The Ed Sullivan Show

CBS (ended 1971)
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  • Episode Guide
  • S 23 : Ep 26

    May 30, 1971: Ed Sullivan Show Special Edition (hosted by Jack Jones)

    Aired 5/30/71

  • S 23 : Ep 25

    March 28, 1971: Final Sullivan Show - Melanie, David Frye, Joey Adams

    Aired 3/28/71

  • S 23 : Ep 24

    March 21, 1971: Bernadette Peters, George Hamilton, Oliver

    Aired 3/21/71

  • S 23 : Ep 23

    March 7, 1971: Armed Forces Music Festival

    Aired 3/7/71

  • S 23 : Ep 22

    February 28, 1971: Everly Brothers, George Carlin, Shirley Bassey, Jerry Butler

    Aired 2/28/71

  • Cast & Crew
  • Ed Sullivan


  • Bern Bennett

    Announcer (1948-1949)

  • Ralph Paul

    Announcer (1959-61, 1964-71)

  • Art Hannes

    Announcer (1949-1964)

  • Charlton Heston


  • Photos (8)
  • show Description
  • This long-running variety series premiered on June 20, 1948 with the title Toast of the Town. (The Toast of the Town link covers the first 8 seasons of Ed Sullivan.) The series was re-titled The Ed Sullivan Show on September 25, 1955 (the beginning of the 9th season). Although the name had changed, it remained the same variety show with "something for everyone." There continued to be a diverse guest line-up which included singers, musicians, actors, dancers, comedians, circus acts, plate spinners and acrobats. But now there was now a new type of guest: the rock 'n' roll performer. While Ed booked a few rock 'n' roll acts on "Toast of the Town," these performers became even more prominent on "The Ed Sullivan Show." One of the most famous rock 'n' roll acts was, of course, Elvis Presley. Ed had at first scoffed at the idea of booking Elvis, who had already appeared on "Stage Show," "The Milton Berle Show" and "The Steve Allen Show" amid much controversy. But as Elvis' popularity grew, Ed relented and booked him for three appearances. Then there were the famous Beatles appearances. Legend has it that Ed booked the Beatles without hearing even a note of their music. While visiting England, Sullivan happened to be at Heathrow Airport on October 31, 1963 when the Beatles' plane arrived. The British press and hundreds of fans were there to greet them. Upon seeing all the frenzy, Ed signed the band to appear on his show. Beatlemania was already in full swing when the Beatles arrived at New York's JFK airport on February 7, 1964. On February 9, the Beatles made their "Ed Sullivan" debut. The Beatles' three 1964 Sullivan appearances were among the highest rated TV programs of the 1960's. In 1967, Ed's NYC studio, Studio 50, was officially re-titled "The Ed Sullivan Theater." The ratings of The Ed Sullivan Show began to drop in 1968. CBS cancelled the series in 1971. The final new show aired on March 28, 1971 which was followed by several weeks of reruns. The series' network run ended on June 6, 1971 (which was a repeat of the February 7, 1971 show). At the time of the cancellation, CBS did not give The Ed Sullivan Show the sendoff that it deserved. Instead of ending with a tribute show focusing on all the great moments of the past 23 years, the show quietly went off the air. But in the 33 years since the series was cancelled, CBS has aired numerous tribute shows giving the series the recognition it deserves. Syndicated, cable TV and PBS repeats:In 1980, a "Best of Sullivan" series hosted by John Byner appeared in syndication. Each episode was an edited 30-minute version of the original 1-hour shows. This version has not been broadcast since the 1980's. Around 1992, a new "Best of Ed Sullivan" series was syndicated. These were 30-minute edited versions of the original shows (but often with clips from other episodes added). This version later appeared on the TV Land cable network (1996-1998). From 2001 through 2004, PBS stations across the U.S. aired edited versions of The Ed Sullivan Show (usually with two 30-minute programs shown back-to-back). These were produced by WQED Multimedia in Pittsburgh. --The first PBS season (2001-02) consisted of the 1990s shows that were edited for commercial TV. To fill in the commercial breaks, WQED added new intros by Shirley Jones. --For the 2002-03 PBS season, WQED publicized a new package of 76 Sullivan shows. (These do not have Shirley Jones.) Ten of these shows have not been seen since their original broadcasts. The other 66 were previously shown in the 1990s but were slightly re-edited with a few "missing" performances restored. This group of Sullivan shows continued into the 2003-04 season.A different series, titled "Ed Sullivan's Rock 'N' Roll Classics," first appeared in the 1990's on VH1 (in the US). This version features rock and pop music clips taken from various Ed Sullivan episodes and is currently available on DVD. For information about The Ed Sullivan Show and Toast of the Town, contact: SOFA Entertainment 9121 W. Sunset Blvd. West Hollywood, CA 90069 Sofa Home Entertainment SOFA Entertainment owns the right to every Ed Sullivan Show and Toast of the Town episode.And thanks to Historic Films for their on-line database. Their website has been very helpful in verifying guest lists and other information.moreless

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  • TomAlger

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (6)

    • a real decent kid

    • Buddy Holly in interviewed by Ed Sullivan at the conclusion of "Peggy Sue"

    • "And now for the youngsters we bring back The Crickets - now Texas boys do it!"

