October 23rd National T. V. Talk Show Host Day

Today is the day we honor those men and women who have been, and are, hosts for television shows. The date selected is the anniversary of John William “Johnny” Carson’s birthday, the host of the “Tonight Show” from 1962 to 1992 – 30 years of entertaining people and introducing new acts to America, and the world.

Late Night with Conan O'Brien - Season 1

The first ever television talk show host was Joe Franklin, also a radio show host, in 1951. He was the beginning of hundreds to follow, the most famed of course being Johnny Carson. But even the tonight show had other hosts before Johnny Carson.


Steve Allen was host of the “Tonight Show” prior to Johnny Carson and was almost as popular. The shows, starting in 1954, were filled with skits and comedy and generally entertaining for all. They were very different from the politically motivated shows of today. No one was trying to make a point, they were simply there to entertain.

Secrets of the Dead: Dick CavettÕs Watergate

Another of the greats was Dick Cavett, leading the way for others to follow. These men rarely passed judgement on anyone else and generally stayed civil in all their conversations.


Jack Paar was another of the pioneers of early television talk shows.

Maybe it is just me but I wish those days were back.

How to celebrate – See if you can find reruns of the old talks shows. Start a talk show of your own on a public access station. Come up with some great characters like Johnny Carson did.