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Johnny Carson with David Letterman: 1978-2005 — a YouTube collection in nine(!) parts.

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by AKA, Sep 5, 2019.

  1. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Don Giller uploaded this priceless stuff to his YouTube channel a few weeks ago, and it's absolutely wonderful.

    Part 1 — 1978-1979:
     
  2. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 2 — 1980-1982:
     
  3. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 3 — 1983-1984:
     
  4. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 4 — 1985:
     
  5. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 5 — 1986:
     
  6. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 6 — 1987-1989:
     
  7. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 7 — 1990-1991:
     
  8. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 8 — 1992-1993:
     
  9. AKA

    AKA 86451103 Thread Starter

    Part 9 — 1993-1994, 2005 (the CBS years):
     
  10. Dan C

    Dan C Forum Fotographer

    Location:
    The West
    Wow!!! I need to wait until I'm done with work to swim through those. They were so great when appearing together on each other's shows. I absolutely loved the one where Dave went on the Tonight Show and "sued" Carson over damage to his crappy old truck. Judge Wapner officiated and Dave bribed him some steaks "to take home to Mrs. Wapner" or something like that. Man I loved his offbeat humor.

    dan c
     
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  11. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    Don Giller's YouTube page is a blessing. It's my go-to for when I need to watch classic Letterman (which is a lot this winter). Unfortunately, I think these were taken down. Most likely due to copyright restrictions with Carson's estate. Hopefully they'll get put back up at some point. I missed these uploads.
     
  12. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I guess no one saved these videos elsewhere? I see that recently Don did upload a "Talk Show Hosts on Letterman" series and these parts seem to have all of Carson's appearances on Dave's shows:



    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GK8M9YWaiNg
     
  13. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    Location:
    USA
    It’s still amazing to me that Carson didn’t hand over the reins to Letterman.
     
    MAYBEIMAMAZED likes this.
  14. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Carson didn’t have a say in the matter. It was NBC’s decision. While Johnny eventually obtained the rights to his back catalog, he didn’t have ownership of the “Tonight Show” name or format (note that the Antenna TV and streaming reruns can’t use the “Tonight Show” title).

    That said, it was pretty clear that Carson wanted Letterman to be his successor. I wonder if a “Tonight Show Starring David Letterman” would have had the ratings dominance of Leno’s run in the 90s. Dave’s “Late Show” was on fire from a ratings standpoint when it first started, but by the late 90s, you could see the five-day-a-week grind wearing on him (his NBC show only aired four days a week). And the ratings declined.
     
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  15. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Senior Member

    Location:
    Maryland
    Whatever you think of Leno vs Letterman, it is quite clear from a ratings perspective that Leno was the better choice. Leno always beat Letterman in the ratings.
     
  16. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Dave was ahead in the ratings for the first few years. The lead-ins were a huge factor. NBC had much higher-rated shows leading into late night than CBS. That was probably why Leno's ratings eventually stayed above Dave's.
     
  17. Andy Dursin

    Andy Dursin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Providence RI
    Dave premiered on CBS my Freshman year at college in '93. When he started, it was obviously a huge deal because so many of us were religious viewers of his NBC tenure through high school. Very quickly though, it was obvious something changed. I would watch him on and off for a few years, but I had some friends who totally lost interest right off the bat.

    For me, even though he obviously had success at 11:30 for many years, his show was never the same once it left NBC. It became silly instead of sarcastic and surly (IMO when Dave was at his best), and the overall tone -- audiences cheering whenever he'd say "canned ham" or whatever -- had next to no edge.
     
  18. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Wasn't there anything silly about crushing things in a presser and throwing stuff off buildings on Late Night? I don't really see the difference between NBC Dave and CBS Dave that some people have talked about. I was never a religious viewer but I was only a couple years younger than you and watched his shows from the mid-80s into the CBS years. I definitely don't see much difference between what he did with Meg Parsont on Late Night and Rupert Gee on Late Show. Those were two of my favorite guests on either show, just normal people he brought into his bizarre comedy world.

    He became a better interviewer as the years went on too. Those early Late Night interviews were sometimes pretty bad. Late Night probably had more classic moments overall, like the Velcro suit. But then Late Show had some classic things like the Drew Barrymore flashing incident.

    I'm also a fan of his Oscar hosting. I love that he mucked up Hollywood's glamorous night with lots of weird, awkward gags. I did stop watching sometime in the late '90s or early '00s, which I think was mainly me getting bored with celebrities in general. Dave was probably right when I think he said that he should've quit 10 years earlier than he did. But, overall, I think his act held up very well for a long time. Definitely compared to Leno, who completely and totally lost his edge as soon as he got the Tonight Show gig. Leno was the one who changed when he got the 11:30 job, not Dave. I used to like Leno a lot when he guest-hosted the Tonight Show but couldn't believe how flat and dull he got after getting the full-time job. It was Leno who couldn't adjust to the 5-day-a-week schedule.

    I think maybe the old cliche is in play here that some people like an artist when he's "underground" and then lose interest when he goes "mainstream." But I think that's usually much more about the person's perception that they're seeing something rare and special that the rest of the world doesn't know about than it is about a change in the artist.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
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  19. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    I loved the NBC show when I was in college. The show became more of a standard talk show on CBS, and much more structured. I loved things like the dancing waters/prancing fluids, the 360 degree show, or the Chris Elliot Jr. Show. They didn’t have as much of those types of bits on CBS.
     
