The Jack Paar Show (1961)

The Jack Paar Show

Barbra Streisand appeared as a guest:

April 5th Show

Streisand on Jack Paar

Barbra’s first appearance on television was in 1961 on NBC'sThe Jack Paar Show. Orson Bean sat at Paar's desk that evening.

Newspaper article about Barbra on the Paar showBean introduced and interviewed Barbra. Barbra sang “A Sleeping Bee” wearing a burgundy damask dress. Barbra's Detroit friend, Bernie Moray, received the credit for that dress in 1994 when Barbra played The Palace of Auburn Hills in 1994: “I wore a dress that I designed out of apolstry fabric that Bernie gave me,” Barbra told the audience, “and I told them on the air that I was clothed by the Robinson Furniture Company of Detroit.”

After the commercial break (and after changing into a black dress) Streisand sang “When the Sun Comes Out.” Then she sat down with Bean and guests Phyllis Diller and Gore Vidal for a talk-segment.

Barbra said this about appearing on The Jack Paar Show and her gratitude to Orson Bean:

I had worked with him in a night club. He asked me to appear on the ‘Tonight’ show on April 5, 1961, while he was the substitute host. If it weren’t for him, I might never have gotten any television program.

That particular night was an exciting one for the entire Streisand family. My brother’s wife had a baby, and my mother didn’t know whether to go see her first grandchild or watch me on television. Luckily, she was able to do both.

Bean recalled, years later, “I met Barbra when she was 18 and singing at a place in Greenwich Village,” he told US Magazine. “When I guest-hosted The Jack Paar Show, I got them to fly her in from a club she was playing in Detroit. She was a nervous wreck. But then when she started singing – ‘A Sleepin’ Bee’ – it was like God singing through her. She got a standing ovation, which doesn’t happen on TV. It was an incredible moment. Then she sat down, if I recall correctly, between Phyllis Diller and Gore Vidal. A few weeks later, I had her on again. That was about the extent of it. But I felt like for a while I became a father figure to her.”

Luckily for Streisand fans, a black-and-white kinescope of Barbra's first television appearance still exists (the show aired in color). (In early television, before videotape was used, Kinescopes were the standard method of creating a permanent record of a television broadcast. Kinescopes were created by placing a motion picture camera in front of a television monitor and recording the image off the monitor's screen while the program was being aired.)

May 22nd Show

Barbra was invited back to appear on the Paar Show—again with Orson Bean as stand-in host—on May 22, 1961.

May 22nd television listing for Paar Show with Streisand

November 1963 Show

November 1963 TV guide

According to the TV listing above, Barbra possibly appeared a third time on the Paar show: November 29, 1963 with Dody Goodman and the Harmonica Rascals as guests. (This would have been on The Jack Paar Program—a once-a-week show for NBC that aired on Friday nights. Paar appeared on this prime time iteration of his show until 1965 in order to fulfill his contract with NBC after walking off his 1962 show.)


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