Saturday, January 16, 2010

Broadway Open House: American Television's First Late Night Network Show

If the current controversy regarding The Tonight Show has done anything, it has reminded people of its long history. Most people know that the show dates back to 1954. What many people may not know is that it was not the first late night show on American television. That honour would instead go to Broadway Open House, which debuted a full four years before The Tonight Show.

Broadway Open House was the brainchild of legendary programmer Sylvester "Pat" Weaver (brother to comic Doodles Weaver and father of actress Sigourney Weaver), who would also create Our Show of Shows, The Today Show, and The Tonight Show, not to mention invented the very concept of the special. In 1950 the networks were expanding their programming, particularly then number one network NBC. By that year NBC had already filled nearly every available slot in primetime. It was Pat Weaver who realised that late night might be a possible time that NBC could schedule programming. After all, already by 1950 people's viewing habits with regards to television was very different form their listening habits with regards to radio. In the days of Old Time Radio most people would listen to their favourite programmes from 7:00 PM Eastern to 10:00 PM Eastern, then shut their radio off. They approached television very differently, however, not turning the set on until 8:00 PM Eastern and then watching it until they went to bed. Because of this Weaver realised that audiences may be willing to stay up a little bit longer to watch television.

The result of this was Broadway Open House, a comedy variety show that would air weeknights at 11:30. Sadly, the first late night programme on television would not get off to a smooth start. After a talent search, NBC hired young Los Angeles comedian Don "Creesh" Hornsby (his nickname came from a nonsense syllable he would shout during performances) to host the show. Unfortunately, Hornsby died of polio only shortly before the show was set to premiere. NBC moved the debut of Broadway Open House from May 22, 1950 to May 27, 1950, then filled Hornsby's place with such guest hosts as Pat Harrington, Martin and Lewis, and Tex and Jinx. In June NBC hired two new hosts for the show. Morey Amsterdam would host Broadway Open House on Mondays and Wednesdays. Jerry Lester would host the show on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.

Vaudevillian Morey Amsterdam was not only a veteran of nightclubs and radio (he had his own show on CBS), but of television as well. He was one of the men who hosted Texaco Star Theatre before Milton Berle was chosen as its permanent host. From 1948 to 1950 he was the star of his own show, The Morey Amsterdam Show, first on CBS and then on DuMont. He was so well known for his wit and his ability to come up with a joke on the spot that he was called "The Human Joke Machine." Jerry Lester was a comedian and song and dance man, a veteran of both the burlesque and Broadway. He had even appeared in movies as early as 1933. On television he had been the host of DuMont's revolutionary variety show Cavalcade of Stars. His appearance on Tex and Jinx's talk show on NBC resulted in an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the audience. As a result, Pat Weaver offered him a spot on Broadway Open House.

While it was the first late night show, Broadway Open House was not one quite as we know them today. Although stars did sometimes stop by for informal chats, the programme was not a talk show in any sense of the word. Instead it played more like a comedy revue straight out of vaudeville, with stand up routines, skits, and the sort of off colour humour that would be found in later late night shows. Like later late night shows, Broadway Open House had its own troupe of regulars, including choreographer Ray Malone, bandleader Milton Delugg (later musical director at NBC), and singer Joan Lorry. It would be Jerry Lester's addition of another member to the cast that would be his undoing. Lester hired statuesque actress and model Jennie Lewis for the show and renamed her "Dagmar ( a reference to the youngest daughter on the then popular show Mama)." In addition to her modelling career, she appeared in Olsen and Johnson's Broadway revue Laffing Room Only and the Broadway comedy Burlesque.

As Dagmar, Lewis's role was to have been simple. Given no script whatsoever, she was told to simply to wear low cut gowns, sit on a stool and act the part of the stereotypical dumb blonde. As it turned out, however, Dagmar was no dumb blonde. She had a razor sharp wit with a gift for ad libs, non sequiturs, and malapropisms, delivered with a pleasant Southern drawl. Among her earliest bits was to read nonsensical poetry in a deadpan voice (much as Henry Gibson would later do on Laugh In). Soon she was bantering with Lester and appearing in the skits on the show. It was not long before Dagmar was easily the most popular cast member on Broadway Open House. At the height of her popularity she received around 8000 fan letters a month, over half of them from women. She made guest appearances on What's My Line, The Colgate Comedy Hour, and The Jack Carter Show. She even appeared on the cover of the July 16, 1950 issue of Life magazine.

The addition of Dagmar would not be the only change in the cast in Broadway Open House's run. It was after several weeks that NBC gave Morey Amsterdam his walking papers and made Jerry Lester the sole host of the show. While Amsterdam was quite good as the show's host, it was ultimately Jerry Lester who proved the more popular of the two. A veteran of the burlesque, Lester had an offbeat brand of frantic humour that blended one liners, catch phrases, in-jokes, and innuendos. Although he had proven the more popular of the show's early hosts, Lester did have his share of detractors. One of his critics labelled him a "bean bag." Lester took the insult and ran with it. He often opened the show with the line, "Just call me 'Bean Bag,'" and even formed the non-existent Bean Bag Club of America. He soon had 70,000 people wanting to join.Viewers sent him bean bags in all shapes and sizes.

For its time Broadway Open House proved to be a very popular show. As many as two thirds of television viewers in New York City reported watching the programme. The show received coverage in venues ranging from Time to The New York Times. Both Jerry Lester and Dagmar became household names at the time.

Unfortunately, Broadway Open House would see the first power struggle over who should be the star of a late night show, fifty years before David Letterman and Jay Leno competed for the place as Johnny Carson's replacement on The Tonight Show and sixty years before NBC's current late night controversy. Jerry Lester began to resent the enormous amount of coverage Dagmar received and, as a result, her growing role on the show. He even went so far as to hire another tall blonde, Barbara Nichols (whom he dubbed "Agathon"), in an effort to undercut Dagmar's popularity. At last, Jerry Lester asked NBC to fire Dagmar. Given her extreme popularity, NBC refused. Jerry Lester then walked out on the show.

In the wake of Lester's departure, NBC cut Broadway Open House back to Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. Comic Jack E. Leonard was hired as its new host. Not only was Leonard a veteran of nightclubs and radio, but television as well. He had already appeared on The Colgate Comedy Hour. Years before Don Rickles, Jack E. Leonard was the original insult comic. He often began performances with the words, "Good evening, opponents!"

In the end, however, Broadway Open House would not last. The show ended its run on August 24, 1951, after which NBC handed the late night hours back to their affiliates. It does not appear that the changes in its hosts had anything to do with the show's failure, but instead the state of television in the United States at the time. In 1950 there was still a very small percentage of Americans who owned television sets. Only the largest cities in the country (New York, Chicago, Los Angles, Cleveland, St. Louis, and so on) had television stations, and some of those were not yet served by a full time NBC affiliate. To some NBC executives it may have seemed that the country simply did not have enough viewers at 11:30 PM Eastern to make a late night show worthwhile.

Regardless, Broadway Open House would leave its mark. Morey Amsterdam, who left the show before it really became a hit, would continue to have a very successful career. He continued to appear regularly in television shows and movies up until his death, and achieved immortality as Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Dagmar received her own show, Dagmar's Canteen, in 1952. She continued to appear on shows from Texaco Star Theatre to The Mike Douglas Show well into the Sixties. She also continued to appear in nightclubs, before eventually retiring from show business. Although Dagmar is largely forgotten today, she would have a lasting impact on American English. The artillery shell shaped bulges on the bumpers of  Fifties era Cadillacs, Lincolns, and Buicks became known as "Dagmar bumpers" or more simply "Dagmars," named for Dagmar's assets. It is a name by which they are known to this day. During the Korean War a 40 mm self-propelled anti-aircraft tank was even informally called "Dagmar's Twin 40's." Jack E. Leonard continued to have after hosting Broadway Open House for two months. From the Fifties into the Sixties he appeared regularly on television, on shows from The Steve Allen Show to The Ed Sullivan Show. He often appeared on Tonight Starring Jack Paar and a few times when Johnny Carson hosted the show. His career was still going strong when he died of complications form diabetes in 1973. As to Jerry Lester, he may have erred in leaving Broadway Open House. He never again reached that height of stardom. He continued to appear on stage and appeared infrequently on television in guest shots on such shows as The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The Monkees,  and had his own short lived show (The Jerry Lester Show) in Canada in 1963. He appeared in small roles in movies ranging from Li'l Abner to Smokey and the Bandit II. In the end, he would be remembered chiefly for the job on which he walked out, as host of Broadway Open House.

