Fred Applegate narrates this documentary about legendary television talk-show host Jack Paar and his two programs, "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" and "The Jack Paar Program," featuring vintage clips of his work and extensive interviews with some of his notable colleagues and admirers. After a brief overview of Paar's entertainment career, commentators describe the characteristics possessed by Jack Paar that made his talk shows unique bastions of intelligence, wit, and talent. Commentators include the following: Tom Shales, Washington Post television critic; talk-show host Regis Philbin; Dick Cavett, television booker and "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" writer; Richard Kennedy, WNET/New York producer and former "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" page; entertainers Tom and Dick Smothers; Hugh Downs, co-host of "20/20" and announcer for "The Jack Paar Tonight Show"; and Hal Gurnee, director of "The Jack Paar Tonight Show" and "Late Night with David Letterman." Featured clips from Jack Paar's talk shows include the following interviews and performances: Liberace accompanying Muhammad Ali (then known as Cassius Clay) in his poetry recital; an on-location interview in Cuba with leader Fidel Castro; Woody Allen in his first network stand-up comedy performance; a conversation between Paar and then-presidential candidate John F. Kennedy; Jonathan Winters; Richard Nixon, both as an interviewee and as a performer, playing a self-composed song on the piano; then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, making his first public statements after J.F.K.'s assassination; The Muppets; Bill Cosby performing stand-up comedy; The Smothers Brothers; Oscar Levant; Judy Garland and Robert Goulet performing a song from the animated film "Gay Purr-ee"; and Paar's farewell statement in his final episode of "The Jack Paar Program" on June 25, 1965.

Cataloging of this program was made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


  • DATE: November 29, 2003 Saturday 10:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:59:30
  • COLOR/B&W: B&W
  • CATALOG ID: T:79434
  • GENRE: Arts documentaries
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Television personalities
  • SERIES RUN: PBS - TV, 2003


  • Eric Kulberg … Executive Producer
  • Steve Ligerman … Producer
  • John Paige … Co-Producer
  • Jack Flom … Production (Misc.), Executive in charge of Production
  • Lynch, Peter S., II … Production (Misc.), Editor
  • Paul Pieper … Production (Misc.), Online Editor
  • Robin Siegel … Production (Misc.), Talent Producer
  • Oleg Semkoff … Researcher
  • Fred Applegate … Narrator
  • Dick Cavett
  • Hugh Downs
  • Hal Gurnee
  • Richard Kennedy
  • Regis Philbin
  • Tom Shales
  • Dick Smothers
  • Tom Smothers
  • Ali, Muhammad (See also: Clay, Cassius)
  • Woody Allen
  • Fidel Castro
  • Bill Cosby
  • Judy Garland
  • Robert Goulet
  • John F. Kennedy
  • Robert F. Kennedy
  • Oscar Levant
  • Liberace
  • The Muppets
  • Richard Nixon
  • Jack Paar
  • Smothers Brothers, The
  • Jonathan Winters