Talk shows grew in popularity around the same time that television did in the middle of the twentieth century. From Oprah's internet-famous car giveaway to Geraldo Rivera's broken nose, here's a look back at some of the most iconic moments in the history of American talk shows.
Memorable Late Night Talk Show MomentsPublished 8 months ago
When Emma Watson appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon in 2012, she was subjected to one of the most awkward situations she has ever encountered on late-night television. She made her way over to the desk and sat down next to him, at which point she complimented the "Halloween candy thing."
Late show viewers are responsible for the creation of the Halloween candy skit. These viewers recorded the reactions of their children when they told them that their parents had eaten all of their candy. Leno referred to it as barbaric and made fun of it for being so brutal. On the other hand, Watson appeared to adore it. Fortuitously, that segment was done on Jimmy Kimmel's show, and Watson was forced to look at Jimmy Fallon the whole time.
Before he started his own show, David Letterman appeared on "The Tonight Show" as a guest host on a number of occasions between 1978 and 1980. This was before he had his own program. Letterman would spread his wings in 1982 on his own program, "Late Night with David Letterman," which was named after him. Ironically, Jay Leno, who would later become the host of "The Tonight Show," was invited as a guest by David Letterman.
At the time, Leno was a regular on the circuit of stand-up comedy and had gradually made his way into a number of small roles in movies and television. Fans were under the impression that Letterman would take over "The Tonight Show" after Carson stepped down as host in 1992; however, Leno was promoted to the role, and he continued to host the show until 2009!
During the 1930s, Flynn was one of the most famous actors in Hollywood, and he was also one of the most famous actors of the decade. During the height of his career, he was romantically involved with a number of well-known actresses, including Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, and Lupe Valex, to name just a few.
The actor who played Robin Hood in "The Adventures of Robin Hood" was a seasoned pro when it came to making promotional appearances on a variety of popular late-night talk shows. These appearances were made in order to promote the actor's role in the film.
Women in Hollywood always get uninvited criticism, and after she appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers in 2019, Natalie Morales sadly had to face it head-on. The talented Parks and Recreation actress went on the show to promote her new project, but unfortunately, it was the last thing on the audience's mind.
Instead of addressing the interview, people started calling Morales out for her choice of outfit, which included a cutout in the chest area. Deeming it too revealing, comments like "Did she get it caught on something coming out on stage?” or “Psst – your blouse is undone,” started popping all over the internet. Morale didn't take the ridiculous criticism laying down, and shrewdly stated that "Apparently people are making a big deal out of cleavage like breasts haven’t been around since the actual beginning of humankind... Get a life. It’s a body part.” What a queen.
In 1961, Steve Allen, who had previously served as host of "The Tonight Show," returned to the program in a guest hosting capacity. He was the one who inaugurated the "King of Rock and Roll" segment as its official host. Shortly after being discharged from his military service, Elvis Presley made his way to the stage to perform one of his most famous songs, "Hound Dog."
Elvis couldn't contain his excitement about returning to the stage to continue performing for his fans. During his time in the military, Elvis Presley was required to step away from the limelight, which, ironically, led to an increase in the singer's popularity. After his absence, his followers were overjoyed to see him again
Talk-show hosts and comedians often repeat the same lines to the point where those phrases have become synonymous with them. Joan Rivers's response was "Can we talk?" when she was asked the question. Rivers substituted a line from her time spent performing stand-up comedy for the phrase "let's be honest," which she had originally intended to use.
She skillfully navigated her way to the humorous roots of topics that initially appeared to be difficult to discuss. In point of fact, the host of the late-night program didn't even realize how often she was repeating that phrase until her audience members started repeating it back to her!
Elizabeth Taylor was one of the most well-known leading ladies in the history of Hollywood, and she was a draw at the box office thanks to her name and her legend. In spite of the fact that it might appear that Taylor was always wealthy and famous, there was a time when Taylor considered walking away from it all.
After that, she was extended an offer to become a part of the stellar cast of "Giant." She appeared in performances alongside James Dean, Rock Hudson, and Dennis Hopper. As an actress and philanthropist, Elizabeth Taylor was a frequent guest on late-night talk shows. She also had multiple interactions with Johnny Carson over the course of her career.