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  20. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    There were probably less times when they completely reformatted the show on CBS, but those were so rare even on NBC I don't even remember seeing them as a casual watcher in the '80s. I only found out about ones like when the entire show was done in the NBC offices and Teri Garr takes a shower on camera later on.

    He still did some pretty crazy stuff on CBS, at least in the '90s. The Rupert-on-the-street segments are gold...

     
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  21. Wasn't Carson's call
    For more on this read ' The Late Shift '.
    There's a not-too-bad made- for-tv
    movie about it available on YouTube.
     
  22. Andy Dursin

    Andy Dursin Forum Resident

    Location:
    Providence RI
    You can be dismissive about my opinion all you want, but I certainly detected a "change in the artist" with Letterman. To me there was a clear difference between his NBC show and his CBS show and there was right off the bat. The audience at NBC never laughed hysterically at his bits, its what added to the overall mood of the show and when something didn't work, Dave's reaction to that -- the tension, sarcasm, whatever you want to call it -- was often hilarious. It's what made the show memorable on a daily basis. When he got to CBS, the audience was whipped into a frenzy and went crazy whenever he did something that wasn't even remotely funny. Like the other poster said, it was more conventional. I also disagree his interviews were better over time. Certainly (given his interest in social issues, as evidenced by his Netflix series) he's become more pretentious over the years, which is also something that started happening when he was at CBS, when suddenly it was like he was doing Nightline every once in a while with a certain politician he didn't like.

    Sure the NBC had silliness too -- but Dave's overall humor went from being something something that was sarcastic and very dry to something that was more outwardly silly to me. His overall persona, the overall mood of the show -- it became more bombastic, louder, more hysterical at CBS. Also, for me, became tedious on a nightly basis after awhile. In fact nobody I know who watched the show regularly on NBC kept with him as the years passed. But I certainly acknowledge he found a difference audience at 11:30 who liked what he was doing, with much milder and conventional content to match. To each his own.

    Either way I go back to the NBC shows I have taped -- things like the Afterschool Special parody where Dave tried to explain about Voyagers being canceled, Chris Elliott's bits, running over objects with trains! -- those were some wonderful segments still worth revisiting that weren't eclipsed by anything he did at CBS.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2021
  23. JediJones

    JediJones Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I think Dave becoming more political was more of a 2000s thing, not a '90s thing. I remember he had Bob Dole on the show in the '90s, and I think he was respectful with him. I remember him saying if Dole had done as well in the campaign as he did on his show, he could've won the election. There was a serious shift in the media at large around the time of Obama entering the presidential race. They all loved the idea of a Black President just too much to maintain any notion of neutrality or impartiality. And since Trump set himself up as a major nemesis of Obama, that continued into the Trump years. Dave was not immune to that. I watched a lot of '90s Dave, and very little of post-2000 Dave, so I'm not very well equipped to defend his show past that year. He himself has said he should've retired 10 years earlier, which I agree he was probably right about.

    I could never watch any show 5 times a week no matter how much I liked it. I would imagine anyone doing that would get tired of the show and stop watching it at a certain point. I'm not sure, but I would guess he had a larger studio audience at CBS, which I think might be true based on camera shots I can remember, which could've led to more consistent laughter for jokes. I'm pretty sure he was still self-deprecating on CBS. I never liked his monologues much, that was probably the one area where Leno always had him beat. So I didn't care much whether the audience laughed at the monologues or not. If I recall, that would be the part of the show where he would typically "bomb."

    I don't think he found an entirely different audience at CBS. There are plenty of people who followed him throughout his career. As for the interviews, I definitely think they got better as the years went on, but not at all because they became conventional. Some interviews were certainly weird in the NBC days, like with Cher, Crispin Glover and Pee-Wee Herman, but he went on to have more weird interviews and incidents with Madonna, Drew Barrymore, Joaquin Phoenix and Sharon Stone on CBS. And other popular guests like Bill Murray, Steve Martin and Siskel and Ebert continued to come on and do funny stuff.

    As far as the "bits," I can remember hilarious stuff pretty consistently in the '80s and '90s...watching the clips on YouTube I can find funny stuff from both eras. When he kept talking about "Mambo Kings" in the '90s that was hilarious to name one. There may have been less "prop comedy" in the '90s, but the verbal stuff was still great to me.
     
  24. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I know Letterman and his staff initially blamed CBS's (at the time) poor primetime ratings for Leno's overtaking him in 1995. But I'm skeptical that was much of a factor, since Leno maintained his ratings dominance over Letterman for the next 19 years, and during that time CBS's ratings recovered and became quite good at times but Letterman never again managed to beat Leno in the ratings. I think the truth is simply that a larger amount of the public preferred Leno.
     
  25. Kyle B

    Kyle B Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago
    Dave’s initial ratings for the first year on CBS were HUGE. Leno dropped about 10-15% when Letterman came on CBS, but Letterman attracted so many people who weren’t watching the major networks at 11:30 that he was just demolishing Leno in the ratings. But eventually a lot of that audience drifted away.
     

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