Carson Entertainment

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Logo captures by Logophile, megamanj2004 and others
Video captures courtesy of gman1290
and File Preserver

Background: Carson Entertainment is the production company of Tonight Show host Johnny Carson, formed in 1980 to own and produce The Tonight Show. Prior to 1981, it was an in-credit mention at the end of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

1st Logo
(August 5, 1981-December 16, 1992, 2009- )
Carson Productions (1980's)Carson Productions (1981)Carson Productions (1981)Carson Productions (1982): The Tonight Show w/ Johnny CarsonCarson Productions (1983)
Carson Productions (1983)Carson Productions (1984)Carson Productions (1985)Carson Productions (October 4, 1985)Carson Productions (1986)Carson Productions (1987)
Carson Productions (1988)Carson Productions (1989)Carson Productions (May 22, 1992)Carson Entertainment (2013)
Logo: We start out with a brightly-lit city skyline, then the outlined word "CARSON" zooms out from us to a comfortable distance, on a gray background. Three thick light-blue horizontal lines wipe in from right to left, filling the outlined word "CARSON" with blue and at the same time, the word "PRODUCTIONS" wipes in the same direction in sync with the horizontal lines. The copyright stamp usually is shown:
  • Sometimes, there was no copyright stamp at all. This generally occurred on non-Tonight Show programming.
  • A "THIS PROGRAM WAS PRE-RECORDED" disclaimer is known to have appeared on versions with the 1981 and 1983 copyright stamps.
  • The copyright stamp appears to have begun to wipe in sync with the horizontal lines in 1986. Preceding that, it usually appeared after the logo finished.
  • 1981-1984: © CARSON PRODUCTIONS, INC. [YEAR] (Note: 1983 was in mostly lower case letters)
  • 1985-1986: © CARSON TONIGHT, INC. [YEAR] (1985 had turquoise and green variations)
  • 1987-1989: © CARSON TONIGHT INC. [YEAR]
  • 1990-1992: © CARSON TONIGHT [YEAR]
Variant: This in-credit text for Carson Productions was seen on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Night with David Letterman: Carson Productions would stop co-producing Late Night in 1992 after Johnny Carson's retirement.

Produced by
in Association with

(the last bit would be used for later episodes of Letterman)

are trademarks of NBC

© (YEAR) National Broadcasting Company, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.

Later Variant (2009- ): The city background appears more animated (it's a live-action timelapse), the "CARSON" logo is in the Impact font, the background after the logo forms is much darker, and "ENTERTAINMENT" replaces "PRODUCTIONS". Beginning with the reruns of the Tonight Show as "Johnny Carson" on Antenna TV on January 1, 2016, this logo is followed by a copyright notice for the Johnny Carson Foundation on a background of Johnny's desk and signature coffee mug with his portrait on it.

  • Original Variant: The zoom-out of "CARSON", the wiping in of the horizontal lines, "PRODUCTIONS," and usually the copyright stamp possibly along with any disclaimers
  • Later Variant: Same as the original variant, but with a city timelapse background.
Music/Sounds: A loud five-note bombastic horn fanfare with a "WHOOSH" accompanying the wiping in of the horizontal lines and "PRODUCTIONS." There is also a variation in which only the last three notes are played. Sometimes the end theme of the show plays over the logo. Since 2009, the audio became quality-enhanced. Beginning on January 1, 2016, reruns of the Tonight Show on Antenna TV replace the music with a new trumpet driven jingle.

  • Original Variant: The logo was first introduced in the fall of 1981, but remains uncommon. Currently seen at the end of Amen episodes on TV One and UP and on Carson's Comedy Classics on Reelz Channel. It also existed at the end of TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes with the outro of the show's theme music. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is the most obvious show with this logo. The logo is retained on video releases of Carson's last two shows and the 1982 special Johnny Goes Home on DVD and was spotted on a 1986 episode posted on YouTube by Carson Entertainment Group. The Late Night with David Letterman variant can be seen on VHS tapes of the show from Goodtimes Home Video. It is retained on Tonight Show repeats shown on Antenna TV, but with updated music.
  • Later Variant: It can be seen at the end of the episodes on the Tonight: 4 Decades of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson DVD box set, released in 2009. It has also replaced the in-credit mention on two full episodes posted on the official Johnny Carson YouTube channel by the Carson Entertainment Group in 2013. You can expect this on future releases of The Tonight Show material.

2nd Logo

Logo: A full moon rises above a city at night, with black and blue gradient skies and several lights in the city (there are several light lines with the rest all over). Once the moon gets into its place, "CARSON PRODUCTIONS" (in the
Carson Productions (1988)same style as the previous logo, except "CARSON" is a lighter blue color and "PRODUCTIONS" is in a different font and white) flies from behind the moon and rotates to the right, going towards the screen. As all this happens, the city turns into a dark gray background while the three blue lines ease in. The company name zooms back to its familiar place.

FX/SFX: The moon, the company name flying in and rotating, the background changing.

Music/Sounds: Just the theme to the video.

Availability: This was never used on TV shows: it was only seen on graphic designer Robert Backstrand's 1988 Demo Reel, which can be seen <a class="external" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" title="here">here</a>.

3rd Logo (Carson Productions Group)

Logo: Same as the 1st logo, but the animation is also much smoother and the city is brighter. However, when the text zooms out, its instead a red outline revealing a gold background with a spotlight in the corner. The stripes are also in gold, but beveled out from the background and "CARSON" is red with a gold border. "PRODUCTIONS GROUP" can be seen below, also beveled in gold.

FX/SFX: The text and stripes.

Music/Sounds: None or the end theme of the show.

Availability: Rare. Seen at the end of tapes in Buena Vista Home Video's Johnny Carson: His Favorite Moments series.