Pioneers of Television

Season 1 Episode 2

Late Night

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Aired Wednesday 8:00 PM Jan 09, 2008 on PBS
8.1
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Late Night
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The development of late night television as a distinct form of TV entertainment - from local programming to the rise of The Tonight Show with Steve Allen, then Jack Paar, and finally, Johnny Carson. Also chronicled are the programs that tried to compete with Carson's unique and wildly popular format.moreless

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    • TRIVIA (0)

    • QUOTES (8)

      • Arsenio Hall: I didn't want Johnny's audience; I wanted the children of his audience, and that's how I remained friends – or, that's how I remained not hated by the Carson regime. 'Cause they knew their numbers weren't gonna change, I was gonna bring people to television that weren't watching.

      • Doc Severinsen: We're over there playing, and thinking, "Nobody's listening to us, nobody's paying any attention," and then I'd get a little note from Freddie de Cordova that says, "Johnny said, 'Don't ever play that song again, as long as you live.'"

      • Dick Cavett: (about Johnny Carson) His first couple weeks were rough … there were comics sitting backstage and saying, "This guy isn't making it." It's almost impossible to believe that now.

      • Florence Henderson: If Jack Paar liked what you were doing, the rest of the guests could come back the next night.

      • (About working on the Steve Allen Show.)
        Pat Harrington: It was like matriculating in a graduate school for comedy. Everybody was funny, and Steve gave everybody whatever they wanted. Ya need five minutes? If a guy got on a riff, he would just sit ba– and then the laugh? His laugh keyed everyone's laughter.

      • Hugh Downs: When television first appeared, I thought it was a gimmick, like 3-D movies, you know, that might just disappear. I didn't take it seriously.

      • Jay Leno: (of Johnny Carson) He never wanted to be the fanciest, the flashiest, you know, he was always the classiest.

      • (About NBC executive Pat Weaver.)
        Sigourney Weaver: My father always felt the audience was very intelligent, 'cause I think he thought that television was really like your– at it's best it would be like your own personal rocket ship to anywhere in the world, and to any kind of knowledge and information. And I think that he wanted to enlist people in that.

    • NOTES (1)

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