A man of credentials and intelligence, multi-talented performer Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen (1922-2000) was born on this day in New York and wrote over 50 books and 7,400 songs.
The creator and host of the original Tonight Show in 1953, he once said, "Hosting a talk show is the easiest job anybody ever had."
A master of adlib, Allen's wit and outspoken views were legendary. He always carried a pocket tape recorder to keep track of his nonstop ideas. In his most recent book, Dumbth, he examined cultural ignorance and the decline of education-- "the lost art of thinking" --and offered 101 ways to reason better and improve the mind.
"Encourage your own creativity...the world needs more creativity, not less," he advised."My most successful song, This Could Be the Start of Something Big was written in a dream."
"The world has already let me do about 28 times more than I thought I was gonna be able to do at the age of 21-- so, thanks to the universe," he said.
Allen inspired many in the entertainment industry, setting what comedian and host Bill Maher called "a standard of humanity that I have not seen since."
Johnny Carson agreed."All of us who have hosted the Tonight Show format owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Allen. He was a most creative innovator and a brilliant entertainer."
Look beyond a person's credentials.