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Ayn Rand on Johnny Carson

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I don't think even ARI has copies of this. Years ago, they put out a general announcement in an edition of Impact asking anyone if they had anything, even audio tapes. Nothing's come up, though, as far as I know.

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Does anyone have a video or a transcript from Ayn Rand's appearances on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show? According to IMDB, she figuratively stole the show in her first appearance.

Do you have any information about when it aired? Year, or date? Season or episode number?

I would first check to see what's available at libraries using WorldCat. You could then do an Interlibrary Loan request from your local library - it's usually free. Other than that, I would set up a Saved Search on eBay with certain keywords. eBay will email you whenever someone posts something for sale that matches those terms. This is a good way to find rare stuff like this.

Edited by brian0918

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I think it was in the 1960s. The original tape was lost in a store room fire. IIRC, she was on there twice. However, who knows if someone recorded the show. There may have been video tape in primitive form back then.

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The site that licences Carson's clips, says:

Almost all of the footage from 1973 to 1992 is available. There are only a handful of clips available before 1973.

According to ARI's timeline, the show was: August 16th, 1967.

Gotta love Google!

Edited by softwareNerd

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The site that licences Carson's clips, says:

According to ARI's timeline, the show was: August 16th, 1967.

Gotta love Google!

I was never under the impression that the owner of the license would make the content available. It's my experience in these cases that they don't. Most likely the only chance is if someone recorded it when it originally aired, so eBay is what we're left with.

Edited by brian0918

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Michael Paxton, director of the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, has said that he sought the interviews to include in his film but was told by Johnny Carson that these shows were erased by NBC in the late 1960s.

I believe Carson devoted the entire 90 minutes to his interview with Rand in at least one of the shows.

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Michael Paxton, director of the documentary Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, has said that he sought the interviews to include in his film but was told by Johnny Carson that these shows were erased by NBC in the late 1960s.

I believe Carson devoted the entire 90 minutes to his interview with Rand in at least one of the shows.

Yeesh... Not even a transcript?

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Somebody must have a homemade audio cassette tape of it or something! I'm going to put in a "wanted" request on eBay.

That's very unlikely. VCRs did not become commonplace until very late in the 70s. Even then they were quite expensive to begin with (on the order of $200 to $500 at late 70s dollars). I think Zenith made a home video recorder in the 50s or 60s, but it would have been outrageously expensive at the time; I don't recall whether it was even marketed or not.

Here's an indicator: have you seen any home recordings of the Moon Landings?

As for audio, there were open reel tapes back then (cassettes are a 70s development). Many people had audio recorders/players at home. However, these were usually housed in heavy pieces of furniture, which might not ahve been placed close to the TV set. In addition, as far as I know (this was a bit before my time) not many people had microphones for their tape machines (they could record records and radio just fine, though). But an audio tape is much more likely than a video tape.

Finally, I recall many news and interview shows used to offer transcripts for sale (right up to the late 80s, in fact, if not currently still). I wonder if NBC has one.

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A follow-up to D'kian's remarks:

By the mid-1960s, Sony, Ampex and RCA had reel-to-reel, black and white VTRs (videotape recorders) priced a little under $1,000 for the home consumer market. I've seen some of these at garage sales. So it is not inconceivable that an affluent Rand fan would have taped the shows.

As for audio recordings, by the time of Rand's appearance on The Tonight Show, portable tape recorders were widely available and popular with journalists and college students. The sound quality was only fair but more than adequate to capture voices. I'd be surprised if no one in Rand's circle made an effort to save her words for posterity.

And, yes, NBC did offer transcripts of programs, but I believe they were only of news programs such as Meet the Press.

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A follow-up to D'kian's remarks:

By the mid-1960s, Sony, Ampex and RCA had reel-to-reel, black and white VTRs (videotape recorders) priced a little under $1,000 for the home consumer market. I've seen some of these at garage sales. So it is not inconceivable that an affluent Rand fan would have taped the shows.

Is that adjusted for inflation, because those 1,000 dollars would be more like 10,000 dollars today?

As for audio recordings, by the time of Rand's appearance on The Tonight Show, portable tape recorders were widely available and popular with journalists and college students. The sound quality was only fair but more than adequate to capture voices. I'd be surprised if no one in Rand's circle made an effort to save her words for posterity.

And, yes, NBC did offer transcripts of programs, but I believe they were only of news programs such as Meet the Press.

It's also true that The Tonight Show was about the biggest thing on TV back then, and there were, maybe, 5 stations that a person could view, not the hundreds we have today.

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Is that adjusted for inflation, because those 1,000 dollars would be more like 10,000 dollars today?

No, that's in 1960s' dollars. Still, it's not hard to imagine a wealthy man paying that price for a videotape deck. A high-end amplifier-tuner like Fisher's cost over $400 in the early 1960s.

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:):o :o :o :o :o

I found on WorldCat that the Library of Congress has LP recordings of the show, provided by the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service. Check out all the ones from August 1967!!!

And here is an entry in the Library of Congress that actually mentions Rand.

Edited by brian0918

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I'm going to submit an interlibrary loan request. Alternatively, I'll be going to DC in a few weeks, or we could find someone who lives nearby who can try to get a copy of the recording.

That is excellent. You should notify the Ayn Rand Institute of the existence of these recordings. They may not be aware of them.

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That is excellent. You should notify the Ayn Rand Institute of the existence of these recordings. They may not be aware of them.

The Library of Congress shows 25 recordings from August 1967. However, each are only 30 minutes, so I'm wondering just how many days are actually covered. The only way to find out would be to go through them.

I tried requesting from my local library, but the LOC doesn't send stuff to them anymore after they received a record broken in half. I'm going to try the next closest library. Is there a forum we can post in to find someone who lives in DC?

Edited by brian0918

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Bump, has anything become of this? I'd like to hear it.

Hi, I've been lurking on the forums for a while and just saw this thread. I live in DC and would be willing to help.

~Chev

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