‘The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson’: Behind The Scenes Secrets That Made the Broadcast So Special

by Will Shepard
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The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is one of the ultimate late-night comedy shows. The show was successful, in part, because of how spectacular the behind-the-scenes work was.

In particular, Johnny Carson always had some tricks up his sleeves to entertain the viewers of the talk show. Not only did he work to entertain the viewers, but he was also famous for surprising his guests with different things.

Altogether, the tricks that the late television host used throughout the show made it incredibly entertaining. Johnny Carson was a wizard and a wonderful host of the show.

Johnny Carson Had Some Incredible Tricks to Enhance “The Tonight Show”

According to IMDbTV, Johnny Carson’s desk was one of his favorite tools. His desk was any MacGyver’s fantasy, with buttons all over the place doing different things.

“On the right of Johnny Carson’s desk were controls to a weather machine that made the backdrop rain, snow, or cast a bolt of lightning.”

Even though his show was not the first late-night talk show to bleep out swearing on television, they came up with a clever substitution.

The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson began running their television feed behind the live feed. That way, the show could dub over the swearing from Carson or anyone else. So, they began using gibberish words to fill in the swears.

“For example, one night when a Carnack the Magnificent sketch bombed, Carson exclaimed ‘Holy s–t!’ [Instead,] viewers heard him proclaim ‘Holy palooga!'”

This trend began in the 1980s and quickly became a fan favorite. It was a way for the audience to know that Johnny Carson was swearing while also injecting more comedy.

Moreover, his legend will stand the test of time. He was an incredible television host who had wonderful, engaging interviews with his guests. He also could make anyone laugh at any time, on or off the show.

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