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CNN LARRY KING LIVE

Encore Presentation: Interview With Joanne Carson

Aired March 11, 2007 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, an American icon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Good night and good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: As most of you have never seen him. A year after we mourned his death, here's Johnny in long lost video discovered in the back of a closet by one of the loves of his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Sit down tonight, read the paper, you know, smoke a pipe, maybe kind of catch up with what's going on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Plus, intimate memories from one of the only people who knows what Johnny Carson was really like -- his second wife, Joanne Carson.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOANNE CARSON, WIFE OF JOHNNY CARSON: He kind of courted me with these tapes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: While we invited him into our bedrooms night after night, she shared his bedroom and his life for 10 years. And, oh, the stories she'll tell.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOANNE CARSON: His relationship with Dave Letterman was like a younger brother.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Oh, what a show tonight.

The former wife of TV legend Johnny Carson, Joanne Carson, joins us. She was wife number two. And she has teamed with Shout! Factory to produce an extraordinary two DVD set showcasing Johnny's pre- "Tonight Show" career -- and I'll bet millions don't know about that career.

These are tapes from "The Johnny Carson Show" -- 10 classic episodes of a program that aired much before Johnny got "The Tonight Show."

How did this come about? How did you -- where did you find these?

JOANNE CARSON: The shows?

KING: The tapes? Where were they?

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, Johnny gave them to me. He kind of courted me with these tapes in 1960. So...

KING: Explain.

JOANNE CARSON: OK.

You know, Johnny is very shy.

KING: Very.

JOANNE CARSON: And in 1960 he was very young. So you know how sometimes boys will kind of -- when they like somebody they'll do something. They'll do handstands or they'll show off a little bit?

Johnny kind of said to me on our first date, you love comedy so much, would you like to come up and see a show that I did? And I said is this a new way of saying come up and see my etchings?

KING: Yes.

JOANNE CARSON: And he turned bright red, Larry.

He was so embarrassed and I was embarrassed. And I said I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Sure, I'd love to come and see them.

So we started by seeing the first show. And then these 10 shows are handpicked by Johnny. In other words, there were 39 shows in that series and he picked the 10 he liked. So...

KING: And gave them to you?

JOANNE CARSON: ... our first 10 dates he showed these films to me.

KING: With no idea of there ever being broadcast?

JOANNE CARSON: Well, this was the days before VCRs or DVDs.

KING: So he gave you tapes?

JOANNE CARSON: He gave me... KING: Like AMPAC tape?

JOANNE CARSON: He gave me kinescopes. This is the original kinescopes.

KING: How can they look good?

JOANNE CARSON: They've been remastered.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: We certainly can't expect one person in the audience to leave tonight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's true. Well, one person still has to leave.

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, just who do you think is going to go out here, hmmm?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Him.

JOHNNY CARSON: Hmmm?

I mean somebody -- look. Wait a minute.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And was it your idea -- did you get together with the producer -- how did the...

JOANNE CARSON: No. OK, here's what happened.

Last year I was doing an auction for Truman & Capote, the memorabilia. So I was going through all the boxes in the closets and everything. And in the back of one closet I remembered I'd put a wine chest with these kinescopes in it, because it was controlled humidity.

So I thought to myself, you know, I promised Johnny last year, before he died, that I would do something with these. Because he said, I think, Jo, it's kind of ready. DVDs are big things now.

Why don't you do something with the kinescopes?

So I said OK, I'll keep my promise.

KING: And boy, did you.

JOANNE CARSON: I did.

KING: Do you remain friendly with Johnny then, to the end?

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, yes.

KING: We'll get to all of that.

But let's give the audience a taste.

JOANNE CARSON: OK.

KING: We're going to show you a video.

Here, part of a sketch from the premier of "The Johnny Carson Show."

This was his first show? This is 195...

JOANNE CARSON: Five.

KING: ... '55. It's the premier episode and Johnny is doing a take off on Edward R. Murrow, who hosted a program called "Person To Person."

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Edward R. Murrow.

JOHNNY CARSON: Good evening.

I'm Ed Murrow.

The program is "Man To Man."

It's all live. There's no film.

Tonight, our "Man To Man" cameras have planned a visit to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Carson.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, Ed.

JOHNNY CARSON: I imagine you're excited about this new program of Johnny's.

Mrs. Carson, I notice your children there.

Would you include them, please?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'd love to, Ed.

This is Kit and this is Ricky. And this is our baby, Cory.

JOHNNY CARSON: Hello there, boys.

And now, from "Man To Man," this is Edward R. Murrow asking you to stay tuned for the debut of "The Johnny Carson Show," which I understand is just about to commence.

Good night and good luck.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: And, of course, he smoked a lot then, too, didn't he?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes.

KING: Yes.

JOANNE CARSON: Unfortunately we all did in those days.

KING: Was that show a hit?

JOANNE CARSON: It was a hit as far as I was concerned. Johnny was very proud of these 10 shows that are in this DVD. But what happened was at CBS, he said there were too many cooks. They kept changing directors...

KING: No kidding? Suits?

JOANNE CARSON: Soup, soup, soup (ph). So he later on looked at it kind of as a disaster because he didn't get to do what he wanted to do, which was continue the show every year.

