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July 24th, 2013
06:18 PM ET

Johnny Carson's 'The Tonight Show' released on iTunes

No one got a better introduction on television than Johnny Carson. Moments before the legendary host of "The Tonight Show" would appear on stage, Ed McMahon's voice would boom out, "Heeeeeere's Johnny!"

Now, the late night legend is being re-introduced to a new audience online. Apple's iTunes posted 15 hours of footage from "The Tonight Show," as well as dozens of alert tones, because who wouldn't want to be woken up by Ed McMahon screaming "hi-yo" through a smartphone?

The clips were pulled together by the Carson Entertainment Group, which was tasked with the difficult job of choosing from thousands of hours of footage.

"It is hard to pick," said the group's president Jeff Sotzing, who is also the nephew of Johnny Carson. "When we put out a product on VHS years ago, Johnny and I sat around a large coffee table ... and picked the best moments that we thought were representative of "The Tonight Show.""

The footage available on iTunes consists of compilation videos, and individual shows condensed to 30 minutes.

It showcases several actors and comics before they became famous, such as Jerry Seinfeld, and Ellen DeGeneres.

"It's amazing, a shot on ‘The Tonight Show,’ a successful shot, landed these guys a gig in Las Vegas the next night, it's really amazing," said Sotzing.

Sotzing said a platform for launching new talent does not exist in today's television landscape.

After Carson retired as host of the program, comedian Jay Leno took over in 1992.

"[Leno] gets a lot of monologue skills from watching Johnny do the monologues. They deliver it in the same manner, his interaction with the guests is very similar. It all stems from Johnny who started this all," said Sotzing.

Making the footage available in a digital format accessible to tablets and smartphones will hopefully bring Johnny Carson closer to a younger audience, one that may have never seen the show live.

"He loved technology, he would be amazed this is happening," said Sotzing.

As for whether Carson is still funny in 2013, Sotzing said, "It does hold up, it's great stuff."

CNN's Jessica Metzger contributed to this story.

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