Did you ever fall asleep watching Carson? Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show is now available online in digital format. Unfortunately you won’t get to browse the entire archive of content unless you’re interested in purchasing usage licenses, but there is some content available here. According to Hollywood Reporter, the show’s archives were stored in a salt mine until 1999 and weren’t transferred to digital format until last year (!)
The archive is available at http://www.johnnycarson.com/. Unfortunately the site really is about selling some upcoming DVDs, but it’s still worth visiting. The current featured clip shows Johnny Carson and Burt Reynolds getting increasingly risqué with a can of whipped cream (which is very funny. Johnny Carson’s outfit is a bit of a riot too.) Other clips include Jay Leno from 1977 (his hair, it is bouncin’ and behavin’), Betty White (from 1983) and Siskel and Ebert (from 1986). Clips show in a popup window and all the ones I looked at had captions available — a nice touch.
But as I said, this site is more to sell the DVDs than to provide a comprehensive overview of Carson content. If you’re interested in the licensing side of things, visit https://licensing.johnnycarson.com/. You have to register (and registering is extensive) but once you’ve done that you’ll be able to search by keyword, transcript, etc.
I only wish that was available for the general public! This is the kind of archive where I would pay a few bucks for a day pass and just enjoy the nostalgia…