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Johnny Carson Audiobook

Johnny Carson

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Publisher's Summary

A revealing and incisive account of the King of Late Night at the height of his fame and power, by his lawyer, wingman, fixer, and closest confidant

From 1962 until 1992, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show and permeated the American consciousness. In the ’70s and ’80s he was the country’s highest-paid entertainer and its most enigmatic. He was notoriously inscrutable, as mercurial (and sometimes cruel) off-camera as he was charming and hilarious onstage. During the apex of his reign, Carson’s longtime lawyer and best friend was Henry Bushkin, who now shows us Johnny Carson with a breathtaking clarity and depth that nobody else could.

From the moment in 1970 when Carson hired Bushkin (who was just 27) until the moment 18 years later when they parted ways, the author witnessed and often took part in a string of escapades that still retain their power to surprise and fascinate us. One of Bushkin’s first assignments was helping Carson break into a posh Manhattan apartment to gather evidence of his wife’s infidelity. More than once, Bushkin helped his client avoid entanglements with the mob. Of course, Carson’s adventures weren’t all so sordid. He hosted Ronald Reagan’s inaugural concert as a favor to the new president, and he prevented a drunken Dean Martin from appearing onstage that evening. Carson socialized with Frank Sinatra, Jack Lemmon, Jimmy Stewart, Kirk Douglas, and dozens of other boldface names who populate this atmospheric and propulsive chronicle of the King of Late Night and his world.

But this memoir isn’t just dishy. It is a tautly rendered and remarkably nuanced portrait of Carson, revealing not only how he truly was, but why. Bushkin explains why Carson, a voracious (and very talented) womanizer, felt he always had to be married; why he loathed small talk even as he excelled at it; why he couldn’t visit his son in the hospital and wouldn’t attend his mother’s funeral; and much more. Bushkin’s account is by turns shocking, poignant, and uproarious - written with a novelist’s eye for detail, a screenwriter’s ear for dialogue, and a knack for comic timing that Carson himself would relish. Johnny Carson unveils not only the hidden Carson, but also the raucous, star-studded world he ruled.

©2013 Henry Bushkin (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    Breanne 01-28-15
    Breanne 01-28-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Shouldv'e been called "Bushkin and Carson""
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No idea. An entertainment lawyer?


    What could Henry Bushkin have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Done more research, this book isn't about Johnny Carson so much as Bushkin's experiences with Carson.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Always sounded like he was attempting to mimic the subject but missed by a mile.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    Not really.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't stress enough that this book is really more about the lawyer than Carson. It's not very flattering and comes off as mostly bitter.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bert Byers Sevierville, TN United States 11-08-14
    Bert Byers Sevierville, TN United States 11-08-14 Member Since 2005
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    "Hereee's Johnny"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Johnny Carson to be better than the print version?

    Yes


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Johnny Carson?

    The book is punctuated with memorable moments. Moments that depict Johnny Carson as a mean vindictive person one moment and a smiling king of late night TV the next. It is interesting to watch Johnny change.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I regularly watched "The Tonight Show" and enjoyed learning about the whys and wherefores of backstage intrigue but was particularly stuck by the events leading up to and after President Reagan's inaugural celebrations. I dare say we would never know about the inner life of Johnny Carson without Henry Bushkin's presence.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I always loved Johnny Carson's life and career. Knowing what I know now, I am a little more guarded in my appreciation of Carson's life. He was obviously very talented and respected but he was also a devious heavy handed manager of his product. Undoubtedly it would never have been so successful without his hand on the wheel guiding every aspect of its success.


    Any additional comments?

