TODAY   |  August 12, 2010

Heeerre’s Johnny! Carson archives now online

Johnny Carson's entire “Tonight Show” archive, a treasure trove of comedic gems once under lock and key, has been digitized, and posted online at TODAY’s Meredith Vieira takes a look.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> on a much different note, it's been over five years since the world lost a comedy legend, johnny carson . but his legacy and the laughs he gave us live on. and now the entire tonight show library has been made available online.

>> ladies and gentlemen , here's johnny!

>> reporter: for 30 years on nbc, johnny carson was the king of late night . and his " tonight show " the throne of american comedy. at the top of his game night after night, as many as 15 million loyal fans tuned in.

>> would you welcome jerry seinfeld .

>> reporter: comedians who got an early break from carson saws his influence was unparalleled.

>> we eight dirt every day of the week.

>> reporter: from the animals to the parade of celebrity guests his show was a who's who of pop culture . until he signed off for good in 1992 .

>> we're going to come to an end. nothing lasts forever.

>> reporter: the host with boyish charm passed away in 2005 . now his voice lives on. carson 's entire " tonight show " archive has been digitized and posted online at where else, over 3,000 hours, millions of jokes. a treasure trove of hidden gems long under lock and key . here's woody allen with johnny on new year's eve, 1965 .

>> without question the most adorable --

>> one of the greatest of all times. johnny carson . it's fantastic. cannot wait.

>> reporter: late night 's jimmy fallon was just a kid dreaming of stardom when carson went off the air 18 years ago.

>> every host looks up to him and wants to be like him.

>> a nail --

>> reporter: not even karnac the magnificent could have predicted the long-standing legacy.

>> i remember the first night backstage i said well, when this is over, it will be a week. then it will be a year. ten years from now you won't even remember this night. we all laughed. thinking there's no way anybody's going to do this for ten years. i don't know if i can take another night of this.

>> reporter: it seems the magic of his monologues have outlived the man. now his voice and his laughter live on. and