easily pass the million-minute mark.