Posts Tagged ‘“Tonight Show with Steve Allen”’

Steverino’s “Steve Allen Westinghouse Show” Turns 50

Monday, June 25th, 2012

It could be argued that Letterman’s “Stupid Human Tricks”, sketches with Rupert from the deli across from The Late Show studio, and Leno’s “Jaywalking” segment can all be traced back to Mr. Steve Allen. Allen was, after all, the original host of The Tonight Show, the nationally-networked show born out of the locally-produced Steve Allen Show that Allen started in 1953. The Tonight Show, or Tonight! as it was originally titled, was America’s first foray into national, late-night programming, and Steve Allen’s gift for ad-libbing and performing were perfectly matched for the setting and the time period.

Allen left The Tonight Show in 1957 to concentrate on his prime-time program, again called The Steve Allen Show, which he had hosted since 1956 (that’s the show on which Elvis performed “Hound Dog”). In 1961 the show went from NBC to ABC, retitled as The New Steve Allen Show, and lasted one final season. He then hosted a syndicated program that aired in late-night, The Steve Allen Westinghouse Show, which was a particular favorite of a young David Letterman during his college years. The program ran from 1962-64, and was by Allen’s account, “the wildest talk show ever done.” It was on The Steve Allen Westinghouse Show that Allen’s pranks and sketches, some of which he developed on his earlier programs, really blossomed.

In his 1997 Archive Interview, Allen recalls the origins of The Steve Allen Westinghouse Show:

Describes a memorable elephant tug-of-war sketch:

Discusses the giant tea-tank bit (later recreated by David Letterman):

And details how he began his prank/funny phone calls:

Late-night today is infused with the legacy of Allen’s sketches. Who’s got a “Stupid Pet Trick” to show off?

Watch Steve Allen’s full Archive interview and visit our Steve Allen Westinghouse Show page.

- by Adrienne Faillace

First Use of Videotape on the First of Two “Jonathan Winters Shows”

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Jonathan Winters does characters like nobody else. A staple on The Tonight Show with Steve Allen and the star of two shows called The Jonathan Winters Show, Winters is one of comedy’s consummate chameleons. From 1956-57, he hosted the first Jonathan Winters Show, a fifteen-minute entertainment program on NBC. The second Jonathan Winters Show was an hour-long variety show that aired from 1967-69. The 1956 program lays claim to a couple of television firsts: the first use of videotape on network television occurred on the program on October 23, 1956, with a pre-recorded two minute and thirty second tape of singer Dorothy Collins performing. And According to Winters in his Archive interview, the fifteen-minute show was also one of NBC’s first color broadcasts.

Winters featured some of his most beloved characters on the 1956 Jonathan Winters Show, including the unforgettable Maude Frickert, whom he discusses in this clip:

Learn more about the 1956 and 1967 Jonathan Winters Shows by watching Winters’ full interview: http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/jonathan-winters