Although it lasted only a little over a year, Broadway Open House would have a lasting impact. It had proven that there could be an audience for late night, network programming. Indeed, Pat Weaver had not given up on that idea. It was in 1953 that Steve Allen launched a late night talk and variety show on WNBT (now WNBC). Both the show and its host proved immensely popular. This did not escape the notice of Weaver, who developed the format of Steve Allen's late night show for network broadcast. On September 27, 1954, Tonight debuted. It has aired on NBC ever since.

While it lasted only a little over a year and is largely forgotten today, Broadway Open House would have a lasting impact on television. It proved that late night, network programming was viable, thus paving the way not only for The Tonight Show, but every other late night show that has aired ever since.While late night network programming may well have been developed had Broadway Open House been an utter failure, it seems quite likely that it would have been much later than it had been. Indeed, The Tonight Show may never have existed, perhaps robbing us of the talents of such comics as Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Johnny Carson, and Conan O'Brien. If Broadway Open House had failed, the history of television might have unfolded very differently.

Friday, January 15, 2010

NBC's Late Night Mess

On January 10 of this year NBC made the shocking announcement that they intended to move Jay Leno to 11:35 PM Eastern/10:35 PM Central, where he would host a half hour show. The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien would be moved to 12:05 Midnight Eastern/11:05 Central. On January 12, Conan O'Brien released a statement in which he expressed his displeasure with NBC, stating that "The Tonight Show at 12:05 simply isn’t The Tonight Show." It soon became apparent that Conan was not alone in his displeasure. Literally thousands of people have expressed their outrage at NBC on blogs, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and nearly every other venue on the Internet. It would seem that the only people who think NBC's plan is a good idea is NBC and, possibly, Jay Leno.

Ultimately, it would seem that NBC has no one to blame but themselves for this public relations nightmare. It all began in the wake of Jay Leno's departure from The Tonight Show. NBC was so worried that Leno might move to a competing network that they made various offers to him. They offered slots in the daytime or the cable channels linked to NBC. They offered a series of regularly scheduled specials and even a half hour show that would air each weekday at 8 PM Eastern/7 PM Central. Leno rejected all of these offers. Finally, NBC offered Leno a hour long show that would air each weeknight at 10:00 PM Eastern/9:00 PM Central. While NBC touted Leno's move to primetime with a good deal of fanfare, and behaved as this was some bit of novel programming, in truth late night hosts had moved into primetime before. Indeed, the original host of Tonight,  Steven Allen , made the move to primetime in 1956 and remained there for five years. His successor, Jack Paar, also moved into primetime in 1962. His primetime show aired for three years. Jay Leno was not unique as a Tonight Show host in moving to primetime. He was simply doing what everyone of his predecessors had done except for Johnny Carson.

Even before the debut of The Jay Leno Show, there were observers who expected it to fail. In Time James Poniewozik expressed his doubts about the show. In The Atlantic Derek Thompson also expressed his doubts about the show. While there were many who thought Leno would succeed in primetime, there were yet others who predicted the poor ratings it has received (I did so myself in this blog). Even at least one NBC affiliate had its doubts as to the ability of The Jay Leno Show to perform in the ratings. WHDH in Boston, Massachusetts announced they would not carry the show for fear that it would be a detriment to the station's late local news. NBC claimed this would be in violation of the station's contract with the network and that it would remove all NBC programming from WHDH if it did not air The Jay Leno Show. In the end WHDH backed down and did air the programme.

Unfortunately for NBC, it appears that the various observers, not to mention WHDH, who expressed their doubts about The Jay Leno Show were right. The Jay Leno Show did not simply perform poorly in the ratings. It was a catastrophic failure. While the show did well in the ratings early on, by October it was routinely being beaten by the dramas on CBS and ABC except for the now long gone series Eastwick. It was even beaten by a rerun of CSI: Miami.  NBC's affiliates were extremely upset, believing that with its bottom of the barrel ratings The Jay Leno Show was losing the audience for their late local news.

