I watched and enjoyed it enough that I can still recall to this day, Mr. Carson announcing that he and his sidecar Ed would be leaving the show to sign up for a new night time gig. I remember actually feeling sad that I would miss Mr. Carson's daytime antics. But, as a 10 year old, I somehow wangled to watch Johnny Carson's premier as host of the Tonight Show, and somehow wangled to watch many of those shows over the next few years. I even saw that famous Ed Ames tomahawk routine when it first aired, long before it was a 'best of' clip.
Finally, my admiration for Johnny (may I call you Johnny, Mr. Carson?) got the best of me and I fired off a fan letter to his office in New York City in 1966 (BookSteve's favorite year, yay). I didn't ask for, nor expect, anything, but shortly after the 4th anniversary of his hosting the Tonight Show, I received a picture postcard from the man himself.
It arrived a bit scuffed and water damaged, and I'm guessing now that it was probably signed by an assistant (or maybe it really was Johnny—I'll never know), but it was a nifty prize for a 14 year old fan of the man.
I just found the postcard again in another old box of my mother's papers that I'm going through. I just never know what I'll find next.