Before Monday's presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump started, Lester Holt told the crowd that "in a moment it'll just be the three of us — and hopefully just the two of them. That's what it's all about."

He wasn't kidding about that "just the two of them" thing.

Holt stepped way out of the way during the opening segment and really let Clinton and Trump go at it. He was so quiet as the two major-party nominees sparred that journalists and other viewers started to wonder if he was still there.

Fifty-six years ago, TV networks' original vision for presidential debates involved the two candidates discussing policy differences without a moderator. In the early going Monday, Holt gave voters a small taste of what that would be like.