RIVERSIDE (CBSLA.com) — A film can filled with early “Tonight Show” appearances featuring Johnny Carson has surfaced in Riverside.

(Aside: Riverside? Shouldn’t that have been beautiful downtown Burbank?)

The films, from 1962-63, were long thought lost.  Says Larry Sichter of the Armed Forces Radio Network, “All the shows from 1962-72, NBC had recorded over.”

Greg Mills, reporting for CBS2 and KCAL9, says the films represent a treasure trove for Carson fans. “It was a banged up can with old film, but it turns out to be a priceless gem.”

Mary Carnes found it. “When I saw it said ‘Johnny Carson’ I thought …this is something. This is something.”

She discovered the can in the archives of the Riverside-based Armed Forces Network, a group that sends TV shows to soldiers fighting overseas via satellite.

The film was found in a climate-controlled storage unit.

Says Mills, “While the film is nearly 50 years old, it is in great condition.”

Jeff Sotzing, Carson’s nephew and president of Carson Entertainment, told Mills this was “a great find.”

He’s hoping to digitize the shows and make them available to fans online.









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