Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson
Special Collector's Edition
DVD | Box Set
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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!
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 LiebensonSee all Editorial Reviews
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
After watching more , the best part is reminding me of the times. Especially Time Square, New Years Eve, in 1964. But I find the rest of it quite boring. Just another way to make money. save yours.
Most recent customer reviews
Attention Tonight Show fans:
STAY AWAY from this product!!! The episodes in this package are highly edited consisting in length from 15 to...Read more