Little Bits of History

Jack Paar; Tonight Show

Posted in History by patriciahysell on February 11, 2011

Jack Paar on the Tonight Show

February 11, 1960: Jack Paar walks off a live telecast of the Tonight Show. The day before, Paar told a  risqué joke. It was censored before broadcast. Rather than the joke, the network opted to include some news coverage and didn’t inform the star of the change in plans. While the joke does contain some double entendres, they are mild by today’s standards. The times were different and the network acted in what they thought was a reasonable manner. Paar told Hugh Downs, the announcer, before the show that he was quitting. In the middle of the show Paar walked off.

Downs initially thought Paar was kidding and waited for his return. It became obvious it wasn’t a joke and Downs was left to finish the show. Paar left the country to travel and his unusual departure became national news. His friend, Jonathan Winters, a stand-up comedian, encouraged Paar to return. He reappeared, back as host of the show, on March 7. He admitted his impetuousness and hoped to do better.

He was controversial before this. In 1959 he interviewed Fidel Castro and in December of that year asked Mickey Rooney to leave the show when he was obviously drunk. In 1961, he was in Germany as the Berlin Wall was going up. He had some public feuds with some other stars, notably Ed Sullivan and Walter Winchell. Paar had a loyal fan base as well as regular guests such as Cliff Arquette [playing Charlie Weaver], Peggy Cass, and Dody Goodman. He also introduced the idea of a “guest host” and had Johnny Carson relieve him on occasion.

Paar enjoyed the humor and entertainment portion of the show, but also wanted a more intellectual aspect. He had brilliant speakers on such as Peter Ustinov and William F. Buckley, Jr. The show lasted 105 minutes at the time and was broadcast five days per week. Paar was emotional and unpredictable. Putting the show together five times a week was a strain for all involved. He was “bone tired” of the grind, according to TV Guide. He quit hosting the show for good on March 29, 1962 – but in a more conventional manner. He had replaced Steve Allen as host and would be followed by Johnny Carson.

“An English lady is visiting Switzerland. She asks about the location of the ‘W.C.’ The Swiss, thinking she is referring to the ‘Wayside Chapel’, leaves her a note that said (in part) ‘the W.C. is situated nine miles from the room that you will occupy… It is capable of holding about 229 people and it is only open on Sunday and Thursday… It may interest you to know that my daughter was married in the W.C. and it was there that she met her husband… I shall be delighted to reserve the best seat for you, if you wish, where you will be seen by everyone.’” – the infamous joke

“I am leaving The Tonight Show. There must be a better way of, uh, making a living than this.” – Jack Paar, just before walking off the show.

“As I was saying before I was interrupted…” – Jack Paar, on his return

“When I walked off, I said there must be a better way of making a living. Well, I’ve looked… and there isn’t.” – Jack Paar

Also on this day:
Pennsylvania Hospital – In 1752, the first hospital in the colonies opened.
Anthracite coal – In 1808, a new home heating method was found.


24 Responses

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  1. Anonymous said, on July 14, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Jack said to me that that there was no joke intended, only that he thought the real life incident was amusing and that he was trying to tease a guest into talking about it. Jack said to me that the guest probably tried to put the incident into fiction by calling Jack’s words a joke so that nobody would believe Jack that the incident never really happened, which Jack thought would hurt his credibility. This type of trying to get something out of a guest was used much by Johnny Carson later as Jack Paar’s replacement. With Johnny Carson people thought it was funny but the first time it happened to Jack there was no fun, to Jack.
    By the way, I appeared on The Jack Paar Show a few times and this “joke” incident was after I turned down a contract offer to replace him. I stayed friends with him and the crew in Burbnk, visiting sometimes.

    • Phil Gries said, on January 22, 2012 at 12:57 am

      I have a feeling that “Anonymous” is Jack Carter. Am I correct?

      • pushkin said, on April 7, 2014 at 11:35 am

        If you read the rest of the “comments” here, it seems that “Anonymous” could also be, in fact, the famous mythomaniac, Bobby Dias, who has followed these remarks with an amazing list of his fictitious achievements that would fill two or three people’s lifetimes! How many people were offered the job of following in Jack Paar’s shoes, and turning it down ??!! Entertaining reading!

        • Bobby Dias said, on August 5, 2014 at 2:46 am

          No- a person, like God Obama, who must destroy the reputation of another to make himself look on top. In other word: pushkin- you are a lying pile of sh*t.

