Tag Archives: Johnny Carson

Comedy Break: Carnac the Magnificent

Johnny Carson had a remarkable career and a long run with the Tonight Show. He had many wonderful recurring gags, skits, and lots of fun guests as well. One of his memorable characters was Carnac The Magnificent.

He started the act in 1964 and was popular all the way to the end of the show. Carson would come out in a large feathered turban and cape with Indian music being played by the band. He would turn towards the desk and would always stumble. Now there was one occasion where they replaced the desk with one made of Balsa wood. This allowed Carson to stumble and fall through the desk! It became favorite to be shown on anniversary shows.

The act was a simple one. He would take a letter handed to him, divine the answer with his “mystical” powers, and then open the envelope which contained the question. As always, there was a one that did not get great applause. For that he would utter a type of curse like “may a sick hippopotamus blow bubbles in your hot tub.”

Here is one classic from 1975 that shows Carson as Carnac the Magnificent in all its glory.  Enjoy.

Classic Carson Moment: Carson Confronts Don Rickles

Way back when Johnny Carson was the king of late night television, he had a round of guest hosts who would fill in. One of them was Don Rickles. Rickles was guest hosting the show and was fooling around with the cigarette box on his desk (back then smoking on television was allowed). He ended up damaging it but put it back together. Then when Carson returned and opened his cigarette box, he discovers it was damaged. At the time Rickles had his own television show on the same network (CPO Sharkey).  And here is what happened….


There was a time when staying up late at night was worth it to see the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. He hosted this from 1962-1992. During this time, the show attracted most of the major stars of the day along with other interesting guests. He also did spoofs of commercials and related items. He did a whole series that poked fun at Karl Malden when he did the famous American Express commercials.

Below is one such spoof with Jack Webb. Jack Webb was known for his Dragnet roles and movies. His dead pan acting got him praise and questions whether he ever smiled or not. He did (there is a picture of him laughing). Here in this spoof with Johnny Carson, he is playing his role from Dragnet. In the role he made famous, he just wanted the facts. So sit back and watch how Sergeant Joe Friday asks about the facts of the famous Copper Clapper Caper Case.

Happy Friday everyone.