As to The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, the programme began in June 2009 with fairly strong ratings. As time passed, however, the show was nearly in a dead heat with The Late Show with David Letterman. By November The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien was down two million viewers from when Jay Leno had hosted the show, although its ratings were still quite respectable. Curiously, since the controversy over returning to Jay Leno erupted, the programme's ratings have taken a leap, to the point that yesterday The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien received an unheard of 1.9 rating.

Sadly, NBC's reaction to both the disastrous showing of The Jay Leno Show and the moderate success of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien would seem to be bereft of all rhyme and reason. Indeed, in The New York Times Dick Ebsersol not only went so far as to defend Jay Leno in this current controversy, but to viciously attack Conan O'Brien. Aside from rather inappropriate insults directed at O'Brien, Ebersol laid the blame for the lower ratings The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien squarely at the feet of Conan O'Brien. It seems blatantly obvious to me that Ebsersol (for whom I have lost all respect) and NBC have not objectively analysed the situation whatsoever. The simple fact is that following its debut in September, The Jay Leno Show brought with it what became know n in the industry as "the Leno effect." Historically, viewers have tended to remain on whatever channel to which they were tuned at 10 PM Eastern/9 PM Central for their late local news and late night programming. Quite simply, a highly rated show at 10 10 PM Eastern/9 PM Central will help a station's ratings. A low rated show at 10 PM Eastern/9 PM Central will hurt its ratings. With its poor ratings, The Jay Leno Show essentially created a domino effect, whereby the audience for the late local news on NBC affiliates across the nation was down sometimes by as much as a third. Indeed, it must be pointed out that it was after the debut of The Jay Leno Show that the ratings for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien really began to take a hit, as well as the ratings for NBC's other two late night shows.

Given that it was ultimately Jay Leno who was responsible for NBC's declining fortunes in late night programming, it seems curious that they are considering returning him to late night at all. I can think of several reasons for them not to. The first is a simple matter of fairness. In 2004 it was decided that Conan O'Brien would take over Tonight from Jay Leno. Now, after a matter of only seven months, during which time O'Brien has brought The Tonight Show respectable ratings, the network wants to move the programme to 12:05, giving a half hour over to Jay Leno, whose show is ultimately to blame for NBC's lower ratings in late night programming. Whether his contract specifies a guarantee of time slot or not, I know that this is not what Conan O'Brien signed on for. Everyone knows The Tonight Show airs at 11:35 PM Eastern/10:35 PM Central. Indeed, if it was moved a half hour later, it would actually be airing the next day on the East Coast!

Beyond the matter of being fair to the parties involved, there is also the simple matter of tradition. Tonight debuted on September 27, 1954 at 11:30 PM Eastern/10:30 PM Central. In January 1957, as Jack Paar took over the hosting duties, fifteen minutes were added to Tonight, so that it began at 11:15 PM Eastern/10:15 PM Central. The show then had two openings--one for affiliates joining the broadcast at 11:15 PM Eastern/10:15 PM Central and one for those joining at 11:30 PM Eastern/10:30 PM Central. In 1965, because Johnny Carson did not really care for the show essentially opening twice, the time was set to 11:30 PM Eastern/10:30 PM Central. Since then the only real change in its time came in 1991 when it was moved to 11:35 PM Eastern/10:35 PM to give affiliates five more minutes for their late local news. Given that Tonight has aired in essentially the same time slot (give or take fifteen minutes) for over fifty years, it would seem a bit silly to move it now. Indeed, as I pointed out, if the show was moved a half hour later it would actually be airing on the next day on the East Coast. It would essentially cease to be Tonight and become Tomorrow (an entirely different show that had aired on NBC).

Even if one dismisses the matters of fairness and tradition out of hand, there is one very important matter that NBC cannot afford to ignore: the ratings. At the moment there appear to be a good many people who will simply stop watching NBC's late night programming if Leno was returned there. It is impossible to say how large those numbers would be, but they could be enough to hand David Letterman an easy ratings victory every night. Furthermore, it must be pointed out that viewers failed to tune into Jay Leno's prime time show. If his proposed half hour in late night differs little from his outing in prime time, viewers might fail to tune in again. This would also hand David Letterman an easy ratings victory. Sadly, it is very unlikely that viewers would switch to The Tonight Show airing at 12:05 Midnight Eastern/11:05 PM Central, or to Late Night or Later. The end result is that CBS would win every night with The Late Show with David Letterman and The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. Who knows? ABC might even pick up in the ratings with regards to Nightline and Jimmy Kimmel Live. Ultimately, The Tonight Show, NBC's oldest show besides Meet the Press, Today, and The NBC Nightly News, would be placed in jeopardy.

