By the time Johnny Carson took over "The Tonight Show" desk in 1962, he was already a seasoned performer. humorist. co!lledy writer and television personality with a professional career dating from his teenage years in Norfolk, Nebraska as magician-comic "The Great Carsoni." His rise to fame and fortune began in the late 1940s with his TV debut on "The Squirrel's Nest," a daily show out of WOW-TV in Omaha.
Before long he was in Hollywood, where for two years he hosted the popular series "Carson's Cellar" on CBS' KNXT (now KCBS). Stints as a writer on "The Red Skelton Show" in 1954 (plus a single. but memorable, last-minute, on-camera appearance substituting for the injured Skelton) and as host of the CBS game show "Earn Your Vacation" led to "The Johnny Carson Show," a network variety series featuring comedy sketches and parodies, many of which he wrote himself.
From 1957 to 1962, Carson honed his quick wit and winning personality by fronting the ABC daytime quiz show "Who Do You Trust?" At the same time he was busy doing guest shots on programs like "The Steve Allen Show," performing on Broadway in The Tunnel of Love, and appearing as a featured actor in three comedic anthology television plays. The Archive has recently acquired two of these anthology programs, one of which has been transferred from the original kinescope, while the second has been preserved by the Archive from the original 2" master videotape.