One More For the Road: “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson” Ended 20 Years Ago

On May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson’s record-setting thirty-year reign as host of The Tonight Show came to an end. Carson took over The Tonight Show from predecessor Jack Paar on October 1, 1962, and over the next three decades delighted the world with “Carnac the Magnificent” skits, the wedding of Tiny Tim, and the national debuts of young comics Garry Shandling and Jerry Seinfeld. Carson left The Tonight Show twenty years ago today, and many would argue that every late-night host since has been trying to fill his shoes.

Bette Midler was a regular on the program, and memorably appeared as the last guest on Carson’s Tonight Show:

Many of the Archive’s interviewees worked on or appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Have a look as they reflect upon the show’s thirty-year run and gracious host.

Sidekick Ed McMahon on the legacy of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

Ernest Borgnine on working with Johnny Carson:

Phyllis Diller on getting booked on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson:

Jonathan Winters on how Carson decided on conversation topics for guests:

Learn more about The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson at our show page.

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