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Remember Johnny Carson’s Final Show – May 22, 1992

johnny carson
Johnny Carson has been officially "tubed."

Today is the anniversary of the last Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

I just saw a repeat of a PBS “American Masters” show about Johnny and got that ol’ nostalgia again.

I saw Johnny when all we had was a black-and-white TV. I remember the “Rat Pack” visiting, the envelopes sealed and left on Funk and Wagnells’ porch, Art Fern and his assistant, a monkey on his head, and so much more.

As the show noted, it was the Johnny Carson Show, not the Tonight Show. The Tonight Show has continued with various hosts, but it is pales in comparison to Carson’s talent as host, interviewer, stand-up comic and actor.

Yesterday, I looked around on the web for some clips and found the official Johnny Carson YouTube channel. During contract negotiations in the 90s, Carson got control of the all the remaining archived tapes of his show. That’s 30 years of shows from 1962 to 1992. Some of the early ones were erased. After all, it was just a late night show hosted by a former game show host. Who knew?

I was among the millions who watched the final shows, with not a dry eye in the house as Bette Midler sang the closing lines “….and one more for the road…..that long, long road.”

He died in 2005.

And here it is, 20 years after that final bow. A long road indeed. Go to YouTube and find your favorite bits. He was one-of-a-kind.


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