OK, I'll admit it. I never understood the attraction to Johnny Carson (and I know I'm chiming in late here). But I've figured out why: my parents (farm-born and reared) were long in bed by the time that the Tonight Show came on, and by extension, so was I until my early teens--and then, by that time, I was generally up to no good anyway. But here I sit at 11:30ish on a weeknight watching the only true heir to Johnny, another Jon--Jon Stewart on the Daily Show. So, I finally get what Johnny was to fully two or three generations of Americans... the last voice heard before sleep. With commentary on the day and some celebrity auto-masturbation. Looks kind of familiar doesn't it? Only now, there are many options; then, there was one.
Rest in peace Johnny. I get it now.