Nicole Kidman made an appearance on "The Tonight Show" hosted by Jimmy Fallon in the year 2015. Their most recent encounter took place in 2002, and it was a date. You read that correctly; Fallon was going on a date with the A-lister bombshell that was arranged for him. A common friend extended the invitation for her to visit Fallon at her home. At the time, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman had just ended their relationship. Even Fallon had no idea what was going on.
It had not occurred to him that it was a genuine date. She explained that the reason she wasn't interested was that he ignored her and played video games instead of talking to her. After that, she jumped to the conclusion that Fallon had a problem with females. Jimmy was so ashamed that he had to leave his own show for a short while.
The "Queen of Pop," Madonna, was the kind of celebrity who captured everyone's interest, particularly in the late 1980s. Madonna made her debut on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson on June 9th, 1987. Many believed that the Material Girl would appear on his well-known late-night show just like any other guest, but they were mistaken.
The home audience quickly realized that Madonna had a plan in mind. Madonna was on a mission; throughout the performance, she flirted with Carson to an overt degree that made it difficult to ignore. Within a few months of the interview's airing, Madonna went on a global promotional tour in support of her "Who's That Girl" album. Coincidence? No, we believe.
Janis Joplin was one of the original members of the 27 Club, and she has since gone on to become one of the most important figures in the history of music. A few months before her untimely passing, Joplin was a guest on "The Dick Cavett Show," which was one of her many television appearances.
On her final interview and televised appearance on the program, which took place on August 3, 1970, Joplin performed "My Baby" and "Half Moon." Sadly, Joplin passed away the following day. On October 4, the gifted singer who was renowned for her resonant mezzo-soprano voice and captivating stage presence would be taken from this world unexpectedly.
Even the most jaded, to-the-point talk show host knew they were in for a good time when Raquel Welch was the guest they're interviewing because she was so entertaining. Welch was able to make the stuffy Dick Cavett appear a little more laid back because of her stunning outfits, her Colgate smile, and her gorgeous tan.
Although the actress had a long resume of film and television roles, her big break came when she starred in "One Million Years B.C." She only had on a deerskin bikini and instantly became famous all over the world. One of the most beautiful stars in movie history, she continued her career as an actress, singer, and model. Raquel Welch passed away on February 15, 2023 at age 82 after a brief illness.
On the evening of November 28, 1979, Donna Summer appeared on "The Tonight Show" and delivered a message to the audience. Women are just as capable as their male counterparts in any endeavor. She used to be a big fan of Johnny Carson when she was younger, and the "Queen of Disco" made sure that Carson and her home audience were aware of all of her talents, not just her musical and acting abilities.
Carson made the rather offensive remark that girls aren't typically mechanically inclined and mentioned Summer's mechanical aptitude as well as her ability to fix cars. Carson also mentioned Summer's ability to fix cars. After that, Summer reprimanded Carson in an appropriate manner.
Twister rose to popularity as a result of Johnny Carson and Zsa Zsa Gabor. The two spent the entirety of the episode playing the game when the "Moulin Rouge" actress made an appearance in 1966. The Milton Bradley game was anticipated to go viral when it was released earlier that year.
When it was first made available to the public, it did not, unfortunately, receive the same level of support. Due in large part to the fact that fans were able to observe their favorite stars working together on a creative project, sales of the game Twister increased by more than 3 million over the course of the subsequent few months.
In 1974, Doris Day, an actress, singer, and performer of many other talents, was a guest on "The Tonight Show." Day showcased the many men she co-starred with on the show, including James Garner and Clark Gable, in addition to discussing her work as an animal welfare activist and highlighting the men she worked with on the show.
Day was not only a talented actress but also a talented singer, and she was very successful in the entertainment industry. Her songs "Sentimental Journey" and "My Dreams Are Getting Better All the Time" are among her most well-known works.
It should come as no surprise that actors and actresses are frequently typecast in roles that they may or may not enjoy playing. The only reason Ann Margret's fans thought of her as nothing more than a "B" movie actress was because of the roles she played in her earlier films. On February 29, 1972, she appeared on Johnny Carson's couch as a guest on his show.
