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358 of 363 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tips On Buying Carson DVDs
Other reviewers have done a great job at detailing what is on this new Carson collection - and as a huge Carson fan who owns all the DVDs I want to offer a few tips to potential buyers.

The library of Carson DVDs are divided into "clip shows" that have clips of the best moments in the history of the program, and cutdowns of "full episodes", like the ones...
Published on October 30, 2010 by Lemon

versus
123 of 140 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a REVIEW from an OWNER of the set!
Go ahead and rate me NOT helpful for this...because I don't give it 5 stars...and stop reading. Or ...perhaps save a hundred bucks? I'm being generous with 3 stars...and that is because even with the lousy DVD picture quality, truncated shows, chopped up interviews and all...there is still so much of ....Johnny. Anybody else and I'd have a hard time raising my rating...
Published on November 1, 2010 by Richardson


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358 of 363 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tips On Buying Carson DVDs, October 30, 2010
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
Other reviewers have done a great job at detailing what is on this new Carson collection - and as a huge Carson fan who owns all the DVDs I want to offer a few tips to potential buyers.

The library of Carson DVDs are divided into "clip shows" that have clips of the best moments in the history of the program, and cutdowns of "full episodes", like the ones included in this collection. If you want to see the really famous clips (Ed Ames throwing the tomahawk, classic banter between Johnny and Ed or Doc, and the other really monumental moments), then the best collection to start with is the three disc Ultimate Collection, which has the best moments of the thirty years of the show, divided up by decade. If you are even a bigger fan, buy the "Heeres Johnny" Collection, which contains the Ultimate Collection discs, and all the other clip DVDs and few full episode DVDs, including the second to last episode with Bette Midler and the final episode. Both The Ultimate Collection and Heeres Johnny have been out a few years, so if you are buying a gift for a fan they might already own them.

This new collection, "Tonight", is the first new release from the Carson library in several years, and features cutdowns of full programs, so when you watch it you get a much better feeling for what it was like to sit down at 11:30 pm and watch an episode of Tonight Show, versus watching random but great clips from different shows. These are wonderful programs with great guests, and it is like a time capsule of America over thirty years. Carson sets the standard for talk show hosts, and as you watch these shows you see that almost all of today's hosts are simply trying to replicate (most of them unsuccessfully) the magic that made Johnny's show the best.

I have also found it interesting to play Carson episodes for people too young to have experienced him. Without exception - he is still funny, and suprisingly very hip - and young people love him! If they like watching Mad Men - they can watch Carson episodes from the 60's and see how people really dressed and acted during the period.

Some reviewers have been upset that these are not full unedited episodes - since some of the material is cut out. This is a true and a matter of personal taste. These are thirty minutes long - not the 60 to 90 minutes of the original shows - and I know there are some that want to exactly replicate the original shows. Of course the commercials are gone, and some of the material is edited down or eliminated, probably due to clearance issues. However, the upside of this is that you get cut downs of many more episodes and get to see many more guests, as opposed to fewer episodes that are longer and my have material that is not up to par. Still, myself and many Carson fans have been asking for a full episode collection, and this is a great start. The best moments of the episode are there - including the monologue and guest segments, and you still feel like you are watching an entire show, albeit a shorter one than the original.

And along with the great material, you will love the packaging. It comes in a beautiful box with a great collectors book, and the remastering is top-notch, though some of the edits between episodes could be smoother. There is a total of 1800 minutes of The Tonight Show, so this is a major collection. It is a set that belongs on the shelf of any serious fan of television. In the past I have given the other collections as gifts, as it is the kind of DVD set that virtually everyone would appreciate. This is by far the nicest packaging of any of the sets, and would look really impressive.

So if you are new to Carson, you might want to start with The Ultimate Collection or better yet, Heeres Johnny, which will have the most classic moments from the show. If you own those collections, or are buying for an established fan, you / they should consider this box set.
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167 of 173 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HERE IS THE LISTING OF WHAT IS ON THIS SET!, September 25, 2010
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
Complete Episode List on this DVD Collection:
Episode 1: December 31, 1965
Woody Allen, The Muppets

