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Tonight – 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson

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  1. Lemon says:
    157 of 160 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Tips On Buying Carson DVDs, October 30, 2010

    This review is from: Tonight – 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (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.

    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.

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  2. Barbara C. says:
    96 of 99 people found the following review helpful:
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This review is from: Tonight – 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (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.

    Episode 22: February 21, 1980
    Engelbert Humperdinck, Steve Landesberg, Loni Anderson

    Episode 23: September 26, 1980
    Steve Martin, The Mighty Carson Art Players

    Episode 24: November 11, 1980
    David Letterman, Pete Fountain

    Episode 25: March 4, 1981
    David Brenner

    Episode 26: March 5, 1981
    Slim Whitman

    Episode 27: March 18, 1981
    Richard Benjamin, Garry Shandling

    Episode 28: May 5, 1981
    Jimmy Buffett, Thalasa Cruso

    Episode 29: October 14, 1981
    Robin Williams

    Episode 30: October 28, 1981
    Lance Burton, Reba McEntire, Dick Cavett

    Episode 31: October 30, 1981
    Michael Landon

    Episode 32: November 12, 1981
    Dom DeLuise, Jerry Seinfeld, Betty White

    Episode 33: November 19, 1981
    Suzanne Pleshette, Luciano Pavarotti

    Episode 34: November 25, 1981
    Kenny Rogers

    Episode 35: August 31, 1982
    Bill Maher, Joe Garagiola

    Episode 36: December 31, 1982
    Tina Turner, Joe D’Auria & Jonathan Brown

    Episode 37: January 5, 1983
    Teri Garr, B.B. King

    Episode 38: May 17, 1983
    Albert Brooks, Brooke Shields

    Episode 39: September 8, 1983
    Bill Cosby, Chuck Mangione

    Episode 39: September 8, 1983
    Bill Cosby, Chuck Mangione Episode 40: January 4, 1984
    Dabney Coleman, Paul Rodriguez

    Episode 41: May 17, 1984
    Garry Shandling, Stéphane Grappelli

    Episode 42: May 24, 1984
    John Denver, Michael Davis

    Episode 43: November 20, 1984
    Robert Blake, Louie Anderson

    Episode 44: November 22, 1985
    Jim Fowler, Marty Pollio, Rubén Blades

    Episode 45: December 17, 1985
    Bette Midler

    Episode 46: March 27, 1986
    Billy Crystal, Buddy Rich

    Episode 47: April 18, 1986
    David Letterman

    Episode 48: June 27, 1986
    David Letterman, Judge Wapner

    Episode 49: November 26, 1986
    George Carlin, Barney Odom & Flat Nose

    Episode 50: January 8, 1987
    Robert Goulet, Waddie Mitchell, Baxter Black

    Episode 51: May 21, 1987
    Eddie Murphy, Ellen DeGeneres

    Episode 52: July 28, 1988
    Bill Clinton, Joe Cocker

    Episode 53: July 29, 1988
    Michael Landon, k.d. Lang

    Episode 54: November 23, 1989
    Lea Johnson, Tom Wilson

    Episode 55: January 18, 1990
    Joan Embery, Art Donovan

    Episode 56: April 6, 1990
    Bob Hope, Jeff Dunham, B.B. King

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  3. Richardson "Clarence" says:
    71 of 79 people found the following review helpful:
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    a REVIEW from an OWNER of the set!, November 1, 2010
    Richardson “Clarence” (Sunny California USA) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

    Amazon Verified Purchase(', ‘AmazonHelp’, ‘width=400,height=500,resizable=1,scrollbars=1,toolbar=0,status=1′);return false; “>What’s this?)
    This review is from: Tonight – 4 Decades of The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson (DVD)

    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 episodes…so 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…and the half hour clips don’t even have chapter stops….its just plain cheap cheap cheap.

    Am I still glad to have Johnny back on my tv and in my home YES YES YES…but do I have to rate this set 5 stars when its not?

    Don’t get your hopes up, clear a big spot to stick this BOX and enjoy the snippets as they come….I enjoyed the episode featuring Robert Blake…well for less than 20 seconds after he entered a scene where Johnny was pretending to be Columbo with the mighty Carson art players…but hey that 20 seconds got him listed on that episodes guest list so read that carefully and just because one of your favorite stars is listed….don’t get your hopes too high!

    I have not watched all 30 hours but have just sampled around some to see if they were as remembered. The quality is also variable but most fans know the story of that as well.

    UPDATE:… I put in a few Discs of favorites and already problems…on disc 13 there are problems half way through episode 49 which ruins the George Carlin segment with pixelation and flickering… and on top of that…they edited his stand up…why..they only presented 28 minutes from that episode anyway!!! sheesh…and now disc 4 is jumping just when Sinatra begins his song….I’m leaning toward a return at this point.

    UPDATE 2:….I did return this set and then found it (surprise) stacked up at Costco today for $69 so I gave it another try…and the same problems with the same discs so…I think the other reviewer that used the word “flawless” to describe the visual content was not an owner because this isn’t a bad DVD replication but the actual authoring and or source material…and its too bad because Olivia Newton John looks amazing for the few seconds she isn’t suffering the effects of horrible transfer.

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