    • "Now I am going to have those drums left right there because now coming out here four citizens of the sovern state of Texas, and they tell me that we behave up in the North, over at Christmas Texas ought to permit us to come back into the union is that right fellas? Here from Lubbock Texas The Crickets with one of their hit records" Ed Sullivan on introducing Buddy Holly and The Crickets "That'll Be The Day"

    • "Next Week--'THE BEATLES' & The Pieta--Good Night!"--Ed Sullivan.

    • George Carlin's Muhammad Ali/America the Beautiful routine ends with him singing: O beautiful for smoggy skies Insecticided grain For strip-minded mountains majesty Above the asphalt plain America! America! Men sheds his waste on thee And hides the pines with billboard signs From sea to oily sea. When Carlin reused this routine in his 1972 album Class Clown, he added a piece on "the sexual side of Vietnam."

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    Notes (269)

    • This is Season 9 of "THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW' aka "THE TOAST OF THE TOWN" on CBS-TV.

    • This is the first episode officially titled "The Ed Sullivan Show." The series title was previously "Toast of the Town."

    • Jack Palance, Rod Steiger, Wendell Corey and Everett Sloane were originally scheduled to perform a scene from their film "The Big Knife" on this show. This segment was probably cancelled as, a few days prior to this broadcast, Jack Palance was hospitalized for an emergency appendectomy. (Source: Variety magazine, October 19, 1955).

    • It has been reported that Bo Diddley was instructed to perform "Sixteen Tons". At the last minute he performed "Bo Diddley" claiming he couldn't see the lyrics to "Sixteen Tons" on the cue cards due to his poor eyesight!

    • Abbott and Costello might have cancelled. They were also scheduled (possibly re-scheduled) to appear on next week's show.

    • Abbott and Costello were scheduled to appear on this episode but they are not mentioned on the transcript.

    • Corey and Cook (comedy team) and Eddie Peabody (banjo player) were scheduled to appear but are not mentioned on the transcript.

    • The animated film is probably Peter Folds' "A Short Vision." According to the John Halas & Roger Manvell book The Technique of Film Animation, the film "grew out of a brief poem accompanied by sketches on the subject of the ultimate extinction of life by a nuclear weapon."

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    Trivia (25)

    • The winning team in Pop Warner's Piggy Bank Bowl football tournament many have also appeared on this show.

    • Ed introduces Frankie Lymon as "Frankie Robinson" twice! At the conclusion of the 2nd song Ed explains to Frankie and audience he must of been thinking of Sugar Ray Robinson.

    • When Frankie Lymon is performing "Goody Goody", just after the instrumental break, he messes up a verse before correcting it. The look on his face is priceless.

    • Ed Sullivan's introduction of Jimmie Rodger's performance of "The Long Hot Summer" overlaps with beginning of the song.

    • There appears to be a slight flub as Jackie Wilson sings a different ending to Lonely Teardrops which stops dead, whereas the backing chorus starts to continue on/fade out (while Wilson has already stopped/paused. It's as if Wilson was just singing over the recorded soundtrack from the record...Oops... On another episode rebroadcast tonight ,1/25/03, featuring the Beach Boys, Pearl Bailey appears to have a slip up in a similar vein. On 'I Believe' she keeps singing , even when there's an instrumental break, only to look away and appear to chuckle before cutting out while the break finishes...Oh, the days of live TV... But hardly noticeable in either case...

    • According to a newspaper column, Brenda Lee lip-synched her two numbers on this show. ("Ed Sullivan was back on his TV'er, but singer Brenda Lee had laryngitis and her two numbers were dubbed in." "Earl Wilson Says" column, November 16, 1961).

    • Maurice Chevalier was scheduled to perform a comedy routine on this show. But, according to¬†AP News columnist Cynthia Lowry, Chevalier's appearance was limited to walking on stage and saying "little more than hello."

    • You can see a good example of Beatle humor when, near the end of "This Boy," John jokingly mimics the melody with a falsetto voice, prompting a smile from Paul.

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    Allusions (2)

    • announcer: apparent "cure-all"
      Anacin apparently cures "depression"

    • George Fenneman: appetite enhancer
      According to the Lipton commercial, tea is considered an "appetite enhancer"(?)

  • Fan Reviews (10)
  • The Boys of Wexford

    By moll34, Jun 14, 2013

  • Ed Sullivan

    By petenv, Sep 10, 2012

  • One of the best variety shows ever!

    By GemaInterian, Sep 28, 2011

  • One of the Best Shows Ever!

    By josh4prez, Jun 12, 2009

  • Almost everybody who was somebody, made it on The Ed Sullivan Show.

    By mapledrum99, May 22, 2008

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