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NBC finally convinced Carson to sign by early February 1962. as his announcer and sidekick and Skitch Henderson was installed as the maestro of the NBC orchestra. This was often followed by comedy sketches, interviews, and music.
Carson can be seen discussing his upcoming job for the first time on the February 11, 1962, episode of What's My Line? Due to Carson having six months left on his ABC contract, NBC used multiple guest hosts until he could take over. Mc Mahon's famous introduction, "Heeeeere's Johnny!!! Carson's trademark was a phantom golf swing at the end of his monologues, aimed stage left toward the studio orchestra. Bob Newhart rolled an imaginary bowling ball toward the audience.) Paul Anka wrote the theme song, ("Johnny's Theme"), a reworking of his "Toot Sweet"; given lyrics, it was renamed, "It's Really Love" and recorded by Annette Funicello in 1959.
Guest hosts included Merv Griffin, Art Linkletter, Joey Bishop, Arlene Francis (the first woman to host The Tonight Show), Bob Cummings, Jerry Lewis, Groucho Marx, Donald O'Connor, and others. If he's talking to an author, he has read the book. He's the cream of middle-class elegance, yet he's not a mannequin. Before taking over The Tonight Show, Carson wrote lyrics for the song, so claimed 50 percent of the song's performance royalties (though the lyrics were never used).
Although he continued to have doubts about his new job, Carson became the host of Tonight (later becoming The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson) on October 1, 1962. He has captivated the American bourgeoisie without ever offending the highbrows, and he has never said anything that wasn't liberal or progressive. The theme is heard being played on sound recordings of Carson's first Tonight Show and it was used without interruption through to his last broadcast on May 22, 1992.
Originating in 1954 with host Steve Allen, Tonight was somewhat experimental at the time, as the only previous network late-night program was NBC's Broadway Open House which starred Jerry Lester and Dagmar. led NBC to invite him to take over Tonight a few months before Paar's departure.He grew up in the nearby towns of Avoca, Clarinda, and Red Oak in southwest Iowa before moving to Norfolk, Nebraska, at the age of eight.There, Carson grew up and began developing his talent for entertaining.Carson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1992 and received a Kennedy Center Honor in 1993. He adopted a casual, conversational approach with extensive interaction with guests, an approach pioneered by Arthur Godfrey and previous Tonight Show hosts Steve Allen and Jack Paar.
Former late-night host and friend David Letterman has cited Carson's influence.He was en route to the combat zone aboard a troop ship when the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war.