How Much Do You Know About Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show?


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About This Quiz

Heeeeeere's Johnny! For decades, Americans tuned in to "The Tonight Show" to watch Johnny Carson interview musicians and movie stars, perform in silly skits and simply make audiences laugh at the end of each day. Take our quiz to see how much you remember about the guests, characters, moments and skits that helped transform Johnny Carson into a late-night legend.

What did Johnny Carson do when faced with a roaring cheetah on set?

In another unforgettable moment from the show, one of Johnny's guests brought a pair of live cheetahs. When one of the animals lunged at him, Carson ran clear across the set and into the arms of Ed McMahon for safety.

Which funny lady was named permanent guest host before she was banned from the show forever by Carson himself?

Joan Rivers and Johnny Carson were close, both personally and professionally. She even became the permanent guest host for "The Tonight Show" in Carson's absence. After she left to start her own series, Johnny banned her from the show forever and never spoke to her again.

Which cape-wearing seer, soothsayer and sage guessed the answers to questions in sealed envelopes, using only his mystic powers?

Johnny Carson donned a feathered turban for his bits as Carnac the Magnificent -- a seer of all things who offered such awful puns as, "Debate -- it's what you use to catch de fish!"

Which host of countless NBC specials and USO tours made more guest appearances on "The Tonight Show" opposite Johnny Carson than any other star?

Known for his series of "Road to..." movies, as well as his connection to the USO, the legendary Bob Hope appeared on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" 131 times -- more than any other guest in the history of the show.

What was the name of Steve Lawrence's wife, who appeared with him to sing on "The Tonight Show" more than 80 times?

Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme made more than 80 appearances on "The Tonight Show," performing songs like "We've Got Us," which won the pair a Grammy.

Who replaced Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show" in 1992?

Carson replaced Jack Parr as the host of the show, and was himself replaced by Jay Leno. Carson hosted his last show on May 22, 1992 and Leno took over the very next day.

Ed Ames played Mingo on "Daniel Boone." What did he throw, with terrible accuracy, earning one of the longest laughs in the history of "The Tonight Show"?

Ames picked up a bit of skill throwing tomahawks on the set of "Daniel Boone" and appeared on a 1965 episode of "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" to show off his unique talent. Unfortunately, he aimed his weapon straight at the crotch of his (faux) target, earning one of the longest laughs in the history of the show.

Who sang an impromptu duet with Carson on his very last episode with guests, on May 21, 1992?

Robin Williams and Bette Midler appeared on the final episode of the show with guests, on May 21, 1992. Midler and Carson sang a verse of "Here's That Rainy Day" together that left many viewers reaching for a tissue to wipe away tears. On the May 22 final show, Johnny had no guests.

Which very frequent guest entered the stage to the tune of "Thanks for the Memories"?

"Thanks for the Memories" was Bob Hope's signature song. Though he was the most frequent guest on Carson's show, he was also one of Johnny's least favorites. Carson felt that Hope's interviews were too scripted, and the pair had very different comedic styles.

What was El Mouldo's claim to fame?

Played by Carson himself, El Mouldo was perhaps the world's worst magician. After claiming that "El Mouldo does it again," he would challenge an audience member -- typically a ringer -- to perform the trick.

What did Myrtle Young collect at her factory job?

Carson once hosted Myrtle Young, an employee of the Seyfert Potato Chip Company who collected chips that resembled objects or people. The host almost drove Myrtle to violence when he pretended to chow down on one of her prized specimens.

The first episode hosted by Johnny featured Mel Brooks, Groucho Marx and which female star of "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane"?

Joan Crawford played Blanche Hudson in the iconic 1962 film, and also made an appearance on the first episode of "The Tonight Show" hosted by Johnny Carson. Tony Bennett also appeared on that premiere episode.

Which of these was the audience most likely to shout at Johnny Carson?

Carson's "Tonight Show" was famous for audience interaction. Typically, Johnny would lead into the joke by discussing something like a hot day in the desert. The audience would then reply, "How hot was it," setting the host up for his next bit.

Known for partnering with Dean Martin in his early career, what comedian guest-hosted for Johnny 52 times?

Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin had a legendary partnership early in their careers before splitting up and going solo. Lewis went on to guest-host for Carson more than 50 times during the run of "The Tonight Show."

What was "The Edge of Wetness"?

One of Carson's favorite bits involved a made-up soap opera called "The Edge of Wetness." During this segment, the host would read a ridiculous scene from the soap, then the camera would zoom in on a random audience member, suggesting they were a cast member in the made-up drama.

The most-watched episode of the show featured singer Tiny Tim taking part in what type of event?

When singer Tiny Tim married Miss Vicki live on "The Tonight Show" on December 17, 1969, more than 45 million people tuned in to watch the nuptials. Sadly, the union didn't last and the pair divorced just a few years later.

Which children's character hosted the show on April 2, 1979?

Kermit the Frog played guest host in 1979 to promote "The Muppet Movie." As he tried to interview guests, his fellow muppets took turns interrupting him.

Which "Golden Girls" actress played Eve opposite Johnny Carson as Adam in a 1979 skit?

Who else but a much younger Betty White could star as the leaf-clad Eve, who became history's very first divorcee when she split with Adam in an unforgettable 1979 skit?

Which "Taxi" star portrayed Elvis in a 1977 episode?