But what he did do is he wrote all these sketches. The Edward R. Murrow sketch, he wrote. The Goldie Locks and The Three Bears he wrote. Everything that you see on here he wrote.

So this is Johnny before the polish.

KING: That was a wonderful era of comedy then. That was Steve Allen.

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, gosh, it was great.

KING: Ernie Kovacs.

JOANNE CARSON: It was terrific.

KING: Hysterical. Jack Paar.

JOANNE CARSON: It's your era, Larry.

KING: Yes, my era. I stood up watching all these shows. I watched -- I watched "Whom Do You -- Who Do You Trust?," which was wrongly named.

JOANNE CARSON: "Who Do You Trust?"

KING: Johnny's quiz show.

JOANNE CARSON: That's one of the bonus in here, is a "Who Do You Trust?"

So...

KING: There's a "Who Do You Trust?" episode?

JOANNE CARSON: There's a "Who Do You Trust?" episode. There is a Jack Paar Show with Johnny as host, before "The Tonight Show." There's a Jell-O commercial. It's like home movies.

KING: What a -- this has got to sell a for -- I mean you're going to make a fortune with this.

JOANNE CARSON: It -- well, the money is going to be donated to...

KING: To charity?

JOANNE CARSON: To charity, to my friend, Dr. Jean Dodds, is building a Restore Health Clinic. And so all of my profits from this go to her.

KING: Before we see some more tapes and talk to her more about it, tell me about the romance, you and Carson.

He had been married once.

JOANNE CARSON: He was married once. He had been divorced a year when I met him.

KING: No children?

JOANNE CARSON: Three children.

KING: He had three children?

JOANNE CARSON: Well, all of his wives -- Johnny had excellent taste.

KING: Were those his children?

JOANNE CARSON: So those are his three children and that was Jody.

KING: His first wife?

JOANNE CARSON: So all of his wives were outstanding, because he had such good taste.

So when I met him, I was introduced by my father. It's kind of a cute story, but it's long. We kind of were joined at the hip from the first night we met because of his honesty. I really appreciated Johnny's kind of -- what is it when people don't compromise with themselves?

KING: Yes, they don't compromise.

JOANNE CARSON: OK. Well, my father introduced us and said to Johnny, why don't you come back to the apartment and listen to a tape that her sister Carol made? And she's playing the violin. And maybe -- because you're in show business -- you can advise me.

So we go back and we listen to the tape. And I realized my father's gone deaf, because he's standing there beaming and my sister Carol is playing a violin as best as a 12-year-old can. And I'm embarrassed because he's going to ask Johnny what he thinks and Johnny is going to have to lie.

So when it was over, my father said to Johnny, OK, Johnny, is it ready -- is she ready for Julliard? Maybe I should spend some money on a special private tutor?

And Johnny looked at my father straight in the eye and said, "Mr. Copeland, save your money."

And I fell in -- at that moment, I knew this was the guy I wanted to marry.

KING: How did -- how swift was the courtship?

JOANNE CARSON: Between the time we met and the time we married?

KING: Um-hmm.

JOANNE CARSON: Three years.

KING: Oh, that's a long time by today's standards.

JOANNE CARSON: Well, you've got to remember something. Johnny is a very cautious individual. He had just come out of one marriage. He wanted to make sure he didn't make a mistake.

So we waited until he was absolutely sure. And I was sure, because I was a little skittish about marriage.

KING: We'll talk more about the personality that was Johnny Carson and more of these incredible tapes with his second wife.

Are you a widow?

JOANNE CARSON: No.

KING: No, you remarried after?

JOANNE CARSON: No, I didn't.

KING: No?

So are you -- are you technically a widow?

JOANNE CARSON: Technically.

KING: A technical widow, Joanne Carson.

We'll be right back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The "The Johnny Carson Show" starring Johnny Carson.

(END VIDEO CLIP) (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

JOHNNY CARSON: I -- I hope we take him. And how about Jell-O?

A big table full of Jell-O.

Why don't you just take all of these, huh?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Gee, I like you, Mr. Carson, and Jell-O, too.

JOHNNY CARSON: It's about as easy as, well, shooting fish in a barrel.

Would you bring the barrel out, please?

We demonstrate everything here.

Ooh. Well, actually, making Jell-O is easier. You sneak.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Joanne Carson, "The Johnny Carson Show," the DVD, is now out. There are bonuses in it from his quiz show, from when he sat in for Jack Paar, even a Jell-O commercial. I had no idea he...

JOANNE CARSON: He did commercials.

KING: ... he'd ever done a tele -- a Jell-O commercial.

I interviewed Johnny once. I spoke to him on the phone a number of times and spent some time with him at the inaugural into the Television Hall of Fame, when he inducted David Brinkley and I inducted -- I forget who I inducted.

JOANNE CARSON: He loved you, Larry.

KING: Yes. We really got along.

JOANNE CARSON: Yes.

KING: We really -- but he was a removed guy.

JOANNE CARSON: Johnny was very shy. He was painfully shy. So when he was -- was -- and even more than his family, he was very guarded. But he was very funny.

KING: I inducted David Suskind. He inducted David Brinkley into the Television Hall of Fame that night.

JOANNE CARSON: OK.

KING: And we -- we had a -- we had lockers together to share, to put on our black tie garb.

So there -- but how do you explain the shyness to the wild performer...

