DescriptionThe Tonight Show Studio Clock That Marks the End of an Era! Johnny Carson was chosen in 1962 by NBC to succeed the temperamental host of their "Tonight Show," Jack Paar, who was retiring. Carson had been an occasional substitute host for Paar and was fairly well known for his five years spent as quizmaster on "Who Do You Trust" and for various other shows and guest appearances. He was stepping into some pretty big shoes and Carson filled them far and above anyone's predictions. His relaxed and casual style, brilliant comedic timing and ability to deliver a straight line made him an instant success, adding nearly half a million viewers within four months of his debut on October 1, 1962. At that time, the show was based in New York and ran an hour and forty-five minutes.
After nearly ten years of continuous ratings growth, the "Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" moved permanently to NBC's Studio One at Burbank, California in May of 1972. The design of the new set included a desk for Johnny next to which sat a chair and then a couch. At the end of the couch, just off-camera, was Johnny's TV monitor with a large General Electric (naturally, NBC is owned by GE) clock with a sweep second hand just below it. This clock was set to the time that the show would be broadcast, not the current time, and it let Carson know how the show was progressing. In 1980 the then 90-minute show was cut down to an hour, running from 11:30 PM until 12:30 AM. This particular clock had been in the Burbank studio from 1972 until Johnny's last show on May 22, 1992. A few seconds after Johnny delivered his final goodnight to the 50 million Americans watching and left the stage, the clock was turned off, never to run again. An era of comedy, often imitated but never duplicated, was over. The king of late-night television had retired. Vive le roi.
Stopped at 12:30 plus about thirty-five seconds, this clock has been professionally framed under plexi-glass along with the Letter of Authenticity signed by Peter A. Steen, Program Coordinator at the Tonight Show and a book, "Johnny Come Lately" by Fred De Cordova -- authentically signed by Carson and De Cordova. This ensemble would look great in any home or office and is a true piece of American broadcast history and popular culture. The clock can clearly be seen in Carson's last show where a backstage tour of the Tonight Show and Studio One was taken. We respectfully request that the future owner please keep this clock stopped at the exact time that the Johnny Carson era of late night television ended.
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