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The Johnny Carson Show (1955)

Johnny Carson , Virginia Gibson  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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The Johnny Carson Show + The Best of Johnny Carson and Friends + 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, Virginia Gibson, Barbara Ruick, Jack Prince, James Arness
  • Writers: Carroll Carroll
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Original recording remastered, Restored
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Shout Factory
  • DVD Release Date: February 20, 2007
  • Run Time: 270 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S. and to APO/FPO addresses. For APO/FPO shipments, please check with the manufacturer regarding warranty and support issues.
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #236,162 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Johnny Carson Show" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Includes 1958 episode of Carson's ABC quiz show Who do You Trust?
  • Rare episode from his 1956 daytime show
  • Carson's late night debut as a last minute substitute for Jack Paar in 1958.

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Johnny Carson's First TV Show--Thought To Be Lost Forever--Comes To DVD!

10 Episodes of The Johnny Carson Show (1955-56) and Rare Bonus Material

While working as a staff writer on The Red Skelton Show one night in 1955, Johnny Carson filled in as a last-minute replacement when Skelton was injured during rehearsal. Carson did such a good job that CBS created The Johnny Carson Show as a showcase for the young comedian. The 39-week series served as a precursor of what would come later for Johnny, planting the seeds for the sketches he would perfect on The Tonight Show with his Mighty Carson Art Players.

The Johnny Carson Show features Carson in parodies of popular television shows of the era, including one of Edward R. Murrow's Person To Person, in which Johnny turns in a hilarious impersonation of Murrow. Carson also spoofs The Three Musketeers, Walter Cronkite, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Dragnet and the Russian ballet. Members of Carson's cast include Jamie Farr and Jack Albertson and guests include James Arness (promoting the premiere of his brand new series Gunsmoke), Eva Gabor and movie composer Dimitri Tiomkin.

Ten long-lost episodes of The Johnny Carson Show, from its lone season in 1955 - 1956, have been digitally restored from the recently-discovered kinescopes for this release.

Bonus features include a 1958 episode of Johnny's popular ABC quiz show Who Do You Trust?, a very rare episode of his short lived and little known 1956 CBS daytime show, and another recently discovered lost gem: a clip from Johnny's October 1958 stint as the two-week substitute host of The Jack Paar Show.

Total Running Time: +/- 4.5 hours

The 1950s were television's so-called Golden Age. But for Johnny Carson, featured here in ten episodes of The Johnny Carson Show from '55 and '56, the metal was a bit less precious--bronze, maybe, or iron, as he was just beginning to hone the style that would make him a bona fide legend of the small screen. Carson, 30 years old at the time, had spent a year hosting a game show called Earn Your Vacation when the CBS network offered him his own 30-minute variety program (another game show, Who Do You Trust?, would follow; an episode is included in this two-disc package). For sure, the Carson who would reign over late-night TV during his remarkable thirty-year run on The Tonight Show is in evidence here. There are impersonations (newsmen Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite) and parodies of other TV shows, a few original characters (like "Yasha" Carson, violinist at the Russian Gypsy Tea Room, and Dillinger the Mental Wizard, a precursor of the Carnac the Magnificent), and the silly shtick that would become a staple of The Tonight Show's Mighty Carson Art Players (for example, a mildly amusing Trojan War skit); there are also bits with both his real family (including wife Jody, the first of four Carson spouses) and actors portraying them (one skit finds him buying a cow after suspecting that his wife is dallying with the milkman). Yet while it's undeniably fascinating to see the young Carson at work, it's also clear that he had yet to hit his stride; neither his monologues nor his inimitably droll, deadpan takes are anywhere near what they would be. With Carson himself doing much of the writing, the show has some adult innuendo but very little content that would today be considered "edgy." That's a good thing, by the way. Somewhat less good is the quality of these black & white episodes, which were remastered from kinescopes. Yet overall, The Johnny Carson Show will likely be of considerable interest to fans of a true television immortal. Other bonus features include a brief clip from Carson's two-week run as substitute host of The Jack Paar Show in 1958. --Sam Graham

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Early Johnny June 8, 2007
A great look back at the King of Late Night's career. This is a very young, slim, and funny Johnny. However, most will enjoy him more in The Tonight Show setting, and I think the Ultimate Collection The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection - His Favorite Moments from The Tonight Show (Vols. 1-3) (1962-1992)is the best of the many great sets available. However, major Johnny fans will want to own this.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cool piece of TV history... February 26, 2007
This is a fascinating slice of TV history and a chance to see the great Johnny Carson in his early days. I'm glad this material survived and was released on DVD with such care, five decades later. Thanks, Shout! Factory.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Here's to Johnny July 6, 2007
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The man was a genius; his timing, facial expression, everything worked. If you need to cheer up or just enjoy laughing until you cry, this is the CD set for you. It's timeless and warrants watching over and over again.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "There's Johnny" June 1, 2007
I have followed the career of Johnny Carson from "Who do you Trust" to his last appearance on David Letterman. I was not aware of the show he did called "The Johnny Carson Show." The Golden Age of Television was the place where millions of viewers became exposed to great talent. Non greater than Johnny Carson. I live in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, the place where Johnny, Ed and the Tonight Show team came to develop the Tonight Show. I have listened to many stories of the time they were here and wondered where many of the shows elements came from. I now know. Johnny's work on the DVD's I've just seen is the foundation of over thirty years of the greatest programs ever broadcast. His wisdom of keeping these tapes was pure genius. Thank you Mrs. Carson for sharing this adventure with us.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A great treat for Carson fans April 8, 2007
By ash
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I started watching Johnny Carson with my parents when I was 5, and as a kid rarely missed it. I loved it as well as an adult. When I heard about these found tapes, I knew I had to see them. They are great fun to watch. You really do see in his early skits the traits that later made him such a master of comedy. You also get a feel for the culture at the time. There very little political comment, which was probably wise considering the McCarthy era. The skits and jokes were tame by our standards now, but watching this was still great fun.
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