Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Talk show host Les Crane was the first to mount a challenge to Johnny Carson for the late night audience... and was the first to fall before the might of 'Tonight'. This past Sunday he passed away at the age of 74.

He had been working for ABC-owned radio station KGO when the Alphabet network transferred him over to their local affiliate. From there he moved to WABC in New York in 1963, where the show underwent a change from 'Night Line... With Les Crane' to 'The Les Crane Show'.

The New York Times called him "the bad boy of late night television", saying that he was a Calling him "the bad boy of late night television," The New York Times"public relations expert, complaint-department chief, psychiatrist and tough hero to thecallers."

Les Crane conducted the first TV interview with the Rolling Stones in June of 1964. And based on his ratings in the 1 am hour, the network decided to bump him up to the 11:30 slot. In his first week, his guests were Richard Burton, Shelley Winters, Melvin Belli, and the mother of Lee Harvey Oswald.

But then on November 9th, 1964, Crane faced off against Carson on a national stage and a few months later, his show was cancelled.

In 1968, Les Crane tried again with another talk show on WNEW in New York, and also appeared as an actor in several TV series.

These are the TV characters he contributed to Toobworld:

I Love a Mystery (1973) (TV) .... Jack Packard

"Love, American Style"
- Love and the Advice Givers (1969) .... Mel

"It Takes a Thief"
- A Thief Is a Thief (1968)

"Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre"
- Wipeout (1967) .... Commentator

"The Virginian"
- Nightmare at Fort Killman (1967) .... Captain MacDowell

"Burke's Law"
- Who Killed the Card? (1965) .... Holton Rocket

Toby OB

No comments: