Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Toast Of The Town

I bet you remember the Ed Sullivan Show. It ran from 1948-1971. Every Sunday night,
it was a ritual. Who would be on next? The whole world was in your living room. There
were opera singers, ballet dancers, circus acts, popular artists, comedians, and much much more.
Other than the guests, there was that little Italian mouse, Topo Gigio. How can anyone forget him? The Ed Sullivan Show was the first exposure for foreign performers to the American public.
What a ritual that show was for American families gathered around he television screen.
We had loads of snacks and just waited for the show to air.
I remember watching Elvis for the first time. I sat there with a mouth full of unchewed and unswallowed popcorn fixated to the TV screen. I don't think I even said one word. I was either in shock or in love.
At first, Ed Sullivan vowed never to have Elvis on his show. He didn't want to have him in front of a family audience. He changed his mind, though, realizing his ratings would go down. But even then, he only wanted Elvis to be shown from the waist up. That didn't happen, as his gyrating body was shown as big as life. I couldn't speak.
In 1964, I got to see the Beatles for the first time. The audience were hysterical screaming teenagers. That show was thought to have 73 million viewers.
Ed really had it together. There were very few opportunities for African-American performers on national television at that time. He was the champion of black talent and launched many careers by presenting them to national TV. There was no bigotry on that show and we got to see great singers. Some of them were the Supremes, Pearl Baily, Harry Belafonte, James Brown and a whole lot more.
There isn't any show today that compares. Thank you  Ed! And now, right here on our stage, it's a really big shoe!


Montana Mike said...

I live in Alaska, at the end of the road. "Where the road ends and life begins". The name of our clinic: Sunshine Clinic - the name of our only radio station - Whole Wheat Radio - There is a "tribe" here - living in a past world.

You are not alone

ethelmaepotter! said...

Topo Gigio! There's a name I haven't thought of in ages. Thanks for the memories, as always.

JulyJeanie said...

I remember one of his shows like it was yesterday.......well, maybe more like yesteryear, lol. I was just into my teens, and ole 'Ed' had a band by the name of "The Beatles" all the way from England on his show one night, and I was giddy just knowing I was going to see it. Well, my father, being the practical joker that he was,changed the channel right before the band was introduced, just to shake me up, or whatever. I couldn't believe he could be so cruel, I ran into my bedroom crying my eyes out because I thought he was not going to let me watch it! He came into my room, and he said.....come and watch your little boys sing, I was just messing with you. So, I got to watch "The Beatles" on Ed Sullivan. My father never knew this, but I never got over his little joke! Just a few years later, I got to see "The Beatles" live in concert! It was weird to tell you the truth.....I enjoyed the show for the most part, but I couldn't act like all of those teenage girls around me, screaming and crying and going wild! How this audience of teenagers reacted to them. It was almost like stories I've heard about people worshiping the devil! Ewww!

I've never forgotten that time.

nothingprofound said...

Brings back many memories. In particular, I remember all the funny little novelty acts, dancing dogs, pickpockets, clowns, and especially a man who could hold a handstand on one finger.

Joy said...

yes, we watched Ed. Remember seeing the Beatles, and always caught the Supreams. STOP! In the Name of Love!!!