fondly remembers "The Tonight Show" legend Johnny Carson who 50 years ago became known as "The King of the Night" with his 30 year run as host of the late night NBC show. Mr. Barrett served as the NBC publicist for Mr. Carson and "The Tonight Show" in the 1980s and 90s. "It will be 50 years ago Monday night (October 1) that Johnny Carson debuted as host of the long running late night show," pointed out Mr. Barrett. "Wow...what a legacy he left."
"Johnny's (Johnny Carson) first guests on 'Tonight' that evening 50 years ago were Joan Crawford, Mel Brooks, Rudy Vallee, Tony Bennett and Groucho Marx, who flew in to New York from California to introduce him...and what a stellar line up it was."
While in college in Connecticut that evening 50 years ago, Mr. Barrett watched Johnny's debut show with his father, a former Warner Brothers Studios theatre executive, Russ Barrett, who was a huge fan of Johnny's predecessor Jack Paar. "My dad had a hard time adjusting to Johnny succeeding Jack Paar. I was an instant fan though...and I still marvel today how fate placed me some 30 years later working as Mr. Carson's publicist on 'Tonight' at NBC in Burbank."
As the publicist for Johnny Carson and "The Tonight Show" it was Mr. Barrett's job to handle all media relations for the show from making sure each guest was publicized to getting the national US newspapers accurately listing each show's line up to setting up media interviews for the show's stars. " Some of my favorite slices from Johnny's shows are his characters Art Fern, the TV Time Movie host and Carnac, as well as the episodes of Stump the Band and The Edge of Wetness," he said.
"On October 1, 1962," recalled Mr Barrett, "the show was 105 minutes long and was produced at NBC studios in New York. The show moved to NBC in Burbank in 1972 with Johnny as host until his last show on May 22, 1992. The show went to the one hour length in the 1980s. Mr. Carson hosted some 5,000 editions of "The Tonight Show." Today, Jay Leno is host of "The Tonight Show" and it is still produced in Los Angeles by NBC.
"Johnny once told me his last show would be an informal and casual one with he and Ed (McMahon), Doc Severinsen and others talking about their 'Tonight Show' years. Johnny's last guests on the show, which was taped before a studio audience in Studio 1 at NBC, were Bette Midler and Robin WIlliams, who appeared the evening before - - May 21, 1992, which was his last show before a studio audience. The final show on May 22nd was by invitation only and comprised family, friends, crew and NBC personnel.
"Johnny Carson literally defined late night television....he created the late night talk show format...one today that is still in place on the late night television landscape. A booking on his show for an up and coming comic often launched them into instant stardom. Johnny Carson was and still is...'The King of the Night '," asserted Mr. Barrett.
Created in the 1990s, Charlie Barrett heads The Barrett Company, a Los Angeles-based media relations and publicity firm serving authors, filmmakers, film & TV stars/celebrities and television producers seeking media coverage and consumer awareness in the marketplace. The 20-plus year old firm has served Oscar winning actors and productions (James Bond franchise) to Emmy Award winner TV shows such as "The Amazing Race" in addition to author John Locke, the first self-published author to sell 1 million books on Amazon's Kindle.