Clips from classic early broadcasts of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson – long feared lost – have turned up in a military storage unit.
The 16mm film reel had been stored in Riverside, Calif., for nearly a half-century. Studios used to send their programming to the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service, which would distribute it to U.S. military facilities around the world, Navy journalist Will Gaskill reports. Some reels, like Carson’s, never made it back. Seems fitting: Carson was a Navy veteran of World War II.
The Defense Imagery Management Operations Center handed over the reel to Jeff Sotzing, Carson’s nephew, on Monday. “I’m really looking forward to adding this film to the collection,” Sotzing told Gaskill. “Almost everything from 1962 to 1973 is gone.”
Next: Jimmy Hoffa.