The Other

In March 1989 the Museum of Broadcasting, now called the Museum of Television and Radio, hosted a Los Angeles reunion of the original Tonight show, which debuted on NBC in 1956 with host Steve Allen. One by one the show’s stars were brought on stage, each entrance preceded by a glowing introduction and an ecstatic burst of applause.

First came Bill Harbach, the show’s silver-haired producer and the only nonperforming honoree of the evening; then Gene Rayburn, the affable announcer; Louie Nye, the fearless interviewer whom Allen relished sending outside for the “Man on the Street” segment; Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, the ever-smiling vaudeville duo who met on the show and have been married and performing together since 1960; Jonathan Winters, the pie-faced comic and ex-Marine; Sid Caesar, the comedian Allen most revered, wearing a turtleneck and a suntan; Jayne Meadows, the Broadway and film actress whom Allen married in 1954; and Allen himself, who appeared in a gray suit, his trademark black-rimmed glasses and gelled black hair.

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