National Honorary Chairman-Emeritus
The Parents Television Council is greatly honored to have worked with the highly regarded, and world-renowned entertainer Steve Allen as our National Honorary Chairman from 1996 until his death in 2000. He is remembered for his amazing comedic talents, but also for his dogged commitment to ensure quality, family-friendly entertainment and media decency. Despite his passing, his grace, love and strength of character still impact the PTC to this day.
Not only was he one of America's greatest comedians, Steve Allen was also an entertainment trailblazer. In the late 1940s, he created the modern talk show format – bringing Hollywood celebrities on his popular radio program to promote their films and music albums. This distinctive combination of talk, music, celebrity interview and comedy was a success – later, easily transferred to the growing medium of television.
Mr. Allen helped develop NBC's Tonight Show, and was the original host of the nationwide hit from 1953-1956. Mr. Allen's combination of stand-up comedy, celebrity interviews, and variety acts remains the standard template used by most late night TV shows to this day. He starred on The Steve Allen Show, a Sunday night comedy program that aired from 1956-1960, as well as hosted game shows, comedy specials, and syndicated comedy shows. Mr. Allen received both the Emmy and the Peabody Awards – considered one of the most prestigious awards in electronic media – for his innovative television program, Meeting of Minds on PBS from 1977-1981. In 1986, Mr. Allen was deservedly inducted into the Television Academy's Hall of Fame.
Mr. Allen's legacy stretches far beyond television and radio, he was also an accomplished actor, starring in such classics as The Benny Goodman Story and The Sunshine Boys, composed more than 8,500 songs, and authored 58 fiction and non-fiction books – ranging from musical comedies to non-fiction works on white-collar crime and migratory farm labor. Vulgarians at the Gate was his response to "the rising tide of violence and vulgarity in our popular culture." The book, released shortly before his death, spurred a national movement to rid the music, television and movie industries of abject violence, sexual content and harsh language – appealing to parents, media activists and public officials, alike.
In his capacity as National Honorary Chairman, Mr. Allen tirelessly recruited similarly minded celebrities for service on the PTC advisory board, called for civic responsibility in meetings with corporate and entertainment executives, participated in PTC fundraisers and served as an adept and focused spokesperson for the PTC in both television and print interviews.
While we lament his passing, we celebrate his accomplishments – his innovative endeavors within the fields of radio, television and theater, as well as his unwavering efforts for the Parents Television Council.
His commitment, passion and friendship can never be matched. We miss him greatly.