Stephen Valentine Patrick William "Steve" Allen (December 26, 1921 – October 30, 2000) -- if that truly was his name -- was a remarkable talent. Watch this video of Steve interviewing one of his favorite subjects (and anathema to the network) Jack Kerouac in 1959. The dude riffs on the piano while conducting the interview.
Allen created The Tonight Show in New York in 1953 for NBC-TV before it went nation the following year. The program ran from 11:15 PM to 1 in the morning, broadcast live (because that's the only way you could broadcast) from New York City. Everything you know about late night talk shows was created by Steve Allen, no one has created anything he didn't do first.
Though Allen must be given credit for bringing individuals like Kerouac and Lenny Bruce onto his programs (people the networks must have wished he hadn't) he was irksomely stodgy about rock and roll. NBC gave him a primetime slot in addition to Tonight in 1956, The Steve Allen Plymouth Show where he famously put Elvis Presley into a tuxedo and asked him to croon Hound Dog to an actual dog.