JOANNE CARSON: OK.

KING: ... to the magician in Vegas?

JOANNE CARSON: But that's just it, it's the magician. In other words, Johnny as a child was very, very shy. So to communicate with other people, he picked up magic, because that's something that you can do to communicate with people without talking.

See, I'm a very stay at home person. I'm a very private person. And I'm very happy being at home. I don't -- I don't like this glittery New York life.

KING: You didn't have any children with him?

JOANNE CARSON: No.

KING: How long were you married?

JOANNE CARSON: Ten years.

KING: Why did you get divorced?

JOANNE CARSON: It was my fault. Johnny and I got along very well when he was on "Who Do You Trust?" and the beginning of "The Tonight Show."

But then -- you know what happens in show business. Things get kind of out of joint and I was living this ivory tower lifestyle that's really not me. And I loved Johnny, but I really needed to go home. I needed to come back to California.

KING: Had you come west with him?

JOANNE CARSON: No. We broke up before he came west, which was really a funny thing, Larry, if you want me to share something special with you?

KING: Sure.

JOANNE CARSON: Johnny had it in his contract that "The Tonight Show" would never originate from California because he had such a bad experience in California.

So when I wanted to come back, he didn't. He didn't want to move the show.

KING: Because you were born and raised here?

JOANNE CARSON: Because I was born and raised here.

So I moved back here and Johnny said we'll just be bicoastal. You'll live in that house and I'll live in this house. But then a year later he moved the show to California.

KING: Had you already divorced?

JOANNE CARSON: We had already been divorced. So we stayed friends. And actually we were better friends when we were divorced.

KING: Let's take a look at another clip from "The Johnny Carson Show."

This is a military sketch and it features Colonel John J. Carson.

Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, why do you always have to use my kitchen for your darned war?

General! Huh! (ph).

JOHNNY CARSON: Look, the general's kids have the measles.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, what a shame. I am sorry to hear that, general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, Mrs. Carson.

JOHNNY CARSON: Now, dear, would you leave us alone?

We're planning an attack.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: An attack? Oh, don't tell me you're planning to -- to fight over the weekend?

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, why?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well the girls and I planned a picnic for the weekend.

Now what'll I do with all that potato salad?

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, don't worry, we'll drop it on the enemy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: He also had that extraordinary look.

JOANNE CARSON: Yes.

KING: And I'll ask you about that in a minute.

We'll be right back with Joanne Carson.

"The Johnny Carson Show" now on DVD.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Daddy!

JOHNNY CARSON: What?

Well, what is it, Junior?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: Can I have a dime?

JOHNNY CARSON: You know how kids are, don't you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, of course.

JOHNNY CARSON: There you are.

Now, as I was saying, there's a -- there's a very heavy concentration of ackack (ph) in this area right here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Colonel, do you think we should fly at a different altitude to avoid their radar screens?

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, it's a gamble. I always believe that the shortest route is the best, general.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good. Then rip a seat as planned (ph).

JOHNNY CARSON: Fine.

All right, now, there's one point we must avoid at all costs. That's this mountain range right here. See, if we come over this mountain...

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

JOHNNY CARSON: What'll we do with him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mail him home, gift-wrapped. It's Christmas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Darling, I'm going to be very firm about this matter of an allowance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm telling you right now, you're not going to get one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Joanne Carson.

Available now everywhere, "The Johnny Carson Show." It's going to be a -- a sensational seller.

All right, that look, that Carson...

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: ... take.

JOANNE CARSON: It's called the hook look.

KING: Yes.

Did he have it socially?

JOANNE CARSON: No. It was just -- he picked it up from Jack Benny. Jack Benny was his idol. Now, you remember Jack Benny, Larry.

KING: I know that.

JOANNE CARSON: So if you go back and watch any of Benny's films, you'll see that take.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JACK BENNY: And 12 years with the clinic in Baltimore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, yes, how did you know?

BENNY: I read your ad in "The Shopping News."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) that bad. It said that I...

BENNY: Great doctor. Get your laugh (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: So he's doing Benny?

JOANNE CARSON: He's really doing Benny.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Then they come and pull the horse inside the city. We sneak out and take over.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But it didn't work when you built the cats (ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOANNE CARSON: In other words, Johnny's timing came from Benny. You know that impeccable timing that he had came from Benny. KING: You were happy for him when he remarried?

JOANNE CARSON: Of course I was. I have a theory about marriages, and that is we come into each other's lives for a reason. But it doesn't necessarily mean it's permanent.

So as long as the marriage works -- and I think my marriage was very successful because it got him on "The Tonight Show," it supported him through that really young period of the first nine years. And then I needed to come home to California.

So when he met Joanna and she was very social, she eased him into the social scene.

KING: Did you know number one?

JOANNE CARSON: Jody was very sweet. She was the mother. She was the one that gave him three kids.

KING: What is she doing?

JOANNE CARSON: Jody is living in, I think, Arizona now.

KING: And what is Joanna doing?

JOANNE CARSON: Joanna is living in New York.

KING: Remarried, too?

JOANNE CARSON: No. None -- interestingly enough...

KING: Nobody remarries after Carson?

JOANNE CARSON: No. How -- Larry...

KING: Who?

How could you?

JOANNE CARSON: How could you settle for second best?