Of course, at the moment it seems possible that Jay Leno could step right back in as host of The Tonight Show. While NBC might find this appealing, they seem to be the only ones. I have no doubt that Leno's loyal fans would return to The Tonight Show, so that he would not totally be without an audience. But then NBC also has to face the fact that in the past few days Jay Leno has come to be reviled in a way that few comedians ever have been. Many people who were once indifferent to him or even liked him a little bit now hate him vehemently. Whether Jay Leno (who always seemed like a nice guy to me) deserves such hatred is besides the point. It seems to be a fact. And the plain truth is that viewers who now despise Jay Leno will probably never tune into a Tonight Show hosted by him. Indeed, NBC no longer has to worry about Leno defecting to a competitor. In fact, with public relations for NBC and Leno at all time lows, it would seem that he might actually be doing them a favour if he did.

At the moment it is difficult to say how NBC's late night mess will unfold. As mentioned earlier, Conan O'Brien has seen a groundswell of support, displayed over a large number of platforms on the Internet. NBC has to have noticed this and, if they are reasonable at all, must take this into account. Indeed, I rather suspect most people in such a position would keep Conan O'Brien on The Tonight Show and find some place where they could place Jay Leno. Unfortunately, networks do not seem to function according to any logic known to the rest of us. They have cancelled quality shows even when there has been an outpouring of support for them. They have kept bad shows on the air, even when the ratings for those shows might be subpar. In the early part of the decade the networks insisted on filling the airwaves with reality show after reality show. Sadly, NBC might simply let Conan go and return Leno to late night. Of course, if they do, I think this particular network is going to find a lot of people are mad as Hell and are not going to take it any more.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Television Producer David Gerber Passes On

Television producer David Gerber, who worked on TV series ranging from The Ghost & Mrs. Muir to The Adventures of Sinbad, passed on January 2 at the age of 86. The cause was heart failure.

David Gerber was born in Brooklyn on July 25, 1923. During World War II he served as a radio gunner on a B-17. He was shot down over Germany and taken as a prisoner of war. After the war he graduated with a bachelor's degree from what is now the University of Pacific in Stockton, California. Following graduation, Gerber worked in advertising and then for various talent agencies. In the late Sixties he moved into television, receiving his first producer credit on the sitcom The Ghost & Mrs. Muir. From 1970 to 1971 he served as an executive producer on Nanny and the Professor. He was later executive producer Born Free, Joe Forrester, and The Quest. He was also a producer on Police Story, for which he received an Emmy. He was also a producer on a spinoff from Police Story, Police Woman starring Angie Dickinson. In the late Seventies, Gerber became an executive at Columbia Pictures Television.

The Eighties saw Gerber producing television movies and mini-series, as well as the short lived series Walking Tall and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. From 1986 to 1992 he was an executive at MGM Television. The Nineties saw Gerber produce such television movies and the syndicated fantasy series The Adventures of Sinbad. In 2007 David Gerber produced his last series, Kids are in Charge: Family Vacation.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Director Eric Rohmer R.I.P.

Éric Rohmer, the director who made such films as Ma nuit chez Maud and L'amour l'après-midi, passed on January 11 at the age of 89.

According to some sources, Éric Rohmer was born Maurice Henri Joseph Schérer in Tulle, France on March 21, 1920. Other sources claim his birth name was ean-Marie Maurice Schérer and state that he was born in Nancy. After working as a teacher and as a journalist, he published the novel Elisabeth in 1946. In 1950 he moved to Paris There he befriended such fellow movies lovers as Claude Charbol, Jean-Luc Goddard, François Truffaut, and Jacques Rivette. That same year he co-founded La Gazette du Cinéma with Rivette. The magazine only lasted five issues. He then joined the reviewing staff of the magazine Les Cahiers du Cinéma, on which Goddard and Truffaut also worked. He adopted Éric Rohmer as his pseudonym by combing the names of two men whose work he admired: Erich von Stroheim and Sax Rohmer.

