The Tonight Show
The Surprising Inside Story of the Headliners, the Glamour, the Intrigue, and the Controversy
by Robert Metz
Publisher: Playboy Press / A Playboy Press Book
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 share 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?
Meticulously researched, zestfully written, loaded with anecdotes (many never before in print), this continuously entertaining and informative book tells the complete inside story of a durable, important American institution.
Condition: Used. Hardcover. Dust cover shows shelf wear and light discoloration. Dust cover flap edges are darkened by age. Pages are lightly discolored. Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.
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