    • Bobby Dias said, on March 11, 2012 at 7:03 pm

      Anonymous is a liar. Johnny Carson was not Jack Paar’s replacement. When that lie came out Jack called me to say that the only replacement ever considered was me by the the big boys. Johnny hoped so and I called Johnny to tell him about Jack walking out. Think of NBC’s reasoning then- I pulled in 20 million-24 million viewers every show(my half hour only) and I was friends with more powerful politicians and big-name entertainers than Johnny even knew the names of(he proved that with his bungling of the names of the guests when he subbed two times for Jack, then continued that inepitude(he REALLY needed a sidekick like Ed to keep him from forgetting things on stage)). Johnny did not work at his employment- he left at the end of whatever job to do anything else but work. He had to have a cheat sheet for guests and jokes and everything else.

      • Bobby Dias said, on March 25, 2013 at 3:30 am

        By the way- I rejected NBC’s contract offer to replace Jack Paar because of a prior project- the Three Gorges Project in China that requred my 24 hours per day attention that now produces electric pwer to over two billion(2,000,000,000) people every day and has stopped cold the 200,000 per year deaths caused by the Yantze(Yellow) River flooding. Breathing has always been more important to me than laughing.

  2. Bobby Dias said, on July 14, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I remember stopping by to say hi to Jack when I noticed that Fidel Castro’s guards and the police there were having a terrible time with ONE woman, a studio employee, who wanted to kiss Fidel. As I walked over to Fidel I spun my fingers around my ears and then gesturing about all of them to say to Fidel that they were all crazy. He laughed and smiled and shook my hand. Politics were not for him and I at that moment. Him and I were having fun watching crazy people!

  3. Bobby Dias said, on July 14, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    About the “joke”- Jack said to me that that there was no joke intended, only that he thought the real life incident was amusing and that he was trying to tease a guest into talking about it. Jack said to me that the guest probably tried to put the incident into fiction by calling Jack’s words a joke so that nobody would believe Jack that the incident never really happened, which Jack thought would hurt his credibility. This type of trying to get something out of a guest was used much by Johnny Carson later as Jack Paar’s replacement. With Johnny Carson people thought it was funny but the first time it happened to Jack there was no fun, to Jack.
    By the way, I appeared on The Jack Paar Show a few times and this “joke” incident was after I turned down a contract offer to replace him. I stayed friends with him and the crew in Burbnk, visiting sometimes.

  4. Bobby Dias said, on July 15, 2011 at 1:26 am

    On the afternoon of Barbra Streisand’s first appeareance on The Jack Paar Show, it was so cold that I tried to warm Barbra’s hands by rubbing them fast, offstage in the temporary studio for the show, just before she went onstage. She went on before me. I always went on last, mainly because the audiences had been seeing stadiums rock on tv when I went on saturday and sunday tv football and baseball games- tv audiences got carried away trying to give me as much a greeting as the stadium people. The shear numbers of loving fans is why I could go up to Barbra and start rubbing her hands to warm them up- no big star adoration of her from me because I was used to 50,000 to 100,000 fans cheering me. She was “only” a sweet lovable girl to me. The best.

  5. Joe David Brown said, on December 12, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Who the hell is Bobby Dias and why does he think anyone knows him?

  6. Bobby Dias said, on February 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Very good point- you do prove that a used piece of toilet paper is BROWN. Everybody on earth knows that, so YOU are very famous! Brown- are you proud of the lack of respect you have for others and the respect you have earned? BROWN is a very popular color!

  7. Bobby Dias said, on February 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    By the way- Jack used his legs to walk but he did not “walk off”- the bosses knew when he was leaving. He set up everything with nobody around so that there would not be an audience to lose time to only hear a few words of good-bye and there would be no expense for a stage crew to pay. He did it in the morning not the afternoon normal time. I did not hold NBC to the balance of my contract with them. Show ended,period. Copycat shows with Johnny Carson and Jay Leno came later. Good guys but still tried to copy characteristics of Paar and myself-Carson and Leno failed at creating their own jokes.

    • Ava said, on September 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      I have no idea who this Bobby Dias is either but after reading these boring recollections that may or may not have happened (and one very bizarre IMDb review about a Ricky Nelson television biopic which lead me to Google Dias), I think it might be a good idea for retirement communities to start monitoring their patients’ Internet usage.

