Johnny Carson's 'Tonight Show' Getting New Life Online

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The estate of legendary late night talk show host Johnny Carson is hoping to bring the funnyman back into the spotlight, relaunching JohnnyCarson.com to bring it into the 21st century.

The Los Angeles Times Matea Gold has more on the relaunch.

Gold writes that Carson Entertainment, which is run by the host’s nephew, has digitized 3,300 hours of footage from the old “Tonight Show,” and will make clips available on a rotating basis on the site. It will also sell full episodes.

The content will also be searchable by keyword, name and date, providing a treasure trove of material for TV historians to pore over.

Of course, it isn’t all good news:

Not every moment of Carson’s reign on “The Tonight Show” is available. The original videos from 1962 to 1972 were recorded over by NBC at the time, a common practice then because tape was so expensive, Ludwin said. All that is left from that era are some grainy black-and-white kinescope clips, taken by a film camera pointed at a television set.

But the digitization process helped unearth some original footage thought to be lost, including a famous 1973 clip of Carson pretending to eat dog food during a live Alpo commercial after the dog refused the meal, before thought to exist only in grainy kinescope.

Such moments have the makings of instant viral videos, but Deluxe Archive Solutions took several security measures to ensure that the clips can’t be disseminated without permission, including embedding each with a large, yellow “Carson” watermark.

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