KING: And who was number four?

JOANNE CARSON: Alex.

KING: And she was with him when he died, right?

She was...

JOANNE CARSON: She was in Philadelphia, I think.

KING: I mean but she was...

JOANNE CARSON: Yes, yes. Right.

KING: They had separated, but not divorced, right? JOANNE CARSON: They had separated, right.

KING: What's Alex doing?

JOANNE CARSON: Alex is in Philadelphia. A lovely lady.

KING: Did you expect the death?

JOANNE CARSON: No. No, that came out of left field, because I had talked to him in December. And Johnny wasn't on oxygen at the time. I mean he was -- he was OK. He just had problems breathing sometimes, and that really scared him because it's very panicky when you can't breathe.

KING: Yes, no kidding.

JOANNE CARSON: If anyone has had an asthma attack, they understand.

Have you had asthma?

KING: No.

JOANNE CARSON: But you've been in situations where you couldn't breathe?

KING: Sure, but momentarily.

JOANNE CARSON: OK. Take that momentarily and spread that out for 20 minutes. It's very frightening.

KING: How did you learn of his death?

JOANNE CARSON: I got a phone call.

KING: Did they say it right out?

JOANNE CARSON: No, they said to me, Joanne, we're not sure if this is accurate or not, but tune into CNN. We think Johnny has passed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Family members are now telling the Associated Press, confirming that he has died, Johnny Carson, at the age of 79.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOANNE CARSON: So I was like -- from then on, I was in shock. I just...

KING: Did you watch all the tributes to him?

JOANNE CARSON: Every one of them.

KING: We did them.

JOANNE CARSON: Yes, you -- I stayed with CNN for all four days.

KING: Where was the funeral?

JOANNE CARSON: It was a very private funeral and it was scattering the ashes.

KING: You didn't go?

JOANNE CARSON: I didn't want to go. I wanted to remember -- Johnny always said to me, if you ever need anything, pick up the phone and call. I'm only in Malibu.

So I didn't want to go because I wanted to always think of him being in Malibu.

KING: Was he happy in retirement?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes, oh, very. He loved retirement.

KING: Because he said to me one of the last times I spoke to him, was every time he gets the itch to come back, he scratches it.

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: And it goes away.

JOANNE CARSON: No. Johnny knew when it was time to leave "The Tonight Show."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW," STARRING JOHNNY CARSON, COURTESY CARSON PRODUCTIONS, MAY, 1992)

JOHNNY CARSON: I bid you a very heartfelt good night.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JOANNE CARSON: And I knew and he knew he would never be back. Nobody else did. Everyone expected him to come back and do something. But Johnny is that kind of classy guy that he -- he's like I am. You do something, you do it well and then you leave.

KING: He liked Letterman, right?

JOANNE CARSON: He adored Letterman. That was like, you know, his relationship with Dave Letterman was like a younger brother. He really, really was fond of him.

KING: He wanted him to get "The Tonight Show," didn't he?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes. Yes.

KING: Which hurt Jay a lot?

JOANNE CARSON: Well, but it shouldn't hurt Jay because Jay is an extremely capable comic. He really, really is.

KING: Oh, yes.

JOANNE CARSON: But you've got to remember, something. Johnny had this relationship with David Letterman much before Jay ever came into the picture.

KING: And now Jay leaves in two years.

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

JOANNE CARSON: Everybody leaves at some point.

KING: Our guest is Joanne Carson.

We'll show some more clips from "The Johnny Carson Show" tape, as well, on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

I'm learning a lot I never knew before.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE TONIGHT SHOW," STARRING JOHNNY CARSON, COURTESY CARSON PRODUCTIONS, MAY, 1992)

JOHNNY CARSON: And one of the questions that people have asked me, especially the last month, is what's it like doing "The Tonight Show" and what has it means to me?

Well, let me try and explain it. If I could magically somehow, that tape you just saw, make it run backwards, I'd like to do the whole thing all over again. It has been...

(APPLAUSE)

JOHNNY CARSON: It has been...

(APPLAUSE)

JOHNNY CARSON: It has been a -- just a hell of a lot of fun. As an entertainer, it's been a great experience in my life and I cannot imagine finding something after I leave tonight in television that would give me as much joy and pleasure and a sense of exhilaration as this show has given me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP FROM "THE JOHNNY CARSON SHOW," COURTESY SHOUT! FACTORY)

JOHNNY CARSON: This has been a pretty interesting week. I suppose most of you folks who have been reading the papers have found out that they have just solved the Brinks robbery after six years in Boston. And even though they've solved the robbery, do you know that not one cent of over that -- over that million-and-a-half dollars was ever found?

It's amazing.

I don't want to, you know, start any rumors or anything, but I also noticed that the government announced that the budget was balanced this year. I don't suppose there's any connection, but I thought I'd bring it up.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with Joanne Carson.

All right, what did Johnny bring to "The Tonight Show?"

JOANNE CARSON: Himself.

KING: I mean what...

JOANNE CARSON: Oh.

KING: He was it.

Could he explain what he did?

Not many can.

Did he know what he was doing?

JOANNE CARSON: I knew what he was doing. Johnny had a tremendous responsibility that he felt because the viewers were late at night, they were in bed or they were relaxing. So he wanted to bring something special into their lives and not something heavy.

