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It was 20 years ago today...

Published Tuesday, May 22, 2012 @ 2:42 AM EDT
May 22 2012

... and late night television's never been the same. Johnny Carson's last day as host of The Tonight Show. The video below is actually from the night before, but it's the one most people as Johnny's official "farewell."

(YouTube video. From the description: Bette Midler singing "One For My Baby (And One For The Road)" on Johnny Carson's final show with guest appearances (1992). On May 21, 1992, the eve of Johnny Carson's last show, he hosted his final guests, Robin Williams and Bette Midler. It was also the final show before a regular studio audience; fans, who had been camping out to get into the final shows, waited up to 35 hours to get into this one. Once underway, the atmosphere was electric and Carson was greeted with a sustained, two-minute ovation at the start. Williams displayed an especially uninhibited take on his trademark manic energy and stream-of-consciousness lunacy. Midler, in contrast, found the emotional vein of the farewell. When the conversation turned to Johnny's favorite songs- "I'll Be Seeing You" and "Here's That Rainy Day" -- Midler mentioned she knew a chorus of the latter. She began singing the song, and after the first line, Carson joined in and turned it into an impromptu duet. Midler finished her appearance from center stage, where she slowly sang the pop standard "One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)". Carson became unexpectedly tearful, and a shot of the two of them was captured by a camera angle from across the set which had never been used before. The audience became tearful as well, and called the three performers out for a second bow after the show completed. This penultimate show was immediately recognized as a television classic, and Midler would consider it one of the most emotional moments of her life and would win an Emmy Award for her role in it.)

Categories: Johnny Carson, Music, Video, YouTube

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