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Greeting Catchphrases

"Her-r-r-re's Johnny!" - Ed McMahon, Johnny Carson's second banana co-host, opened THE TONIGHT SHOW with "and now ladies and gentlemen, her-r-r-re's...Johnny!" from October 2, 1962 to the final show in May of 1992.

Ed McMahon with Johnny Carson - THE TONIGHT SHOW
Ed McMahon and Johnny Carson

Ed McMahon's elongated nightly introduction originated from his days as a carnival pitchman where he'd call the races with "And Ther-r-re THEY GO!

TRIVIA NOTE: The phrase "Her-r-r-re's...Johnny!" was raised to cult status when Jack Nicholson starred in the horror motion picture The Shining (1980). Possessed by an evil force, Jack Nicholson chased after his wife with a fireman's ax. When she locked herself in the bathroom, Jack chopped a hole in the door, stuck in his head and maniacally cried, "Her-r-r-re's...Johnny!"

When Johnny Carson left the show his replacement Jay Leno opened each program by approaching the audience members in the front row and exchanging handshakes and high-fives. But soon after September 11, 2001, Jay's handshakes stopped for a time.

As he told Parade Magazine "They were still digging bodies out of the World Trade Center and we didn't want to look like we were having too much fun...Some thought I stopped shaking hands for security reasons. No. The audience is searched when they enter. We were just trying to say, 'We'll be silly but also respectful'."

The TONIGHT SHOW theme song was written by Paul Anka.

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