Friday, May 28, 2010

Retro Friday: 1950s L.A. TV, Including Johnny Carson

Before hosting "The Tonight Show," Johnny Carson's resume included hosting a show here in L.A. on local KNXT-TV (Channel 2, now known as KCBS) in 1951 and 1952: "Carson's Cellar."

Here's how the Museum of Broadcast Communication's Encyclopedia of Television describes the show: "Relocating to Hollywood in the early 1950s, Carson's television career took a step forward with his weekly low budget series, Carson's Cellar, on CBS' KNXT. Performing monologues and satirical sketches reminiscent of his later work, Carson attracted the attention of such stars as Fred Allen, Groucho Marx and Red Skelton--all of whom dropped by to appear on the local show at no charge. Based on his work with Carson's Cellar, a more sophisticated Johnny Carson Show was created for regional broadcasts in the western United States. This proved unsuccessful and Carson subsequently began work for the Red Skelton Show as a writer."

And speaking of KNXT, here's the Memorial Day edition of the station's 1961 morning program "Panorama Pacific."

Another cool find: A promo from 1954, when KECA-TV Channel 7 changed its call letters to KABC.

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