Steve Allen, already the originator of the Tonight show, later
created what one critic called "the ultimate talk show" and presented, on the
PBS network, a series called Meeting of Minds which was constructed in a typical chat-show
format, but featured guests who played important roles in the drama of history. Among those who appeared were Plato, Socrates, Aristotle,
Thomas Aquinas, Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, Marie Antoinette, Florence Nightingale, Thomas
Paine, Francis Bacon, Thomas Jefferson, Voltaire and Charles Darwin. The multi-award
winning series still exists in the form of video cassettes, audio cassettes and a four
volume set of books, published by Prometheus. Most of the women's roles were played by
Allen's wife, Jayne Meadows.
Jayne Meadows as Cleopatra with Steve
Allen clarified at the time, "The idea is that every syllable will
be part of an actual quotation. The degree of the exact quotation varies from character to
character. In the case of some people who played important roles in the drama of
history, of course, there is no record of anything they ever said or wrote.
"Two examples that come to mind are Cleopatra and Attila the Hun.
Nevertheless, they were both fascinating characters for our show. And there's
nothing difficult in creating dialog for them. You bring factual information into
conversational form -- and commit no offense in doing so.
"The more scholars know about the people we're dealing with, the
more impressed they are with how accurate our renderings are. It's remarkable how
little negative criticism we've received."
Meeting of Minds encourages the viewer and reader, who
may be historically illiterate, to become more familiar with the great thinkers and doers
of the past and to whet their appetites for more research and study. It is an
exciting classroom tool (through audiocassettes, videocassettes and books) for students of
history and philosophy.
"I felt that putting the greatest figures of all time together and
showing them interacting was an entertaining way not only to have a better understanding
of what is going on in the world today, but also to be in a better position to make
decisions for the future."
It took Allen some 18 years to bring this project to fruition.
When it finally reached the national marketplace, it was honored with a multitude of
awards, among them the Peabody Award, one national Emmy, three national Emmy nominations,
a TV Critics Circle Award, the Encyclopedia Britannica Award and the Film Advisory Board
The series was produced in the studios of KCET, the PBS outlet in Los
Angeles, with Loring d'Usseau, a prime and early supporter of the Allen brainchild, acting
as executive producer.
In 1989, Prometheus Books published the 24 scripts in book form, and in
1992, Dove Audio, Inc. released the programs on audiocassette. They are available here
through the Steve
Meeting of Minds Video Collection --
Two Video Set $40.00 plus S&H
here for online ordering.
video set. This popular, award-winning series is your passport to meeting some of the
great minds and exciting figures of the past who have influenced mankind and even changed
the course of history. Filled with humor, eloquence and thought-provoking controversy,
scholars, educators and the press have been unanimous in their praise. In this debut
volume you will meet: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, the "father of modern China" (played by
Keye Luke, the mystic in the film Gremlins); 19th Century English poet, Elizabeth Barrett
Browning (Jayne Meadows Allen in a brilliant performance); Italy's Niccolo Machiavelli
(Alfred Ryder), one of history's most misunderstood and maligned "villains"; and
Aristotle (Bernard Behrens), the learned Greek philosopher. Steve Allen, the creator and
writer of this highly original program, is the host and moderator. ". . . a
masterpiece of presentation." --Will Durant, Historian " . . . wonderfully
entertaining. . ." -- Saturday Review Running Time (Volume I) 58 Minutes/Color
(Volume 2) 57 Minutes/Color
Own a hard-cover,
personally-autographed by Jayne Meadows copy of Meeting
of Minds, Vol 1. The award-winning PBS_TV network series
Meeting of Minds has received a more enthusiastic and complimentary reaction
than any program ever carried on American educational television. Small wonder then that
the nations television critics voted its scripts as Best TV Writing of 1976-77* Here
are the complete scripts of the series. The program unique, ingenious, and
creativebrings together some of historys most significant figures and elicits
a crosscurrent of ideas and beliefs and illuminates the past, the present, and even the
future. One reviewer has called it the most fascinating talk show of all. One show brings
together THEODORE ROOSEVELT, THOMAS AQUINAS, THOMAS PAINE, and CLEOPATRA discussing ideas
and experiences concerning which they have special knowledge. Other shows bring together
MARIE ANTOINETTE, SIR THOMAS MORE, KARL MARX, and ULYSSES S. GRANT. On the next pair of
programs ATTILA THE HUN, EMILY DICKINSON, GALILEO, and CHARLES DARWIN strike intellectual
sparks. "The script is wonderfully entertaining....Crazy as this grouping may sound,
it works...we ought to have more such jeux desprit on television."