During their conversation, Margret stressed the importance of being taken seriously in one's role as an actress. She received five Golden Globe Awards and was nominated for numerous other Golden Globe, Academy, and Emmy Awards. She had a chance to redeem herself when she co-starred in the film "Carnal Knowledge" with Jack Nicholson. She would show a more genuine side of her acting abilities in this film, and as a result, her reputation would improve.
Any room that Susan Anton entered was instantly brightened by her presence, and "The Merv Griffin Show" was no different. When David Brenner was there to welcome the actress, she completely stole the show. Anton gained a lot of notoriety as a result of her roles in a number of Muriel Cigar commercials.
She had a reputation for promoting goods on print, radio, and television. She would go on to make numerous appearances on "The Merv Griffin Show," and despite never having a significant screen debut, she was a popular choice for guest spots. She was cast in a number of popular shows, such as "Baywatch" and "The Love Boat."
Wayne capitalized on her appeal to establish himself as one of the most beloved talk show sidekicks in media history. Although she made appearances in a number of films and television shows, her most well-known role was as the snarky Matinee Lady in the Art Fern Tea Time Movie sketches on "The Tonight Show." In a thirteen-year run, Wayne made over 100 appearances on television.
Unfortunately, after the show's runtime was cut down to an hour and Wayne's role was scaled back, she began a downward spiral that she has yet to escape. Wayne uncovered the fact that she was making poor decisions regarding her business, was battling addiction and was getting into serious financial trouble as a result.
Whitney Houston is one of the female performers with the most record sales of all time and is widely regarded as one of the most famous people and voices of our era. She has more than 200 million albums that have been sold all over the world, making her the most successful female singer of all time.
In 1990, the singer accomplished the long-held record held by the Beatles for the most number-one singles, and Jay Leno had the pleasure of congratulating her on the achievement. During her unforgettable appearance on "The Tonight Show," she sang "I'm Your Baby Tonight," which halted both the audience in the live studio and the viewers at home in their tracks.
At the time of her appearance on "The Tonight Show," Diane Lane had only recently turned 18 years old. During the segment, she was there to promote the movie adaptation of "Rumble Fish," but after she was introduced, she declined to give Carson a peck on the cheek. At the time, she was forty years younger than he was, so it was reasonable for her to choose him as her partner.
When Carson asked Lane how she had celebrated turning 18, Lane's response was that she had spent the majority of the day doing laundry. Lane was 18 years old at the time. Given Carson's extensive past of dropping innuendoes, we can only assume he was looking for something a little bit more juicy.
We will never forget the countless hours that we spent in front of the mirror working on perfecting the Farrah Fawcett look. Jill Munroe from "Charlie's Angels" will be remembered as one of the most notorious characters in television and film history, despite the fact that she has appeared in a wide variety of roles over the course of her career. It is difficult to forget the poster she appeared in, which featured her wearing that red bathing suit.
Not long after she made the decision to end her run as Munroe after one year, Fawcett made an appearance as a guest on "The Tonight Show." The swift ascent of the show's ratings was brought up almost immediately in their conversation. Fawcett believed that the success of the show was due to the absence of bras worn by the cast members.
Everyone's focus was immediately drawn to the large blue eyes that Goldie Hawn possessed. She made an appearance as a guest on the program not long after she was awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, and at the time, she was quickly establishing herself as a global celebrity.
Even though she was just starting out on her long career, her smile and laugh were already contagious. Hawn has disproved the stereotype that a dumb blonde can only achieve success as an actress and producer. Hawn has achieved a great deal of success in both of these fields.
Johnny Carson was famous for having an unfiltered style that was known for making many of his guests feel uncomfortable. When conducting interviews with the wonderful Dolly Parton, the host of "The Tonight Show" frequently went too far and behaved in an inappropriate manner.
In spite of this, the well-known country singer continued to make appearances on the program. Carson would rather talk about her physical characteristics than her actual talents and abilities on stage and screen, so she would spend more time doing so.
It may come as a surprise to learn that in 1979, Cher filled in for Mike Douglas as a co-host on "The Mike Douglas Show" for a period of one week. The diva not only had the chance to showcase her innovative sense of style, but she also had the chance to perform several of her most successful songs.
