Sneak Preview: Carson on TCM
Last Fall, Turner Classic Movies announced it had acquired the rights to air select guest interviews from The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. Repackaged as hour-long episodes and hosted by Conan O’Brien (Conan, TBS), Carson on TCM will feature interviews with many of the stars viewers see on the network every day: Tony Curtis, Doris Day, Gregory Peck, Elizabeth Taylor, and even Robert Osborne’s Essentials co-host Drew Barrymore…when she was only 7 years old.
I managed to catch an early sneak preview of the first two episodes of Carson on TCM. Let me say this: you will not be disappointed. This series is beautifully produced and one of the greatest the network has ever put together.
At the beginning of each episode of Carson on TCM, host Conan O’Brien discusses a bit about Johnny Carson and his career. Before each interview clip O’Brien provides a bit of context and observation, which is necessary since the clips are edited. He does an outstanding job of guiding the audience without spoiling the fun. Many of these interviews have not been seen since they originally aired, so whether you watched Carson every night or you’re too young to have experienced his glorious reign, you’re definitely in for a great time. Just a note: the Carson on TCM repackaged episodes feature guest interviews only. So if you’re looking for Johnny’s sketches or banter with Ed (“Hiyoooo!“), you will not find them here. Matter of fact, Ed is only visible once in the first two episodes (thanks for running around, Steve!)
According to TCM, the Carson interview clips are from the Carson Entertainment Group and carefully curated by Peter Jones, producer of the excellent PBS American Masters documentary Johnny Carson: The King of Late Night.Each clip was already edited, leaving TCM with the job of adding in the series’ logo, original musical score (written by Emmy-winning composer Earl Rose, via Hollywood Reporter), and of course filming Conan O’Brien’s wrap-arounds. The network obtained 50 interviews total, with the initial series featuring 25 interviews. The remaining 25 will be featured as interstitials.
Carson on TCM airs Mondays in July at 8pm (ET)
Episode 1: Monday, July 1
Interviews featuring Drew Barrymore, Kirk Douglas, Mary Tyler Moore, Neil Simon, and George Burns.
Here’s a clip from Carson’s interview with the amazing and always entertaining George Burns.
Episode 2: Monday, July 8th
Interviews featuring Doris Day, Charlton Heston, Chevy Chase with Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert, Steve Martin, and Tony Curtis.
No available clips at this time, but this entire episode is pure GOLD.
Here is the promo for the entire series:
All 50 interviews (in alphabetical order)
Sammy Davis Jr.
Mary Tyler Moore
George C. Scott
Jill Blake is the owner/managing editor of the classic film website Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence. She is also a co-founder and editor of the film site The Moviola and film editor at CC2K. In 2012, she was interviewed on-air by Turner Classic Movies host Ben Mankiewicz. In 2013, she was a featured guest on the TCM podcast. In her spare time Jill is a stay-at-home mom, wife, fried okra connoisseur, and the neighborhood’s own L.B. Jeffries.