Life is what happens when you are making other plans~ John Lennon
An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind~Gandhi
The time is always right to do what is right~ Martin Luther King Jr.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Ed Sullivan Show

The Ed Sullivan Show was an American-based variety show that ran from Sunday, June 20, 1948-
Sunday, June 6, 1971. It was hosted by entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan.

Most of the early kinds of entertainment on the show included opera singers, vaudeville, popular artists, songwriters, comedians, ballet dancers, actors and actresses performing acts of plays, circus acts.  This show was produced by Marlo Lewis and wasn't called the Ed Sullivan Show originally. It's previous name was Toast of the Town. And on Sept. 25, 1955, it's name changed to the Ed Sullivan Show.  The show originally filmed at the Maxine Elliot Theatre on Broadway, but moved to the CBS Studio 50 which was renamed the Ed Sullivan Theatre. The Late Show with David Letterman films there and has been since 1993. On March 28, 1971 was the last filming of the Ed Sullivan Show, and the acts on that show was Joanna Simon, Melanie, Danny Davis and the Nashville Brass, Sandler and Young

On the show, he would have recurring characters, such as Topo Gigio, which was a little Italian mouse puppet. In the US in the 1960s, it was usually a family event to gather around the TV and watch the Ed Sullivan Show to see who would perform that night. And Sullivan was regarded as the person to come to for fame because who ever played on his show usually got noticed by someone in the world of show biz.

This show is best known to the WWII and baby boomers generation for playing acts of the 1960s, such as popular musicians of the decade, such as Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, The Jackson 5, The Doors, Lovin' Spoonful.

On Sept. 5, 1955, Elvis made his first debut. He sang the songs Don't Be Cruel and Love Me Tender, Hound Dog. He also played a second time, on Oct. 28, later that same year. He played Love Me Tender. On January 6, 1957, he played for his 3rd and final appearance. He sang Love Me Tender, Hound Dog, Heartbreak Hotel, Don't Be Cruel, Peace in the Valley. And from the way he danced, people thought it was vulgar, with his swiveling hips. So he was filmed from the waist up.

The Beatles
In late 1963, when Sullivan was passing through Heathrow Airport, he noticed an awful lot of girls hanging around and that's how he found out about the Beatles. They were returning from a trip to Stockholm where they played a warm up show for local act Lill Babs. He talked to Beatles manager Brian Epstein about letting them perform on the show and the manager had his own plans. He wanted his clients to get attention so he suggested that they play 3 times on the show, recieve top billing and play the first and last spots. They appeared on the show on 3 Sundays in February 1964. On February 9, 1964, they played their first show, where they played All My Loving, Till There Was You, She Loves You. And this was believed to be the event that opened the supposed floodgate to the British Invasion era of music. Their next show was broadcast from Miami, the same night that the fight between boxer Muhammad Ali(known as Cassius Clay then) and boxer Sonny Liston was going on. With all the people in the crowd for the concert, this almost prevented the Beatles from reaching the stage. Policemen had to keep order in the crowd to let them gain access to the stage, and they played the songs Twist and Shout, All My Loving and closed the show with I Want to Hold Your Hand. Their final appearance was on August 14, 1965, but was brodcast on Sept. 12, 1965. 3 acts went before them and then they came out to perform I Feel Fine, I'm Down, and Act Naturally. The songs they closed the show with was Ticket to Ride, Yesterday, Help! Even though this was their last show, they would provide promotional clips, especially for the 1966 and 1967 shows, which included the songs Strawberry Fields Forever, Rain, Paperback Writer, Penny Lane.

The Doors
On Sept. 17, 1967, The Doors got to play on the Ed Sullivan Show. They performed Light My Fire and People Are Strange. Before the group went on, lead singer Jim Morrison was told not to sing the lyric "Girl we couldn't get much higher" in the song Light My Fire. Unfortunately he sang the lyric anyway and that resulted in the band being refused to ever play again. And if you watch the video of the Doors performing the song, you can almost instantly tell that Jim Morrison was high. I don't think there eas a tim when he was ever sober.
You can tell he's high here!

Black artists

The Supremes
These ladies were a personal favorite of Ed's. They had almost 20 performances. Over the 5 years they performed on the show, they snag 15 of their singles. Back then, the Supremes consisted of Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, and Mary Wilson. In Oct. 1967, they were billed as Diana Ross and the Supremes, I guess Diana Ross' ego got too big! And Ballard basically replaced Cindy Birdsong and when Diana Ross quit, Jean Terrell stepped in in March 1970.

Here are some of the black artists who performed on the show:

  • Frankie Lymon
  • The Supremes
  • Marian Anderson
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Pearl Bailey
  • LaVern Baker
  • Harry Belafonte
  • James Brown
  • Godfrey Cambridge
  • Diahann Carroll
  • Ray Charles
  • Nat King Cole
  • Bill Cosby
  • Count Basie
  • Dorothy Dandridge
  • Sammy Davis Jr
  • Bo Diddley
  • Rocio Durcal
  • Duke Ellington
  • Lola Falana
  • The 5th Dimension
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • The Four Tops
  • Aretha Franklin
  • Dick Gregory
  • W.C. Handy
  • Lena Horne
  • The Jackson 5
  • Mahalia Jackson
  • Eartha Kitt
  • Gladys Knight and the Pips
  • Little Anthony and the Imperials
  • Moms Mabley
  • Johnny Mathis
  • The Miracles(later to be known as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles)
  • Melba Moore
  • The Platters
  • Leontyne Price
  • Richard Pryor
  • Lou Rawls
  • Della Reese
  • Nipsey Russell
  • Nina Simone
  • Sly and the Family Stone
  • The Temptations
  • Martha Reeves and the Vandellas
  • Tina Turner(then known as Ike and Tina)
  • Leslie Uggams
  • William Warfield
  • Dionne Warwick
  • Dinah Washington
  • Ethel Waters
  • Flip Wilson
  • Jackie Wilson
  • Nancy Wilson
  • Stevie Wonder
  • Otis Redding
West Side Story- Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert singing Tonight, members of the Jets gang singing Cool

