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Customer Review

128 of 146 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars a REVIEW from an OWNER of the set!, November 1, 2010
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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 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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Tracked by 7 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 24 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 1, 2010 10:18:45 PM PDT
Yankee Mike says:
Thanks for your excellent review. I was going to buy this set but I will now pass on it. If you cut out the commercials an hour Tonight Show should run about 44 minutes. Not 30.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 4, 2010 1:14:19 AM PDT
Richardson says:
Back then 1 hour shows ran closer to 50+ minutes so on the hour episodes we are losing 20 minutes on some , more on others...and remember when the tonight show ran from 11:30 to 1pm? Thanks for your kind remarks....

Posted on Nov 4, 2010 1:04:55 PM PDT
I own the set also and I must say you've hit the nail on the head very nicely. Carson was (is) such an icon and he deserves better than this. What's most aggravating is that all these DVD sets are distributed by the Carson organization!! Perhaps they should let a company like Shout Factory, who very lovingly and excellently, puts together classic TV packages on DVD, take a whack a Carson box set fully remastered with truly COMPLETE episodes that are all truly recognized as "CLASSIC". Very good review. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2010 10:53:45 AM PDT
Yankee Mike says:
I do remember when it was a 90 minute show. I believe that changed in the mid 1970's so if any of the episodes in the set are from that period than you are missing over half the show.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 8, 2010 12:31:29 AM PST
Richardson says:
I'd buy that...SHOUT just re-issued the Frank Sinatra specials...through in some bonus programs and an unreleased concert...all in a manageable sized their recent Larry Sanders show set....Carsons organization are not doing his legacy any favors.

Posted on Nov 25, 2010 10:38:56 AM PST
My question is, given your lengthy dismissal of this set, which collection would you recommend? I would be purchasing this as a gift for someone who actually watched the show growing up and has a keen appreciation for Carson in general, though I don't know if I would go so far as to call him an avid fan. He has a few old shows on tape that he likes to watch but would really enjoy more. Any help is appreciated.

Posted on Nov 25, 2010 1:25:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 25, 2010 1:26:01 PM PST
Hugo A-Go-Go says:
I own at least 40 full-length Tonight Show episodes from the mid 60s thru mid 80s. I bought them as bootlegs online but the video and audio quality isn't bad. I have to say that the full-length shows, most of which include network commercials, do not hold up all that well. I'm as nostalgic as the next guy and I am a huge Carson fan but please believe me when I say that when we think of Carson we think of the classic bits, jokes and interviews but in most cases the original uncut episodes have a lot of filler, including boring interviews with no-name "near" stars of the day. Even the monologues frequently bombing, which at the time seemed like part of the Carson magic, now just seem painful and dragged out way too long. The fact is we were younger (and more tired) when the full-length episodes originally aired and I just want to point out that while there are many gems to be found among the uncut 60 and 90 minute shows, there'a also a lot that's boring. The funny thing is, as I type this I know many reading will not believe me but I swear it's true. I will not buy this set based on your review but I wanted to give my opinion as to why they have not officially released uncut original episodes....we tend to remember what was great but forget about the large percentage of filler.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 9:01:24 AM PST
Richardson says:
Hi Dancing Nancy,
sorry to take so long, I don't read these often...the three disc ulitmate collection is fun...has enough memories to make most happy including a one hour special of his return home...

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 27, 2010 9:17:46 AM PST
Hugo A-Go-Go says:
Okay, I just bought it. Something tells me it's not as terrible as some are saying.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2010 8:20:24 AM PST
G. Mosier says:
Totally agree. I can't agree with those who lament the fact that the episodes aren't shown in their entirety. I recently bought a collection of another old show I was nostalgic for, and they were shown all the way through, and it was downright painful and completely unwatchable. I had completely forgotten how much crap I had to sit through to get to the fond memories.
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