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This Day In History, 1925

From the entertainment section at http://www.historychannel.com/tdih/tdih.jsp?category=entertainment:

 Johnny Carson born

Talk show host Johnny Carson is born on this day in Corning, Iowa. After studying journalism in college, Carson began working in radio and television. He began writing for TV shows in the 1950s and hosted his own show, Carson's Cellar, in 1951. He began occasionally guest hosting for Jack Paar on The Tonight Show and became the show's permanent host in 1962. He retired in 1992.

What interests me about this one was that when I was growing up, Carson was the host of the Tonight Show, and always was the host of the Tonight Show. I remember when he finally retired, and I remember watching his final show.

Cut to a few years later. I'm reading the Beloit College list, in which they give a picture of the world in which the current group of freshman have grown up in. And one of the lines notes that as far as these kids are concerned, Jay Leno has always been host of the Tonight Show. To me, it was inconceivable that anyone would not think of Carson as the prototypical Tonight Show host. But I actually had a chance to ask a Beloit freshman if she knew of Johnny Carson and she admitted that although she knew who he had been, the fact is that she thought of Leno as the Tonight Show host.

In other thoughts, I've actually made it to two tapings of Late Night with Conan O'Brien and one of the Late Show with David Letterman, both in the period from 1993-1995.


Of course, many probably still think of Jack Paar or even Steve Allen as the host of The Tonight Show, and as anyone afterwards as an imposter.

I not only think of Carson as the one true host, but also think that Leno has done everything in his power to reinforce that view. I miss Carson's style, his sense of humor, his intelligence. Leno doens't have it. Letterman wants to, at least, but is too snarky. And I've never seen Conan.

December 2016

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