Episode 2: September 23, 1971
Della Reese, Bob Uecker

Episode 3: May 19, 1972
Adelle Davis, Robert Blake, Gwen Davis

Episode 4: September 15, 1972
Vikki Carr, Peter Falk, Albert Brooks

Episode 5: November 13, 1972
Mayor Lindsay, Muhammad Ali, Harry Chapin

Episode 6: September 12, 1973
Joan Embery, Bette Midler, David Steinberg

Episode 7: February 20, 1974
Joan Embery, David Brenner

Episode 8: April 9, 1974
The Jackson 5, Jerry Van Dyke

Episode 9: September 2, 1974
Doris Day, Rodney Dangerfield, Burt Mustin

Episode 10: September 26, 1974
Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Art Carney

Episode 11: May 6, 1975
Luciano Pavarotti, Maude Tull

Episode 12: September 19, 1975
Don Rickles, Robert Blake

Episode 13: September 23, 1975
Glen Campbell, Fernando Lamas

Episode 14: December 9, 1975
Carol Burnett, Burt Convy, Tom Dreesen

Episode 15: July 28, 1976
Burt Reynolds, Robert Blake

Episode 16: November 12, 1976
Frank Sinatra, Don Rickles, Olivia Newton-John

Episode 17: May 4, 1977
Chevy Chase, Richard Pryor

Episode 18: June 14, 1977
Alice Cooper, Jay Leno

Episode 19: September 9, 1977
Sid Caesar, Eubie Blake

Episode 20: March 24, 1978
Donna Pyle, Milton Berle Episode 21: May 2, 1978
Sammy Davis Jr.

Episode 22: February 21, 1980
Engelbert Humperdinck, Steve Landesberg, Loni Anderson

Episode 23: September 26, 1980
Steve Martin, The Mighty Carson Art Players

Episode 24: November 11, 1980
David Letterman, Pete Fountain

Episode 25: March 4, 1981
David Brenner

Episode 26: March 5, 1981
Slim Whitman

Episode 27: March 18, 1981
Richard Benjamin, Garry Shandling

Episode 28: May 5, 1981
Jimmy Buffett, Thalasa Cruso

Episode 29: October 14, 1981
Robin Williams

Episode 30: October 28, 1981
Lance Burton, Reba McEntire, Dick Cavett

Episode 31: October 30, 1981
Michael Landon

Episode 32: November 12, 1981
Dom DeLuise, Jerry Seinfeld, Betty White

Episode 33: November 19, 1981
Suzanne Pleshette, Luciano Pavarotti

Episode 34: November 25, 1981
Kenny Rogers

Episode 35: August 31, 1982
Bill Maher, Joe Garagiola

Episode 36: December 31, 1982
Tina Turner, Joe D'Auria & Jonathan Brown

Episode 37: January 5, 1983
Teri Garr, B.B. King

Episode 38: May 17, 1983
Albert Brooks, Brooke Shields

Episode 39: September 8, 1983
Bill Cosby, Chuck Mangione

Episode 39: September 8, 1983
Bill Cosby, Chuck Mangione Episode 40: January 4, 1984
Dabney Coleman, Paul Rodriguez

Episode 41: May 17, 1984
Garry Shandling, Stéphane Grappelli

Episode 42: May 24, 1984
John Denver, Michael Davis

Episode 43: November 20, 1984
Robert Blake, Louie Anderson

Episode 44: November 22, 1985
Jim Fowler, Marty Pollio, Rubén Blades

Episode 45: December 17, 1985
Bette Midler

Episode 46: March 27, 1986
Billy Crystal, Buddy Rich

Episode 47: April 18, 1986
David Letterman

Episode 48: June 27, 1986
David Letterman, Judge Wapner

Episode 49: November 26, 1986
George Carlin, Barney Odom & Flat Nose

Episode 50: January 8, 1987
Robert Goulet, Waddie Mitchell, Baxter Black

Episode 51: May 21, 1987
Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres

Episode 52: July 28, 1988
Bill Clinton, Joe Cocker

Episode 53: July 29, 1988
Michael Landon, k.d. Lang

Episode 54: November 23, 1989
Lea Johnson, Tom Wilson

Episode 55: January 18, 1990
Joan Embery, Art Donovan

Episode 56: April 6, 1990
Bob Hope, Jeff Dunham, B.B. King
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123 of 140 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a REVIEW from an OWNER of the set!, November 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
Go ahead and rate me NOT helpful for this...because I don't give it 5 stars...and stop reading. Or ...perhaps save a hundred bucks? I'm being generous with 3 stars...and that is because even with the lousy DVD picture quality, truncated shows, chopped up interviews and all...there is still so much of ....Johnny. Anybody else and I'd have a hard time raising my rating above a 1 for this overpriced abortion.