It was in 1952 that Éric Rohmer tried to direct his first feature film, entitled Les Petites Filles Modèles, but the project fell through. He directed the short Bérénice in 1954. In 1957 he directed another short, La sonate à Kreutzer in1956. In 1957 he became the editor on Les Cahiers du Cinéma, a position he held until 1963. It was in 1959 that Rohmer finally joined his fellow directors of La Nouvelle Vague in making a feature film. Le Signe du Lion. Unfortunately, while Truffaut and Goddard has success with Les Quatre Cents Coups and À bout de souffle respectively, Le Signe du Lion made little headway at the box office. He would direct two more shorts, beginning his "Six Moral Tales" series. He returned to feature films with La Collectionneuse in 1967. The film won won the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. A success at last, Rohmer went onto direct such films as Ma nuit chez Maud and L'amour l'après-midi. After the "Six Moral Tales" series ended, Rohmer directed the period piece Die Marquise von O.

In 1981 he began a new series, "Comedies and Proverbs," which included such films as La femme de l'aviateur, Pauline à la plage, and L'ami de mon amie . In 1990 he began his final series, "Tales of the Four Seasons," with Conte de printemps. The series ended with the critically acclaimed  Conte d’Automne.  Éric Rohmer continued to direct into the Naughts,  although primarily for the small screen. His 2001 film, L'anglaise et le duc was perceived as portraying the French Revolution in a negative light and as a result having a pro-Royalist bent. His film, Astrée and Céladon, was released in 2007. It was a period piece with fantastic overtones.

Over the years  Éric Rohmer has had his fair share of detractors. Indeed, in the movie Night Moves, Gene Hakcman's character said, “I saw a Rohmer movie once. It was kind of like watching paint dry." Certainly for those who prefer more action in their movies, Rohmer's films would be hard to sit through. After all, Éric Rohmer was a director who was more interested in the thoughts of his characters than he was their actions. There was often a lot of talk in Rohmer's films, informed by intelligent dialogue and well developed characters. Rohmer's preference for thought over action separated him from mainstream directors, but he was also set apart from his fellows members of the Nouvelle Vague in that while their films could be intensely personal, Rohmer's films were more conservative, often romantic and sometimes even sentimental. Éric Rohmer seemed one part psychologist, one part philosopher, and one part poet. He was certainly a great filmmaker.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Guitarist Mick Green Passes On

Guitarist Mick Green, who played with Johnny Kidd and the Pirates as well as Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, passed yesterday at the age of 65.

Mick Green was born in Matlock, Derbyshire on 22 February, 1944. It was in 1962 that Mick Green and his childhood friends drummer Frank Farley and bassist Johnny Spence joined Johnny Kidd and the Pirates in early 1962. Mick Green remained with Johnny Kid and the Pirates until 1964, when he then joined Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas. With Mick Green on guitar, the band broke with their tradition of recording ballads and actually recorded such rock numbers as "Sneakin' Around" and "When You Walk into the Room." Unfortunately, the boom in beat music was over by 1965, so that Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas saw fewer hits. The group disbanded in 1967. Afterwards Mick Green worked with Cliff Bennett before spending seven years in Engelbert Humperdinck's backing band. Mick Green was a member of the band Shanghai, which released two albums (one in 1974 and one in 1976). Shanghai also toured with Status Quo.

It was in 1976 that The Pirates (Johnny Kidd having died in 1966) reunited for a gig. The reunion more or less became permanent, with the group playing various concerts well into the Naughts. In the Eighties and the Nineties Mick Green played with Van Morrison, Bryan Ferry, and Paul McCartney. He also recorded with Peter Green, formerly of Fleetwood Mac.

Although not widely known to the general public, Mick Green was in many respects a very influential guitarist. He had an impact on contemporary Pete Townshend of The Who, as well as Wilko Johnson of Dr. Feelgood. Green was one of the earliest guitarists to have a loud, aggressive playing style, one that would be part of the basis of The Who's sound, as well as many heavy metal bands. Although not nearly as well known as such contemporaries as Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck, Green arguably has a much influence, if not more.