In The Shining, when Jack Torrance has clearly gone mad and is chopping down the bathroom door with an axe to get to his wife, why does Jack Nicholson say "Here's Johnny!" when his character's name is Jack? Is it completely random and showing how he's gone so insane he's just saying random names, or does it have some sort of significance?

1 Answer 1


That line was ad-libbed by Jack Nicholson as an imitation of Ed McMahon's intro for The Tonight Show.

From here:

Jack Nicholson ad-libbed the line "Here's Johnny!" in imitation of announcer Ed McMahon's famous introduction of Johnny Carson on U.S. network NBC-TV's long-running late night television program The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. Stanley Kubrick, who had been living in England since before Carson took over "The Tonight Show," had no clue what "Here's Johnny!" meant. Carson once used the clip of Nicholson as the introduction to one of his annual anniversary specials.

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    Also, Jack is a nickname for John so it fits with his character's name too.
    – tcrosley
    Commented Jan 14, 2012 at 17:27
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    @tcrosley Really? Jack means John? Now I didn't know that! And I thought Bill for William was already weird! Thanks for this information.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Jan 15, 2012 at 0:13
  • @tcrosley - Yes, my dad John goes by Jack. It's probably less common nowadays, but it used to be pretty common. Commented Jul 14, 2012 at 5:37
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    They called jfk jack sometimes
    – user3825
    Commented Jan 8, 2013 at 23:33
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    Another example of the John/Jack - In the village where I grew up, a new breed of dog was named the Jack Russell Terrier, after the local Parson who bred them for hunting. He was called John Russell.
    – David Gard
    Commented Feb 5, 2014 at 16:40

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