Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Strange Seeing Ways of Steve Allen

The late, great Steve Allen. Look into his eyes. On second thought...

I've been meaning to mention these two incidents here for quite awhile, and it's time I got around to it. I know that what I'm about to tell you stretches the fabric of believability, but I assure you that both incidents actually occurred.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT... On April 11, 1966, I'VE GOT A SECRET host Steve Allen introduced special guest George Segal to the program. Segal walked onstage in the company of six other gentlemen; his secret was that he and these men used to be known as the Red Onion Jazz Band and he was their banjo player. Before the panel's questioning got underway, Allen laughingly referred to the assemblage of dark-suited men standing behind him and Segal as "the St. Valentine's Day Massacre." Oddly enough, Segal's next motion picture would be Roger Corman's THE ST. VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE, released in June 1967!

BELIEVE IT OR NOT... While questioning challenger Ms. Lucille Bohn ("Police Detective") on the January 1, 1967 broadcast of WHAT'S MY LINE?, panelist Steve Allen inquired "Are you some kind of lovely... meter maid?"
His bizarrely phrased question actually preceded the release of The Beatles' SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND album, featuring the song "Lovely Rita" ("Lovely Rita, meter maid / Where would I be without you?"), by six months. According to Barry Miles' book THE BEATLES: A DIARY, all of the Beatles were in London on the date of the broadcast. Furthermore, the US version of WHAT'S MY LINE? was never shown in the UK. According to Miles, Paul McCartney did not begin working on the song until February 23. Weird, huh?
Did Steve Allen actually peer into the future, or merely influence it? We may never know. In the words of Larry Blamire, "I wonder. Oh, well..."

1 comment:

  1. What are the odds the "six other gentlemen" that George Segal introduced as the Red Onion Jazz Band on that April '66 broadcast of I've Got a Secret were the same Dixieland outfit seen in the following links?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GL5Dq2VlNeQ
    http://www.joelicari.com/photo42.html

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