Steve Allen created THE TONIGHT SHOW. He was an enormously talented man. Additionally, he was an accomplished musician and as if that wasn’t enough, a frequent game show panelist. He wrote numerous books on comedy. He won Emmys and God knows what else. He was one of my idols growing up. And one of my comedy writer heroes was his head writer, Stan Burns. But sometimes talent is not limitless. Mr. Allen could do a lot of things but solving crimes wasn't one of them.
Among his many endeavors, he wrote several mystery novels in which he and his wife Jayne Meadows were the two master sleuths. Needless to say there’s just a touch of grandiose ego in these unfathomable tomes. My favorite is MURDER IN VEGAS. Steve and Jayne go to Las Vegas. Steve performs in a big hotel showroom. And the bodies start to fall. The police are baffled. Ah, but not Steverino. Master entertainer by night, dynamite detective by day, Steve Allen does it all. Here are a few ACTUAL hard boiled excerpts. Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler – eat your heart out.
The first thing I did on coming off stage was to remove my formal dinner jacket and throw it on the couch in my dressing room, picking up a tan windbreaker in its place. From my dressing room closet, I also grabbed a tropical straw hat with a wide brim and a pair of dark glasses: private eye Allen was about to go incognito.
In the dream, after having erotic, but unfulfilled designs on an unidentified but highly desirable woman, I was suddenly swimming in an ocean at night…
(There’s an image I could live without – Steve Allen seducing a hot babe. Yikes!)
Jayne reached out once again and felt the leg, a towel-covered thigh, and slowly her hand traced upward over the unconscious form, until coming to a cord wrapped tightly about Christie’s neck. It had been pulled with such vigorous force that Christie’s neck seemed broken, with her head lying to one side at an impossible angle.
Jayne loosened the cord, though she knew it was too late. Her heart was racing. “Oh dear!” she said. It was impossible to fool herself any longer into thinking this was a faint – Christie Hamilton had been murdered.
I cannot claim the distinction of being Jewish, but a whispered “oy” escaped my lips at that moment.
“Mr. Allen… there’s a phone call,” said the pretty slave girl in a pale lavender mini-toga.
As for young women, some of them seem to feel that since men are titillated by the revelation of a bit of kneecap, breast, shoulder or navel it logically follows that to quickly proceed to a state of either near or totally nudity is a wise course. They are quite mistaken in this. Or, to put the matter in simpler terms, one Sophia Loren is worth a thousand Madonnas.
(And finally, I kid you not….)
And this young woman too, was obviously trying to sound as if she had spent her early years in a black ghetto. There’s something dumb about that, ladies and germs.