East Texans Share Favorite Johnny Carson Memories - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

1/24/05-Tyler

East Texans Share Favorite Johnny Carson Memories

For more than 30 years Americans welcomed Johnny Carson in to their homes night after night. Now the the jokes Johnny shared with so many are gone, but the laughter carries on. Carson died Sunday morning from complications with emphysema. He was 79-years-old.

Monday, East Texas fans of Carson shared their favorite memories of the "King of Late Night."

"Every night, we watched him," said Connie Bartley. "Every night before we went to bed. It was just a closing of the day." "The 'Carnac the Magnificent,'" said Joe Eakin.

"I always liked (it). I liked all of it, just everything about it." "They were always funny and he was a good comedian, he always had a good show," said Peggy Yeager.

"The last one. The sign off that he did, that heartfelt goodbye it makes you want to cry, really it does. He was a great man," said Karen Miner.

Bobby Purdue with LPH Productions in Tyler had friends at the show's Burbank studios. He visited 'The Tonight Show' 18 times while Johnny was host. "It was just a thrill to get to see somebody that I watched on television growing up in the 50's and 60's," he said. Bobby never met Johnny on his visits, but he like many viewed him as an old friend. "I actually remember seeing Johnny on 'Who Do You Trust?' when I'd come home from school in the afternoons and watch him on TV. So, I kind of followed his career and then when he took over for Jack Parr, I used to watch 'The Tonight Show.' I'd sneak out of the bedroom and go watch the show." From new talent to legends of old, Johnny brought them all in to the country's homes, making him part of the family and part of the history books. "To be on top for so long and to go out on top the way he did," said Bobby, "he's just a big part of American history."

Maya Golden reporting, mgolden@kltv.com

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