There’s no doubt that The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson became a staple of its time. At the height of the show’s popularity, in the 1960s and 1970s, millions upon millions of American’s tuned in each night for what Johnny Carson had to say. However, while Carson became an icon on television, there were quite a few behind-the-scenes secrets that made him controversial to some.
While it wouldn’t be such a big deal now, many disliked that Carson regularly made jokes at the expense of other famous figures and spoke about his favorite (and least favorite) guests. Meanwhile, there were plenty of rumors and scandals regarding the host’s personal life that never stuck around too long. So, read on to discover everything you never knew about The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – and the legend himself!
1. Johnny Carson Wasn’t The First Choice
Believe it or not, Johnny Carson wasn’t always going to be the host of The Tonight Show. Initially, NBC offered Bob Crane the chance to take over for host Jack Paar after his departure from the show! After all, Crane had a successful radio and TV career, while Carson was still a newbie working at ABC. Luckily for Carson, Crane refused the offer as he wanted to pursue an acting career.
Of course, Bob Crane would eventually land the lead in Hogan’s Heroes, which became his most iconic role. Meanwhile, Carson took the opportunity to become the Tonight Show host!