      I know I risk being called a piece of shitty toilet paper but no one know who you are “Bobby Dias”. Your website doesn’t clue anyone in as it was apparently put together by a blind fifth grader who is mentally challenged. Your stories might be more exciting and interesting if readers knew who the hell you supposedly are and, you know, you didn’t get a stick up your ass when asked that very obvious question.

      So, Mr. Bobby Dias, who the hell are you and what connection do you have to Jack Paar and Rick Nelson? Were you just a hanger on to celebrities in the 1950s-1960s and now spend the 2010s day tripping about your encounters online and getting pissy because no one knows who you are?

      • Bobby Dias said, on September 2, 2013 at 9:19 pm

        I do not care who knows or does not know me now- when I had my own half-hour of The Tonight Show With Jack Paar billions knew me. For example, when I was on The Tonight Show I was Entertainer Of The Year and/or Man Of The Year at the following magazines: Time,Newsweek, ‘Teen, Sixteen,Seventeen,Look,Life and Playboy(at ages 12 and 13!) and hundreds more around the Earth. On television,during their respective Presidencies, Kennedy and Johnson said I was the most important person they had ever known. They cared about me-so I have no reason to care about Ignorant Ava.

        • patriciahysell said, on September 3, 2013 at 7:59 am

          Do you happen to have any links to old videos or articles that include you?

  8. Bobby Dias said, on September 4, 2013 at 3:43 am

    Johnny Carson called me and said that he had bought up all the videos of me an said that nobody would see them . That was right after NBC offered me a contract for the whole Tonight Show, which I declined- NBC had told Johnny Carson that they were not interested in him. By the way, NBC, after Jack Paar quit(I already had told him that I had more important projects going on), NBC signed Johnny Carson but no stations signed up to watch him, so NBC pretended that Johnny Carson was replacing Jack Paar-BUT! Jack Paar signed (after Johnny Carson) for a short contract term to “introduce” Johnny Carson- Johnny Carson did not actually replace Jack Paar. I just thought of your questions about “old videos or articles”- I was a minor at the time so I could not find anybody to be willing to release anything of when I was a minor. When Elvis Presley tried to talk me into accepting royality money for 17-45 rpm records with 34 songs of mine on them that had sold over 200 million copies, I said no except if he could buy some of the old Tonight Show videos-but he later said that “everybody was scared to let them go”-even home recorded copies because Johnny Carson had said that “anybody with videos of Bobby Dias would feel my wrath”. Basically my parents signed away all my rights I had to any of the advertising contracts I had. Even with people that I had never met, about three years ago, i had a good time in Los Angeles and south of Los Angeles at the Companies where I had done some modeling. Seems like maybe you are used to seeing important minors in the news are those causing trouble- I did not cause trouble for the current media to want to show. I said about a current “singer” that he destroys” I built-so I do not get in the news now. Why should I-I am not a politically correct person- I repeated what Barack Obama said to me- that his son, the president had whipped three of his slaves to death, for fun and while they were chained to a wall. Why would anybody write anything about me after I said that about their God?

    • Ava said, on September 17, 2013 at 9:52 am

      No, Mr. Dias, I’m not ignorant. I am, however, rooted in reality the majority of the time and it’s quite apparent that all of your claims are false.

      Your website and blog entries contain many fanciful claims:

      1). You kissed Diana Ross

      2). You were best buds with Martin Luther King, Jr. and you spoke with him the day before his death.

      3). You were sent to Vietnam on a secret mission by LBJ himself. LBJ also sent you to Vietnam to save John McCain when he was a POW but McCain wasn’t really a POW…I don’t know, I got lost on that tale.

      4). You were friends with two Swedish kings who wanted to give you the Nobel Prize but you refused it due to your crippling sense modesty no doubt

      5). Golda Meir, Mao Zedong, Nikita
      Khrushchev and a few other political leaders threw you a surprise birthday party at the Taj Mahal in 1967

      6). You met a 10-year old Barack Obama in 1967 and saved his life!

      7). Henry Kissinger threatened your life so you called President Ford who promptly dismissed him. You know this because you were on speakerphone.

      8). Sony Music tried to pay you to keep your mouth shut regarding Whitney Houston’s death. Whitney was yet another pal who called you right before she died and you heard Ray J say he gave her the “dope” that killed her.

