David Letterman Johnny Carson The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson 1969

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Johnny Carson, "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," 1969

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posted by Classic Film alias classic_film on Thursday 1st of September 2016 12:48:54 PM

This episode of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" aired on September 9, 1969 and had Native American actor Jay Silverheels as a guest. Hosting "The Tonight Show" from 1962 to 1992, Iowa-born Johnny Carson (October 23, 1925 - January 23, 2005) appeared in more than 3,000 episodes, and is still considered "King of Late Night TV." Other regular show members included announcer and comedic sidekick Ed McMahon (March 6, 1923 - June 23, 2009) and band directors Skitch Henderson (January 27, 1918 - November 1, 2005) from 1962 -1966, Milton Delugg (December 2, 1918 - April 6, 2015) from 1966 - 1967, and Doc Severinsen (b. July 7, 1927) from 1967 through 1992. Musician Tommy Newsom (February 25, 1929 - April 28, 2007) was hired to play saxophone in 1962 for "The Tonight Show" band and after some years, rose up to Assistant Music Director. Newsom (nicknamed "Mr. Excitement" by Carson) stayed with the show until Carson's 1992 retirement. Background info about Johnny Carson and his award-winning late night talk show, via IMDb: There was a six-month gap between Jack Paar leaving "The Tonight Show" in 1962 and Johnny Carson replacing him as the show's host. In the interim, NBC had various celebrities guest host. During that time, musician Tommy Newsom was hired to play the alto sax in the band. He remained with the band, occasionally taking over bandleader duties when Doc Severinsen was away, until Carson retired in 1992. Newsom's tenure on "The Tonight Show" was three months longer than Carson's.   Many taped episodes, including appearances by Ayn Rand, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney, were lost in a fire at NBC's archive; only clips made for other programs have survived. NBC also recycled the original tapes of many episodes, without Johnny Carson's knowledge or approval. That stopped once he found out about it.   The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) remained a fixture on NBC through the administrations of seven U.S. Presidents: John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush.   When the show first aired, virtually everyone, including Johnny Carson, smoked on-camera. By the mid-'80s smoking openly on television was a thing of the past, but Carson's cigarette box remained on his desk until his final broadcast.   Johnny Carson regularly played with pencils at his "Tonight Show" desk. To avoid on set accidents, the pencils had erasers at both ends.   In September 1983, Joan Rivers was officially designated Carson's permanent guest host, a role she had been filling for more than a year. In 1986, she abruptly left for her own show, The Late Show (1986), on the then-new Fox Network. Carson first learned of the show when he saw her press conference on TV. When Rivers called Carson after the announcement, he was so furious at Rivers for failing to tell him personally before the press conference that he refused to take the call. He banned Rivers from his show, canceling her three remaining weeks as guest host. Carson never forgave her for leaving and never spoke to her again. When Rivers sent Carson flowers and a note after his son Ricky died in an accident, Carson sent them back. Rivers later said that she didn't want to tell Carson before the press conference because she was afraid FOX would cancel the deal if word leaked out. Carson said he felt betrayed, not because Rivers dared to compete with him, but because she wasn't honest with him about her intentions and didn't ask for advice and his blessing.   Voted #12 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.   The show was a "cash cow", many years grossing more than $100 million and providing anywhere from 15%-20% of the profits recorded by the entire NBC network. Carson's own income quickly set the standard for television performers, reaching $1 million before he had finished a decade on the air. As his hold on the country's bedtime habits grew, so did his hold on the NBC treasury. All the leverage in future contract negotiations lay with Johnny. In the mid-'70s he passed $3 million a year.   After The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) moved from New York to California in May 1972, Johnny Carson took Monday nights off and the show was hosted by a guest performer. Until Joan Rivers became permanent guest host in September 1983, the most frequent of "guest hosts" were: 'Joey Bishop' (177 times), Joan Rivers (93 times), Bob Newhart (87 times), John Davidson (87 times), David Brenner (70 times), McLean Stevenson (58 times), Jerry Lewis (52 times), and David Letterman (51 times). After Joan Rivers left in 1986, the show used various guest hosts, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno became the exclusive guest host in fall 1987, a position he held for the rest of Carson's reign.   In 1980, a showdown with NBC president Fred Silverman had Johnny use his ultimate power: He threatened to quit the show. That was all he needed to wring an unprecedented deal out of NBC. In addition to more than $5 million a year in salary, Carson got series commitments from the network for his production company, and--most importantly--gained ownership over the "Tonight" show. From then on everything Carson did on the show belonged not to NBC, but to him. In total, the deal was estimated at more than $50 million. No one in television had ever received anything close to that amount. In addition, at the same time Carson got something else he wanted--the show was cut down from 90 minutes to an hour starting September 16, 1980.   Ed McMahon was present for the 2007 demolishing of the old Burbank studio where he had taped the last "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," calling it an end of an era.   Five years after the final show aired, 10,000 taped episodes were transported to a working salt mine in Kansas, 54 stories underground, to protect them from deterioration. The average temperature of the salt mine is 68 degrees, with 40% humidity. Fair Use Doctrine; if you use this photo, please provide attribution credit; not for commercial use (see Creative Commons license).

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