Johnny Carson's Desk Goes On Auction Block

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The desk where late-night TV star, Johnny Carson, sat for seven years, as well as his studio clock and the white star-marked section of stage floor where he delivered his comedy monologues, will be offered in a public auction in Dallas, October 8.

The desk where late-night entertainment king, Johnny Carson, sat from 1974 to 1981 will be offered in a public auction of entertainment memorabilia, October 8, 2005, conducted by Heritage Galleries of Dallas, Texas ( The sale also includes the section of the "Tonight Show" studio floor on which he stood to deliver his opening monologues, the studio clock and recordings Carson made in college.

"It's the desk from which hundreds of entertainers' careers were launched by Carson’s interview questions, and where his famous Carnac the Magnificent routines entertained millions of viewers," said Doug Norwine, Consignment Director of Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers.

The rosewood desk with a gold-colored, inlaid top has a hidden, sliding ashtray holder so Carson could conceal his lit cigarettes. The back is lined with orange shag carpet to deaden sound, and shows a burned black spot from a famous on-air episode when Carson set fire to his note cards, according to Norwine.

"The large studio clock marked the end of an era. It was set to Eastern time and positioned off camera for Carson to keep track of the time. It was stopped by producer Fred DeCordova, exactly 35 seconds past 12:30 AM, after Carson signed off the air for the last time on May 22, 1992, and the hands of the clock remain fixed to that historic moment."

Another item in the sale is a three-foot square section of the stage floor from NBC's Studio One in Burbank, California. There is a five-inch white rubber star on which Carson stood each night from August 1985 to May 1992 during his opening monologue.

The desk, clock and marked floor section were consigned by "someone connected to the entertainment industry" who wants to remain anonymous, according to Norwine.

Other items in the auction are three 16-inch transcription disks Carson recorded in 1949 at the University of Nebraska for his senior thesis, "How to Write Comedy for Radio." Believed to be the earliest known recordings of Carson, they were saved for decades by one of his college professors.

A "Rambo" prosthetic body suit costume worn by Carson during a comedy skit, one of Carson's monogrammed sport coats, and a suit worn by sidekick, Ed McMahon also will be offered in the sale.

"The auction will include an oil painting made by Frank Sinatra in 1992, six years before his death, and believed to be the only Sinatra painting ever offered for sale to the public. It is geometric shapes in orange, blue and red, and signed, 'F. Sinatra,' on the lower right side of the canvas. The painting is consigned by one of the closest friends of the late entertainer," explained Norwine.

This past April, Heritage Galleries sold Johnny Carson's on-air microphone at auction for $50,787.

For additional information about the upcoming auction, contact Heritage Galleries at (800) 872-6467. On the Internet:


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