Carson's Desk Up for Auction in Dallas

9-28-05 - The rosewood desk Johnny Carson sat behind for countless celebrity interviews and his Carnac the Magnificent routine is among several "Tonight Show" items headed for the auction block.

Among the unique features of the gold-colored, inlaid top desk: a hidden, sliding ashtray holder Carson used to conceal his lit cigarettes. It also includes a trash bin and a lining of orange shag carpet that still bears a burn mark from the time Carson set fire to his index cards after his jokes kept tanking.

Carson used the desk on "The Tonight Show" between 1974 and 1981.

Other memorabilia up for grabs: a studio clock used by Carson, a three-foot-square section of flooring that he stood on to deliver his monologue from August 1985 to May 1992, and audio recordings he made in 1949 at the University of Nebraska for his senior thesis, "How to Write Comedy for Radio."

The items will be publicly auctioned Oct. 8 by Heritage Galleries & Auctioneers of Dallas. A minimum reserve won't be announced until seven days before the auction.

The items were consigned by "someone connected to the entertainment industry" who wants to remain anonymous, said Doug Norwine, director of the auction company's music and entertainment memorabilia.

The clock was stopped by "Tonight Show" producer Fred DeCordova and the hands remain fixed at 35 seconds past 12:30 a.m. eastern time, right after Carson delivered his final farewell on May 22, 1992.

The section of flooring has a five-inch white rubber star marking the spot where Carson stood for his monologues.

Carson, who died in January at age 79, hosted the show from 1962 to 1992.

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

"If the microphone was his pen and sword, the desk was his field of battle," Norwine said. "This is a desk with a story."


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