“...he is the perfect conduit: just sophisticated enough to talk to sophisticates, just hayseed enough to seem astounded by what they tell him.”
--Nora Ephron in a January 1967 profile of Johnny Carson published in the New York Post
published a really good story
on Johnny Carson's rise in this month's issue. I've always heard about the massive impact Carson had on American culture, but never quite got it myself until now.
The article included part of the snappy Nora Ephron quote excerpted above, starting at "just sophisticated enough..." -- I found the beginning of it thanks to a search on Google Books
. It explains the Iowa-born, Nebraska-bred Carson's appeal perfectly.
Here is another interesting stat, from another VF article published this month
: At its peak, Johnny Carson's Tonight Show
had an audience of more than 15 million viewers per night. At the moment, Leno's Tonight Show
has around 3.7 million viewers.