TV Shows You Should Know: The Tonight Show Starring Steve Allen

Before The Tonight Show debacle of 2009-2010 starring Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno, there were three other hosts of The Tonight Show: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson. If you’re over 30, you probably think of The Tonight Show as Johnny Carson’s show. However, Steve Allen was the first host of the show. He hosted it from 1954 to 1957.

As the first host of a national late night talk show, Steve Allen directly influenced David Letterman. Letterman has influenced Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Kimmel, and Jimmy Fallon, so some of Allen’s attitude and antics can still be seen on current late night talk shows.

Unfortunately, most of Allen’s Tonight Show tenure has been destroyed by fire. Although, the few clips that survive show the original Tonight Show as being a funny and intelligent show. After The Tonight Show, Steve Allen went on to host other talk shows, a variety show, and the game show I’ve Got a Secret.

The first video is taken from the first Tonight Show ever and has Steve Allen predicting “this program is gonna go on forever.” He was talking about the program’s length, which at the time was an hour and a half, but he could have been talking about The Tonight Show‘s lengthy run.

The next clip starts with Allen, a talented pianist, playing the piano. Then things hilariously run amok with a walking and talking doll.

About Allison Lips

I am the editor and founder of "Wait! What's a Dial?". I graduated from Rowan University with degrees in both Radio/TV/Film and Journalism.

Posted on May 27, 2012, in Classic Television, Comedy, Late Night, NBC, Network Television, TV Shows You Should Know and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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