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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Talk Show > Stand Up > Sketches > Music > TV > Johnny Carson – The Best Of Volume One, The Best Of King Of Late Night, The Best Of Stand-Up Comedians + Carson Country

Johnny Carson – The Best Of Volume One, The Best Of King Of Late Night, The Best Of Stand-Up Comedians + Carson Country


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-/D/D/C+     Main Compilations: B



So much Johnny Carson product has been released from his Tonight Show years that we are actually updating an older review and our second one at that, of R2 Entertainment releases.  The link to our review of Johnny Carson – The Ultimate Collection is:





The picture and sound arte the same for follow-up sets, with variation only because of the age of the tapings or older surviving archival footage of the show.  As many know, early shows were taped and the actual tapes were so expensive that they taped them over and over again until they were shot, so hundreds of valuable shows were taped over and lost forever.


The first releases received were The Best Of Volume One and Carson Country, the first of which overlaps some of the big set, Return To Studio One piece, Tonight Show Memories and stills, the latter of which is a country music collection with Western genre moments (especially with his friends from the hit Bonanza) and a general backstage piece about the show.  Since the Best Of Volume had some new items, we recommended it as much as the original, initial release set, while the Country disc was so unique that it was as valuable as and better than expected.


The Best Of Stand-Up Comedians also has some overlap with the previous big sets, but is a solid two disc set that shows all the great comedians that were on the show, most of which made it because Carson put them on his show.  It is a very special volume as a result and shows how important he and the show were at the time, still are to TV history and what doing things well are all about.  Included are great performances by Jerry Seinfeld, Rita Rudner, Garry Shandling, Brett Butler, George Carlin, Rich Hall, Steven Wright and the brilliant Rodney Dangerfield, along with other very funny, talented people you may not know as much about or have not seen lately.


The Best Of King Of Late Night is most explicitly repeating the previous big volumes, with Return To Studio One and Tonight Show Memories from Volume One and The Final Show from The Ultimate Collection.  The first volume of Johnny’s Animal Hijinks is included and is interesting because TV shows have become so debased and technologized away from nature that everyone acts like animal life only belongs on public TV and certain cable networks.  It is the best of all the starter sets and a great intro to Carson’s work.


We look forward to what new product comes out of the vast Carson archives next.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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