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The Best of Carson, Volume 1 (1962)

Johnny Carson , Ed McMahon , Frederick De Cordova  |  NR |  DVD
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Frequently Bought Together

The Best of Carson, Volume 1 + The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection - His Favorite Moments From The Tonight Show (Vols. 1-3) (1962-1992)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon, Bob Hope, Skitch Henderson, Joan Rivers
  • Directors: Frederick De Cordova
  • Writers: Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Allyn Warner, Bob Keane, George Tricker
  • Format: Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (PCM Stereo)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Carson Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 7, 2006
  • Run Time: 240 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000HXDQN8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,276 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Best of Carson, Volume 1" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Bonus extra: features the famous lost episode, Return to Studio One, featuring Bob Hope and Dean Martin, not seen since 1969.
  • Featurette: "Tonight Show Memories"
  • Photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Relive the memories from 30 years of The Tonight Show in this 3 DVD collection of the most hilarious moments with the biggest stars in television history. All of your old Tonight Show favorites are here - Johnny's monologue, wildlife handler Jim Fowler, the extraordinary talents of ordinary people, Carnac the Magnificent, sports heroes, and stand-up comics. See early performances from some of today's most popular comedians including Drew Carey, Garry Shandling, and the debut performance of Ellen DeGeneres.

Features the famous lost episode Return to Studio One. The stuff of showbiz legend, this famous "lost" episode of The Tonight Show (most of the tapes from the first 10 years of The Tonight Show were accidentally erased) defines the essence of live television. It is a kind of magic that can't be rehearsed, recycled, or reproduced, but thanks to this recent discovery, we can now return to Studio One to witness Johnny and his guests working witout a net. Originally recorded on two-inch videotape, the show was later transferred to film for broadcast on the Armed Forces Network. It was this film version that was eventually tracked down and identified among 10,000 Tonight Show tapes 54 stories underground in a working salt mine somewhere in the middle of Kansas. This show has not been seen since its original broadcast on March 6, 1969.

This classic episode is considered by many as one of the most hilarious in TV history. In March of 1969, Carson took the show on the road from its home in New York to Burbank, California. On this particular night, Johnny and his guests had no idea what was in store for them when Bob Hope and Dean Martin decided to drop in announced, and stole the show. The spontaneous and unrehearsed antics that followed are now a part of show business history.

Any fan of Johnny Carson will certainly have their own idea of what constitutes his best stuff. With over 30 years of material from the king of late-night TV to cull through, any collection is bound to be missing something. Whether or not your favorite moments are to be found in the almost four hours of Carson classics in this first volume of The Best of Carson is open to question, but either way there’s plenty here to remind you of what made Johnny so popular. Each disc features highlights of guest visits, comic skits, and unexpected moments (most of the selections in this volume are from the 1980s). Disc one features highlights with guests like Steve Martin and "Super Dave" Osborne, as well as Carson characters like "Aunt Blabby" and "Carnac the Magnificent," along with other memorable moments. The most intriguing piece by far is the famous "Return to Studio One" episode from 1969, where Bob Hope and Dean Martin stole the show with their unannounced appearances (the episode was apparently lost for years and accidentally found in a vault at the Armed Forces Television Network). Disc two features appearances by animal handler Jim Fowler, the Peking Acrobats, and Garry Shandling in addition to "Tonight Show Memories," a 30-minute retrospective of the show’s history. Disc three features Ellen DeGeneres, Rodney Dangerfield, Don Rickles, and more comic skits, including one that imagines what The Tonight Show would be like if NBC were to be bought by the Japanese. The bonus feature on disc three is a photo gallery featuring shots of early guests. What is missing here is one of the most important aspects of Carson’s legacy: the launching of many future stars’ careers on his show. There’s no late-night debut here of Jay Leno, David Letterman, or Jerry Seinfeld for example. But despite that, there’s still enough material here to give fans plenty of classic Carson entertainment.--Daniel Vancini

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
47 of 47 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Collection Is Fine... If You Don't Already Own It! November 7, 2006
By MGoldie
Verified Purchase
Buyer Beware! I am not reviewing the level of the content, as it is pure Johnny Carson as this best. You can't go wrong with Carson... unless you already own the same material in a different package. This item would deserve five stars if not for the way it is being marketed.

The front proudly boasts "Includes Never Before Seen Footage." So I ordered this being a huge Carson fan. How disappointed was I to find out that INSIDE it quietly tells you that the material is "Previously Available Only To Carson Club Members." Meaning if you own the Classic Carson Club 12 DVD series that was released in the 90s, or the mega box set sold here called "Heeere's Johnny! The Special Collector's Edition (The Ultimate Carson Collection / Timeless Moments from the Tonight Show / Animal Hijinks)" that also contained them... Then this material is NOT NEW. It is merely 4 hours of the highlights of that 12 volume series of DVDs. So save your money if you own the Classic Carson Club DVDs. You already have all this stuff! If you don't I highly recommend it, I just wish I knew first before I opened it. I called and Amazon said I can get a full refund despite having opened the DVDs, so back they go. I just wish this was more accurately advertised as what it really is!

