Patterico's Pontifications


Tom Poston – R.I.P.

Filed under: Miscellaneous — Justin Levine @ 1:29 pm

[posted by Justin Levine] 

My first job in showbiz was as an editing intern on The Newhart Show. So heartfelt condolences go out to the friends and family of Tom Poston, whom I knew to be an awesomely nice guy.

I’d argue that his best work was on the original Steve Allen Show. I’m not sure if it is on video anywhere, but check it out if you ever get a chance.  

19 Responses to “Tom Poston – R.I.P.”

  1. I believe he was married to Suzanne Pleshette. Funny, funny man.

    Tom (efe1e9)

  2. Unfortunately, the original Steve Allen show from Downtown Hollywood, was on kinescope (film), and very little of that era’s footage has been saved to either tape or disc. Tom was one of the greats on that show, and will be long remembered along with Steve, and Louie Nie (Hi-Ho, Steverino!), and others whose names we mis-place in our old age.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  3. I checked his biography and he was married to Suzanne Pleshette. I’m clearly a TV-land child because that came as a shock. Anyway, RIP Mr. Poston and I’m glad to learn you were as nice in real life as you seemed on TV.

    DRJ (40716e)

  4. I discovered Poston late in his career when he re-emerged as Dr. Bob Hartley’s prankster buddy “The Peeper” on the 2nd Bob Newhart Show. Emily, Bob’s wife on the show (played by Suzanne Pleshette), couldn’t stand “The Peeper,” but apparently Poston had a different effect on Pleshette IRL. It’s sad he’s gone, but there are worse places to spend your waning days than in the arms of Suzanne Pleshette. RIP, Peeper.

    L.N. Smithee (b048eb)

  5. Did they say how he died??

    Heh… Bet you money what it might have been… wink wink nudge nudge

    Scott Jacobs (e3904e)

  6. I have been at tapings of the original Steve Allen show in Hollywood, and while I don’t think Tom Poston was ever on when I was there, I thought he was tremendously funny and understated.

    Man, that brings back memories of how funny Steve Allen was. Just let the mind roam during the show.

    Remember “Marvin Gardens” as one of his guests?

    steve miller (b356eb)

  7. He was one of 3 great comedy skit guys on the Allen show. All were great and all went on to bigger gigs. The Steve Allen Show in my opinion was great. Most did not care for it and it did not last.
    Steve became an old fashioned old man. I heard him try to rip the Stones “Satisfaction” while I was in grad school. He was really old fashioned almost to the extent of button shoes. I was really surprised how old fashioned he had become. But in the mid 50’s he was with it and clever. The skits were short and usually very clever. Don Knox (Knotts) was the biggest of the 3 back in the days.

    Rodney A Stanton (3af981)

  8. Tom Poston and Suzanne Pleshette were married recently…in 2001. They were both widowed at the time.
    BTW, Tom won an Emmy for his role on Steve Allen’s “Man on the Street” skit. You might recall that he played the man who got locked up when the camera came on and could never remember his name. Don Knotts was the nervous one, Louis Nye the playboy, and Bill Dana was “Jose Jimenez.” The show wasn’t a flop…it was on for 5 years. A lot of very, very funny stuff.

    Bill Schumm (33ab73)

  9. He absolutely nailed one of the hardest things to do in comedy, being convincingly slow or befuddled with precise timing and perfect deadpan, yet still getting a laugh.

    I really can’t think of another actor who could pull that off as well as he did.

    aplomb (5992a5)

  10. Tom Poston was the original choice to play Maxwell Smart.

    Attila (Pillage Idiot) (88e3e3)

  11. RIP, Mr. Poston, you will be missed.

    htom (412a17)

  12. My first recollection of Tom was in an issue of Help! Magazine (a pre-MAD publication).

    Tom was in a photo-comic-strip called a ‘Fumetti’ with Gloria Steinem(!), who, at the time, was a no-joke hottie!

    As I recall, he magically turned her into a milkshake and drank her.

    Thanks Tom.

    heldmyw (a999cd)

  13. Tom was in a photo-comic-strip called a ‘Fumetti’ with Gloria Steinem(!), who, at the time, was a no-joke hottie!

    She’s always been an attractive woman – easy enough on the eyes to go undercover as a Playboy Bunny. I believe that in the midst of feminist harridans who truly didn’t care what men thought of them (such as Bella Abzug and the truly frightening Andrea Dworkin), she felt the obligation to dowdy herself up to be more authentic, and thus the brittle, stringy hair.

    L.N. Smithee (d1de1b)

  14. Another Drew –

    Re: comment # 2. I know from first hand knowledge that you are incorrect. The Steve Allen Show was indeed on kinescope film. But when I was with MTM, I was in charge of transfering all of them to 1″ videotape (Steve Allen’s son Bill was president of MTM at the time). Some of the reels were damaged in part, but most of the shows were still in fine condition.

    We then took the uncut Steve Allen Shows on the 1″ video and created 1/2-hour shows which we then sold to the Ha! Cable Channel (which would later merge with the Comedy Channel to become Comedy Central). The video tapes of the uncut Steve Allen Show still exist. They would just need a distributor and an agreement with the Steve Allen estate.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  15. Justin and all, thanks for your remembrances. I wish Suzanne Pleshette good health as she has also been battling health problems.

    As for the uncut SA tapes, hopefully the estate will approve the packaging and release. Those great minds from that time… dovetailing into Carson and Cavett…

    I was lucky enough to see Mort Sahl at a recent show and really appreciated the chance to enjoy, IMO, the originator of political comedy.

    Tom Poston is on so many great shows and sitcoms and influenced countless entertainers. He will be remembered.

    Vermont Neighbor (a385c8)

  16. I googled my dads name (Tom Poston) and came upon this page. Wow, how kind you are and I learned some things too. I did not know Comedy Central owned the old Steve Allen shows. I hope they air them one day. The one episode I have seen was really funny. And I did not know that he was in a photo comic strip with G. Steinam. I would love to see it. And the youtube clip was really refreshing to see. The things you all wrote are very sweet. Thank you, Hudson

    Hudson (e8597e)

  17. Hi Hudson. Condolences on your loss. One point of clarification – The HA! Channel (which would later become Comedy Central) does not own the Steve Allen Show tapes. They just licenced them to air a few times in the early 90’s. I suspect that the actual tapes themsleves are owned by the Steve Allen estate (or his production company – I think it was called Rosemeadow Productions? I can’t remember for sure.). I suspect it would be up to the estate to release or relicense them. Again – I don’t know what kind of business deals they may have made in the last decade, so maybe they have sold them. But the Steve Allen estate is the first place I’d look.

    Justin Levine (9d2e6e)

  18. Hi Hudson. My mother was your father’s half sister (Same dad). We used to see your dad and mom once in a while. Thought Uncle Tom was great. Life is too short. Would like to hear from some ‘distant cousins’.

    valerie files (0cd58a)

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