This week’s episode of brioux.tv the podcast features the creator and original host of the Tonight Show, Steve Allen, plus the man who hosted from 1957 to 1962, Jack Paar.
Allen, who died in 2000 at 78, was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1996. Here’s a clip from that event, including some hilarious opening remarks from David Letterman, who credits Allen for inspiring his career and creating the blueprint for all the late night TV hijinks to follow.
There’s also a sweet and hopelessly old-fashioned song and dance salute, Hollywood style, by the comedians who shone on Allen’s Tonight and his subsequent prime time and late night shows. They are the original “Man in the Street” gang: Gene Rayburn (Allen’s announcer), Don Knotts, Tom Posten, Bill Dana, Pat Harrington, Jr., Louie Nye, Dayton Allen, and Gabe Dell. Amazing to see them all on the same stage 30 years after Allen’s final season on Tonight.
Fun to see Allen and his wife, Jayne Meadows, watching from the audience, along with other early TV luminaries such as Sid Caesar and Milton Berle. Allen was always a great “room,” laughing harder than anybody else in the convention centre.
My own conversation with Allen was recorded four years earlier, in 1992, and deals mainly with David Letterman and Jay Leno and the transition in late night at the time with Johnny Carson’s retirement. Hear it now on this “From the Vault” podcast episode, which also features Jack Paar.