Thursday, August 12, 2010
I like many others am a Johnny Carson fan. I had the pleasure during a college summer to attend a Tonight Show taping and watch Johnny. The hour went by very fast. I marveled at his timing and read with interest the stories about him. One I recall is that he took the advice from Jack Benny to let his guests be funny. He would not be upstaged; rather, it would always be Johnny's show that viewers wanted to watch. In fact, he "stole" Jack's timing and those long pauses only helped to make the guests and Johnny funnier.
How nice to see that most of these shows are saved and accessible via the web. "The full Carson collection, which reaches back to October 1962, has been restored, digitized, annotated and transcribed for viewers on the website johnnycarson.com, which will also feature DVD sets available for purchase." When you do a show each night, it is hard to make each one a classic; but the Tonight Show certainly was. The hardest part of being a talk show host is to share the stage. Johnny did it every night, with animals, kids, the elderly, and superstars. Each were treated with class. Each were allowed to talk not be talked over. Johnny let his guests talk and laughed at their stories. He could simply give a look and the scene got funnier. He was a master of timing.
Unfortunately the earliest shows, especially those from his first studio in New York City, were destroyed. Back then, no one thought that there would be a secondary market for this content. But we can't look backward and must be grateful that so much has been saved and restored. And great that it is accessible on the web, too. Here's an idea, put some shows on cable in the on demand space, too. It's time for more people to watch the Carson magic.
Posted by Andy Hunn