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The Tonight Show Hardcover – July, 1980


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Pub Group (T); First Edition edition (July 1980)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087223598X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0872235984
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,059,633 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Robert Metz's THE TONIGHT SHOW (1980) entails the history and evolution of that late night phenomenon. His Weaver, Lester, Allen, Paar and Carson portions of this book include some details on what each man did prior to and after their association with the program and its parent network.

In television's early days, Pat Weaver (father of Sigourney) came over from radio to try and improve NBC's television programming. Unlike CBS and Dumont, which at first broadcast "radio with pictures" live shows like SUSPENSE, Weaver understood that TV was a completely different medium with great potential. His first innovations were TODAY and TONIGHT, which was intended to be much like TODAY, with news, weather and current event segments.

Oddly, the first man hired to host TV's original late night show was anything but orthodox or sedate. in the manner of TODAY. Don "Creesh" Hornsby had a West Coast TV program broadcast from a prop-cluttered attic. He often talked to these weird stuffed animals when not running around the studio yelling "Creesh! Creesh!" Hornsby died just before he was to debut on Broadway After Dark.

Jerry Lester, a vet of vaudeville, thus was TV's first regular late night host. On the renamed Broadway Open House, he ran an unscripted 90 minute broadcast that was much like a vaudeville bill, filled between acts with Jerry's corny old jokes. There was a silent big-chested blonde named Dagmar coolly perched on a stool above a sign that said GIRL SINGER, guest interviews, and lots of music. Almost immediately, the Open House captured an audience no one but Weaver suspected had a craving for late programming.
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Format: Hardcover
Here's Johnny! And Jack, and Steve, too. In fact, it's all here -- the tumultuous, sometimes scandalous, always fascinating behind-the-screen world of Tonight, builder of superstars. Its people are bigger than life and even more subject than ordinary mortals to life's trials and tribulations.

Steve Allen, the first host, was quirkily funny. The best straight man in the business, he was more than willing to help his comedy team -- Louis Nye, Tom Poston, and Don Knotts -- get their shre of laughs. But Allen regarded Tonight as a stepping stone and seemed happiest at his farewell party.

Jack Paar, who followed Allen, provided the nation with nightly psychodramas. Though he hated his emotionalism. he couldn't master it -- and that added to his appeal. There was a spontaneous quality to Paar's Tonight, even in guest appearances. As Time commented: "Always, the high points were provided by the talkers -- guided or goaded, driven or drawn out by Jack."

Then, in 1962, along came Johnny Carson, a brash Nebraska comic and daytime quiz-show host who few people thought had a chance. It was Carson who built the show into NBC's most profitable vehicle by far.

And what is Johnny Carson really like? He presides over America's night-light and nightcap rolled into one, putting the day's events into sardonic prospective. Attracting 15,200,00 regular late-night viewers, he is possibly the most well-known celebrity in America. Yet he is perhaps the most private personality in the top ranks of show business.

Is Johnny Carson a superman with uncommon wit or a minor talent with great writers? What happens to a court jester when he becomes king, with more power than a potentate, more wealth than a mogul?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It's a great book.
The three legendary hosts of the Tonight Show changed television, each in their own unique way.
Steve was the pioneer and a great clown but saw the show as a stepping stone.
Jack made the art of conversation a national pastime for America but his personal issues kept him from the greatness he wanted.
Johnny was the best, fastest wit on TV and the only one who beat the network in the battle for the one thing every performer dreams of, control.
Johnny won it and no one has ever beaten a network the way Johnny did since.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book show what is behinde the scenes of the show that is one of the most popular on American TV
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