HUTCHINSON, Kan. When NBC wanted to put together a tribute to Johnny Carson after he died, they called Hutchinson, Kan. Tapes they needed were stored at Underground Vaults and Storage in Hutchinson, where about 5,000 tapes from "The Tonight Show" have been for 10 years.
Carson's nephew, Jeff Sotzing, called on Monday, the day after Carson died, to say that the tapes were needed in Burbank, Calif., as soon as possible, said Margaret Easter, vice president for sales with Underground Vaults and Storage.
Five tapes were retrieved and Wichita's NBC affiliate transmitted them to Burbank. The tapes were immediately returned to the former salt mine.
The clips were used in a tribute that Jay Leno paid to Carson on "The Tonight Show" Jan. 24.
Carson Productions, of Santa Monica, Calif., controls the rights to all "The Tonight Show" tapes recorded from 1971 to 1992.
Easter said the 30 acres of underground storage house thousands of archives from the entertainment and film industry, though she wouldn't reveal the names of other clients.
"The Carson Film Library is in a pristine, locked, secure, undisclosed location," Easter said. "It's environmentally sound and temperature- and humidity-controlled."
Easter wouldn't say how much Carson Productions pays for the vault, but she said customers pay by the size of vaults.