American Masters (1985– )
7.9/10
538
9 user 3 critic

Johnny Carson: King of Late Night 

Chronological look at the life and career of Johnny Carson (1925-2005), with commentary from an ex-wife and more than 30 fellow comedians, friends, employees, and biographers. The biography... See full summary »

Directors:

Mark A. Catalena (as Mark Catalena), Peter Jones

Writer:

Peter Jones
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Kevin Spacey ... Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Steve Allen ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Bailey Jack Bailey ... Himself (archive footage)
Roseanne Barr ... Herself (archive footage)
Michael Barrie Michael Barrie ... Himself - Tonight Show Writer (as Mike Barrie)
Ginny Beauregard Ginny Beauregard ... Herself - Personal Assistant
Richard Benjamin ... Himself
Jack Benny ... Himself (archive footage)
Paul Block Paul Block ... Himself - Talent Coordinator
Mel Brooks ... Himself
William F. Buckley ... Himself (archive footage)
Vicki Budinger Vicki Budinger ... Herself (archive footage) (as Miss Vicki)
Truman Capote ... Himself (archive footage)
Drew Carey ... Himself
Catherine Carson Catherine Carson ... Herself (archive footage) (as Katherine Carson)
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Storyline

Chronological look at the life and career of Johnny Carson (1925-2005), with commentary from an ex-wife and more than 30 fellow comedians, friends, employees, and biographers. The biography defines why Carson was an enduring star (his cool, his timing, his genuine laugh, his breadth of knowledge) and pursues his motivations and inner self (a loner with a drinking problem, a decent Midwesterner whose mother withheld approval, a quiet person who loved to entertain). The key to understanding him, argues the biography, is his love of magic. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 May 2012 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Michael Barrie (as Mike Barrie) was credited on screen in two different ways, first as "Writer, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson," and second as "Writer, Academy Awards." See more »

Quotes

Don Rickles: He had the kind of personality that when the light went on, he could do it all. When the light went off, a lot of times he wanted to put the covers over his head and go to bed.
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Connections

Features Carson's Cellar (1953) See more »

Soundtracks

One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
(uncredited)
Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer
Performed by Bette Midler
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User Reviews

Great Look at the Late Night King
17 May 2012 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

American Masters: Johnny Carson: King of Late Night (2012)

*** 1/2 (out of 4)

Very good entry in the long-running series takes a look at the life and career of Johnny Carson. The two-hour documentary covers a wide range of topics including Caron's early work in magic, his Omaha, NE days, his moves to Los Angeles, a couple failed television shows, his game show and finally his thirty-year run as host of The Tonight Show. Through interviews and archival footage we're told the ups and downs of Carson's career. It's said that Carson was one of the most loved figures in television history and that certainly appears to be the case simply by how many people turned up to be interviewed for this. Jay Leno, David Letterman, Arsenio Hall, Conan O'Brien, Drew Carey, Jerry Seinfield, Angie Dickinson, Joan Rivers, Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner, Steve Martin and Dick Cavett are just a few of the familiar faces who show up to talk about what Carson meant to them. It's really amazing that it took so long for American Masters to do a documentary on the legend but they really haven't let you down as the film is certainly well produced and director Peter Jones did a fantastic job at putting it together. What I really enjoyed is how we'd get the biography of Carson's life and then while we're told the stories we'd get a cut to a Tonight Show clip where he's joking about it. As someone who didn't grow up with Carson I found the clips to be incredibly funny and I think the film really got across what made him so special with so many people.


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