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News Details

May 29, 2015 

“Here’s Johnny: The Making of the Tonight Show” Closes on August 16

Fullerton, CA – The Fullerton Museum is proud to present the exhibit, “Here’s Johnny: The Making of the Tonight Show,” starting May 30 through August 16.

The show’s host joked that he was “In more bedrooms than any other man in America.” Now The Fullerton Museum Center is bringing an exhibit about the 20th century’s most enduring show as well its iconic host, the late Johnny Carson.

“Here’s Johnny: The Making of the Tonight Show” will feature costumes, stage props, video, cue cards, and production materials to bring visitors behind the scenes into the phenomenal creative collaboration that dominated late night TV from 1962 – 1992.

“It’s hard to overestimate the impact this show had on popular culture, not just television” says Fullerton Museum Curator Kelly Chidester. “Before we had cable TV the three major networks controlled what Americans watched.” And millions tuned in weekly to Johnny.

From October of 1962, when Groucho Marx introduced him as the host of the Tonight Show until his last show in 1992, Carson was a social and cultural mainstay for much of the nation. He launched dozens of careers, and elevated the comic monologue to an art form no later entertainer has matched.

Although the focus of “Here’s Johnny” will be on the show itself, the career of Johnny Carson will also be spotlighted, from his childhood magic shows, wartime service (Carson worked as a cryptographer in the US Navy) and career in TV writing as well as the better known Tonight Show years. 

Organized with the assistance of Fullerton resident Jeff Sotzing, Carson’s nephew and president of Carson Entertainment Group, the exhibit will feature objects from the Elkhorn Valley Museum in Norfolk, Nebraska, Johnny’s hometown, along with objects in private collections. In addition to stage props and costumes (Art Fern and Aunt Blabby will be represented, among others) the show will feature historic video, actual cue cards from Johnny’s final monologue, and original artwork from the Tonight Show creative team. 

The museum is planning special guest appearances, lectures, and musical performances to accompany this exhibit. For more information on “Here’s Johnny: The Making of the Tonight Show” call the Fullerton Museum Center at (714) 738-6545.