October 1, 1962-May 22, 1992.
Johnny Carson, host of NBC's network late-night "Tonight Show" reigned for 30 unprecedented years...five times the combined tenure of Steve Allen, and Jack Paar. Carson was impervious to competition, including efforts to dethrone him by Les Crane, Joey Bishop, Merv Griffin, Dick Cavett, Jack Paar, Pat Sajak, Joan Rivers, and Arsenio Hall. Sadly, very few complete "Tonight Show" broadcasts survive during Johnny Carson's first ten years of broadcasting. Around 1965, through the early 1970's, oldest tapes were first erased systematically by orders from myopic NBC executives, to be recycled for purposes of saving money. Ironically, in many cases, these older master tapes were too brittle, and portended probable drop-outs for re-use after being erased. Subsequently blank after being erased, these older questionable master 2" Quad tapes were either sparingly used or never used again for recording new programming and eventually were discarded. Saving thousands of dollars at the time (wiping master tapes for potential re-use) resulted in losing millions of dollars by NBC in today's marketplace, and more importantly wiping thousands of historic TONIGHT SHOW broadcasts, which contain precious personal anecdotes from political, show business, and sports icons of the past.
Host: Johnny Carson. Guests include former boxing undefeated heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano who discusses with Johnny the heavyweight championship boxing match last night between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali.
In Carson's opening monologue he talks sardonically about last night's fight.
JC: "We have a championship show for you tonight, and you know what a farce the championship was. I suppose you read abut it in the paper which was listed as the chuckle of the day. Some fight! Better name would have been 'swan dive a-go-go.'
Only in America can a man win $600,000 in sixty seconds and be called a loser. I would get in there for $600,000 with a live alligator. Robert Goulet who sang The Star Spangled Banner was on longer. NBC is in kind of a dilemma now. They don't know whether to run the tape of the fight on Wide World of Sports or on Let's Make a Deal. Technically people are calling it 'The Big Joke.' in the fighting game, but it's really not a joke, because nobody saw the punch line.
But, Cassius Clay still has his championship belt. Now, if he just puts it over his mouth.
We have Rocky Marciano on the show tonight who was a former heavyweight champion. I have a feeling Rocky would have got up if he was ever knocked down. I'm not sure if Rocky was ever knocked down. People are talking about this as something suspicious. I don't think it was a dive. I just couldn't understand why anybody would sell advertising space on Sonny Liston's shoe soles. Than bothered me."
A rare almost complete "LOST" Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson" broadcast with commercials. Long interview with former undefeated heavyweight boxing champion, Rocky Marciano, who states that Muhammad Ali may be the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time.