After Johnny Carson's retirement from the show, Jay Leno stepped in as his permanent replacement. The format of the show has remained largely unchanged, consisting primarily of an opening ... See full summary »
David Letterman hosted this popular late-night comedy/talk-show. Often, Dave would go on location or to the phone lines to play pranks. Some famous features of the show include the "Top Ten... See full summary »
After several guest hosting appearances on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, Dave was given his own morning talk-show. This show included a full orchestra, news breaks, and a cast of ... See full summary »
Ruth Carter Stapleton,
The show originated as a local New York City late night program in June 1953 and went onto the network in September 1954. Throughout the summer of 1956, Steve Allen was the only host. When ... See full summary »
In September 1983, Joan Rivers was officially designated Carson's permanent guest host, a role she had been essentially filling for more than a year before then. In 1986, she abruptly left for her own show, The Late Show (1986), on the then new Fox Network. Carson first learned of her show when watching her press conference on TV. She called Carson after the announcement and he was furious at Rivers for failing to inform him personally before the press conference, but he refused to take the call. Carson was so infuriated that he banned Rivers from his show, canceling even the three weeks of guest hosting she was scheduled to. Carson never forgave her for leaving, and never spoke to her again, even after she wrote him a note following the accidental death of Carson's son Ricky. Rivers stated that she didn't want to tell Carson before the announcement was made because she was afraid FOX would cancel the deal if word leaked out. She maintains that she handled things the right way by not telling Carson of her plans ahead of time. However, Carson stated that he felt betrayed by Rivers not because she dared to compete with him, but because she was not honest with him beforehand about her intentions and did not ask him for advice and his blessing. The Tonight Show reverted to various guest hosts after Joan left, with Jay Leno the most frequent. Leno then became the exclusive guest host in the fall of 1987, a position he held for the remainder of Carson's reign. See more »
[from his last show - May 22, 1992]
[referring to his family in the audience and the death of Rick, his other son, in a car crash]
It would have been a perfect evening if their brother Rick had been here with us, but I guess life does what it's supposed to do and you accept it and go on.
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Whenever Carson added a skit to an episode, the "Mighty Carson Art Players" would be announced as guest stars. See more »
Carson the best at what he did. Enigmatic off camera, from what I understand, but absolutely brilliant on camera. His easy interview style and ability to let his guests be the focus stands in contrast to so many pretenders to his late night throne. His jokes and skits, even the ones that flopped, made you feel like you were "in" on the jokes. I don't remember all of his tenure, but I remember over half of it and can still quote from long ago evenings. Example Doc Severinson wearing a loud jacket with flowers on it. Johnny: "That's some jacket Doc. Put some fertilizer on it and it might bloom". Doc: "We could dip it in your monologue". Johnny: "I'll suggest that to the new band leader". Spontaneous? Probably not. Hilarious? Absolutely! As fun and nostalgic as it is to see current superstars early in their careers as Johnny gave them their first big break, it is even more of a treat to see so many legendary stars, many still in their heyday. Bob Hope, Lucy, Dean Martin, etc. Like Johnny, they are gone now. And like Johnny, they don't make'm that way any more. Sad, but thank God for DVD and video.
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