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Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson

Special Collector's Edition

DVD | Box Set

3.9 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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(Oct 26, 2010)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Tonight is an all-new release from Carson Entertainment Group and Respond2 Entertainment. This deluxe collection features over 30 hours of timeless entertainment from 4 decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson that has never before been released to DVD. Featuring over 50 shows - hand-selected by an original Producer, as the best episodes from the most popular late night show in history! DVD bonus features include over an hour of rescued footage from shows originally airing in the 1960s + all-new interviews with some of the most celebrated and regular guest stars that appeared on the show including Loni Anderson, Comedian David Brenner, and animal handler Jim Fowler!

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Here's Johnny in a massive, mixed-blessings of a boxed set that in the immortal words of Stephen Sondheim offers something for everyone (but mostly comedy Tonight). Unlike previous DVD collections of certified classic Tonight Show clips, this set offers a more representative retrospective of Johnny's 30-year reign as the King of Late Night, a bygone era when there were only three networks and Jerry Seinfeld opened for Andy Williams in Bloomington, Minnesota. These episodes are truncated, yes, but you get the good stuff: Ed McMahon's iconic "And now, here's Johnny" intro; the topical monologue; a comedy bit (Carnac the Magnificent, the Mighty Carson Art Players, Stump the Band); and a diverse array of stars, who seemed to shine a little brighter when doing panel with Johnny. Even on an average night, there was the feeling that anything could happen, and these episodes offer a plethora of great water-cooler moments: Robert Blake showing up as Baretta during a Columbo sketch; an unannounced Don Rickles interrupting a Frank Sinatra appearance (with Frank himself telling Rickles's signature "Hey, Frank, can't you see I'm eating" story); Michael Landon tearing into a TV Guide reporter; Johnny shanghaiing David Letterman's beat-up truck from his Malibu home; Steve Martin ordering dinner during his panel set; and a great barroom-brawl stuntman demonstration (featuring future Smoky and the Bandit director Hal Needham). For comedians, Johnny was a career-making kingmaker, and this set features some great standup sets by Seinfeld, Letterman, Garry Shandling, David Brenner, and Jay Leno. But as good as Johnny was with celebrities, he was even better at interviewing who Sarah Palin calls "the nice folks," ordinary citizens with some extraordinary talents, such as champion hog callers, and a senior citizen adept at martial arts. The Tonight Show also spotlighted weird, wild acts, like the guy who blows cigarette smoke bubbles. Chapter stops would have been nice. There are also some technical issues (a couple of clips featured in a new interview with Loni Anderson--one of several Most Favored Guests who share reminiscences of appearing on The Tonight Show-- have no sound). But these are minor quibbles. You do get some bonus unearthed vintage '60s-'70s clips such as Johnny's interview with Jay "Tonto" Silverheels, a stirring appearance by the crew of Apollo 13, and a nice bit with Charlton Heston in which he and Johnny take turns reading limericks. Let's hope there's "More to Come." --Donald Liebenson

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Special features

Rescued Gems of the 1960s
Over an hour of classic recovered vignettes, scenes and footage from The Tonight Show episodes of the 1960s.

Interviews: The Guests Remember
All new interviews with Loni Anderson, David Brenner, Jim Fowler, and Baxter Black as they recount their memories of appearing on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.


Product details

  • Actors: Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon
  • Directors: Bobby Quinn, Robert Ostberg
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Box set, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 15
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Respond2 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 1800 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B003V0FW9K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #108,726 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
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