I love Johnny, grew up watching him, and often think during todays crazy news cycle..I wonder what Johnny would have opened his monologue with. I'd give Johnny 5 stars for just being Johnny but this review is of a DVD set

Sadly...these are hugely truncated episodes...so essentially their advertising is at least incorrect or more likely complete marketing nonsense. The tonight show was not a 30 minute show so to represent this as ANY number of episodes is a lie. The history of Johnny and the Tonight Show on DVD has been poor ....lots of DVDs little actual content and duplication much duplication. I was hoping that they finally got it right and were actually going to produce a serious number of full episodes that would give a great representation of the history of his amazing show....but its just not much more than clips as other reviewers have mentioned.

I'm also deducting another star for the ridiculous packaging....hey, when you don't have a lot of content..put it in a big box just in time for the Holidays and the kids can all pitch in and get grandpa a big present. This could have been all in a very manageable box and on a lot less DVDs quite frankly...but this is tailor made for the big box stores and I expect to see them stacked up at Costco soon!

The booklet that comes with this $120 list set is really not much either...and the half hour clips don't even have chapter stops....its just plain cheap cheap cheap.

Am I still glad to have Johnny back on my tv and in my home YES YES YES...but do I have to rate this set 5 stars when its not?

Don't get your hopes up, clear a big spot to stick this BOX and enjoy the snippets as they come....I enjoyed the episode featuring Robert Blake...well for less than 20 seconds after he entered a scene where Johnny was pretending to be Columbo with the mighty Carson art players...but hey that 20 seconds got him listed on that episodes guest list so read that carefully and just because one of your favorite stars is listed....don't get your hopes too high!

I have not watched all 30 hours but have just sampled around some to see if they were as remembered. The quality is also variable but most fans know the story of that as well.

UPDATE:... I put in a few Discs of favorites and already problems...on disc 13 there are problems half way through episode 49 which ruins the George Carlin segment with pixelation and flickering... and on top of that...they edited his stand up...why..they only presented 28 minutes from that episode anyway!!! sheesh...and now disc 4 is jumping just when Sinatra begins his song....I'm leaning toward a return at this point.

UPDATE 2:....I did return this set and then found it (surprise) stacked up at Costco today for $69 so I gave it another try...and the same problems with the same discs so...I think the other reviewer that used the word "flawless" to describe the visual content was not an owner because this isn't a bad DVD replication but the actual authoring and or source material...and its too bad because Olivia Newton John looks amazing for the few seconds she isn't suffering the effects of horrible transfer.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Passable (but only barely) yet overpriced box for Carson fans - far, far from perfect in many ways., November 3, 2010
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This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
I was excited to receive this box set of 50 "classic" episodes of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show. While Jay Leno and David Letterman may be great, Carson was the all-time King of Late Night. No one had, or has, the charisma, charm, timing and panache of the late, great Carson. This is why, during his 3 decade tenure behind the Tonight Show desk, no one could compete with Johnny or unseat him.

First the limited praise for this set. If you love Johnny Carson, you'll like this set because of his presence. Each episode contains his monologue (complete with ribbing from Ed McMahon, Doc Severinsen and the audience, as well as Doc's wild outfits). A handful of truly classic episodes (but most of the episodes in this box are NOT classics) with a wide variety of guests from huge entertainment luminaries to regular folks with unusual talents. Skits, animals, stand-up and music as well. For the most part, what you get is very entertaining and hilarious. All in all, this set is decent if you truly appreciate classic TV comedy, Johnny Carson, and/or The Tonight Show.

But having said all this, I must say this box set is far from being everything I hoped it would be. As others have said here, we were led to believe that these were 50 complete episodes. Not true. All of the episodes are edited down by 40 to 60%. None of them contain the original opening or closing sequences and most of them end abruptly while Johnny is in the middle of a conversation with a guest, which is very annoying. The 1976 episode with Frank Sinatra features Mr. Sinatra singing one song. Later during his conversation with Sinatra, Johnny says that Frank will sing another song, but we don't get to see that because these clowns edited that performance out. So aggravating!!!!