So he focused on being amusing and light and funny, consistently.

KING: He also was extraordinarily bright.

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, he was extremely bright.

KING: Well read.

JOANNE CARSON: I would say he was as intelligent a person as I have ever met. He was not only well read, he knew everything about everything.

KING: He didn't flaunt it, though?

JOANNE CARSON: No, he didn't. Johnny was a very low key kind of guy, except when he was home.

KING: But he also, as I've discussed many times with many comics, Rickles among them, made the guests good.

JOANNE CARSON: That's the secret of being a great host.

KING: You're not kidding. Your guests...

JOANNE CARSON: You do the same thing.

KING: The guest counts.

JOANNE CARSON: Right. Because the guest is the show. Without the guest, you have no show.

KING: A lot of people forget that.

JOANNE CARSON: But the best don't forget that, Larry. You're that way with your guests. You always make sure the guests are in their best light.

KING: Was Johnny -- thank you. Was Johnny happy in L.A.?

JOANNE CARSON: He loved L.A. because he liked the freedom. Do you know he always drove himself to work?

KING: Oh, I know. No limo drivers.

JOANNE CARSON: He hated the limousines in New York but he no choice. He tried to walk to NBC once and he put on a wig and glasses and a mustache and he got a half a block away and someone yelled, hey, Johnny, and he turned around and he came home and took them off and took the cab.

KING: He also said once that when you're on television, people don't call you Mr. Carson.

JOANNE CARSON: No, they don't.

KING: It's Johnny.

JOANNE CARSON: Johnny. Don't call you Larry?

KING: Right, yes. You're not kidding.

JOANNE CARSON: How many people yell out, hey, Mr. King?

KING: Nobody. And in New York it's, hey, Larry! Let's take a look at another clip from this new tape, the new DVD "The Johnny Carson Show." Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Would you be kind enough to write your telephone number on a slip of paper, please?

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: I will endeavor using my mental faculties to determine exactly the number -- the full number from the young lady. Thank you very much. I get the letters C -- C-R-2-4-5-9, and another 9. Crestview 2-4-5-9-9. Is that correct?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, wrong.

JOHNNY CARSON: That's wrong? Hollywood 4-1-7.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Thank you very much, Inspector (INAUDIBLE).

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That was the beginning of Carnac.

JOANNE CARSON: That was the beginning of Carnac. That was the precursor to Carnac. So everything in this DVD is pre "Tonight Show," but you will see glimpses of "The Tonight Show" in here. Because this was Johnny honing his craft.

KING: Did he do a monologue on that show?

JOANNE CARSON: Not like he did on "The Tonight Show," but, yes, he did.

KING: What, a quick one?

JOANNE CARSON: A quick one. It is just -- there were more kind of like asides.

KING: And then they were all sketches.

JOANNE CARSON: They were all sketches but he had fun with the audience.

KING: Did he like working Vegas?

JOANNE CARSON: He loved Vegas because he was in one -- I mean, all by himself.

KING: Yes. And he's on stage. But shy guy in Vegas?

JOANNE CARSON: Larry, you're a shy guy. You could get up on the stage in Vegas. I think that's a misnomer that people think a shy guy can't perform. It's the shy guys that are performers. David Letterman is a very shy guy. You're a very shy guy.

KING: Oh, he's as close as they come to Johnny, isn't he, personality-wise?

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, yes. They are like twins. They are like twins. They really are. And he's a great guy. Very kind.

KING: Did you have choices to make or were these the only 10 tapes you had? JOANNE CARSON: These were the 10 tapes that Johnny picked from 39 shows. So these are the 10 best shows. And these are the ones he gave me.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: One, two, three, four, five.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How often did you talk?

JOANNE CARSON: I would say once a week, once every other week.

KING: He stayed interested in your life?

JOANNE CARSON: Very interested in my life, as I was interested in his. You know, when you love somebody -- and you know this, Larry, when you love somebody, you may not be married to them anymore but it doesn't mean you stop loving them. You still love them.

KING: Did you fight?

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, I'm Sicilian, what do you mean, did we fight?

KING: What kind of fights did you and Johnny have? Is he shy? You must have won all of them.

JOANNE CARSON: No, no, no, no, no. He was a perfectionist. We would fight over the fact I forgot to get half and half. I mean, big fights, big issues.

KING: Really, you forgot to bring half and half home and that would cause a...

JOANNE CARSON: Right. And he would blow up and then I would blow up and I would walk out. I wore out a set of suitcases without leaving the building.

KING: Did he enjoy fame?

JOANNE CARSON: He loved it. He loved being able to perform. Not the fame part of it, the performing part of it. He loved to entertain. He didn't like the tabloids and the photographers and the hassarazzi (ph), he called it.

KING: All right. The decision to take over "The Tonight Show."

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: What was happening? Who left? Paar left?

JOANNE CARSON: Paar left. Johnny was doing "Who Do You Trust?".

KING: Paar left of his own volition, right?

JOANNE CARSON: He quit.

KING: Paar sort of walked off, right?

JOANNE CARSON: Right. He quit over something. But Paar was a very emotional guy, as you know. So Paar left. They wanted Johnny but he was tied to ABC "Who Do You Trust?". And he had nine -- seven or nine months left on his contract. So they had to wait for him and put in guest hosts until Johnny was available.

