Trade in your item
Get up to a $1.00
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon

Tonight - 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson

3.8 out of 5 stars 81 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
New from Used from
(Oct 26, 2010)
"Please retry"
Special Collector's Edition
$176.94 $19.30
"Please retry"

There is a newer version of this item:

Unlimited Streaming with Amazon Prime
Unlimited Streaming with Amazon Prime Start your 30-day free trial to stream thousands of movies & TV shows included with Prime. Start your free trial

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!

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

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:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Respond2 Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: October 26, 2010
  • Run Time: 1800 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003V0FW9K
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,438 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 30, 2010
Format: 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.
Read more ›
13 Comments 381 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: 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.
Read more ›
3 Comments 175 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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...
Read more ›
24 Comments 131 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews