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The Steve Allen Show was an hour-long U.S. television variety show hosted by Steve Allen from June 1956 to June 1960 on NBC, and from September 1961 to December 1961 on ABC. The first three seasons aired on Sunday nights at 8:00pm Eastern Time (directly opposite The Ed Sullivan Show), then on Mondays at 10:00pm Eastern in the 1959-60 season (as The Plymouthmarker Show Starring Steve Allen). After a season's absence, the series briefly returned on Wednesdays at 7:30pm Eastern.

The show won a Peabody Award in 1958 for its "genuine humor and frank experiments" during a year when most shows were "conspicuously lacking" such elements.

The show launched the careers of cast members Don Knotts, Tom Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr. and Bill Dana. The show's most popular sketch was the "Man on the street" which featured Knotts as the nervous Mr. Morrison, Poston as the man who could not remember his own name, Harrington as Italian golf player Guido Panzini, Nye as the smug Gordon Hathaway, and Dana as José Jiménez. Hathaway's greeting of "Hi Ho Steverino!" became a catchphrase as did Jimenez's "My name José Jiménez." Dayton Allen also appeared in the sketch and spawned the catchphrase "Whyyyyy not?" Gabe Dell, previously a member of The Bowery Boys, was also a cast member. Gene Rayburn was the show's announcer and Skitch Henderson was the bandleader.

Although Allen had a personal disdain for rock and roll, the show featured numerous rock and roll artists in their earliest TV appearances. The show presented Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Louis Jordan & The Tympany Five, The Treniers, and The Collins Kids. However, the rock 'n' roll stars often did not appear on the show as most fans would have desired. For instance, Allen smirkingly presented Elvis Presley "with a roll that looks exactly like a large roll of toilet paper with, says Allen, the 'signatures of eight thousand fans' " and he had him wear a top hat and the white tie and tails of a "high class" musician while singing "Hound Dog" to an actual Basset Hound, who was similarly attired.

After being cancelled by NBC in 1960, the show returned in the fall of 1961 on ABC. Nye, Poston, Harrington, Dell, and Dayton Allen returned. New cast members were Joey Forman, Buck Henry, The Smothers Brothers, Tim Conway, and Allen's wife, Jayne Meadows. The new version was cancelled after fourteen episodes.

Kinescopes of the NBC version were rerun on Comedy Central in the early 1990s hosted by Allen.


  1. The Steve Allen Show from the Museum of Broadcast Communications
  2. Winners Archive Search from the Peabody Awards website
  3. Austen, Jake, TV A-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol (2005), p.13
  5. See Dundy, Elaine, Elvis and Gladys (University Press of Mississippi, 2004), p.259.
  6. See Austen, Jake, TV-A-Go-Go: Rock on TV from American Bandstand to American Idol (2005), p.13.

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