The quirky Andy Kaufman did a spot-on Elvis impersonation in a 1977 episode of "The Tonight Show." He performed a pair of Elvis songs, including his own rendition of "Blue Suede Shoes."

Long before hosting "The Tonight Show," what sort of entertainer was Johnny Carson?

At the age of 12, Johnny Carson got a big break into show business after his mail-order magician's kit arrived. Using the name The Great Carsoni, he began performing at local churches and civic clubs.

Who was the famous singer behind "Danke Schoen" that accused Johnny Carson of being mean-spirited?

When interviewed by Larry King. Wayne Newton alleged that Johnny Carson always insulted his masculinity during appearances on "The Tonight Show." Newton claims that he threatened Carson until it stopped.

How long did Johnny Carson host "The Tonight Show"?

Carson hosted America's most-watched late-night program for just under three decades, from 1962 to 1992.

What was Aunt Blabby's favorite subject?

To play the elderly Aunt Blabby, Carson dressed in drag as Ed McMahon questioned him about various topics related to elder affairs.

Which one of these child actresses stole the show when she appeared in 1982?

Shortly after the release of "E.T. the Extraterrestrial," Drew Barrymore appeared for an interview. Her hilarious antics and her hello to director Steven Spielberg melted everyone's hearts.

Who hosted the Tea Time Movie alongside the lovely Matinee Lady?

Art Fern was another of Carson's personas. The fast-talking Fern advertised products alongside a beautiful assistant known as the Matinee Lady, and often found himself caught in compromising situations with his female co-host.

Despite Johnny Carson's invitation, which actor never appeared on the show?

During an interview, Johnny Carson revealed that the actor he most wanted to interview on the show was Cary Grant. Grant never appeared on the show.

One of Johnny Carson's jokes led to a nationwide shortage of a household supply. Which one?

During the opening of the show, Johnny Carson once made a joke about an article mentioning a shortage of low-grade toilet paper. The viewers took it to heart and wiped out supermarkets. Carson came under fire by a congressman for his joke and the panic it caused.

What famous actor once got to saw Carson in half during a magic show?

While touring with The Mercury Wonder Show for Service Men in 1943, Rita Hayworth was a no show during Orson Welles' magic act. A young and newly enlisted Johnny Carson took her place.

Which actor voiced Mr. Potato Head in the "Toy Story" films after appearing more than 70 times on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson?

Iconic comedian Don Rickles was one of Carson's most frequent guests, with 75 appearances. He later voiced Mr. Potato Head in "Toy Story" and its sequels.

What did David Howitzer aim to protect?

Yet another of Carson's personas was David Howitzer, Consumer Reporter. Howitzer appeared to show off counterfeit and deceptive products -- like a toupee sold as an expensive Oriental rug.

What was Floyd R. Turbo most proud of?

Johnny Carson regularly appeared as the conservative redneck Floyd R. Turbo, who frequently introduced himself as an American. He was known for his lack of world knowledge, believing plutonium was named after a Disney character, for instance.

Which comedian debuted the "Headlines" segment during a guest appearance on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson"?

Before he became the regular host of the legendary late-night show, Jay Leno made numerous guest appearances. It was during one of this guest spots in 1986 that he started doing his famous "Headlines" segment, where he read off the funniest news headlines he could find.

After Bob Hope, which Canadian television comic was the most frequent guest to appear opposite Carson on "The Tonight Show"?

Before he was a director for series like "Designing Women," David Steinberg made more appearances on "The Tonight Show" than any other guest during Carson's run, except for Bob Hope.

Who became the first African-American to host a talk show, when he guest-hosted for Johnny for a week in 1968?

Singer and actor Harry Belafonte made history in February 1968 when he guest-hosted "The Tonight Show" for a week. His guests included Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

What was special about the pencil's Johnny Carson played with during the show?

During any given episode, it's not uncommon to see Johnny Carson fidgeting with and bouncing pencils. Producers decided to give him pencils with erasers on both ends to avoid any risk of injury.

Before he got his own late-night talk show in 1967 -- co-starring a young Regis Philbin -- which star guest hosted for Johnny Carson nearly 200 times?

Joey Bishop guest hosted "The Tonight Show" more than anyone else in history, making 177 appearances before getting his own short-lived late-night show starting in 1967.

Which branch of the military did Johnny Carson serve in during WWII?

In 1943, Johnny was commissioned to join the Navy. After being assigned to the USS Pennsylvania and heading for the war zone, bombs were dropped on Japan and the war ended.

During a typical "The Tonight Show" opening sequence, how many one-liners did Johnny Carson drop?

"The Tonight Show" is considered so groundbreaking is the break from the usual talk show format. During opening monologues, writers gave Carson between 16 and 22 one-liners while avoiding saying more than three sentences about any one thing.

Paul Anke was one of the composers of "The Tonight Show's" theme. Who was the other?

Known as "Johnny's Theme," Johnny Carson was responsible for the lyrics that go along with Paul Anke's composition. The lyrics were never used, but Carson got to reap 50% of the royalties.

Which spokesman for American Family Publishers served as Johnny's sidekick on "The Tonight Show"?

Ed McMahon served as the perfect sidekick -- and an ideal springboard for many of Johnny's jokes. McMahon is probably best known for introducing Carson with his famously exaggerated "Heeeeere's Johnny!"

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