Monday, January 24, 2005

Johnny Carson (1926-2005)

Yesterday, Johnny Carson passed away after losing his battle with emphysema. He was 79 years old. I learned of this news when all the major networks cut away from their scheduled broadcasts to announce Carson's death as breaking news. The seriousness with which the story was treated was quite surprising to me. I knew that he was a big star, but I had no idea how much he apparently meant to so many Americans.

I am too young to have a connection with Carson. I was only 13 when he signed off the air for the final time. I don't think that I actually watched The Tonight Show one single time while he was host. I feel now that I missed an important part of Americana. It seems that Carson was something altogether different from the late night hosts of today. He apparently wasn't just someone who happened to amuse you as you dozed off to sleep. He seems to have been someone that you invited into the living room as a friend.