Karl E. Meyer, Saturday Review
Meeting of Minds is entertaining, though-provoking and highly
educational....Just the idea of bringing these historical figures to life, with their
words heavily researched, is a trip in itself." David Sheehan,
"An intellectual and entertaining exercise...a rich display of multiple points of
view." Morton Moss, Los Angeles Herald Examiner
Own a hard-cover,
personally autographed by Jayne Meadows copy of Meeting
Only $14.95 plus s&h
here for online ordering
of Minds Vol. II. The first season of the PBS_TV network
series Meeting of Minds received a more enthusiastic critical response than
any program ever carried on American educational and cultural television. Since that
initial telecast, and the subsequent publication of the scripts of the six one-hour shows,
the program has continued to win awards and citations. The nations television
critics voted Steve Allens scripts as Best TV Writing of 1976-1977, sharing the
honor with James Costigans Eleanor and Franklin. Subsequently the
program has won the Peabody Award, an Encyclopaedia Britannica Award, and an official
endorsement by the National Education Association. This volume contains the Second Series
of six scripts, originally telecast in 1978 and subsequently repeated in 1979. The
programdescribed by Dr. Max Rafferty, dean of the School of Education at Troy State
University, as the best, most original TV far since the boob tube was
inventedbrings together some of historys most significant figures in
stimulating discussions of ideas and beliefs that illuminate the past, the present, and
even the future. The first pair of shows of the Second Series brings together the MARQUIS
DE SADE, CESARE BECCARIA, the DOWAGER EMPRESS OF CHINA, TZU-HSI, and FREDERICK
DOUGLASS discussing ideas and experiences concerning which they have special knowledge.
The second pair of programs includes MARTIN LUTHER, VOLTAIRE, PLATO, and FLORENCE
NIGHTINGALE. The third quartet consists of SIR FRANCIS BACON, SOCRATES, EMILIANO ZAPATA,
and SUSAN B. ANTHONY. Karl E. Meyer of Saturday Review has summed up the general critical,
academic, and public response to Meeting of Minds in saying the script
is wonderfully entertaining
.Crazy as this grouping may sound, it works
to have more such jeux desprit on television.
Click here for more information
on how to order online!
Makes a great gift!
Offer -- While Supplies Last!
You can own a hard-cover, personally autographed copy of Hi-Ho, Steverino!
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Steve Allen's 38th book is an autobiography covering his fifty years in radio and
television. Filled with comedy, both on- and off-camera, this is Allen's first-person look
at the Golden Age of TV. Hi-Ho, Steverino! includes Steve's experiences as creator and
first host of the Tonight Show, and his years as star of his own primetime comedy series
The Steve Allen Show, where he worked with such gifted comedy players as Don Knotts, Tom
Poston, Louis Nye, Pat Harrington, Jr., Gabriel Dell, Bill Dana, Dayton Allen, Buck Henry,
Tim Conway, The Smothers Brothers, and Jim Nabors. In recalling the glory years of these
series, Allen reminisces about getting to know such luminous guests as Jack Kerouac, Lenny
Bruce, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis. There's a chapter on Allen's award-winning PBS
series Meeting of Minds, and reports on his other comedy-and-talk shows, series and
specials, in which he relates on-the-air TV boners, mistakes, and technical mishaps that
are now part of the comic folklore of television history. Along the way, Steve Allen pays
tribute to Arthur Godfrey, Ernie Kovacs, Jack Paar, Dave Garroway, Jerry Lester, and other