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Johnny Gone?


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I was watching NBC Nightly News tonite and Brian Williams said that Johnny Carson's first ten years hosting The Tonight Show has been erased and is gone. I didn't know that. I remember tuning in to Johnny as a kid way past my bedtime. Everything Johnny did before 1972 was erased and is gone forever? What a terrific loss if true. :(

 

 

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Not everything, there are pieces that survived (ie Ed Ames with the tomahawk-probably due to a pre-1972 Anniversary show that was done and the material was laid off to a separate tape that survived) but the bulk of the first ten years was erased or became landfill back in the early 1970s because of storage costs concerns on the part of NBC (a similar fate almost befell Groucho Mark's *You Bet Your Life* except someone thought to call Groucho's house and ask if he wanted the reels. His grandson said send them over and a squad of delivery trucks showed up a few days later.)

 

It is what spurred Johnny, once he moved to LA, to put in his contract that NBC would pay his production company to produce the *Tonight Show* (and Carson would own the rights) for the rest of his reign as host of the show. (It's why the majority of his LA shows survive and his nephew is to be commended for preserving them.)

 

NBC agreed because, back then, they didn't want to risk losing Carson.

 

Carson passed that lesson on to David Letterman and it is one of the reasons that Dave's production company, World Wide Pants, produces his late night show.

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> {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}Not everything, there are pieces that survived (ie Ed Ames with the tomahawk-probably due to a pre-1972 Anniversary show that was done and the material was laid off to a separate tape that survived) but the bulk of the first ten years was erased or became landfill back in the early 1970s because of storage costs concerns on the part of NBC (a similar fate almost befell Groucho Mark's *You Bet Your Life* except someone thought to call Groucho's house and ask if he wanted the reels. His grandson said send them over and a squad of delivery trucks showed up a few days later.)

>

> It is what spurred Johnny, once he moved to LA, to put in his contract that NBC would pay his production company to produce the *Tonight Show* (and Carson would own the rights) for the rest of his reign as host of the show. (It's why the majority of his LA shows survive and his nephew is to be commended for preserving them.)

>

>

>

>

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> NBC agreed because, back then, they didn't want to risk losing Carson.

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> Carson passed that lesson on to David Letterman and it is one of the reasons that Dave's production company, World Wide Pants, produces his late night show.

>

Still, the loss is immeasurable as a lot of golden age stars were still alive in the 1960s some of them no doubt appearing on Carson. Just think of all those 1960s appearances by *John Wayne* talking with Johnny now lost for all time. :(...still, it is kinda understandable. NBC video technicians back then could not possibly have foreseen just how badly the Hollywood entertainment machine was going to degrade over the coming 40 years and just how valuable what they were recording and taking for granted at the time would be in that future era, now our present, by outfits like TCM. ps. also lost is everything from the DuMont Network 1949-1955 and Captain Video! All gone. :_|

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> {quote:title=FlyBackTransformer wrote:}{quote}

> > {quote:title=lzcutter wrote:}{quote}Not everything, there are pieces that survived (ie Ed Ames with the tomahawk-probably due to a pre-1972 Anniversary show that was done and the material was laid off to a separate tape that survived) but the bulk of the first ten years was erased or became landfill back in the early 1970s because of storage costs concerns on the part of NBC (a similar fate almost befell Groucho Mark's *You Bet Your Life* except someone thought to call Groucho's house and ask if he wanted the reels. His grandson said send them over and a squad of delivery trucks showed up a few days later.)

> >

> > It is what spurred Johnny, once he moved to LA, to put in his contract that NBC would pay his production company to produce the *Tonight Show* (and Carson would own the rights) for the rest of his reign as host of the show. (It's why the majority of his LA shows survive and his nephew is to be commended for preserving them.)

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> > NBC agreed because, back then, they didn't want to risk losing Carson.

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> > Carson passed that lesson on to David Letterman and it is one of the reasons that Dave's production company, World Wide Pants, produces his late night show.

> >

> Still, the loss is immeasurable as a lot of golden age stars were still alive in the 1960s some of them no doubt appearing on Carson. Just think of all those 1960s appearances by *John Wayne* talking with Johnny now lost for all time. :(...still, it is kinda understandable. NBC video technicians back then could not possibly have foreseen just how badly the Hollywood entertainment machine was going to degrade over the coming 40 years and just how valuable what they were recording and taking for granted at the time would be in that future era, now our present, by outfits like TCM. ps. also lost is everything from the DuMont Network 1949-1955 and Captain Video! All gone. :_|

*I am ready oh Captain Video!*... :P

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