KING: And they really -- then really wanted him?

JOANNE CARSON: Then they really wanted him.

KING: So the suits at NBC had to know something.

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: Because all they had to go on was the old "Johnny Carson Show" and a quiz show.

JOANNE CARSON: No, no, no, no, they had the Friars Club.

KING: What do you mean?

JOANNE CARSON: Well, Mort Werner (ph) and Dave Tebbett (ph) saw Johnny at a Friars Club and...

KING: Roast?

JOANNE CARSON: ... thought he was hysterical. And that's how he was put on "The Tonight Show." It wasn't "Who Do You Trust?", and it wasn't these shows. It was a Friars roast.

KING: Really?

JOANNE CARSON: Johnny was very fast, very quick.

KING: Did he ever guest on "The Tonight Show"?

JOANNE CARSON: No. He was always the host and before with Paar, he just filled in.

KING: So he filled in for Paar from time to time?

JOANNE CARSON: Right. And that is on the DVD.

KING: Did he get along with Jack?

JOANNE CARSON: I don't think so. I think they were too much of the same kind of guy. They were both so shy, they wouldn't go across the room to say hello to each other.

KING: Jack was a strange guy. Great talent.

JOANNE CARSON: But funny.

KING: Funny and also bright.

JOANNE CARSON: Another bright one. All of your performers, Larry, are very bright people.

KING: We will be right back with Joanne Carson. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Oh, wait a second. I think we have got a little time here. Just one person.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is feed a cold and starve a fever.

JOHNNY CARSON: Oh, thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, it is feed a fever and starve a cold.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, it doesn't make any -- no, look, it doesn't make any difference.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's feed a fever and starve a cold.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now don't you raise your voice at me.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not raising my voice at you, you old bunion.

(CROSSTALK)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Come in. Mother!

JOHNNY CARSON: Now this is pitfall number three, and believe me, this is a problem. Now you see, for some reason, all mothers-in-law have the attitude that their sons-in-law are nothing but a bunch of stingy, heartless, good-for-nothing bums. Now this isn't my personal opinion. I've talked this over with 200 other stingy, heartless, good-for-nothing bums.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: But most men make a mistake toward their -- you know, relation like this. They are antagonistic. And that is wrong. You have to be friendly and kind.

Well, welcome to our home. I'm so happy to see you, friendly and kind little old lady.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can't fool me, you stingy, heartless, good-for-nothing, bum.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: The funny thing is, this is my mother.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We are back with Joanne Carson and "The Johnny Carson Show" tape. Hardest part about being married to Johnny?

JOANNE CARSON: I don't think there was a hard part. I think the fans were the hardest part.

KING: Because?

JOANNE CARSON: When we went out in public, because of, well, fans, fans being fans.

KING: You were not, we're told, in the greatest physical or emotional condition when the marriage ended, right?

JOANNE CARSON: I had hypoglycemia, and that's a deadly thing to deal with.

KING: What is that?

JOANNE CARSON: It's low blood sugar. I mean, it causes a lot of problems that are physical, not emotional.

KING: Faint?

JOANNE CARSON: Faint, yes. Shaky. No doctor in 1960 really knew what this was all about.

KING: How did Johnny deal with it?

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, he was wonderful.

KING: An awful lot at a time, he made fun of being married a lot.

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: How did you take that?

JOANNE CARSON: I thought it was hysterical. The best line he had was, "she left me with a hair net and a hassock." I loved it. It's a funny line. KING: So you didn't take umbrage at all?

JOANNE CARSON: Why would I?

KING: Because some -- you know, a different type of wife...

JOANNE CARSON: Larry, it's a performance.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: You must remember, girls, that you are not going to get much distance unless you remove the plug from the wall.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Let's take another look at another excerpt from the DVD. This one features Johnny as a roving reporter.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: Hi there, sports fans. The young man you see behind me is Mel DeWayne (ph), the intercollegiate trampoline champion. And tonight Mel is going to try to set a new world's record. But before he tries for that record, I would like briefly to interview him.

Mel, good to see you.

(BOUNCING ON TRAMPOLINE)

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: What do you think of the chance that you can break that record, Mel?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, pretty good, Johnny.

JOHNNY CARSON: Well, we want to wish you the best of luck, Mel.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: That's funny. That has never been seen before?

JOANNE CARSON: No, I know. Not since 1955.

KING: Yes, for all of those people who were watching in 1955, I remember that line. Did he talk much about where he grew up?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes.

KING: Because there's a school there named after them, right?

JOANNE CARSON: Correct. Johnny was very proud of his upbringing, which gave Johnny the qualities that I think he's best known for, and that's loyalty and supportiveness and a solidness. You know, he was a very moral person. I mean, people think show business people are very wild. Johnny was anything but wild.

KING: And very loyal, right?

JOANNE CARSON: Very loyal. I mean...

KING: If he was your friend, he was your friend.

JOANNE CARSON: He was -- that's it. He was my friend from 1960 to the day he died.

KING: We will be right back with Joanne Carson. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "The Johnny Carson show."

JOHNNY CARSON: Thompson (ph), how are you holding up?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

JOHNNY CARSON: Would you kindly speak up, please?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If I don't get a drink of water pretty soon, I will go mad. Stark raving mad.

