Steve Allen

Long before Jimmy Fallon, way before Jay Leno, before Johnny Carson, or Jack Paar .. NBC’s Tonight Show was hosted by its co-creator Steve Allen.

In the fall of 1954, the 32 year old comedian and entertainer became the host of televisions first-ever late night talk show.

Largely thanks to Alan’s intelligent humor, The Tonight Show became a hit.

Steve Allen soon moved on to other Ventures, but was always widely popular and in-demand.

I first met him in early 1987, when he wrote a book he modestly called How To Be Funny.

So get ready for some tips from a master of his craft. Here now, my 1987 interview with Steve Allen.

Steve Allen died in 2000. He was 78.

Rosa Parks

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S. So I wanted to revisit an interview I did nearly 30 years ago with a woman whose actions helped propel Dr. King to national prominence.

In December 1955, a young woman named Rosa Parks was on her way home after a long hard day at work. She was on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, when she was ordered to the back of the bus so a white man could have her seat.

She refused to move, and was arrested and jailed.

Her arrest sparked outrage in Montgomery’s black community, and soon they organized a bus boycott, which lasted for more than a year.That boycott was led by a young preacher named Martin Luther King Jr.

I had the opportunity to interview Rosa Parks in 1992, after she had written a book for young readers.

So here now, from 1992, Rosa Parks.

Congress has called her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.”

Rosa Parks died in 2005. She was 92.


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Mickey Rooney

In nearly thirty years of interviewing celebrities and big names, I didn’t often get very Starstruck, but this day I did.

It’s hard to overstate how big a star Mickey Rooney was. For decades, he was one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of Hollywood. If you’ve ever watched one of his movies on one of the classic movie networks, you know his Andy Hardy series, and all those hey kids, let’s put on a show movies with Judy Garland.

To the general public, Mickey was known primarily for two things: his height, he was only five foot three, and his marriages, of which there were many.

So when he published his Memoirs in 1994, I jumped at the chance to interview him.

But as you’re about to hear, Mickey wanted to talk about not just the book he was there to promote, but all his other books. I think he was a frustrated author at heart.

Anyway, here now, from 1994, the great Mickey Rooney.

Had he lived, Mickey Rooney would ha veeb 100 today. He died in 2014, at the age of 93.

Noel Neill

One of the most popular, and most iconic series from the early days of television was “The Adventures of Superman,” which ran from 1952 to 1958.

George Reeves was Superman / Clark Kent. Jack Larson played young photographer Jimmy Olson, and Noel Neill was reporter Lois Lane.

But, like so many TV stars, Neill saw her career take a new and unexpected path, and not necessarily the path she had planned.

I met her in 2003. She was still very popular on the campus and classic-TV circuit, and she was then promoting an authorized biography called “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”

So here now, from 2003, Noel Neill.

Noel Neill died in 2016. She was 95.