PCL MS 012 Steve Allen Collection
|Title||PCL MS 012 Steve Allen Collection|
|Introduction||The Steve Allen Collection consists of approximately 20 cubic feet of manuscript materials, awards, and promotional items. Steve Allen initially donated materials to the Browne Popular Culture Library, Bowling Green State University in 1974. Additional materials were donated in 1990.|
The collection is open for research, but the duplication of any materials must comply with applicable copyright laws. Please contact the archivist with any questions about this collection. This register was compiled by Nancy White Lee, Popular Culture Library, in May 1986, updated in March 1991, and again in August 2009 by Patricia Falk. The finding aid was updated by Manuscripts & Outreach Archivist Steve Ammidown in September 2019.
Although best known for his forty-year career in television, Steve Allen (1921-2000) also worked in radio, motion pictures, the theatre, and in concert and club venues. He was a radio writer, announcer, host, and comedian; television scriptwriter, producer, host, and comedian; jazz and popular music composer, lyricist, singer, and pianist; Broadway playwright and actor; and motion picture actor. He was an advocate for causes including farm workers’ rights and nuclear disarmament. Allen was also a widely published journalist, essayist, poet, and novelist.
Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen was born on December 26, 1921, in New York, New York. Both parents were in a vaudeville act under the stage name Billy Allen and Belle Montrose. Allen attended Drake University in 1941 and the University of Arizona in 1945. On August 23, 1942, Allen married Dorothy Goodman whom he met while attending Arizona State Teachers' College. The two divorced in 1952 and on July 31, 1954, he married the actress/comedienne Jayne Meadows. Allen had four sons.
Steve Allen made his debut on Phoenix radio station KOY in 1942, where he worked as an announcer, writer, and pianist. Two years later Allen left for Los Angeles, where he performed on radio stations KFAC, KMTR, and KNX from 1944 to 1950. He began his television career in New York City in 1950 on CBS. Allen was the creator and host of the original The Tonight Show on NBC (1954-1956), which introduced such future stars as Steve Lawrence, Eydie Gorme, Andy Williams, Don Knotts, Jonathan Winters, and the Smothers Brothers. In 1956, Allen moved to CBS with The Steve Allen Show (1956-1960; 1968-1972). Allen also hosted the game shows What's My Line and I've Got a Secret. He created, wrote, and hosted the PBS-TV series Meeting of Minds (1977-1981). Steve Allen was inducted into the Television Academy's Hall of Fame in 1986.
Steve Allen was a prolific songwriter. He has recorded more than forty albums and composed more than four-thousand songs including: "This Could Be the Start of Something Big," "Picnic," and "Gravy Waltz," which won the Grammy Award in 1964. He wrote the title lyrics for the film themes for On the Beach and Bell, Book, and Candle, and scores for several musicals, including the Broadway production of Sophie (1963) and the CBS-TV version of Alice in Wonderland (1985).
As an actor, Allen starred on Broadway in The Pink Elephant (1953), and wrote the play, The Wake, which won a Los Angeles drama critic's nomination as the best play of 1977. Allen also played the title role in the 1956 motion picture, The Benny Goodman Story, and starred in The Comic (1969).
Steve Allen's published credits include memoirs, poetry, short stories, plays, novels, children's books, social commentary, humor and satire, radio and television scripts, reviews, essays, and magazine and newspaper articles. He was a regular columnist for Song Hits, Downbeat, and Cosmopolitan, as well as for several newspapers. Steve Allen published his first collection of poetry in 1946, and his poetry appeared in other collections and periodicals over the years. Allen's first novel, Not All Your Laughter, Not All Your Tears, was published 1962. In 1982, Allen wrote his first mystery novel, The Talk Show Murders, followed by Murder on the Glitter Box in 1989. He also wrote a book for children, Princess Snip Snip and the Puppykittens (1973).
Allen wrote a scholarly study of migratory farm labor, The Ground Is Our Table (1966), and a study of white-collar crime in America, Rip-Off: A Look at Corruption in America (1979). Other book-length non-fiction works by Allen focus on Jesus cults, the atomic bomb, and corruption, and include two popular studies of comedians, The Funny Men (1956) and Funny People (1981).
Allen wrote hundreds of essays, articles, and syndicated columns and gave speeches on a wide range of social issues such as democratic rights, censorship, interracial justice, mental health, police corruption, prison reform, capital punishment, disarmament, morality and nuclear war, education, and mental health. His work appeared in hundreds of magazines and newspapers, including Esquire, Ladies Home Journal, Look, Variety, TV Guide, Playbill, Cue, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and the Detroit News.
Steve Allen received many honors for community service including from the American Civil Liberties Union, Sane (National Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy), the American Cancer Society, the National Association for Mental Health, and the Boy Scouts of America.
Steve Allen died October 31, 2000.
|Scope and Content||The Steve Allen Collection contains manuscripts for five books, 89 speeches, and 451 articles. Of particular interest is "The Steve Allen Biography" (Box 10), which includes a complete listing of television shows and appearances along with listings of stars that appeared on his shows and recorded or performed his songs. Also of interest are the scripts for the Emmy award-winning PBS-TV series, Meeting of Minds. In addition the collection includes professional photographs, promotional materials, and certificates and awards. Oversized and non-print materials are located in Boxes 12 and 18 to 24 of the collection. Researchers interested in the many facets of Steve Allen will find this collection invaluable.|
The following books have been integrated into the collections at the Browne Popular Culture Library. Call numbers for these books may be found in the BGSU Libraries Catalog or by clicking on a title below.
Numerous LP albums and other sound recordings donated by Allen have been transferred to the Sound Recordings Archives at Bowling Green State University.