We’re sadly inducting another posthumous member to the Television Crossover Hall of Fame as a member of the League of Themselves.
From CNN Business: Hugh Downs, the versatile and Emmy-winning broadcaster whose decades-long TV career ranged from anchoring ABC News' "20/20" to the "Today" show to serving as Jack Paar's sidekick on "The Tonight Show," has died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona. He was 99.
Local outlet AZFamily was first to report the news of Downs' passing, citing a statement from his great-niece, Molly Shaheen.
Downs -- who retired in 1999 -- was essentially there for the very start of commercial television, serving as the announcer for the children's show "Kukla, Fran and Ollie" and comedy legend Sid Caesar's "Caesar's Hour" in the 1950s.
In 1957, when Paar succeeded Steve Allen as host of "The Tonight Show," Downs became the announcer. The next year, Downs launched his run as the original host of the game show "Concentration."
Hugh Downs was a multidimensional in the greater TV universe, appearing as a member of the League of Themselves in Earth Prime-Time, but also in the Tooniverse.
From Wikipedia: Hugh Malcolm Downs (February 14, 1921 – July 1, 2020) was an American radio and television broadcaster, announcer and programmer, television host, news anchor, TV producer, author, game show host, and music composer. A regular television presence from the mid-1940s until the late 1990s, he had several successful roles on morning, prime-time, and late-night television. For several years, he held the certified Guinness World Record for the most hours on commercial network television, before being surpassed by Regis Philbin.
Downs served as announcer and sidekick for ‘Tonight Starring Jack Paar’ from 1957 to 1962, co-host of the NBC News program ‘Today’ from 1962 to 1971, host of the ‘Concentration’ game show from 1958 to 1969, and anchor of the ABC News magazine ‘20/20’ from 1978 to 1999.
Downs started his career in radio, and began in live television in 1945 in Chicago, where he became a regular on several nationally broadcast programs over the next decade. He moved to New York City in 1954, when he was invited to do a program there. Among other shows during his career, he hosted the PBS talk show ‘Over Easy’ and was the occasional co-host of the syndicated talk show ‘Not for Women Only’.
In , he was certified by the Guinness Book of World Records (now Guinness) as holding the record for the greatest number of hours on network commercial television (15,188 hours), though he lost the record for most hours on all forms of television to Regis Philbin in 2004.
Well, if he had to lose the crown to somebody, better that it was to a fellow member of the Hall.
Here are the shows which define his membership as a multidimensional.
1958-1969 Concentration [Served as the host] O’Bservation – My guidelines are a lot looser after a candidate dies. Much like my morals at a wake where booze is served. Unlike ‘Hollywood Squares’, I’m not finding any references to ‘Concentration’ in other fiction-based shows, only in a couple of episodes from ‘To Tell The Truth’. But he’s identified with it and being such a long-running show, there might be one eventually.
1961 Car 54, Where Are You? - Catch Me on the Paar Show (1961) After a chance traffic stop with Hugh Downs, Gunther finagles an appearance on the Jack Paar show of a fellow officer he thinks is funny.
1962 The Jack Benny Program - Rock Hudson Show (1962) Jack debates sex appeal with Rock Hudson. Jack wants to do a show like the ‘Tonight Show’. Opinion from the IMDb: The centerpiece, a take-off on the Jack Paar show, has dated. Benny spoofs Paar's mannerisms as host of ‘The Tonight Show’. Trouble is you have to be my age or older to recall Paar's stint as host (1957-62). The humor may have been timely for 1962, but is now badly dated. Also, Hugh Downs, Paar's announcer, was known for his erudition, which he spoofs here. But it's not very funny. Don Wilson takes the short end of the stick against Downs with good humor.
The Hollywood Squares - Episode dated 19 November 1979 O’Bservation – Just two weeks ago, the Hall inducted ‘Hollywood Squares’ for its fictional version – its “televersion” – within other shows, or at least mentioned in those other shows. So Mr. Downs’ appearance on the show (and it was probably for the full week) qualifies for his membership requirements.
1984 Call to Glory - Call to Glory (1984) ... News Reporter (uncredited) O’Bservation – Even though he looked older than he did in the early 1960s, which is when the show took place, I think it’s still supposed to be the televersion of Hugh Downs appearing as himself.
The shows which qualify him for membership then for just the main Toobworld would be:
CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?
THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM
CALL TO GLORY (with splainins)
Even if someone wanted to disqualify that last one, the minimum requirement is three series. As I said at the beginning, Hugh Downs was a multidimensional – he also appeared in the Tooniverse.
Family Guy - The Kiss Seen Round the World (2001)
Since televersions could have fictional elements, (like Dennis Rodman being an alien; Art Carney and Tim Russert being related to fictional characters), then the same could apply to Hugh Downs. In Toobworld, here’s a theory of relateeveety: he is descended from Dan Flynn who was seen back in the early to mid-1800s….
1960 Riverboat - The Night of the Faceless Men (1960)
Good night and may God bless Hugh Downs. Welcome to the Hall, Sir.
As the Trickster once said, "Reality is boring, that's why I change it whenever I can."
I'm just "The Man Who Viewed Too Much", and "Inner Toob" is a blog exploring and celebrating the 'reality' of an alternate universe in which everything that ever happened on TV actually takes place.
Most of my theories about the TV Universe come from thinking inside the box and thus can't be proven. But I've never been one to shy away from a tall tale.....
Remember: "The more you watch, the more you've seen!"