Skip to comments.'Johnny Carson: King of Late Night' takes in-depth look [PBS "Carson's Cellar" Airs 5/14]
Posted on 05/13/2012 5:19:39 AM PDT by fight_truth_decay
A PBS 'American Masters' documentary investigates the mystique of the elusive 'Tonight Show' host, 20 years after he left TV.
Barbara Walters, Peter Jennings and Diane Sawyer all made their best pitch but were turned down. Johnny Carson, the man who changed forever the world of late-night talk, wasn't talking.
The network news powerhouses had separately attempted to secure interviews with Carson to get him to speak about his life and his place as one of the most influential figures in TV history. But from his 1992 retirement after 30 years on"The Tonight Show"until his death in 2005 at age 79, Carson steadfastly refused to cooperate with almost all interviews,
(Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
Johnny was funny without being filthy; he didn’t attack or confront his guests; he didn’t take himself too seriously; and he NEVER would have supported Barack Obama.
I’ll be watching on Monday night.
I remember in the mid 1980s going to a taping of the Carson show in Burbank as part of my vacation. My soon-to-be wife and I were walking across the parking lot of the studio when none other than Johnny Carson himself pulled in front of us and drove into the private entrance in a white car. Just a regular guy driving himself to work.
Ping for later....
Looking forward to this show.
How refreshing compared to today, where celebrities can't even stop themselves from tweeting the addresses of people they'd like killed.
Unlike the majority of celebrities today, Johnny Carson had class. Truly one of the greatest.
Despite being private I DO remember a ‘60 Minutes’ segment on him. Mike Wallace did it.
He let his work speak for him. Imagine that.
Today’s ‘entertainers’ spend their time spouting off in the press...their programs and films are incidental.
Had a short ride in an elevator with Johnny in Santa Monica/Venice, CA where he kept his business office after TV retirement. It was right by Arnold’s restaurant Schatzi. He was with one of his associates. Just a regular guy vibe all the way. Low key, quiet, “normal” dude.
I miss him and am grateful I grew up with his TV self in another America that I also sorely miss.
“I miss him and am grateful I grew up with his TV self in another America that I also sorely miss.”
Ed McMahon: "Black and white and is always on a vacation"
Carnac the Magnificent: "Black and white and is always on a vacation"...pause..."What is Barack Obama"
Carnac the Magnificent: "May your favorite daughter be featured in NFL Films Sack of the Week."
Hubby and I saw Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme in Vegas a few years ago.
The theme of their show was “We’re Still Here” and it opened with a video montage of all the people they’d worked with over the years who were sadly now “not here”.
When Johnny Carson appeared the audience all sighed and applauded. He was the only star who elicited this reaction. That man is sincerely missed by many people who only knew him from TV.
He was one of a kind, and he was always so polite to any guest he had on, that is key.
For years the only news I got was from watching his monologue, but I never felt ill-informed.
Watch Leno nowadays, I think his writers come in on Monday and write a bunch of jokes which are then re-cycled with very slight changes throughout the week.
Miss him still.
The other late nighters are un-watchable.
Craig Furgusen (sp?) is funny but on way too late here.
I have Johnny’s VHS collection and it’s wonderful to go back and see what great late night TV was all about.
I spent way too many late nights watching his show and often whatever followed. Tomorrow, Letterman, Costas. I am actually thankful that there is nothing worth staying up late for these days.
Carson was the leftist. But for a couple of decades he simply the guy in my living room, telling good and awful jokes, hosting a wide variety of interesting guests, and keeping my company in late night.
I made it a point to watch his two farewell episodes. The last one was amazing as he just sat alone on stage.
Johnny was good.
In November 1987 I finally visited LA and got to see the show live. Showed up around 5 and put in the standby line. Got in but practically the worst seat in the house almost the last upper row. Still nothing like seeing it done live. Doc and Ed were there so it was the main cast intact and as an added bonus the big guest that night was Jimmy Stewart. In some ways it was like watching a fine tuned machine work. The show with Carson was in the 25th year at that point.
I know Johnny was a liberal Democrat...he reportedly even sent jokes to Al Gore for use on the campaign trail.
He hardly EVER allowed this leftwingnutism come through on his show...sure, he skewered conservatives in his monologue—but I recall him ALSO doing it to liberals like Jimmy Carter (Carter was the last Demonrat to be President during Johnny’s career).
From what I understand, he always said he just wanted the “work to speak for itself”, meaning his work on TV—which was spectacular.
During his career, he DID do some rare interviews. I think he did one on 60 Minutes. And I recall him teaming up with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon on their “TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes” to pull a prank on Joan Rivers.
I am glad Carson’s company is still going—making his show available for those of us who miss his show.
Thanks for posting this—I will record and watch it.
Nothing beats this, though:
I had forgotten about that...thanks for posting it! I’m very glad to have experienced many years of Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. A piece of Americana!
There was a time when David Letterman was funny, and I think Carson saw it. But unlike Carson, Letterman didn’t have the class or self-control to keep his personal views out of his work, and he devolved into the unfunny, angry leftist he is today. I haven’t watched him in almost twenty years.
My favorite Carson memory three of us 10 year old kids having a sleepover and deciding it was time to crash. The second before he tv went off Johnny announced his next guess was Rachel Welsh. “Click”, the TV went of and the room was pitch black. A couple of seconds went by followed by three kids knocking each other down in the dark to get to the TV to turn it back on.
I don’t think Johnny Carson loved and admired anyone more than he did Jimmy Stewart, who was very conservative.
“the big guest that night was Jimmy Stewart”
Was that the show were he read the poem about his dog?
Too bad he was such a lefty.
Surely you jest.
Though he was hilarious and didn't do politics all the time, when he did he was definitely a liberal. Remember his "Floyd Turbo, American" sketches or his ongoing ridicule of Dan Quayle?
Sis..boom...baa. What is the sound an exploding sheep make?
That was one of my two favorite Carson moments!
The other was teh Zsa Zsa Gabor pussy cat segment.
I drive a lot.
I listen to Johnny when I feel like it....he was so clever.
He went to college near where I grew up.
LOL. That was the one that almost put Ed McMahon into a seizure
Nice to see that Letterman's ratings have dropped about 1/2 mil below Leno's. I consider his actions toward women to be morally corrupt.
No he had done that a few years before I think but Johnny liked it so much he was happy to have him as a guest anytime. I looked up Jimmy on IMDB and at that point he was pretty much retired from acting. His final credit is a voice for the animated movie An American Tail Feival goes West in 1991. Jimmy left us in 1997. He did a mini series in 1986 (North and South) A tv movie in 1983 and 2 others in 1980. So he did 4 acting gigs in the 1980s but he started showing up on Carson because I think Johnny saw a lot of the American everyman in Jimmy which I think Carson was also but in a very different way.
His jokes never at the expense of another.
Interesting..thanks..note Post #34—hope you were able to see the show.
McMahon: Until he gets caught.
Carnac: How long does a United States Congressman serve?