Posted Bykurt on August 16, 2002 at 00:40:42:
In Reply to: Re: Jack Leno and Fred Letterman posted byLL on August 15, 2002 at 12:21:23:
The features of the the modern late-night talk show (Steve Allen's "Man in the Street" interviews, Jaywalking, Stupid Human Tricks, the Mighty Carson Art Players) are almost entirely based on material first done by Fred Allen in radio (Allen's Alley, Professor Quigley the "escape" artist, Ramshaw and his eagle, the Mighty Allen Art Players).
Had Allen lived a couple of more decades, you would have seen at least as much of him on Johnny Carson's program as you did Jack Benny. Carson mentioned Allen's influence in his recent interview in Esquire, but added, "no one knows who the hell Fred Allen is today."
In a 1977 profile in The New Yorker, Carson mentioned Allen as the wittiest man he ever knew in life. He barely mentioned Benny in that profile, although he did in other interviews, and on the air, as having been his comedic idol.
Benny's influence on Carson was seen in Carson's monologue. But much of the rest of the program was influenced by Fred Allen.
The lineal descendant of the Benny radio program isn't Jay Leno's program, anyway. It's "Frasier."