Let’s take a moment to consider this: there are people today who say “Somebody else used to host The Tonight Show?” When people my age asked that, we were learning about Jack Paar. When people today ask that, they’re talking about Johnny Carson. He truly was the King of Late Night, and the standard by which people judged everybody else who hosted a talk show. And yes, while the bits they have on talk shows today are cool and make for great YouTube fodder, Carson was funny just by his own self. Granted, you could always count on an animal handler to make things interesting, but that’s been the way of things since the beginning of television.
All of this to say that you, no matter your age, need to check out Time Life’s release of The Vault Series. It’s from the “Carson Vault,” which if memory serves, is stored in a mine for safekeeping. You get twelve complete shows across six DVDs which–and I love this—contain commercials as well. We’re looking here at the medium-sized release of this–the six-disc’er–since it also comes in three-disc (appetizer) and twelve-disc (entrée) form. With this edition you get vintage appearances from the likes of David Brenner, Steve Lawrence, Tony Randall and Carl Reiner. I picked the names you’d have to ask your parents about on purpose, kids.
The set also comes with two hours of bonus bits, including bonus monologues and Vincent Price cooking–which we all need more of. The six-disc set (and its larger and smaller cousins) will be available on October 4th through Barnes & Noble and will have an SRP of $59.95. That comes out to about $3.50 per hour of content, which isn’t exactly cheap, no, but this is television history here, folks. And also be sure to ask your parents what a big deal streaking on television was. Enjoy.