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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
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on April 11, 2005
Despite the name, this DVD collection is not really the Ultimate Johnny Carson collection. For those of you old enough to remember, this collection was first released on VHS videocassette way back in the mid-1990's. However, something happened during the transition from VHS to DVD as there are some scenes that have been edited out of the DVD version.
I find it ironic that on the box of the DVD collection, it mentions Madonna as being one of the guests, yet her clip never made it to the DVD version. However, she is in the VHS version. It fact, it appears that about 5 mins or so have been cut from each of the main shows (Best of the 60's & 70's; Best of the 70's & 80's; and Best of the 80's & 90's), to make room for some additional backstage footage. Or, what the footage that was cut out because Johnny no longer felt those scenes were some of his greatest moments? Or, maybe the scenes were cut because of the very lengthy intro each of the disc's have (just push the menu button on your DVD player's remote control to get to the main menu).
For those of you lucky enough to have the VHS version don't throw out your VHS tapes just yet, as you actually will be missing out on some of the funniest scenes. Because of this, I did not give the overall collection a perfect 5 stars. Instead, I 'discounted' stars as a result of the editing.
I found the bonus prime-time special "Johnny Goes Home" rather boring actually, and actually took away from the funny 'show' moments seen in each of the three main shows listed above. Also, when viewing some of the back-stage footage, my DVD player froze on me twice, to the point that I actually had to turn it off and re-boot the DVD player. Maybe this was just my collection, I am not sure if others also have had this problem.
Despite these some of the shortcomings mentioned above, this is a good collection of Carson's work and unfortunately will probably only be the only collection every offered. But, most of the scenes are with Johnny and his guests, which really don't show Johnny shining at his best, and that of course would be when he was performing the monologue. Instead of the 'Johnny Goes Home' special, I wish the producers of this DVD collection instead put together some of Johnny's best monologue jokes over the years - because it was the monologue where Johnny really did shine.
For those too young to really remember Johnny Carson, or believe that the current Leno/Letterman late night war is where it is at, really missed out on a good thing and an amazing entertainer. To paraphrase Letterman on his tribute show to Carson, it was actually very upsetting to the audience to tune into the Tonight Show and find out that there was actually a guest host on instead of Johnny. After I heard that statement from Letterman, I do remember that when I used to watch the show and sometimes would just turn off the TV set in disappointment because Carson himself - the real deal- was not hosting that night.
I truly feel that Letterman's kind and truthful words just show what a late night monarch Carson was and how he will be so sadly missed in a world of late-night pretenders.
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on January 15, 2014
For years I've been looking for the Rachael Welsh interview from the early 70's where she brought in a kitten. She asked Johnny,:"Do you want to pat my pussy?" Johnny said, "Sure move the cat." I'd pay twice as much for that one interview, just the expression on Johnny's face made it priceless. .

