Watch Ayn Rand Talk With Johnny Carson

Slate's Culture Blog
Aug. 14 2012 3:43 PM

Did You See This? Ayn Rand on Johnny Carson

randcarson
Ayn Rand and Johnny Carson on The Tonight Showin 1967

Ayn Rand is back in the news this week, thanks to Mitt Romney's selection of Paul Ryan as the GOP's VP nominee. As David Weigel explains elsewhere in Slate, Ryan's longtime (albeit partly disavowed) devotion to Rand could have consequences for American monetary policy if he and Romney are elected—while Rand's strident atheism may cause problems for Ryan on the campaign trail if reporters choose to bring it up.

What may get lost in this high-toned Rand discussion is just how much a part of popular culture she was in her own lifetime. Lest we forget, the YouTube user warpicachu has uploaded her long 1967 interview with Johnny Carson in two parts. Besides hearing Rand distill her philosophy into a few TV-friendly sentences, you'll also get another glimpse at late-night talk shows as they used to be. "We do like to sit down occasionally," Carson says, "and get some views of people who are important in the world today."

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David Haglund is a senior editor at Slate. He runs Brow Beat, Slate's culture blog.