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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Heeeere's Johnny!

THIS JUST IN: CET repeats the Carson/Late Night TV "Pioneers of Television" at 10 p.m. Friday 1/11/08 on Ch. 48. --Kiese

Sorry for the late notice, but here's a DVR alert for Johnny Carson fans: Tonight's "Pioneers of Television" on PBS is a wonderful tribute to Carson (8-9 p.m., Channels 48, 16).

It has great old clips from Carson's "Tonight" show, and comments from former coworkers like Ed McMahon and Doc Severinson, and former competitors Dick Cavett, Regis Philbin and the late Merv Griffin. Oddly enough, producers didn't interview David Letterman, who idolized Carson. But they do have comments from Jay Leno, who succeeded him, and former guests Betty White, Phyllis Diller, Bob Uecker and Barbara Eden and others.

Carson 's segment is the longest -- but it comes 26 minutes into the hour. The first half is devoted to Steve Allen, who invented the format still used today, and Jack Paar, a fascinating conversationalist who hosted the "Tonight" show between Allen and Carson.

I love Steve Allen, and the "Pioneers of Television" rightly praises his many talents -- sketch comedy, ad-libs, composer, interviewer -- as "an inventive arsenal of comedy." It's amazing the sidekicks Allen had in the 1950s, who went on to greater things: Tom Poston ("Newhart"), Don Knotts ("Andy Griffith Show"), Pat Harrington ("One Day At A Time").

The Paar clips are fun too. They show both his serious side (interviews with John F. Kennedy, brother Robert F. Kennedy and Fidel Castro) and lighter side (Jonathan Winters, Tommy Smothers).

It's a fun, fast hour. Enjoy.


at 1/09/2008 9:22 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

Glad I checked your site this evening , John or I would have NEVER remembered this show was on!! (I miss your weekly conversations with Gary!)

This was a great show and I called my 87 yr old mom so she could watch it.

I agree, it was disappointing Letterman was not on it...ESPECIALLY since he was friends with Carson and even played poker with him over the years. That was a bad move on this show but otherwise, I enjoyed looking back when TV was FUN and FRESH.

Now, can you remember of the show next week? LOL


Soph in Fairfield

at 1/09/2008 9:23 PM Blogger SophiaZ123 said...

OOps..hit the wrong button..meant to say can you REMIND us of this show next week. LOL

at 1/09/2008 9:39 PM Blogger Tim Lones said...

I am looking forward to this..Steve Allen also had a hand in "discovering" comedian Tim Conway when Conway worked at WJW-TV 8 in Cleveland..Rose Marie saw clips of Conway with WJW-TV announcer Ernie Anderson and alerted Allen, who invited Conway to be on the Steve Allen Show, whic ultimately led to "McHale's Navy" and sent Conway on the way to a steady career..

at 1/10/2008 9:35 AM Anonymous Brian Snape, CET said...

I just wanted to let everyone know that if they missed last night's episode or they would like to see it again, it'll be on Friday night at 10pm on CET.

at 1/10/2008 4:06 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

Ernie Anderson, famous for being the announcer of The Carol Burnett Show and The Looooooooooooooooooove Boat.

Tim Conway also worked with Jack Riley (Bob Newhart Show) at WJW too!

at 1/11/2008 8:16 AM Anonymous Ghoulardi Guy said...

Ernie was also the voice for the first couple of America's Funniest Home Videos. He also did a lot of voicework for ABC.
Years ago, a friend played a clip of Ernie bloopers spliced together. Let's say the man loved his cusswords. :)

at 1/11/2008 11:19 AM Anonymous rms said...

Ghoulardi Guy-
Stay sick-turn blue, you knif!

Ah, the fond memories of late-night Cleveland TV....

Thanks for helping me remember....

at 1/12/2008 8:32 PM Blogger Toddy-O said...

Here is an Ernie Anderson video, complete with a clip of Ghoulardi.

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