Heere’s Johnny

Nothing to really add here. This American Masters documentary on Johnny Carson is fantastic, and surprisingly poignant.

If PBS had greater confidence in their shows, they would run stuff like this during their pledge drives, instead of displacing American Masters, Nova, Independent Lens, and Frontline with kindof embarrassing 2012 performances by 1972 stars.

Watch Johnny Carson: King of Late Night on PBS. See more from American Masters.

Author: Harold Pollack

Harold Pollack is Helen Ross Professor of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago. He has served on three expert committees of the National Academies of Science. His recent research appears in such journals as Addiction, Journal of the American Medical Association, and American Journal of Public Health. He writes regularly on HIV prevention, crime and drug policy, health reform, and disability policy for American Prospect, tnr.com, and other news outlets. His essay, "Lessons from an Emergency Room Nightmare" was selected for the collection The Best American Medical Writing, 2009. He recently participated, with zero critical acclaim, in the University of Chicago's annual Latke-Hamentaschen debate.

4 thoughts on “Heere’s Johnny”

  1. thanks for posting that.

    It was a better time in many ways, and Johnny Carson was one of the reasons.

  2. I’m glad for this post. For me, the most interesting part of the show was how the people still most obviously emotionally affected by their memories of Carson were the comedians he liked and promoted, Leno, Letterman, Gary Shandling, Drew Carey, etc. Carson was their surrogate Dad, the Pater Familias of American comedy.

  3. Their pledge-drive content is always pretty weird. It seems designed to appeal to a certain upper-middle-aged, upper-middle-class demographic of PBS viewer. I suppose I’ll find myself there in a few decades, maybe watching a fat Billy Corgan doing an acoustic number.

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