The show originated as a local New York City late night program in June 1953 and went onto the network in September 1954. Throughout the summer of 1956, Steve Allen was the only host. When ...
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After Johnny Carson's retirement from the show, Jay Leno stepped in as his permanent replacement. The format of the show has remained largely unchanged, consisting primarily of an opening ... See full summary »
The show originated as a local New York City late night program in June 1953 and went onto the network in September 1954. Throughout the summer of 1956, Steve Allen was the only host. When Allen's prime-time series debuted in the summer of 1956, he limited his appearances on this show to Wednesday through Friday and a series of guest hosts filled in until 1 October 1956 when Ernie Kovacs took over as permanent host for the Monday and Tuesday broadcast. Kovacs had his own set of entertainers, i.e., Wendell, Hanley, Arthur and Loden. The last show was broadcast on 25 January 1957."Tonight's" first monologue was given with Steve Allen seated at the piano: "In case you're just joining us...this is Tonight...and I can't think of too much to tell you about it, except I want to give you the bad news first: this program is going to go on forever. I wouldn't call it a Spectacular....you might say it's more a Monotonious ."Written by
J.E. McKillop <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The show began in 1953 as a local show on WNBT-TV, the NBC station in New York City. "Tonight!" began in 1954 when Sylvester L. Weaver Jr., the president of NBC, decided to expand the network's programming past the 11:00 p.m. local news. Weaver wanted his night-time entry to be something along the lines of Today (1952): some news and light features with interviews. Steve Allen was the original host and he remained with the show when it became a national show on September 27, 1954. The show aired live every night. See more »
The Birth of Late Night TV, and the start of a Dynasty
When the world was filled with Wrestling or early Evenings after the news, Steve Allen gathered a bunch of comics (most of whom went on to great careers in their own right) and created the original Tonight Show. It was talk, it was skits. It was fun, and it was Steve Allen.
I have only had a chance to catch clips of the show in reruns a few years ago, and the brilliance of the show shines through. While he would be eclipsed in years to come by Carson, Allen put together a solid show with no real weaknesses other than the fact that he found himself funny too often, and couldn't keep a straight face. (Yes, carson did that too, but he usually didn't fall down laughing) And unlike Carson, he depended a lot more on his supporting actors in the skits (both a + and a - for him).
If you can ever catch "The Steve Allen Show" as it's sometimes labeled in repackaging ever, please do. you will thank yourself that you did.
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