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Icon: Johnny Carson

Twenty years ago this week, on May 22, 1992, Johnny Carson ended his 30-year reign as the host of The Tonight Show. In the newly released PBS documentary Johnny Carson: King of Late Night, we’re pleasantly reminded why, decades later, the prototype Carson set for late-night hosts—trustworthy, likable, neighborly, cool—remains the same. “Johnny was to comedy what Walter Cronkite was to news,” explains Paul Block, a longtime producer on Carson’s Tonight Show.

We trusted Johnny. We liked Johnny.

And we started dressing like Johnny...»