"HI-HO, STEVERINO! My Adventures in the Wonderful Wacky World of TV" by Steve Allen

"HI-HO, STEVERINO! My Adventures in the Wonderful Wacky World of TV"

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Allen's 38th book, by his reckoning, and perhaps his best. This is the history of Allen's ""professional adventures in broadcasting, and not a revelation of my experiences as pianist, composer, author, public citizen, lover, husband or father."" With all this, according to Allen, covered elsewhere, what's left? But sticking simply to his various shows as he faced the radio mike or TV camera allows Allen to skim the cream from 50 years of lightweight chat and comedy routines and keep his reminiscences under tight rein while moving at a gallop. With material groomed to shine, he often comes off better here than he does while wryly improvising on TV. Allen's opening is hilarious, as he recalls feeding fake commercials into the hands of unwitting announcers who find themselves speaking rotund babble on live air. Also great fun is his baldfaced stupidity as a teenager when he, his mother, and his aunt are playing cards in their Chicago hotel room and hear from a CBS radio announcer that Mars has invaded the Earth (""Gosh!"" Allen cries)--they head instantly for church and some heavy prayer, with stunned Allen still crying ""Gosh!' We follow him through his early days as a flummoxing TV sportscaster for wrestling matches (""Leone now has his kelman frammised over the arm of Hayes' kronkheit...Ladies and gentlemen, the zime is going absolutely mctavish!""). Bored by the idea of being a deejay on his Breaking the Records radio show, Allen breaks old records rather than play them and gets a huge audience by talking without music. When his guest Doris Day fails to show up, he interviews the audience instead and invents the talk show. Allen's original Tonight Show format was much broader than today's and even took on the Mafia--here, he tells of happy/sad moments with Errol Flynn and Jack Kerouac. Better than nostalgia, sometimes serious, and often genuinely funny.

Pub Date: July 1st, 1992
Page count: 299pp
Publisher: Barricade--dist. by Publishers Group West