Baby Boomers and Gen Xers often talk about “the good old days” as if the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s were easy, breezy, more innocent times, while Millennials and Gen Zers talk as if nothing much happened before they came along. They could all learn a lot by watching The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, a timely time capsule telecast nightly on Antenna TV at 11:30 p.m., exactly the time period when Carson long held court as the most powerful man in television, at least in front of the camera. If nothing else, the Tonight of his time is a smart and entertaining alternative to what now passes for post-prime entertainment on the broadcast networks (including the Jimmy Fallon version of Tonight, which is good for goofy fun but little else). Every night the vintage Tonight offers a new treat for those of us old enough to remember the Carson era -- and the world as it was at that time. But there is plenty of serious stuff to contemplate, as well.
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