Johnny Carson was a form of
Carson hosted “The Tonight Show” which had a long line of hosts before him, including Steve Allen, Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar, the last regular host who Carson ultimately replaced. After he died, Carson then went on to host the show for almost 30 years, a feat that has been equalled by nobody else.
Carson’s sidekick on the show was a guy by the name of Ed McMahon. McMahon was really there just to play off Carson and be his straight man. He didn’t really have much talent, but he didn’t have to. He played his role perfectly and the two of them formed a chemistry that rivalled the great duos of all time.
The premise of the show was very simple and pretty much set in stone. At the beginning of each show McMahon would introduce who the guests would be for that evening after announcing the star of the show and then would come out with the now famous line, “Here’s Johnny!” Carson would then come out and do a brief monologue. In his monologue he would basically cover the current events of the day, mostly picking on the sitting President of the United States. Most would say that his monologue was the funniest part of the show.
After the monologue, the show would take a commercial break and upon return Johnny would be seated behind his desk. The rest of the show would focus mostly on bringing on the various guests. This was a chance for up and coming stars to shine. Getting onto the show was almost a free ride to success if you were good. Many great stars got their start on Carson’s showcase. Who could forget the first time that George Carlin first appeared on the show?
After the guests would perform, they’d sit down with Carson and chat. Some of the guests, like Carlin and Robin Williams, were outrageous and provided some of the most memorable moments on the show. Carson was a master at interviewing people as he made them feel so at ease.
But the show wasn’t just about guests. Carson also had his cast of characters whom he played on the show, like Karnac the Magnificent. This is where Carson would put on his little turban and pretend to be able to guess what the contents of individual envelopes were. Whenever McMahon would get to the last envelope he would announce this, bringing on great cheers from the studio audience, as the jokes were really pretty bad. To these cheers, Carson would make some kind of remark like, “May the fleas from a thousand camels infest your arm pits”. The laughs were some of the greatest on television.
Carson filled our homes with some of the greatest TV moments ever. And for that we will always be thankful.
Source by Michael Russell