She performed a number of songs, including "My Song," "Take Me Home," and "Happy Was the Day We Met," among others. Cher wanted to prove to her fans and the rest of the world that she was more than just Sonny's sidekick, and she was successful in doing so through her role as co-host of the show.
In 1962, Judy Garland appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jack Parr and participated in an interview. The two had a humorous and open exchange during the time they were together. Garland discussed her childhood as well as her early days in the entertainment industry. The well-known actress Frances Gumm got her start in the entertainment business by performing alongside her two sisters.
Before giving her iconic performance in "The Wizard of Oz," the young actress honed her craft by working alongside seasoned actors like Mickey Rooney and Liz Taylor, amongst others. Garland demonstrated that she was willing to put in a lot of work, which is essential in the Hollywood industry.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Joey Heatherton was a ubiquitous figure. Many people found the talented actress's performances shocking, regardless of whether they were on stage or in front of the camera. That wouldn't be enough to drive Johnny Carson away, of course.
In 1963, he welcomed the famous dancer onto his show so that he could instruct him in the art of dancing. Due to the overwhelming amount of positive feedback received from the show, Heatherton was invited to appear on the premiere episode of "The Dean Martin Show" one year later.
Joan Crawford was, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most well-liked actresses working in the 1960s. After giving a performance in the film "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane," a psychological thriller, she made an appearance on "The Merv Griffin Show." Crawford received a standing ovation from the attendees of the event.
It was obvious that the audience had a preference for the actress who had won multiple awards, but it was surprising to see that her co-stars did not at all share this sentiment in any way. a revelation that emerged following the publication of the autobiography titled "Mommy Dearest," which was written by the subject of the book.
You probably think "Batgirl" when we say Yvonne Craig, don't you? Craig, the superhero's spokesman, was forced to appear on "The Merv Griffin Show" on September 5, 1967, in character and full costume. Craig used her interview to promote women's rights, focusing on equal pay, while remaining true to character.
In one advertisement, Batman and Robin needed to be saved, but Batgirl wouldn't let them go. Given that Craig was paid less than Robin, this was a protest. Yvonne Craig was and continues to be a representation of female empowerment throughout her career.
If you ask us, we think it's pretty meta for them to meet their favorite celebrities. During her appearance as a guest on "The Tonight Show" in 1979, Judy Landers disclosed that meeting him had been a goal of hers for the entirety of her life. The reason why? She was romantically interested in Carson.
She had just finished her performance as Stacks from "BJ and the Bear" when Landers sat down for an interview with the host of the late-night show. When asked if she was able to drive a tractor-trailer, Landers responded with self-assurance, proving to the host and the audience that she was capable of doing so.
Robyn Hilton, in the same way, that numerous actresses before and after her have done, was able to make Johnny Carson feel like an incompetent host. Hilton was asked a number of insensitive questions about her professional life during an interview in 1974 that was intended to promote the upcoming release of the comedy classic "Blazing Saddles."
The interview was intended to promote the upcoming release of the film. Carson was of the opinion that Hilton's beginnings in the acting world can be traced back to her participation in beauty pageants. She shot back an immediate and succinct response that she "didn't believe in beauty pageants."
Jayne Kennedy was a trailblazer in the industry she worked in. The talented actress was able to break through not only gender but also racial barriers in her career. She was a successful actress, dancer, pageant winner, model, sportscaster, and television personality who showed the world that women could achieve success on par with or even surpass that of men.
Her resume included a wide range of accomplishments, including acting, dancing, modeling, and winning a beauty pageant. In addition to her role as host of "Greatest Sports Legends," which she held for a period of three years, Kennedy was a guest on "The Dean Martin Show," where she was one of the first women to announce NFL games.
Marlo Thomas asserts that she knew instantly that daytime talk show host Phil Donahue was the one for her the moment she laid eyes on him. In spite of this, it took the couple a full three years before they were finally able to get married. In 1970, when the actress and activist made an appearance on the talk show of her future husband, it was obvious that they were a good match.
At the conclusion of the segment, Donahue shared with his guest how much of an impact she had on him. Thomas retorted that the woman in his life, whoever she may be, should consider herself fortunate. Who would have guessed that Thomas would soon be married to such a fortunate lady?