The quality of the packaging itself is 2nd rate and impractical with a cheaply constructed, flimsy cardboard & paper fliptop box containing four foldout subsets with 3-4 discs each, that require both hands to pull out and put back in. The box looks like it will begin falling apart if moved around or handled too much. Considering the quality of entertainment contained therein, you'd think the Carson organization would have more lovingly designed the package of a much higher quality. There is only one episode from the 1960's, several from the 1970's, but the bulk are from the 1980's which isn't necessarily bad, but it would have been nice to see a more evenly spread out crossection of episodes from each decade.

These episodes are NOT remastered and, as a result, most of them suffer from poor visual and sound quality (in the 12/09/75 episode, as one of many examples, the sound completely drops out for 30 seconds as Johnny is introducing comedian Tom Dreesen). There is so much pixelation in several episodes, that they are practically unwatchable IMHO. Very disappointing considering the cost of this set and the fact that it's the CARSON organization who put this out. They should let Shout Factory do a Carson box set. Shout Factory excellently and lovingly remasters and beautifully packages all of their classic TV content. The 100+ dollars Amazon is charging for this set is WAY TOO MUCH considering the poor packaging, the chopped up content and the poor picture and sound quality.

Lastly, not all of these episodes, in my opinion are really "classic". Many of them are, in fact, somewhat lackluster and dull, leaving me to ponder why they were chosen for inclusion when I can remember so many great episodes that are not included in this box. But I suppose all of this is subjective and based on opinion. In closing, Johnny Carson was a true icon of television. His legacy deserves and demands much better than the 2nd rate quality of this box. If other classic TV programs can get the remastering and excellent packaging, doesn't the great Johnny Carson at least deserve this?!

So my final word on this is, if Respond2 Entertainment had chosen 50 unedited, complete and truly recognized classic episodes of Johnny Carson's Tonight Show that were fully remastered for perfect audio and visual quality and well packaged in a high quality box and subsets; I for one would have been willing to pay more money for it. For this, I would have been willing to pay $200+ dollars. Hopefully someone with sense at Respond2 will read this and some of the other well-written reviews here and take heed for future Tonight Show box sets.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wow, the dope factor runs high in these reviews, May 16, 2012
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
Want some good laughs? Just read many of the reviews that complain about various aspects of this DVD set of Carson's shows, from Carson's own tape library. When Carson negotiated his last big contract with NBC, he made sure he got exclusive rights to his own shows, so Carson's estate owns the shows, not NBC. All the original tapes are locked down deep in an underground vault in Kansas somewhere from what I understand. Now let me clue the knuckleheads in on a few aspects of this show......

1. These shows came from VIDEOTAPES (or Kinescopes) that are now 20-50 years old. Of course there will be imperfections on the tapes from time to time and the video quality will be fuzzy compared to new digital shows. Videotapes have flaws. Some of the earliest shows may have been filmed via the Kinescope process. These tapes are OLD now. Do you really expect these things all to look pristine? These are not films that were remastered. And imagine the cost to actually digitally remaster thousands of shows on videotape. You would be paying 3 times as much for the DVD set.

2. The shows are edited because there is no way you can present THIRTY YEARS of complete shows in a DVD box set like this dopes. The early shows were 90 minutes, the later ones 60 minutes. Of course they are going to be edited down to present as many shows as feasible. There is no way you can put 30 years of daily shows complete and uncut on 15 DVDs. Obviously it would be nice to have complete shows of some of the more famous nights. They had to compromise to make these affordable.

3. There are probably edits due to rights issues. Any music performances might have rights issues to deal with to show the performance, as many TV shows have to deal with (see WKRP). You have to PAY to reproduce copyrighted songs. So anytime that comes up, that would increase the cost. Furthermore, some guests may have not given permission to re-air their segments. Finally, due the the fact that NBC used to air the show, even though Carson owns them, they may not be able to show all aspects due to NBC's involvement. Maybe that is why the very beginning is not shown. Maybe its just to save time.

While it would be great to be able to watch any complete show in perfect quality, and maybe someday we will, in the meantime let's take what we can get and appreciate the King of Late Night, the Master, in what we can from the vaults. Its still a priceless look back at American pop culture.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars On October 26th ... (I was disappointed), August 11, 2010
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
::: This review has been edited :::

(THE ORIGINAL REVIEW)

At precisely 11:30pm, I will place a DVD in my DVD player, hit play and finally ... FINALLY ... 11:30pm will feel like 11:30pm once again.