JOHNNY CARSON: Mr. Thompson, please, we are on television.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Mr. Thompson, I'm happy to tell you that a helicopter is approaching.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. There it is.! It's a plane! Signal it! Wave!

JOHNNY CARSON: Mr. Thompson, please, would you kindly face the camera. We have a vast viewing audience. Mr. Thompson, just a moment, please, if you don't mind. This plane is for the press only.

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Sorry. Chin up. And now, back to Hollywood.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: And I perceive Ralph Grant (ph) is not your real name, is that true?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

JOHNNY CARSON: It seems to me it's a phony -- a cover-up, that you're hiding something?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

JOHNNY CARSON: Your real name or you're possibly better known as X-139.

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

JOHNNY CARSON: You are a spy?

(LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is correct.

JOHNNY CARSON: I get the impression you were brought to this country by submarine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

JOHNNY CARSON: You are here on a very dangerous mission, you're going to plant a bomb and blow up the nation's capital in Washington?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's right.

JOHNNY CARSON: Thank you. Give the man a nice round of applause.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Johnny Carson's second wife, Joanne Carson. He gave her these 10 tapes from his early show in 1995, "The Johnny Carson Show," a precluder (ph) of the "Who Do You Trust?" show, and then, of course, "The Tonight Show" and worldwide fame. These tapes are now available on DVD. There is a bonus on it, you will see something, bonus, from "Who Do You Trust?". You will also see a Jell-O commercial that Johnny did.

OK. You're wearing a ring that is signaling ships.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Can we show this ring to the camera and then attempt to explain it?

JOANNE CARSON: I won it in a gin game.

KING: You won it in a gin game?

JOANNE CARSON: Last night.

KING: Last night?

JOANNE CARSON: Last night.

KING: In L.A.?

JOANNE CARSON: In L.A., from Phyllis Diller. She was wearing this ring...

KING: You're kidding?

JOANNE CARSON: ... playing gin. And we got to a point in the game where it was she thought she was going to win. And I say, well, I bet you your ring that I will beat you. And she said, OK. She took the ring off and put it on the table and we played the hand and I beat her and I picked it up and I put it on.

KING: Have you no sense of dignity?

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Is that a cocktail -- is that a good ring or a...

JOANNE CARSON: That's a good ring.

KING: That's not a fake ring?

JOANNE CARSON: No. That's a good cocktail ring. I called her this morning and said, are you sure? And she said, absolutely. I lost the hand.

KING: What would she have won from you? Not that little gold band on your pinkie?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes -- well, she had a choice of these two rings.

KING: They are little gold bands.

JOANNE CARSON: Yes.

KING: They don't compare.

JOANNE CARSON: No.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: That's an unfair bet.

(LAUGHTER)

JOANNE CARSON: Well, I'm unfair. What can I tell you?

KING: Did Johnny give you a big ring?

JOANNE CARSON: I don't really like big jewelry. I really don't.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Yes, yes, I know. JOANNE CARSON: This is fun. This is fun. This is fun because it's from Phyllis. And I will wear this just for fun. To, what did you say, signal ships?

KING: Yes.

JOANNE CARSON: OK.

KING: Other bonus feature, by the way, include a 1950 episode of "Who Do You Trust?", a rare episode of his short-lived and little- known 1956 CBS daytime show. And of course, clips from "The Jack Paar" show when he was substitute host.

What was the daytime show?

JOANNE CARSON: The daytime show -- because CBS cancelled Johnny's nighttime show but he still had like four weeks left on his contract. So they put him on at daytime at CBS.

KING: Doing?

JOANNE CARSON: Interviews.

KING: Not very happy for him?

JOANNE CARSON: No, it wasn't happy at all.

KING: I will always remember interviewing Johnny Carson during the 1964 World's Fair in New York.

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, really?

KING: Oh, yes. And he told me one of the unique stories about the history of the NBC building.

JOANNE CARSON: What?

KING: Huntley and Brinkley were foundling children, they were left at the door.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: And they were raised to do the news together. Now that, that's funny.

JOANNE CARSON: That's funny.

KING: Another clip from "The Johnny Carson Show." This one has got frogs. Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get set, go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ata boy, let's go! Ata boy!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Silly is funny. That looked like Annette Febre (ph).

JOANNE CARSON: It was Annette.

KING: See him, he just ran by.

JOANNE CARSON: You're good, Larry, you're good.

KING: But that -- now that is funny just for being stupidly funny.

JOANNE CARSON: But that is Johnny's idea. That was one of his ideas. Let's have a frog race.

KING: We will be back with our remaining moments with Joanne Carson right after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: What did I do wrong?

(ANTENNA SQUEAK)

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Let's finish this up here.

(MUSIC PLAYING)

JOHNNY CARSON: I think I got it now, Doctor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hold it, hold it, stay with it.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNNY CARSON: You look more beautiful every time I see you. Today you're just so radiant. You know what I like, is the color of your lipstick.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you like it, darling? It's a kiss proof lipstick? Lipspick (ph)...

(LAUGHTER)

JOHNNY CARSON: Yes, that is Hungarian. Is that true? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, yes.

JOHNNY CARSON: Is it really?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Shall I show it to you?

JOHNNY CARSON: Would you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I would.

