Behind the Scenes: Ayn Rand on the Tonight Show with Elan Journo and Tom Bowden

In 1967, Ayn Rand made three controversial appearances in the space of four months on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, including one that hasn’t been heard publicly since its broadcast.

In this YouTube livestream event, join Elan Journo and Tom Bowden as they discuss the cultural context of the 1960s, Rand’s ground rules for appearing on Carson’s show, the topics covered in the interviews, Carson’s conversational skills and intellectual courage, and the strong audience response.

Stay tuned for podcasts featuring all three interviews, in which Rand addresses an astonishing range of issues, from basic principles of philosophy to reasoned opinions on current events and cultural trends to lighthearted banter.

Rand stoked controversy and pulled no punches. She declared her reasoned opposition to the Vietnam War, the military draft, and to a papal encyclical attacking the moral foundations of Western civilization — while expressing support for rational self-interest, the pursuit of individual happiness, political freedom, Romantic art, and the novels of Mickey Spillane.

Although Rand would in later years give long-form interviews to Phil Donahue, Tom Snyder and others, these three Johnny Carson interviews remain unsurpassed for sheer breadth. Join us for a trip back to a time when talk-show discussions of highly contentious issues could be calm, focused, intelligent and rational.