Height of Don Lane
The height of Don Lane is …m.
1. Where did Don Lane come from ?
Don Lane (he is born in Morton Donald Isaacson, 13 November 1933 – 22 October 2009) was an American-born talk show host and singer, best known for his television career in Australia, especially for hosting The Don Lane Show which aired on the Nine Network from 1975 to 1983, and his appearances opposite Bert Newton.
2. What could we know about Don Lane besides his height ?
Lane was born Morton Donald Isaacson at the Manhattan “Flower Hospital” in New York City to a Jewish father (Jacob) and a Catholic mother (Dolly), who later converted to Judaism. Jacob “Jack” Isaacson was a sergeant in the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and Dolly was a homemaker. He was raised in The Bronx, where he attended DeWitt Clinton High School and was classmates with Judd Hirsch and Garry Marshall. By his mid-teens, due to his mother’s influential personality, Isaacson had decided he wanted to be in show business. He even placed a star on his bedroom door. He started to entertain at parties he attended with his parents, usually doing a mixture of singing and comedy. He also played varsity football and basketball for DeWitt Clinton High School. Later, he gained a football and basketball scholarship to Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he spent three years.
3. What are the projects of Don Lane ?
After leaving college, Isaacson formed a double act with his best friend Manny Glasser which name is “Donny and the Duke”. The duo worked in local New York nightclubs for a few months before Isaacson was drafted into the US Army at age 21. He was commissioned as an officer and served in the artillery. While in the army he formed a double act with fellow soldier Murray Levine, Isaacson usually playing the comic while his partner was the straight man. The double act went on to win the All-Army entertainment contest and earned them an appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1955. One year later Isaacson won the All-Army entertainment contest again as a solo act. After his mandatory service in the army, he later toured for two years entertaining troops all over the United States.
4. Somme collaborations with Don Lane ?
After touring the country entertaining the troops as a solo performer, Isaacson started to work his act in the New York nightclubs. It was at this time that he adopted the stage name of “Don Lane”, after fellow entertainer Frankie Laine. Lane worked his act in nightclubs throughout New York, Los Angeles and the showrooms in Las Vegas. During his stint in Las Vegas, he worked alongside Wayne Newton and was often a supporting act for performers such as Sammy Davis Jr.. While in Los Angeles, Lane also worked as an actor and featured in national commercials for Coca-Cola, which Lane said “paid the bills for years”. He then returned to New York and performed at weddings, nightclubs and parties.
In 1964 Lane was offered a contract to be the headline act at The Dunes Nightclub in Honolulu, Hawaii. This was his first offer to become a headliner and first guaranteed contract as a solo performer. Due to the lucrative offer The Dunes Nightclub made to him, he quickly relocated to Honolulu, where he first started to enjoy success as a headline performer. It was in Hawaii that he met his first wife, Gina, who was an exotic dancer.
In 1965 the Irish comedian Dave Allen presented a talk show on Sydney television for TCN-9. He was eventually sacked and Nine producer John Collins looked for replacement hosts to fill in for the rest of the season. After a series of temporary hosts, Collins found Lane working in The Dunes Nightclub in Hawaii. While in the United States, Collins asked Las Vegas performer Wayne Newton if there was anybody he should consider as a replacement; Newton’s answer was “Don Lane”.
Lane was offered the job after movieing and sending in an audition tape for the TCN-9 executives. He was given the host’s chair for six weeks. He planned to base his version of the show on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show. Lane’s run was variously referred to as The Tonight Show, Tonight with Don Lane and Sydney Tonight. Within a month, Nine settled on Lane as permanent host. After four weeks, his original six-week contract was extended to forty weeks.
Tonight with Don Lane featured comedy sketches, interviews with visiting entertainers and musical numbers often performed by Lane with the Tonight Show Orchestra. The announcer for the show was Mike Walsh, who later went on to host his own successful variety show.
Due to technical restrictions, Lane’s tonight show was only broadcast throughout New South Wales, just as In Melbourne Tonight (IMT) was restricted to Victoria. Work on a coaxial cable linking Melbourne with Sydney had begun in June 1959 and was completed on 5 February 1963. On 7 July 1965, Lane appeared on a then-innovative live split-screen link with Graham Kennedy via the cable. Lane and Kennedy sang the song “Seventy-Six Trombones” as a duet. They took full advantage of the new technology and the duet included the performers throwing jugs of water and Kennedy holding up a sign saying “Go Home Yank”, to which Lane laughed. Lane also performed another duet with Kennedy at the Logies ceremony in 1967.
