Is it possible that two generations now don’t realize that where late night talk shows are concerned, once upon a time there was only one game in town? Without question, Johnny Carson set the gold standard for talk show hosts, taking over and refining the role from his predecessors Steve Allen and Jack Paar, to make it his own. With his self-effacing demeanor and off-the-cuff quips, he created a comfortable environment where the biggest of stars would come and often let their guard down because of the host’s non-threatening and familiar approach.
This month Turner Classic Movies reminds us of how special The Tonight Show was during this period with a series of specials each Monday night that replay some of Carson’s greatest interviews with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Each episode of Carson on TCM features five separate interviews that have been culled from the archives of the host’s production company. Not only do each of the broadcasts contain an eclectic group of actors and actresses but it also shows them at their most relaxed as Carson’s disarming personality would always put them at ease, to the point that you never knew what sort of revelation might occur.
Needless to say, this is a treasure trove for film fans as these interviews are not readily available and the opportunity to see some of Hollywood’s greatest stars at their most candid can’t be beat. Do yourself a favor and set the DVR to record the entire Carson on TCM series. There’s no telling when you might get the opportunity to see these again.
Carson on TCM - July 8th
Carson on TCM – July 15th
Carson on TCM – July 22nd
Carson on TCM – July 29th