You can't find anyone who was funnier than Mr Carson & anything to do with Johnny Carson is great.
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on March 4, 2004
Watching this set of dvds left me with a sense of melancholy and loss. Like spent youth and good times/people gone by. This will not... it cannot... ever happen again. Carson was a master of the Late Nite format in a very special time in our history. It was a time when true stars walked the Earth. Real S*T*A*R*S like Dean Martin, Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, John Wayne, etc. would show up on the Tonight Show to trade quips with Johnny and we knew that we were in the presence of greatness... not foul-mouthed little Irish gits like Colin Farrell whose every second utterance is a four-letter swear-word, or the assorted giggling bimbos and boring, scuzzball, here-today-gone-tomorrow boy bands who frequent the Leno show. This rather pricey 3-disc extravaganza will take you back home and leave you wanting more. BEWARE though! The set is advertized as over 7 hours long and that is not the case. Here is the breakdown: BEST OF THE '60s & '70s (48 mins), BEST OF THE '70s & '80s (46 mins), BEST OF THE '80s & '90S (52 mins), JOHNNY GOES HOME (47 mins), SECOND LAST SHOW (32 mins), FINAL SHOW (35 mins). I work it out to just about 4 and a half hours on 3 discs. Mind you, the packaging, picture quality and menus are superb. Definately worth a purchase, but my advice would be to shop around for the best price.
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on April 9, 2004
In today's era of David Letterman and Jay Leno, younger generations should remember that Johnny Carson (along with his "Tonight Show" predecessors Jack Paar and Steve Allen) defined the talk-show format which made late-night television an enduring and immensely profitable enterprise. From 1962 to 1992, Carson reigned supreme as a comedian and broadcaster. Unlike Letterman and Leno, Johnny did his homework when it came to nightly conversation. No matter who sat on the couch, he remained an astute and observant host. "The Ultimate Johnny Carson Collection" is an expanded three-DVD set of "Tonight Show" highlights selected by Johnny himself, with the welcome addition of his final two programs. The set also includes the 1982 NBC special "Johnny Goes Home" -- a nostalgic, affectionate look at Carson's return to his hometown of Norfolk, Nebraska. Loaded with extras (and some recently discovered film clips from the early 1960s), the DVD collection provides first-rate material at a reasonable price. If this set leaves you wanting more, the six-DVD "Timeless Moments" series is highly recommended -- allowing viewers to see previously unavailable Carson monologues, interviews and sketches in their entirety.
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on January 17, 2004
It is a bit pricey, (I paid $...for this set at the time) $ better. But a laugh riot. Clearly Jay Leno doesn't even try to fill Johnny's shoes and he tends to rely on two bit humor. Johnny truely got in on the action. He was part of the show. Not just the host. Someone should fired Leno quick. (not that Letterman is any better. He's not. Conan O brien is the only one that even comes close to johnny) It's a wonderful set though. The Animal Hijinks dvd is a bit of a disappointment. Waste of a disk if you ask me. 30 minutes long. The 3 main disks are utterly full and then we get this 30 min disk.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon November 5, 2006
Just as diverse as there is peoples taste there will always be diverse views as to what is ultimate. Nothing short of the complete works will do justice to Johnny. However this package comes extremely close.

If you expect lots of the funniest moments of Carson you will find them. However this is more than a collection or synopsis's of the program. You get the real feeling you know Johnny as you get everything from behind stage scenes to a view of Johnny's home town told by Johnny himself.

The three DVD's are a little much to view in one sitting and are fun to rewatch. Everyone has their favorites. And most of them are here. Yet for those that just must have more there are other collections.
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on March 18, 2012
There has never been a comedian/entertainer more talented before or after Johnny Carson. He is one of a kind and the mould was broken after God created him. Loved the DVD to remind me of his talent.
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on February 4, 2004
A wonderful look back at 30 years of late night class. It just goes to show what an awesome talent Johnny was and how far late night TV has declined. The picture and sound quality is excellent, and the extras are good, too. Johnny's 1982 special where he visits Norfolk is fun to see again as well. My only gripe is that the music montage from the last show is missing, but this probably has to do with getting all the clearances from the artists, which can be difficult. Highly recommended for all us baby-boomers who grew up with the one and only King of late night. Johnny......WE MISS YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!
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on December 6, 2003
In the previous review the person explained that she did not get the extra tape Animal Hijinks that was advertised on TV. It was noted that she bought the VHS version. I bought the DVD verson and I also did not receive the extra DVD. I was going to purchase it at Best Buys for $62.00 but this seemed like a better deal. Will I be receiving it or do I have to pay the return shipping as this is a gift for my Mother and Animal Hijinks is mostly what she wanted.
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on December 26, 2003
I purchased the Ultimate Johnny Carson for my husband for Christmas. We watched it and were laughing through the whole thing. It brought back alot of memories. The animals on the show were the best. I would highly recommend this for any Johnny Carson lover. It is most enjoyable and well worth the price, which I thought was very reasonable.
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