Steve Allen was a funny guy. One of his bits that I thought funniest was dramatic readings of fictitious letters to the editor at the end of which he would attribute them to unlikely sources. Rick Santelli’s dramatic reading of Obama’s impassioned 2006 speech against raising the debt limit put me in mind of Steve Allen’s old bit. (I posted Santelli’s reading here.) It’s pretty much exactly the way Steve used to do it with his letters to the editor.
Allen was a man of many talents. He did comedy. He played piano. He wrote songs. He performed. He wrote dialogues featuring historical characters for a series that ran on PBS. He even debated Bill Buckley and acquitted himself admirably. He was obviously an inquisitive reader with a playful mind.
After posting the Santelli video I went looking for a video of Steve Allen doing one of his old letter-to-the-editor bits. I didn’t find that, but I did find the 1958 gem below featuring Allen’s best-loved song and a tracking shot that rivals the opening of A Touch of Evil.
I love the song’s sheer conversational ease. Does anybody sing it anymore? Probably not. It is not exactly in tune with the times. If you are interested enough to start watching, please stick with the video to the end for a nice surprise.
From a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…