Monday, September 28, 2009

Ed Sullivan and Nostalgic TV

Today is the birthdate of the late Ed Sullivan, who was born in 1901. If I ever mention Sullivan to my students, they don't know who he is (except some who had a part in Bye, Bye, Birdie, which references Sullivan in a song). And really, there's no reason they should know him--he died way back in 1974. There's no reason why they should understand the impact that Sullivan had on tv, and on the careers of many people who appeared on his show.

Sullivan himself was not talented; his tv persona was stiff and awkward. He had started out as a gossip columnist who somehow took hold and segued into television, and The Ed Sullivan Show lasted from 1948 to 1971. Sullivan had found his niche, and even if people don't reminisce about him, they remember some famous moments on his show.

Here are some significant musical moments:

I also tried to get the plate spinner, Erich Brenn, but there was a commercial embedded into his clip--you can see it on You Tube. It's still pretty remarkable after all this time.

How many of you witnessed the events above on the Ed Sullivan Show? What was your favorite Sullivan moment?


Susan D said...

Thanks for that Beatles moment. Yup, I was glued to the TV that night.

I liked watching the girls in the audience (I just realised they were probably all having orgasms). But did you catch the guy in the audience right at the end? He looked like he wanted to be in chemistry class, in the dentist's chair, on a date with his mother's best friend's daughter. Anywhere but there.

Julia Buckley said...

Haha. I'll have to look again. :)

Sheila Connolly said...

Beatles, definitely. The others?

What always mystified me about the show was the mix of Big Names with peculiar amateurish acts, like Topo Gigio and Senor Wences, and the spinning plates. What was Ed thinking?

Julia Buckley said...

Haha. I watched a Topo Gigio on You Tube and almost put it on here. It was downright weird, but I somehow couldn't stop watching.

My favorite is the Beach Boys clip. I am a fan, and it's moving to see them all so young.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I thought Senor Wences was pretty funny at the time. I remember the Beatles show, and I was not much older than those girls, but I was not amused. I only warmed up to the Beatles when the first movie, A Hard Day's Night, came out.

Sandra Parshall said...

I loved the Ed Sullivan Show from the time I was a tiny kid. It was such a mix of wildly popular rock singers, opera singers, jugglers, animal acts -- it had everything. TV has nothing like that now. TV no longer has funny comedies either, but that's another subject.

Julia Buckley said...

Sandra, have you watched 30 Rock? I think that's incredibly funny.

Liz, I remember enjoying Senor Wences, too, although it's amazing that he made it onto National Tv. :)

I think tv has tried to reproduce the Sullivan show and failed--although Late Night tv shows are probably the new equivalent.

kathy d. said...

I remember watching the Ed Sullivan every week for years in Chicago and then in New York. It was a routine event to watch his show in our house.
So much happened over the years. Watching the Beatles was a big deal to me. It is coming back to me now.

I just watched the posted clips (thank you!) and am so taken by the young Michael Jackson--how beautiful and talented he was, what charm, presence and voice.
This makes me sad all over again.

A question: who else remembers the Sid Caesar Show of Shows? We watched it every week and loved it. Imogene Coca, Howard Morris, Sid Caesar. We laughed so hard all of the time.

Stacia Friedman said...

You forgot to include Senior Wencas, the hand puppet who said "S'alright, s'alright."