65 years ago today, The Tonight Show, now the longest currently-running entertainment program in America, debuted LIVE on black-and-white televisions on NBC. Regularly scheduled Monday through Friday since 1954, the series has been hosted by six comedians, debuting with Steve Allen, who then passed the baton to Jack Paar, then Johnny Carson—who hosted for 30 years.
Jay Leno, one of Johnny’s favorite guest hosts, took over after his retirement and, after an 8-month stint by Conan O’Brien, Jimmy Fallon hosted the talk show for the next decade. Totaling more than 12,414 episodes, the show followed the nightly local news, and launched the careers of comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, David Letterman, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Tim Allen, Drew Carey, and Roseanne Barr. WATCH highlights of the first 50 years of NBC late night… (1954)
(Johnny Carson photo by Carl Lender, CC license)
MORE Good News on this Day:
- Mexico gained its independence from Spain (1821)
- Jean-François Champollion announced that he had deciphered the Rosetta stone (1822)
- The world’s first public railway for steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, was ceremonially opened (1825)
- Production began at the Ford automobile plant and the first Model T was built in Detroit, Michigan (1908)
- Jordan‘s king Hussein and PLO leader Yasser Arafat signed a ceasefire at an Arab summit in Egypt after 10 days of bitter civil war in Jordan (1970)
- Google was founded as a new search engine (1998)
Happy 47th Birthday to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who rose to worldwide fame after her Academy Award-winning performance in Shakespeare in Love. She has starred in the Iron Man film franchise, written cookbooks, and launched a lifestyle website called Goop. (1972) – 2013 Photo by Georges Biard, CC
And, on this day in 1988, the now-Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi co-founded the first social-democratic political party in Myanmar (Burma). After two decades being banned by the military junta from holding any political office, The National League for Democracy finally, in 2012, won 43 of the 45 available seats in Parliament, paving the way for the country’s first non-military president in 54 years. Devoted to freedom and non-violence, Aung San Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest for 15 years but emerged, as leader of her newly-victorious party and in the 2015 general election, the NLD won a supermajority in both houses of the Assembly.
Also, on this day in 2011, Tony Bennett became the oldest living person to top the US album chart when the 85-year-old’s ‘Duets II’ album went to No.1. The record, which featured collaborations with Amy Winehouse and Lady Gaga, was also the first US No.1 of his 60 year career. WATCH Elton John and Bennett recording Rags to Riches.You can check out all of Tony Bennett’s Duets albums on Amazon… (Photo by Tom Beetz, CC)