Description

    "Johnny's Mic... Not Ed's... Not Fred's" to quote from the white engraved inscription clearly visible on the collar of this Shure SM33 microphone. That white engraving distinguishes this piece as Johnny's Tonight Show microphone, as can be clearly seen in the many photos of the mic sitting on Johnny's desk. As Tonight Show sound man Stan Sweeney writes in his COA, "This is the one and only microphone that is inscribed 'Johnny's mic . . ' and this one with the distinct etching was used on a daily basis." To our knowledge, this is the only Shure SM 33 that Johnny ever used on The Tonight Show. That says it all!

    If only this mic could talk. Through the administrations of seven U.S. presidents, Johnny Carson was the undisputed king of late night television with The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. We all remember him sitting at his desk nervously playing with his pencils, adjusting this very microphone, swapping jokes and stories with guests that included legends in all fields of endeavor of the late 20th century.

    The story of how this microphone was "rescued" is told by the current owner: "Almost twenty years ago in the mid 80s, my position as a crew member of The Tonight Show gave me the opportunity to literally rescue this microphone. During one of our technical upgrades at NBC, a large amount of equipment was being discarded along with this microphone. It was not uncommon for the studios at the time to just get rid of antiquated equipment. All of production audio was being replaced. I realized the mic should be saved, and its been in my safekeeping ever since. As we all know, Johnny Carson was the King of late night TV for thirty years and this microphone, with the inscription, Johnny's Mic... Not Ed's... Not Fred's (Ed McMahon, Announcer; Fred DeCordova, Producer) was used on his desk from the late 1960s throughout the 1970s."

    Technically, this microphone is (to quote from Shure's spec sheet) "... a compact and rugged unidirectional ribbon microphone combining wide range response and a Super-Cardioid directional pattern. The performance characteristics are ideal for studio use in broadcasting and recording and for critical sound reinforcement applications." Emotionally, this microphone is a part of history, an American icon, an incomparable piece of pop culture. Since Carson's recent death, a number of celebrities have expressed interest in owning this museum-worthy Johnny Carson microphone. Heritage Galleries is proud to be chosen to offer this once in a lifetime opportunity to the general public. Impeccable provenance provided in the form of a signed letter by former Tonight Show crew member and sound man, Stanley J. Sweeney.




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    Auction Dates
    April, 2005
    21st-22nd Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 11
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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