"I sell a lot of clips to people like the new biography shows," he explained. "Someone doing a story about Drew Carey or Robin Williams or any person, they'll want to track their career, and, of course, 'The Tonight Show' is a basic part of these guys' careers."
Movies are another area where the clips have proved useful, last year's "Talk to Me," starring Don Cheadle, being one example. Cheadle plays an ex-con turned disc jockey who gets a shot at the big time.
"The story line is that the character gets a shot on 'The Tonight Show' in 1971, I think it is. So they bought some footage from us and re-created 'The Tonight Show' set in New York. When you see the movie, it's amazing because they've cut this character into 'The Tonight Show.' "
Few "Tonight" clips from the New York days exist, as the first 10 years of the show's tapes were erased years ago. But an early '70s clip featuring one of Bette Midler's first "Tonight" appearances proved to be perfect for the movie. Overwhelmingly, the clips available today are from the shows produced in Burbank, where the show moved to in 1972.