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Johnny Carson

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AP050123024288

Comedian and TV host Johnny Carson joined the Naval Air Corps on June 8, 1943, received V-12 officer training at Columbia University and Millsaps College. Commissioned an ensign late in the war, Carson was assigned to the USS Pennsylvania in the Pacific. While in the Navy, Carson posted a 10–0 amateur boxing record, with most of his bouts fought on board the USS Pennsylvania. He was en route to the combat zone aboard a troop ship when the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war. Carson served as a communications officer in charge of decoding encrypted messages and he said that the high point of his military career was performing a magic trick for United States Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal. Carson's most important military experience was a conversation with James Forrestal, Secretary of the Navy, who asked Carson if he planned to stay in the navy after the war. In response, Carson said no and told him he wanted to be a magician. Forrestal asked him to perform, in which Carson did with a card trick. Although, Carson created more than just magic that day, more like a promise for the future. The most important thing that Carson experienced that day was his discovery that he could entertain and amuse someone as cranky and sophisticated as Forrestal. This undated family handout photo shows Johnny Carson during his days as an ensign in the U.S. navy during World War II. Carson, the quick-witted "Tonight Show" host who became a national institution putting his viewers to bed for 30 years with a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter and heartland charm, died Sunday Jan. 23, 2005. He was 79. (AP Photo)

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FILE - In this July 30, 1993 file photo, Ed McMahon, left, former announcer of the "Tonight Show," looks on as "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno breaks into laughter during the taping of the show in Burbank, Calif. McMahon, the loyal "Tonight Show" sidekick who bolstered boss Johnny Carson with guffaws and a resounding "H-e-e-e-e-e-ere's Johnny!" for 30 years, has died at a Los Angeles hospital. He was 86. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian, file)

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The late Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent. (Image: YouTube)

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The late Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent. (Image: YouTube)

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Host Johnny Carson, right, with announcer Ed McMahon during the final taping of the "Tonight Show." Two volumes of material from "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" is available for digital download starting Tuesday. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac, File)

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Julian Goodman, who died Monday, leaves a legacy of Huntley-Brinkley, Johnny Carson and televised football. (NBC)

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Johnny Carson, with sidekick Ed McMahon (left), reigned for nearly 30 years on late-night TV. His nightly viewership, averaging as much as 15 million, was more than the current audience of "Tonight" successor Jay Leno and CBS rival David Letterman combined. (Associated Press)

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Talk show host Johnny Carson taped his last "Tonight Show" on May 22, 1992. He hosted 4,531 episodes and received 23,000 guests. (Associated Press)

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Johnny Carson, with sidekick Ed McMahon (left), reigned for nearly 30 years on late-night TV. His nightly viewership, averaging as much as 15 million, was more than the current audience of "Tonight" successor Jay Leno and CBS rival David Letterman combined. (Associated Press)