In addition to her role as "Cricket" in the detective drama "Hawaiian Eye," Connie Stevens was a successful singer in her own right. She released a number of singles and albums, one of which is "Sixteen Reasons," which is widely considered to be one of her most successful songs. In spite of the fact that she became well-known in the United States, she was much more well-liked in other countries.
She was conscious of the fact that, despite possessing more than one significant advantage, she had created something that many individuals cherished. When she made an appearance on "The Tonight Show" in 1975, she had the chance to connect with people living in North America for the first time.
Despite the controversial nature of Johnny Carson's persona, the most beautiful woman in Hollywood appeared on his show. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Anderson was the epitome of the alluring blonde, making her the ideal candidate for the role.
She was widely regarded as one of the most stunning actresses of her time, and the producers of "WKRP in Cincinnati" freely admitted that they cast her more for her stunning appearance than for her acting ability when they made their casting decision. They compared her to a hybrid of Jayne Mansfield and Marilyn Monroe in their descriptions of her.
Shari Belafonte is a model, singer, and actress in her own right; however, she is still better known for being Harry Belafonte's daughter than for any of her own achievements. This is due to the fact that Harry Belafonte is one of the most famous musicians of all time.
Prior to landing a role in the popular television series "Hotel," Shari worked primarily behind the scenes as a production assistant and publicist in the entertainment industry. After her popularity increased, she went on to make an appearance as a guest on "The Merv Griffin Show." Despite the fact that she has been in a large number of movies and television shows, she has never been able to match or surpass her father's acting ability.
The husband-and-wife duo started appearing on a variety of talk shows on television as their song "I Got You, Babe" gained more and more popularity. The year 1969 was the one in which one of those appearances was featured on an episode of "The Merv Griffin Show."
In spite of the fact that their music was a favorite among fans, other aspects of the band, such as their undeniable love for one another, their dance moves, and the fashion choices they made, were also influential. Sonny and Cher were the hosts of the variety television show known as the Cher Comedy Hour, which ran from 1971 until 1974.
Charo was a nickname given to Maria del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. Her real name was Maria del Rosario Mercedes Pilar Martinez Molina Baeza. She was a frequent guest on various talk shows, including "The Tonight Show," "The Merv Griffin Show," and "The Mike Douglas Show," among others.
Talented in the arts of acting, singing, and comedy, Charo possessed all three. Even though she had trouble speaking English fluently, the Spanish superstar used her endearing personality to win over audiences who spoke the language, and her catchphrase "cuchi, cuchi" helped her quickly become well-known.
Before there was "Friends" or "How I Met Your Mother," there was "The Time of Your Life." The show aired on ABC. The cast of characters featured in the show that was canceled after a short run got together at their regular hangout every week to observe and interact with the people around them.
Betsy Palmer and Jackie Gleason were the stars that everyone was paying attention to as Joe, who was played by Jackie Gleason, evaluated each newcomer to their position on the team. Weird times on the TV, but even weirder to watch. Compared to today’s TV drama, this is pretty “vanilla.”
There was not a single other segment on "The Dean Martin Show" that even came close to competing with the one in which the fathers and daughters, who were the same age at the time, appeared together on screen.
During the 1967 performance of "Do-Re-Mi" from "The Sound of Music," Frank and Dean's daughters sang along with them. Late-night viewers consistently voted the variety show as their top choice for entertainment in the wee hours of the morning for nine consecutive years.
Jerry Lewis reigned supreme as the king of comedy. On the other hand, Dean Martin was referred to as the "King of Cool." Because of how well they complemented one another, the two legendary performers formed one of the most successful and long-lasting comedy teams in the history of the art.
Martin, a member of the famous group known as the "Rat Pack," was the host of the television shows "The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast" and "The Dean Martin Show." His show aired for a total of 264 episodes over the course of its nine-year run, during which time it featured one of Martin's most famous songs, "Everybody Love Somebody."
Not only did Elke Sommer make a number of guest appearances on a variety of late-night programs, but she also co-hosted one of those programs! Between the dates of February 7 and 11, 1972, the stunning German actress served as a co-host on The Mike Douglas Show.
Elke made a name for herself after escaping Germany during World War II, and she now has more than one hundred acting credits to her name across the film and television industries. She moved to Hollywood in the 1960s and began her acting career shortly after, appearing in films and on television.