News Article

CHOICE MOMENTS IN THE LATE-NIGHT KING'S CAREER

Johnny Carson's greatest moments -- We chart the life and times of the legendary talk-show host

1939
A 14-year-old Carson begins performing magic as ''the Great Carsoni'' for organizations in his Nebraska hometown.

1961
Carson loses the lead in a new sitcom. Relieved star Dick Van Dyke laughs, ''I never could've done The Tonight Show.''

1962
Replacing Jack Paar as host of The Tonight Show, he begins 30 years of monologues, interviews, and animals sitting on his head.

1964
He debuts semi-psychic seer Carnac the Magnificent. (''Sis boom bah...the sound of a sheep exploding.'')

1965
Spoofing Peanuts collection Happiness is...a warm puppy, he pens humor collection: Happiness is a dry martini.

1969
Forty-five million viewers tune in to watch Tiny Tim tiptoe down the aisle and marry Miss Vicki.

1973
Classy comedy, classy clothes (except for that plaid suit): Johnny Carson Apparel, Inc. grosses $50 million.

1979
Hosting the first of five Oscars, he calls it ''...two hours of sparkling entertainment spread over a four-hour show.''

1980
''Heeere's Johnny!!'' becomes a battle cry for ax murderers and smiling lunatics everywhere, thanks to The Shining.

1983
Jerry Lewis' role as a talk-show host in Scorsese's The King of Comedy is originally offered to Carson.

1992
Fashion guru Mr. Blackwell tries to sue Johnny for millions over a joke about Mother Teresa making the worst-dressed list.

1992
A tearful Bette Midler serenades Carson — who gets choked up as well — on his penultimate May 21 broadcast.

Originally posted Jan 31, 2005 Published in issue #804-805 Feb 04, 2005 Order article reprints