In March 1968, Lane was charged with importing marijuana into Australia. He was arrested at Sydney Airport and remanded in custody. He strenuously protested his innocence, claiming that the drugs were planted into his jacket pocket by a former business associate who wanted revenge. He was found not guilty on all charges, being defended by barrister Marcus Einfeld.
When Lane’s Tonight Show ended in 1969 he returned to the United States and the Las Vegas showrooms, this time appearing as a headline act. While in Las Vegas he played Professor Harold Hill in the Las Vegas production of The Music Man. The songs “Trouble” and “Seventy-Six Trombones”, both from that musical, became his signature tunes. He also appeared in the American comedy series Wow, hosted by Ken Berry, which also featured Cheryl Ladd and Steve Martin. The Wow show was a sketch comedy series similar to the format of Saturday Night Live and was the summer replacement show for The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour. Lane was a regular cast member on the show, which lasted three months.
In 1975, Lane returned to Australia and appeared at a benefit concert for the victims of Cyclone Tracy. The concert was held at the Sydney Opera House and Lane sang and performed a sketch with Toni Lamond.
While in Sydney in 1975, Lane was chosen to replace Ernie Sigley as host of the Melbourne-based The Ernie Sigley Show. The night before, after movieing for the first show of the season was completed, Sigley had criticised Nine Network boss Kerry Packer. Packer contacted Lane and the two flew down to Melbourne. Sigley was fired that afternoon and Lane took his place. Lane’s replacement of Sigley was to result in continuing resentment, culminating in a fight in which Lane punched Sigley at the Logies ceremony in 1986. Lane was to host two specials revamping the old In Melbourne Tonight. The producers wanted a “barrel boy” sidekick for Lane. Lane suggested Bert Newton:
I used to watch him and Graham working on IMT, and look at them with great envy. So I said ‘what about Bert Newton?’ If I’m going to work with somebody I want to know that he’s as sharp as anything and a real pro.
Newton had hitherto been strongly identified with Australian TV presenter Graham Kennedy. Both Lane and Newton maintain that the first time they met was on-air, during the first episode of the Don Lane Show. Each describes that there was instant “chemistry” and that they never made any deliberate attempt to build the relationship; that it just happened. Lane described the on-screen chemistry during an interview in 2003:
We were magic from the time he walked out from the curtain …you don’t try to explain those things. You just take them and you use them and you enjoy them and most of all you appreciate them, because they don’t happen often, they happen once in a rare while.
The IMT special was a ratings success. The show was renamed The Don Lane Show and ran until 1983. Like its predecessor, the show was produced at the studios of GTV 9 in Melbourne and aired over the Nine Network. Lane’s stint on the show was to make him the most highly paid performer on Australian television and The Don Lane Show is still the highest rated variety program in Australian television history.
The Don Lane Show featured big musical numbers, notable guests and comedy sketches. It was produced by Peter Faiman, who went on to direct Crocodile Dundee and the 2000 Olympics Opening Ceremony. Also featured was the 18-piece “Don Lane Orchestra” conducted by musical director Graeme Lyall and announcer Pete Smith. The show went live-to-air twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays, usually running for ninety minutes from 9:30 to 11.00 pm, although, depending on the length of interviews and “the wheel” segment, it could finish much later. On one occasion, it ran two hours over time while Sammy Davis Jr. was escorted by a police car from his concert to the studio in a surprise for Lane. Lane and Newton also did infomercials in which they were given free rein to improvise.
The show broke down Australia’s “distance barriers” and used innovative technology to conduct satellite interviews with prominent entertainers overseas. Most major recording artists visiting Australia from overseas were guests on the show. Among the live performances and interviews were ABBA, Adam Ant, David Bowie, Bucks Fizz, Chubby Checker, Dr Hook, Duran Duran, Sheena Easton, John Farnham, Aretha Franklin, Hall & Oates, Colleen Hewett, Whitney Houston, Elton John, Kiss, Jerry Lee Lewis, John Mellencamp, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, Robert Palmer, Tom Petty, the Pointer Sisters, Cliff Richard, Lionel Richie, Demis Roussos, Leo Sayer, Boz Scaggs, Del Shannon, Tina Turner, the Village People, Tom Waits, Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and John Paul Young. Robin Williams made his first talk show appearance on the show and Lane once played tennis with Charlton Heston and also performed in a sketch with The Osmonds and performed duets with people such as Vic Damone, Cilla Black, Debbie Reynolds and Lane’s idol, Sammy Davis Jr..
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