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.