      So basically you knew everyone important and famous since the 1950s. You’ve written hundreds of songs, had your own segment on The Jack Parr Show (as a minor!), counseled heads of state and royalty, and created some kind of billion dollar plan for something but was silenced (or something) by World Bank.

      All signs point to you being a very, very deluded and hateful old man. It’s one thing to fib about knowing famous people and doing interesting things but I have no patience for people who make up stories about being a war hero. People that have actually seen combat and did heroic things rarely talk about them.

      You need serious psychiatric help and large doses of medication. You also need a kick in the ass for disrespecting all the people who actually fought and died in wars. Your behavior is deplorable.

      • Bobby Dias said, on September 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

        Every one of your comments, 1 through 8 is completely false- with one method used in each one: you change one small bit to make the entire statement of mine seem completey false. YOU are a nasty old biddy with nothing to do but degrade whoever you want-you think. Devils like you are easy to spot- Satan will have you forever.

        • pushkin said, on April 7, 2014 at 11:20 am

          Oh Bobby! Bobby! Bobby! Write a fictitious novel about your life! I’ve never heard such B.S.! But it’s certainly entertaining and amazing to see the effects of mythomania on one single individual! I spoke to Barak Obama the other day, and he told me: “Without Bobby Dias, I would not have won either of the elections” Wow! You should add that to your list of achievements! You must be on some secret list, because no-one seems to have heard of you!!

      • Ava said, on September 20, 2013 at 3:39 am

        No, dude, I didn’t change anything. My imagination isn’t that active nor do I have a mental disorder to even facilitate such fanciful tales. All of this nonsense is on your amateurish website and looney blog. All one has to do is click on your name and see what rubbish you made up. I just short handed the lunacy but niiiiiiiice try. Don’t leave an electronic footprint of you don’t want your lies exposed.

        And really? I’m an old biddy? You’re as old as Methuselah and look every one of your years and then some. The last thing you should be doing is disparaging another person’s age. For the record, I’m under 40 and not even close to being a “biddy”. I just loath liars. I’m sure you’ll dig into your misogynistic bag of insults in an effort to verbally eviscerate me again (not really) but I’ll save you the trouble – I’m not fat, ugly, old, a lesbian, a lonely cat lady or sad lady who can’t get laid. That about covers it, yeah? Using the good old stand by of “bitch” probably would have been easier but, shockingly, even that word has lost its impact.

        And believe me Pops, if I were of the devil or evil, I’d be out there spinning tales like you do. Lying and inflating one’s accomplishments (or in your case, making them all up) are sins. If you’re so worried about evil, devils and other such things, you should stop filling the world with more untruths. You’re just adding more sin after all. That’s naughty.

        Your nutty websites and lies were amusing but I’m bored of you now. Sadly, liars and the mentally ill just don’t thrill me like they used to.

        • Sherry said, on February 5, 2014 at 10:59 am

          There is no point in challenging Mr. Dias or wasting your time in being hostile to him. I ‘googled’ him, also, and have spent hours reading his posts. One can only come to the conclusion that Mr. Dias has a schizo-affective disorder (with paranoid features) that is untreated. He’s seriously mentally ill and spreading his delusions around the internet is somehow satisfying to him.

          There’s really no point in replying to Mr. Dias, as he lives in a fantasy world which doesn’t comport with reality – and frankly, it’s a matter of brain dysfunction, not will or concious choice. He’s a sick man.

          My advice would be to ignore his rants, because nothing anyone says is going to pull him back to reality. Only intensive psychiatric treatment could do that, and it would seem that Mr. Dias is either not being treated or is, perhaps (and this is quite common with schizophrenic patients), NONCOMPLIANT with treatment.

          • pushkin said, on April 7, 2014 at 11:25 am

            Or just laugh it off! We don’t know him, do not want to know him and can just pity him….He must be a lonely old man! . Poor thing. Actually, his imagination is quite amazing and if you don’t take it seriously, it’s entertaining to see how far he goes! Once more: poor thing!

            • Sherry said, on August 5, 2014 at 10:10 am

              Pushkin –

              I actually created a spreadsheet to keep track of his delusions, with columns like “Theme”, “Famous Personages”, “Approx. Date”, “No Verification Excuses”, & “Details.”

              When you lay it out like that, it becomes terribly obvious how sick Bobby is. Also, the spreadsheet makes his patterns clear. I now make it a game to guess what kind of story he’ll comment on – and I’m fairly accurate most of the time! 😃

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