Heeeeere's Johnny's Guest Book

Three guest books from TheTonight Show with Johnny Carson circa the mid-1960s are currently being auctioned on eBay Inc. (item #3870654456).

At press time, the bid was $33,300 (104 bids), which did not yet meet the reserve price. The auction ends Sunday.

The iconic late night TV host's death has helped trigger a flood of memorabilia to the popular auction site, including a set of tickets from the host's last 16 shows ($168.50, 9 bids), to his boyhood home in Norfolk, Neb., which has been on the block before ($93,500, no bids).

The books, from the famous Green Room, are ostensibly in the possession of the son of a former Tonight Show employee.

According to the online pitch, the show was cleaning out a closet in 1967 and was prepared to throw the books out (copies of the Carson show of that era were also jettisoned for space) when someone remembered the boy's interest in autographs and offered them to him.

"Even at age 14, I knew we had rescued a treasure from the trash," says the auctioneer, "and I’ve kept the books until this day."

As billed, they contain more than 400 signatures, including Groucho Marx, Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, Mel Brooks, Joan Rivers, Paul Newman, Jimmy Stewart, Boris Karloff (though his was cut out and framed in a moment of "teenage ignorance), Benny Goodman, Johnny Mathis, Arnold Palmer, and William Saroyan.

The collection was appraised a decade ago at $25,000-$50,000 (according to the seller), but he is looking for more than that. "He obviously did not figure in the intense interest generated by the recent death of Mr. Carson."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.