I feel sorry for the kids today, I really do.
They don’t have Ed Sullivan.
We did. It was great.
Today is Ed’s birthday, he was born in 1901 , and has been gone since 1974. His show, his name, his persona, are all part of American History.
He changed TV.
At first television critics gave the show a bashing. Time Magazine seemed surprised that “…instead of frightening children, he charms the whole family…”. Nice, real nice!
His speech was syntaxically sloppy, he wasn’t all that pretty, but he knew talent.
Alan King, a frequent guest said, “Ed Sullivan will last, as long as someone out there has talent.”
And Alan was right.
Appearing on the Ed Sullivan show was the hallmark of success.
Pissing Ed off was the end of a career for some, and banishment from Televesion for others. Bo Didley comes to mind. Bo never appeared on live television after he ticked Ed off by singing two songs instead of one. The Doors broke the rules by not changing the words to a song, and their next six scheduled appearances on Ed’s show were cancelled. When told “You’ll never do the Sullivan show again!” by their manager, Jim Morrison replied, “We just did the Sullivan show!”.
All it took was one time and everyone knew your name.
Here are some of the people he let us see.
Bo Didley, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, The Doors, Topo Gigio, Castro, The Supremes, Barbra Streisand, The Beatles, The Stones, Liza Minelli, Sonny and Cher, Salvador Dali, Gladys Knight, The Jacksons, Robert Mitchum, Lillian Gish , Rocky Marciano , Nat King Cole , Johnny Carson, Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, Edward R. Murrow, Dave Brubeck, Ed Begley, Tony Randall, Nat King Cole & wife Maria, Jack Palance, Rod Steiger, Andy Griffith, Jean Simmons, Phil Silvers, Liberace, Rise Stevens, Edith Piaf, Shirley Booth, Pearl Bailey, Dick Shawn, Abbott & Costello, Sugar Ray Robinson, Cab Calloway, John Raitt, Helen Kane, Mitch Miller, Kim Novak & Susan Strasberg, Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz , Rodgers & Hammerstein, Orson Welles, The Ames Brothers. Shirley Jones , Pearl Bailey, Carl Sanberg, Hal Holbrook, Edith Piaf, Walt Disney , James Cagney , Jack Lemmon , Susan Hayward, Roger Williams, Marcel Marceau , Eli Wallach , Nat King Cole, Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus’ Top Acts , Emmett Kelly, U.S. Air Force Talent Show, Phil Silvers, Frank Sinatra, Sal Mineo, Mario Lanza, Buddy Holly & the Crickets, Johnny Cash, Steppenwolf , The Temptations, Santana, Henry Mancini, The Band , Petula Clark, Nancy Wilson, Creedence Clearwater Revival , Jerry Lee Lewis, Neil Diamond , Julie Budd , Sergio Franchi, Ferrante & Teicher, The Fifth Dimension , Tiny Tim & Miss Vickie , Connie Stevens, The Everly Brothers , George Carlin , Shirley Bassey, George Hamilton, Oliver, Melanie, and over 1,000 others, but I’m tired of typing.
Like I said, I feel sorry for kids today, now you know why!