Posted by ESC on January 28, 2004
In Reply to: I kid you not posted by James Briggs on January 28, 2004
: : I KID YOU NOT - Catchphrase used by Jack Paar. Paar, host of the Tonight Show from 1957 to 1962, 'invented the talk-show format as we know it: the ability to sit down and make small talk big,' said Merv Griffin. Paar died on January 27, 2004, at age 85. 'Even youngsters sent to bed before Mr. Paar came on parroted his jaunty catchphrase, 'I kid you not.' From "He invented late-night talk, then walked away," an article in the Herald-Leader, Lexington, Ky., January 28, 2004.
: : "Mr. Paar took over the flagging NBC slot some months after Steve Allen left with his variety show... Despite his continued popularity, Mr. Paar grew tired of the grind and quit his late-night show in March 1962. That October, after a succession of interim hosts, Johnny Carson began his 30-year run as host." From Obituary: Original King of Late Night
: : JACK PAAR - 1918-2004. St. Petersburg Times, Fla., online at http://www.sptimes.com/2004/01/28/Artsandentartainment/Original_King_of_Late.shtml
: It may have been his catch phrase but I seem to recall Damon Runyon using the phrase in some of his short stories some time before Jack Paar.
Maybe Mr. Paar, as they say, "popularized" the phrase.