This Was Television On August 16

1954: Jack Paar replaces Walter Cronkite on The Morning Show

CBS’s attempt to compete with NBC’s weekday morning hit Today, The Morning Show was originally—albeit briefly—hosted by the legendary newsman. He never meshed with the program’s lighthearted, humorous tone, giving way to the more comically deft Paar. Paar’s run wouldn’t last long, either—nor would The Morning Show itself, which folded in 1956. 

Paar went on to his best-known success in 1957 when he stepped in for another TV legend, Steve Allen, this time as host of The Tonight Show. In the intervening three years, he had failed to find a niche in several of the finest jobs the 1950s had to offer, including travelling salesman, scientist combating mutant insects, and, briefly, Premier of the Soviet Union.  -A.D.

Today’s Birthdays: James Cameron, Aquaman helmer (58); Steve Carell, world’s greatest boss (50); Kathie Lee Gifford, a.m. emcee (59); Eydie Gormé, variety show stalwart (84); Timothy Hutton, leveraged (52); Laura Innes, pre-House cane-wielding doc (53); Madonna, MTV memory-maker (54); Julie Newmar, purrfect punner (79); Reginald VelJohnson, Winslow patriarch (60); Lesley Ann Warren, IMF vet (66).

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