JOHNNY CARSON: See how that stuff works.

(KISSES HIM ON FOREHEAD)

JOHNNY CARSON: And that's kiss proof?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it proves that I kissed.

JOHNNY CARSON: Yes, you're right.

(LAUGHTER)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Johnny Carson told The Washington Post in 1993: "I have an ego like anybody else, but I don't need to be stroked by going before the public all the time." He did two brief bits on "The Late Show" with David Letterman. And in January 2005, a former "Late Show" producer revealed that Johnny occasionally wrote material for Letterman's monologues. Did you know that?

JOANNE CARSON: Yes. He had great fun writing material for David's monologues and he would write it out in long hand and fax it to him.

KING: What's the thing with you and Truman Capote? What was that all about?

JOANNE CARSON: We were joined at the hip, we were best buddies for 20 years.

KING: Johnny know him well?

JOANNE CARSON: Johnny introduced me to Truman. So the three of us used to have dinner together. And if you want to see something great, you should have been in our dining room to see Johnny and Truman, both very bright guys, throw things back and forth at each other. It was hysterical.

KING: Johnny liked eating at home?

JOANNE CARSON: Always. Preferred to eat at home.

KING: Did he ever express to you guests he didn't like?

JOANNE CARSON: I don't think he ever didn't like a guest but he expressed any guests he adored.

KING: Like?

JOANNE CARSON: Buddy Rich.

KING: He had to like Buddy, because no one was more honest.

JOANNE CARSON: He loved Buddy. He loved Frank. He loved Dean Martin, George Gobel (ph). He loved David Brenner. He liked Jerry Seinfeld. He liked -- he loved the comedians.

KING: And when Gobel came on between Dean Martin...

JOANNE CARSON: Oh, tell that, tell that, it's great.

KING: I forget the line he used.

JOANNE CARSON: The line...

KING: Gobel comes on...

JOANNE CARSON: Gobel is sitting on between Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin...

KING: Dean Martin and Bob Hope.

JOANNE CARSON: ... and Bob Hope. And he said, "I feel like a pair of brown shoes in a room full of tuxedos."

KING: Yes, what a line. George was funny.

JOANNE CARSON: Great line. George was hysterical.

KING: Didn't get enough credit, though. You know, you don't list George Gobel among the great comics. But he was...

JOANNE CARSON: But he was great because he was so underplayed. See, you love comics. You love comedy.

KING: Oh, yes. Johnny had a great pretty good deal though when he wound up having Mondays and Fridays off, right?

JOANNE CARSON: Right.

KING: He worked three days a week.

JOANNE CARSON: I know. But those three days he put everything in it.

KING: He also had a death in the family.

JOANNE CARSON: His son Ricky. And that was hard.

KING: How old was Ricky?

JOANNE CARSON: Rick was in his 20s. KING: He fell off of a -- he was taking a picture?

JOANNE CARSON: He was taking a picture and he was driving in his car and he wanted a picture of a sunset. And what he did was...

KING: He was a photographer.

JOANNE CARSON: ... got in the car and was wheeling it to get a better shot and his wheel caught on the edge of a cliff and he went over. And Johnny was devastated. We were all devastated. But he did a wonderful thing. He put all of Ricky's pictures in an album and gave it to me. So that was really nice.

KING: Did you like Ricky?

JOANNE CARSON: Adored Ricky. I mean, he was the middle son and he was the funniest. He was more like Johnny that be either Cory or Chris.

KING: And they were close?

JOANNE CARSON: Very close.

KING: Did you have to comfort -- did you call him right away?

JOANNE CARSON: He called me. You know, Larry, when you have a friend that has been your friend for 30-some-odd years, you always go to them.

KING: Wives number three and four were not jealous of you?

JOANNE CARSON: I don't know. I never asked them.

KING: I mean, did he ever bring it up, that there was ever any discord because he was so friendly with his second wife?

JOANNE CARSON: No, but he did say to me I was his unlisted touchstone. So I would imagine he was not telling them. Well, it was a friendship, you know? I just adored Johnny all of my life. And I think it was very mutual. I think he appreciated me, too.

KING: And Ed McMahon, of course, goes around with all of the tapes.

JOANNE CARSON: That's another story.

KING: Which is?

JOANNE CARSON: No, no, no, not for air.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: Oh, see now, once you do something like that, you know -- OK. I will leave it there. But you leave an assumption.

JOANNE CARSON: But you know I'm writing a tell-all book. You didn't know that?

KING: No, I did not know. I did not know such thing.

JOANNE CARSON: Knopf just brought my tell-all book.

KING: Knopf.

JOANNE CARSON: Knopf, bought it last week.

KING: A big house.

JOANNE CARSON: And it includes Johnny and Truman.

KING: And it includes everything?

JOANNE CARSON: And it includes everything. The title of the book is "How to Spoil Your Dog Rotten."

(LAUGHTER)

KING: You're a riot, Joanne. Thank you so much for this.

JOANNE CARSON: They bought it. Have me back.

KING: "The Johnny Carson Show." We will have you back for that book.

JOANNE CARSON: OK. You promise?

KING: Ten classic episodes of "The Johnny Carson Show." A lot of fun. Terrific lady. Johnny's second wife. Thanks very much for joining us. Joanne Carson.

Stay tuned now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Good night.

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