of Johnny Carson
If you are of the Baby Boom Generation then the death of Johnny
Carson in January is like losing a little part of yourself.
That is part of the grief in loss; we face the death of an
era to which we belonged.
As a kid I wasn't allowed to be up late enough to watch The
Tonight Show but I remember hearing my parent's laughter as
they watched Johnny's antics every night of the week on The
Tonight Show. I carried on the tradition when I left
home and tuned into Johnny, Ed and Doc every night of the
week. I saw him interview starlets, heart-throbs, rock 'n'
roll stars, Michael Landon, Joan Emery from the San Diego
Zoo, politicians and countless others as I welcomed him in
to my home every night like a dear, trusted friend.
Though he wasn't comfortable with the title, he was known
as the King of Late Night Television by fans and contemporaries
alike. With Johnny's endorsement stars were born as
evidenced by the careers of people like, Joan Rivers, David
Brenner, Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman. He interviewed
thousands of entertainers and regular folks during his thirty
year reign, Johnny Carson is as much a part of American culture
and history as baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet.
Although most of us didn't know him personally, we felt like
we did because he made us laugh. Laughter is intimate
and we laughed with Johnny for three decades. I feel fortunate
to have shared in the laughter and grateful for my time on
this planet with him.
God's Speed, Johnny Carson and God's Peace to your family
Heeere's Johnny! The
from 30 years of material, this collection of moments
from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
contains some of most inspired bits of lunacy ever
recorded. Whether cajoling with Hollywood's biggest
stars or normal folk with special talents, Carson
was a master of finding the right joke, with timing
second to none. Along with bits of his opening monologues,
skits, and early stand-up appearances from the likes
of David Letterman and Eddie Murphy, there are many
highlights with perhaps the perfect Carson guest--exotic
animals that stole the show. This is the third collection
of Carson's show; the His Favorite Moments
videos were released shortly after Carson's reign
ended in 1992. Although most of the tapes from his
first decade are lost, there are plenty of highlights
from the '70s through the '90s. Also included is
Carson's touching and historic "Final Show,"
which finds the host simply talking to his audience
and showing highlights--or just the faces--from
his years on the set. Although many followed--and
a few have even succeeded--Carson's Midwest charm
made him the king of TV in a period when America
was defined by television.
2002 The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection
added some superlative extras on DVD, including
"Danger Johnny" segments from his first
decade, short bits on the history of the show
and the host, and more behind-the-scenes glances,
including an intriguing way to watch the final
show via unedited feeds from isolated studio cameras.
Also included is the 1982 NBC special Johnny
Goes Home, which follows Carson on a tour
of his rural Nebraska homeland, and a slightly
edited version of the penultimate show, in which
his last two guests, Robin Williams and Bette
Midler, are on fire.
The 2003 Heeere's Johnny!
expansion adds a whopping 13 volumes (on seven
discs), nearly nine hours of material. There's
one 25-minute Animal Hijinks show that's
been available on VHS for years. The Timeless
Moments volumes deliver a cross section of
Carson including opening monologues, interviewing
various guests (famous and otherwise), and the
Mighty Carson Art Players skits. The segments
are mostly from the '80s (complete range is May
1973 to January 1992), and the first volume illustrates
the range. It starts with Johnny bombing during
a 1990 monologue, then a 1982 interview with guest
Frank Hill, the "Manure Man of South Carolina,"
followed by a stand-up bit from Garry Shandling
in 1983. There's plenty of stand-up material from
the first-time appearances of Rita Rudner, Drew
Carrey, and Ellen DeGeneres as well as old favorites
like Don Rickles and Bob Hope. This massive set
might be too much of a good thing for some fans;
for Carson fanatics, it stands as a must-have
piece of entertainment and pop history.