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Late Night 

In the early years of US television, a new form of entertainment was created: the late night talk show. Steve Allen was the first of his kind and he was noted for its wacky comedy and ... See full summary »
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Muhammad Ali ... Himself (archive footage)
Steve Allen ... Himself
Cliff Arquette Cliff Arquette ... Charlie Weaver (archive footage)
Count Basie ... Himself (archive footage)
Cab Calloway ... Himself (archive footage)
Johnny Carson ... Himself / Carnac the Magnificent (archive footage)
Fidel Castro ... Himself (archive footage)
Dick Cavett ... Himself
Tim Conway ... Himself
Dagmar Dagmar ... Herself (archive footage)
Sammy Davis Jr. ... Himself (archive footage)
Phyllis Diller ... Herself
Hugh Downs ... Himself
Barbara Eden ... Herself
Genevieve Genevieve ... Herself (archive footage)
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Storyline

In the early years of US television, a new form of entertainment was created: the late night talk show. Steve Allen was the first of his kind and he was noted for its wacky comedy and willingness to engage in crazy stunts. It was also a showcase for African-American performers such as Cab Calloway and Count Basie. He was succeeded in 1957 by Jack Paar, a skilled interviewer who got his start in radio and brought the art of conversation to the small screen. Johnny Carson followed as the next and undoubtedly most popular host of the show. He agreed somewhat reluctantly and became a TV staple for the next 30 years. His success led to many others trying their hand at the format, some successfully, including Merv Griffin, Joey Bishop and Dick Cavett. Written by garykmcd

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 January 2008 (USA) See more »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Features The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (1962) See more »

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User Reviews

 
It's a solid overview of the late night television talk show...
3 October 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

This show is from a really nice PBS series on early television. Oddly, however, this second episode is the first one on the DVD for the show.

This episode is about the history of the late night talk show. It begins with a brief discussion of Pat Weaver and skipped over a few abortive attempts to the Steve Allen version of the night show with its free-wheeling skits, crazy stunts, headlines and audience interviews. Then, in a huge change, the network replaces this comic with a pure interviewer, Jack Paar. Paar was strange, neurotic and temperamental...and these really worked in his favor to create an audience. Then, after his relatively brief tenure, the bulk of the show talked about Johnny Carson--followed by tiny diversions discussing folks who challenged him, such as Dick Cavett, Joey Bishop, Merv Griffin and Arsenio Hall.

All in all, the show was a great overview of the subject matter. It skipped a few folk who were of very minor importance--but otherwise it's a great look at the genre.


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