This has been a long time coming for fans not only of Johnny Carson, but of classic TV. I wasn't smart enough to roll video on "The Tonight Show" in the 80s, so I've been "Carsonless" for nearly 20 years now. Don't get me wrong, the compilation Carson collections have been nice, but to have the actual telecasts themselves is something altogether different. I have high hopes for this release.

I never thought this day would come.

(NEW REVIEW FOLLOWS)

And apparently it still hasn't.

This is probably the most disappointing DVD release I've ever experienced. I thought, for one brief moment, that we would finally have FULL "Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson" episodes to add to the endless "clip" volumes that have been released over the years. Sadly, we've been presented with yet another, essentially, hacked up collection of "clip" shows.

I don't know why this is so hard for the managers of Carson Entertainment to understand:

We, as Johnny Carson fans, want no further "edited, hacked up, best of, the ultimate, we really mean it this time" "Carson collections." We want FULL, UNEDITED, START-TO-FINISH "Tonight Show" episodes. Complete and straight through! Look at the Carol Burnett Show collection for guidance. No edits.

I would give this latest release half a star if I could based on the sheer promise of what might be, followed by the crushing disappointment of reality for what it really is.

You all blew it ... hard.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST for any Carson fan, December 26, 2010
By 
John (Hackettstown, NJ) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
I received this set as a Christmas gift (purchased from Amazon), and I must disagree with some of the reviews. Is the set perfect? No. Would I love to see complete shows instead of edited ones? Sure. Having said that, this is the closest we've been able to come to "hanging out" with Johnny, Doc and Ed in nearly 20 years. The shows, while not complete, are very enjoyable to see again, and it comes close to what it used to be like to watch Johnny' show in its heyday.

There is certainly enough to keep the viewer very entertained, and any complaints would be minor ones. This is not just a clip show, as some reviewers have said. In most cases, of the episodes I have seen so far, the interviews are presented mostly in complete form.

I'm sure we all have favorite guests we would like to see, which are not contained on this set, but it simply wouldn't be possible to include every favorite. I would suggest to those reading the reviews, to keep an open mind - if you aren't expecting absolute perfection, you will not be disappointed. This set certainly does justice to Johnny Carson.

I would encourage all Carson fans to purchase this - if this is a big seller, it may show that there really is a market for Carson shows, and we may see more in the future. I highly recommend this, warts and all.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars video quality is compromised in this set, November 9, 2010
By 
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This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
As others have noted the video quality is indeed an issue. there are many moments in nearly every episode where the video "pulsates" for lack of a better term. At first I thought it was my DVD player, or my set, but now that I see others complaining there is indeed a problem. For the money spent I think we deserve more.

There are rare moments indeed but be advised:

1. These are NOT complete episodes but clips

and

2. The video becomes tough to watch at time.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars R. Schrader, March 30, 2012
By 
Rusty Schrader (Muscatine, IA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
There's nothing I'd like more than a website or cable station devoted to showing all of Johnny's shows, uncut. The man truly earned his King of Late Night moniker. But given that it would probably be too cost prohibitive to offer all the surviving shows (gotta give those "poor" performers who apperead on the show their royalties, you know) this is probably the best we'll get for now. While I agree with other reviewers that the shows are really cut down (and sometimes the editing is bizarre; interviews don't end, they just cut to the Carson logo and the show's over), I had to give this 5 stars because, as the Amazon stars say "I love it." Until the powers that be decide to issue more of Johnny's shows (complete, preferably) this set is the only place you're going to get a feel of what it was like to watch the Tonight Show. Johnny's plaid suits and Doc's funky threads from the 70s are almost worth the price alone :) It's really too bad more people today don't get to see Johnny's show somewhere. When it comes down to it, if you love Johnny, you'll love this set. It's not perfect, mind you, but it's a glimpse back to a time when the humor was gentler, the guests classier and the host impeccable. Try to get past the abdridged shows and just turn down the lights and enjoy. Hi-yoooooooooooooo!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Essentially Just clips, October 31, 2010
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This review is from: Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)
Sadly, these DVDs present no more than 30 minutes or so of each program. The clips are wonderful, but not complete shows. For complete Tonight Show episodes try googling KineVideo.
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Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
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