Johnny Carson: His Favorite Moments from "The Tonight Show": 80s & 90s: The King of Late Night (Buena Vista, 1994). [Category: Outtakes & Obscurities]

This tape is a lot funnier than I expected it to be, but then it occurred to me that a tape of highlights is the ideal way to experience something like "The Tonight Show". The tape covers highlights from the 80s and 90s (there are two other tapes in the series which cover the 60s and 70s) and there's a wide assortment of clips, including bloopers, silly ad-libs, interviews gone strange, kids and animals upstaging Johnny, and early appearances by well-known comedians. My favorites are the weird guests they would get occasionally, such as the female accordionist who describes sitting on the toilet and playing new song ideas to her husband while he takes a bath ("Any marriage that can survive that is a strong union!" asserts Johnny), or the lady who sees faces in potato chips and brings her collection of chips to the show (Johnny plays a hilarious prank on her which I won't give away here). The end of the tape gets all sentimental as we see some of Johnny's last guests commenting on his retirement (including a jubilant Ted Koppel), but it fortunately doesn't get too weepy. A good record of the last years of the ultimate tv institution. Watch for the great surreal moment when Charles Grodin gets Johnny to admit the gut-level honest truth about his job as a talk show host.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ***. Historical Interest: ****. Overall Rating: ****.

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