The Steve Allen Show is an American variety show hosted by Steve Allen from June 1956 to June 1960 on NBC, from September 1961 to December 1961 on ABC, and in first-run syndication from 1962 to 1964.
The first three seasons aired on Sunday nights at 8:00pm Eastern Time (directly opposite The Ed Sullivan Show), then on Mondays at 10:00pm Eastern in the 1959-60 season (as The Steve Allen Plymouth Show). After a season's absence, the series briefly returned on Wednesdays at 7:30pm Eastern. The syndicated version aired mostly in late nights. The program, between September 1957 and June 1960 became one of the first programs to be telecast in "compatible color"
Kinescopes of the NBC version were later rerun on Comedy Central in the early 1990s, with new introductions by Allen.
The show was the first in a series of prime time spin-offs from The Tonight Show, all of which were named after the host: Jack Paar (1962 to 1965) and Jay Leno (2009 to 2010) would follow in Allen's footsteps.
The show launched the careers of cast members Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr. and Bill Dana. The show's most popular sketch was the "Man on the street" which featured Knotts as the nervous Mr. Morrison, Poston as the man who could not remember his own name, Harrington as Italian golf player Guido Panzini, Nye as the smug Gordon Hathaway, and Dana as José Jiménez. Hathaway's greeting of "Hi Ho Steverino!" became a catchphrase as did Jimenez's "My name José Jiménez." Dayton Allen also appeared in the sketch and spawned the catchphrase "Whyyyyy not?" Gabe Dell, previously a member of The Bowery Boys, was also a cast member. Gene Rayburn was the show's announcer and Skitch Henderson was the bandleader.
The show also helped foster the careers of many musicians. Although Allen himself did not have much affection for rock and roll, the show featured numerous rock and roll artists in their earliest TV appearances. The show presented Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five, The Treniers, and The Collins Kids. However, the rock 'n' roll stars often did not appear on the show as most fans would have desired. For instance, Allen presented Elvis Presley with a top hat and the white tie and tails of a "high class" musician while singing "Hound Dog" to an actual Basset Hound, who was similarly attired. Some have erroneously suggested that the "Hound Dog" performance was intentionally disrespectful, and emblematic of Allen's disdain for rock 'n' roll. In reality, Allen took a risk booking the controversial Presley, and the bit was orchestrated both for comedic effect, and to mitigate potential controversy.
After being cancelled by NBC in 1960, the show returned in the fall of 1961 on ABC. Nye, Poston, Harrington, Dell, and Dayton Allen returned. New cast members were Joey Forman, Buck Henry, The Smothers Brothers, Tim Conway, and Allen's wife, Jayne Meadows. The new version was cancelled after fourteen episodes.
In 1967, after trying his hand at a syndicated talk show several years earlier, Allen briefly returned on CBS with most of his old regulars for The Steve Allen Comedy Hour, a summer replacement series on Wednesdays at 10:00pm Eastern (replacing the cancelled Danny Kaye Show). This short-lived series featured the debuts of Rob Reiner, Richard Dreyfuss and John Byner, and featured Ruth Buzzi, who would become famous soon after as a regular on Laugh-In.
The Three Stooges guest appearancesEdit
The Stooges (Moe Howard, Larry Fine and Joe DeRita) made three appearances in this show. The January 11, 1959 appearance marked the team's comeback into television after Stooge Shemp Howard's death in 1955.
January 11, 1959EditThe guests of the show included Diana Dors, Chuck McCann, Perez Prado & His Orchestra and The Three Stooges. Diana Dors sings "Give Me the Simple Life," the Prado Orchestra performs "Patricia Pop" and a medley of songs, and Chuck McCann participates in comedy sketches as Jackie Gleason.
The Three Stooges appeared in "The Doctor" sketch, with Moe as Larry's inept surgeon, and Curly Joe as an equally inept nurse in drag. This the first time Joe DeRita debuted as the new "third Stooge" on the Stooges' television appearances.
February 22, 1959EditThe guests of the show included Andy Griffith, Diana Dors, Otto Horbach, Jimmy Hurst and The Three Stooges. Andy Griffith performs his classic "Romeo & Juliet" monologue. Diana Dors sings "Thanks a Lot, But No Thanks," Jimmy Hurst sings "On the Street Where You Live," and composer Otto Harbach is presented with an award for writing "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes".
In the "Stand-In" skit, Moe plays the director of a feature film, while Larry is the film's star and Curly-Joe is his stand-in. Each time a wild action scene was about to be filmed, Moe would yell, "Cut!" Larry would be replaced with Curly-Joe, who would then get the brunt of everything from saloon fights to pies in the face. Moe's wife Helen once recalled that Moe came down with pneumonia just hours before he was set to appear on the show. Helen's recollections were captured in the book, The Three Stooges Scrapbook.
- "Moe had rehearsed all day for the The Steve Allen Show and returned to the hotel to go to bed. There he was with no voice and a high fever and dictating the entire "Stand-In" routine to a script girl... Moe's voice cracked and squeaked throughout the show. And those who loved him - and there were untold numbers - suffered with him."
The Stooges first performed the "Stand-In" skit in the Broadway stage show, The George White Scandal of 1939. Matty Brooks and Eddie Davis, who occasionally supplied material to the boys, wrote the original skit.
Larry Fine joins the "The Nutley, Hinkley, Butley, Winkley Report," which focuses on art in the news.
April 5, 1959EditThe guests of the show included comedian Lenny Bruce, singers Connie Russell and David Allen, and The Three Stooges. Connie sings "Caravan" and "You've Changed", David sings "Get Out of Town," and then the two duet with "The Cigarette Song." Lenny Bruce performs a stand-up routine.
The Three Stooges (Moe, Larry and Curly-Joe) appeared in "The Maharaja" sketch, with a little help from Steve Allen at the end.
- The Three Stooges TV guest appearances at ThreeStooges.net