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The passing of Johnny Carson Jan. 23 marked the end of an era in TV. While his heirs-David Letterman on CBS and his replacement on NBC, Jay Leno-carry on the tradition, no one will equal Mr. Carson's hold on the late-night audience, which he dominated for three decades with "The Tonight Show."

Mr. Carson often performed spots on air, like this Best Foods ad in "The Johnny Carson Show," 1956.

In 1972, "The Tonight Show" moved from Rockefeller Center to "Beautiful Downtown Burbank."

Mr. Carson gave many comedians their start on his show, including his successor, Jay Leno, in 1977.

Mr. Carson's skewering of pop-culture icons in skits was another "Tonight Show" hallmark.

He started his career as magician The Great Carsoni, but won fame as Carnac the Magnificent.

From Camelot to the Clinton White House, Mr. Carson's monologue was a barometer of American pop culture. Some 50 million people watched his final broadcast in 1992, according to CNN.

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