    Bushkin was there for just about every major moment of Carson's career. As his best friend and personal advisor, he holds back nothing. He doesn't hesitate to share the good with the bad and points out Carson's shortcomings from his early days while still celebrating his many notable successes.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maya A. 08-06-14
    Maya A. 08-06-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Interesting perspective about the famous host"

    Bushkin provided an interesting narrative about Carson, his life and the entertainment world he lived in. But at times, I couldn't help wondering if Bushkin should have kept some of his grievances to himself, given his long personal and professional relationship with Carson. Still, it was a good listen, even though the narrator's voice got annoying at times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tress 07-08-14
    Tress 07-08-14 Member Since 2016
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    "The Henry Bushkin story"
    What would have made Johnny Carson better?

    The story would have been better if it was more about Johnny Carson and less about Henry Bushkin. It just seemed like a chance for Mr. Bushkin to write his autobiography and get people to read it when they never would have by putting Johnnies name on it


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ralph 05-21-14
    Ralph 05-21-14
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    "Horrible Performance Distracts Form Marginal Book"

    This book contains a number of interesting anecdotes, stories and insights; however, it is poorly written and terribly narrated. It is the self-aggrandizing story of someone who was in the right place at the right time, initially did a good job, and finally grew "too big for his britches."

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Walter Sobchak 03-09-14
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    "Compelling Story, Horrendous Narrator"
    If you could sum up Johnny Carson in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, Informational, Irritating


    If you’ve listened to books by Henry Bushkin before, how does this one compare?

    N/A


    Would you be willing to try another one of Dick Hill’s performances?

    Absolutely not!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    For content, yes. Unfortunately, from the opening minutes, the narrator made it quite clear that this was going to be a struggle to listen to at all, let alone all at once.


    Any additional comments?

    I'd just like to say, it's not fun for me to write negative reviews, of anything. If Dick Hill has battled some sort of health issues, I truly hope he recovers fully but, there's no reason for him to continue in the field of narration. He constantly runs out of breath mid-sentence and frequently, mid-word. If anyone is old enough to remember, the closest comparison I can find is Mr. Magoo. It's just unfortunate that such a compelling story was almost ruined, it could have been a pleasure with virtually any other competent narrator.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John USA 10-23-13
    John USA 10-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Enjoyed it very much."
    What did you love best about Johnny Carson?

    I enjoyed hearing about his private life and the back story of his TV career.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Johnny Carson.


    Which character – as performed by Dick Hill – was your favorite?

    Henry Bushkin. Dick did an excellent job of reading and keeping me interested.


    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ned Kirby Branson Missouri 05-15-17
    Ned Kirby Branson Missouri 05-15-17

    Mad Ku

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    "Poor little rich boy"

    Johnny Carson at everything a man could want fame money women boat yacht private tennis courts but he did not have peace of mind nor did you ever feel you have the love of his parents especially his mother and this made it very difficult for him to relate to people especially women this is a really tragic book but very well written

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    D Sully 05-08-17
    D Sully 05-08-17 Member Since 2014

    spencerfan

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    "A trustworthy story? Doubtful."

    Bushkin claims to have written a book about Carson, but spends a great deal of time talking about himself. It's also blatantly evident that Bushkin wrote this book to try and clear his own name and reputation as much as anything else.

    I listened to this because I wanted to learn more about Carson. I suppose I did, but how much of this story can you trust when the author goes so far as to pin some of the blame for his own infidelity on Carson? He acts like Carson all but put a gun to his head and forced him to cheat on his wife. Bushkin ultimately chose money over his own family.

    He blames a lot of his own personal failures on Carson. In doing so he outs himself as a chump instead of a man. A man takes responsibility for his own mistakes and failures. Bushkin does not.

    The book was marginally entertaining I suppose, but Bushkin's lack of integrity makes me question everything inside of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Palilonis New Jersey 04-19-17
    G. Palilonis New Jersey 04-19-17
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    "great performance somewhat disjointed sorry"

    It's a great story. And well told. But it often seemed like the chronology was all wrong. each chapter starts with a block of years. Like 1979-1981. The following chapter would start with 1978-1982. Ultimately it's probably best to disregard the years and just enjoy the various story lines and allow Bushkin (the writer) to inform you when certain stories overlap and how they are connected.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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