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When 'After Dark' Ruled

November 11, 2000

Plaudits to Charles Champlin for extolling Steve Allen's style and versatility and his many contributions to American comedy ("Entertainment's Man for All Seasons," Nov. 3).

Champlin, while crediting the genesis of "The Tonight Show" to Steve Allen in 1953, alludes to a show called "America After Dark" that preceded it, calling it an "unfocused mishmash." I have to disagree. I well remember the early '50s when Jerry Lester and Dagmar ruled late-night television. It was a hilarious show, and Lester set the tone for all comic hosts who followed in his footsteps in the 11:30 p.m. time slot.


Santa Monica


With all due respect to Steve Allen, he was talented, intelligent and, at one time, funny. In the end, however, he seemed unable to change with the times, unable to live in the present. His railings against the state of TV, movies and radio are those of a man living hopelessly in the past. I am sorry he died such a sad, bitter man.


Los Angeles

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