My Fair Lady- Julie Andrews singing I Could Have Danced All Night and Wouldn't It Be Loverly, Rex Harrison singing Why Can't the English?, Stanley Holloway singing With a Little Bit of Luck

Camelot- Richard Burton and Julie Andrews performing various acts, and Robert Goulet singing If I Ever Would Leave You and C'est Moi

Show Boat- Andrew Frierson singing Ol' Man River, Carol Bruce singing Bill

Carnival- Anna Maria Alberghetti performing Love Makes the World Go 'Round

Bye, Bye Birdie!-  Dick Van Dyke performing Put on a Happy Face, Chita Rivera performing Spanish Rose, Paul Lynde singing Kids, Hymn for a Sunday Evening

Oliver!- Georga Brown performing As Long as He Needs Me, Davey Jones singing Consider Yourself

Oklahoma!- John Raitt, Celeste Holm, Florence Henderson and Barbara Cook performing the title song, Celeste Holm performing I Cain't Say No

Sweet Charity- Gwen Verdon performing I'm a Brass Band and If My Friends Could See Me Now

The Roar of the Greasepaint- Anthony Newley singing Who Can I Turn To?

Flower Drum Song- Pat Suzuki performing I Enjoy Being a Girl
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes- Carol Channing performing Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend

Hair- The cast singing Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In 

Hello, Dolly!- Pearl Bailey singing Before the Parade Passes By

I Do! I Do!- Gordon McRae and Carol Lawrence singing the title song, and McRae singing I Love My Wife, and My Cup Runneth Over

Kiss Me, Kate- Alfred Drake, Patricia Morrison, Lisa Kirk, Harold Lang singing Another Op'nin Another Show, We Open in Venice, Wunderbar

Man of La Mancha- Richard Kiley singing The Impossible Dream, Joan Diener singing What Does He Want of Me

You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown- Gary Burghoff, Reva Rose, Bob Balaban, Skip Hinnant, Karen Johnson, Bill Hinnant singing the title song and Happiness

Ethel Merman- singing songs from Annie Get Your Gun, Gypsy, Happy Hunting, Panama Hattie, Anything Goes

Hermione Gingold and  Maurice Chevalier singing I Remember It Well from Gigi

Bo Diddley
On. Nov. 20, 1955, rock and roll singer Bo Diddley. He was asked to play Tennesses Ernie Ford's song Sixteen Tons, but he instead played his R&B hit Bo Diddley. This made Sullivan mad. When Diddley went backstage, Sullivan said, and I quote: "You're the 1st black boy that ever double crossed me!"

Buddy Holly and the Crickets
On Jan. 26, 1956, Buddy Holly and the Crickets were due to perform. They were scheduled to perform 2 songs. They were going to play Oh, Boy! But Sullivan wanted them to substitute another song for that one because he thought it was too rowdy. So by now, Sullivan was furious, he cut their songs from 2 to 1, and purposely mispronounced the name Holly, and also mispronounced the band as the Picketts, and also made sure the microphone for Holly's electric guitar was off. To show the audience the technical glitch wasn't his fault, he cut loose with a solo. 

Jackie Mason
On October 18, 1964, comedian Jackie Mason flipped the finger to Sullivan on air! 

Bob Dylan
On May 12, 1963, Bob Dylan was scheduled to play on the show. He was going to play Talkin John Birch Society Blues, which was basically making fun of the John Birch Society and the red Communist paranoia attached to it. Bascially Dylan told Sullivan "If I can't play my song, I'd rather not appear". He left the show rather than perform

The Doors
The event attached to this is also above. The Doors were scheduled to perform on the show on Sept. 17, 1967. They were to play People Are Strange and Light My Fire. Sullivan asked them that they omit the lyric "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" from the song Light My Fire. Morrison ignored it and sung the lyric anyway. Sullivan was furious. He told them they'd never be allowed back.
The Doors singing Light My Fire

The Rolling Stones
On January 15, 1967, The Rolling Stones were scheduled to perform their hit Let's Spend the Night Together. But Sullivan kindly asked them that they change the title. They complied, but every time they got to the clean new title of the song, Mick Jagger would roll his eyes upward, at the new lyric "Let's spend some time together". As a form of revenge, the Stones went backstage and changed into Nazi uniforms with swastikas on them. Sullivan was furious! He demanded they change into their previous clothes which resulted in the Stones leaving and Sullivan saying they'd never be allowed to play again. But it was considered to be 2 sets of rules, as he said nothing to Diana Ross and the Supremes about their song Love Child, which was about having a baby out of wedlock

Performing the song (I Can't Get No)Satisfaction
  • Billy Joel's Tell Her About It, Nirvana's In Bloom, OutKast's Hey Ya, The Red Hot Chili Peppers Dani California all joke around with Sullivan's style of performance
  • RAIN- A Beatles tribute band, they open their concerts with a prerecorded footage of a man like Sullivan introducing the act and playing on a stage similar to the stage the Beatles used
  • All You Need is Cash- a mockumentary of a fictional band called the Ruttles, and features footage of the Beatles redubbed for the sake of comedy
  • The Fab Four- Beatles tribute act hosted by a Sullivan impressionist
  • Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp- children's live action show, with character named Ed Simian
  • The Flinstones, a 1960s cartoon about stone age family, featured a version of Ed Sullivan named Ed Sulleystone

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