When Johnny said Goodbye

Posted on May 22, 2015 by Dave - Carson Entertainment Group | 5 comments

On May 22, 1992, after a reign lasting nearly 30 years, Johnny Carson hosted NBC's "Tonight Show" for the last time. Johnny's final appearance as host in 1992 attracted an estimated 50 million viewers and has never been matched. After his retirement, Television was never the same. As Johnny said so eloquently on this evening 23 years ago… "If I could magically, somehow.. make it run backwards, I'd like to do the whole thing all over again. It has been.. just a hell of a lot of fun."

The last 2 shows are featured on the Ultimate Collection, it's a good day to revisit them.
Here's Bette's farewell song from the night before, we miss you Johnny, you are truly one of a kind!

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  • John Sullivan

    I have DVDs from 62 to 1989 but want 1990 to 1992

  • Brett McClung

    i agree with Josh’s comment. I would love to have the last 2 shows rereleased in their entirety on either dvd or digital download because they’re missing the music bumpers, guest walk on music, Ed Ames sketch from 5/21/92 and music montage segment from the final show. That would be appreciated. :) I would love to have more of his final shows from January to May 1992 as well as from 1990 and 1991. 50 million viewers is a rare and amazing feat. Probably never see that again. Letterman and Leno had about 14 million I think. Still impressive for today’s standards.

  • Brett McClung

    I agree it’s a good time to revisit those shows again and the ultimate collection. 50 million viewers will never be matched again. Jay Leno and David Letterman had almost 14 million viewers for their final shows I think, not even half of Carson’s audience but still impressive for today’s standards. I always wonder what the tonight show would’ve been like if Carson was still alive and hosted it now. It’d probably be similar to the way Jimmy Fallon does it. Jimmy has some hints or traces of Carson in him. I also agree with Josh’s comment, is it possible to have the last 2 shows rereleased in there entirety via digital download? I do remember the music bumpers, the Ed Ames sketch and the music montage segment on 5/21 and 5/22/92 were edited out. It’d be much appreciated. :) and more of his final shows from 1990 to 1992 on DVDs and digital download.

  • Josh

    Any chance the last two shows will be released via digital download intact? The versions on The Ultimate Collection were edited due to music licensing issues as well as for time.

  • Brett McClung

    I agree 100% with this article as it states that 50 million viewers tuned in to Johnny’s farewell show. It’s true Nobody’s matched it not even Jay Leno or David Letterman. Letterman and Leno did have I think almost 15 million for their farewells which is pretty good but not close to Johnny’s. I also agree that television was never the same again and revisiting the last 2 shows. I really like watching Jay Leno, David Letterman and Conan but none of them hold a candle to Carson. They always credit Johnny a lot for there success. David Letterman was good too but now that he’s gone it leaves a big void in late night tv and Conan’s the last one now. We’ll probably never see anyone match Dave or Johnny’s tenure of 30 and 33 years of hosting late night tv ever again. It’s a rare feat! Last thing is I would like to watch those last 2 shows again and the ultimate carson collection. Both shows are quite special. I do want to point out that I wish they were complete but they’re not. They don’t include music bumpers and more importantly though the 2nd to last show edited out the segment where Johnny showed the famous tomahawk toss with Ed Ames for the final time. The final show I believe edited out the music montage segment of bands that appeared over 30 years all due to clearance issues at the time most likely. Anyway they are great shows and it’s definitely time to remember and reminisce them. I have two interesting questions. If Johnny was still with us I wonder what he would think of today’s talk shows especially Jimmy Fallon and the viral videos? Technology has changed a lot since then. Last but not least what do you think The Tonight Show would be like if Carson hosted it today? I think it would probably be totally different than it was when he did it back then and be similar to the way Jimmy does it. Fallon has maybe some traces of Carson in him. It’s all very interesting, what do you think? Please answer if you can


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