So if you don't have this material in another form... 5 stars.

If you do.... 1 star.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Great Johnny November 7, 2006
As the other reviewer mentioned - don't buy this set if you already own the full Carson Club DVD set - but if you don't this is a wonderful look back into the King of Latenight. The 3 discs span 30 years of Johnny - and include many great guests, Johnny's characters, and monologues. The "Lost Episode" featuring a suprise visit by Bob Hope, Dean Martin, and George Gobel is particularly great. If you want to own the perfect Carson library - buy The Ultimate Collection first, this collection second, and I would add both Carson Comic's DVDs and Carson Country to get a great overview of the best talk show in history.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars This could have fit on one DVD December 6, 2006
Verified Purchase
Johnny was the best, and any material from his show will always be greatly appreciated. The material on these DVD's may have been duplicated on the 12-disc set (which I have not completely watched), but not on the Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection (which I have watched repeatedly).

HOWEVER, my biggest gripe is how distressingly short these discs are. They claim a run-time of four hours, but that apparently includes the 30 minute "best of" featurette and the "Return to Studio One" show; the actual clips run just over two hours, spread out over 3 discs. When I sit down to watch a DVD and it's over in 45 minutes (or less!), I feel ripped off.

I love Johnny and look forward to seeing more of him on DVD. I just hope the production company doesn't continue packaging little material in multiple sets to raise the prices. Instead, future sets should use the Ultimate Collection as their model; that was a FANTASTIC set.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Carson, Volume 1 February 6, 2007
I faithfully watched the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson over the 30 years that he was on TV and I was very disappointed in the material on this DVD set. This certainly is not the "best of Carson". I thought most of it was boring. Many of the guests were unknown and uninteresting. Johnny Carson and Ed McMahon did so many funny skits with Aunt Blabby and Carnac over the years, but the two on this set had to be the worst. I can't believe that with 30 years of material, this was the best they could come up with.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am over 65 and stayed up many nights to watch Johnny even thought I had to leave for work each morning by 5:30am. Johnny was and will always be the King of Latenight. That being said, this selection contains repeats from other series and they must have had limited access to his 30 years of shows or choose to spread the great ones over many sets and repeat some in whole or in part. On the 3 DVD's I found only a few really good bits the rest were fair to boring. The great shows must have been spread over the 9 sets being sold under various titles and the FEW bits in the lost Episodes were early 60's B&W. These while somewhat ordinary, contained some material better than the rest of the 3 disk set. Rent it, view it but definitely not a keeper. I bought this set and others for bragging rights to say I have several sets of Johnny. I was surprised at the amount of laugh track type forced laughter displayed during many of the guests appearances and definitely during his monologues. His material was weaker than I remember but Johnny style and delivery make the ordinary seem really great. No one can ever top his style, delivery and his famous facial expressions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Carson Collection September 24, 2007
Johnny Carson was the King of Late night and this collection and the fuller box set takes you back when Late night on Carson meant everything to a career. this set has Gobel, Dean Martin and George Burns stopping on through. Carson just had that humor and connection with his guests and audience which is timeless. His Genius of timing and connecting is second to none even still. Classic Carson.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of Johnny Carson April 10, 2007
If you are a fan of Johnny, this is a must...the bits with Dean Martin and George Gobel are priceless. There will never be new comedy to match these old days of television no matter how hard they try. Johnny Carson was the best too!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
wonderful liked it
Published 1 month ago by L. Gardner
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
On a scale of 10, can go no higher than a 3 1/2.
Published 2 months ago by William C. Dwyer
2.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Shows.
Loved reliving some of these. Not the best choices however. There were other ones that were more memorable, but still fun.
Published 5 months ago by Kira Blaser
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as Funny as I Thought it Might Be
What reruns I had seen of Johnny Carson looked hilariously funny. Some of the material on this seemed to be "filler" & not funny.
Published 9 months ago by PharmGamesMusic
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, as Johnny Carson always was
Carson was great, not a surprise for anyone:=) I'll probably watch it a few more times...and then I'll give it to my son.
Published 13 months ago by Julio de los Reyes
5.0 out of 5 stars Johnny Carson...a legend!
Good set of highlights.....too bad it's not a complete collection. This one is worth a buy, but public television has been offering far more of Johhny Carson- and you can record... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Ted Elliss
5.0 out of 5 stars best buy
Great purchase. Would buy again. No wear better than advertised.We had a great time and enjoyed the dvd.Well worth the money and more.
Published on September 23, 2011 by Robert Feigum
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Best -
Goes back to the earliest days with Ed McMahon as Carson's sidekick, and provides a series of short snips out of numerous shows. Read more
Published on August 26, 2010 by Loyd E. Eskildson
5.0 out of 5 stars Good memories
My wife and I laughed out loud, better than alot of wht is on t.v lately.
Published on December 13, 2009 by Sal Buchetto
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Best of Johnny Cardson
No, but the Ultimate Collection does.

(I know this question is two years old but I bet somebody will want to know.)
Mar 8, 2009 by Chris Lambert |  See all 3 posts
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