Re: Ed Sullivan's lineup<BR>

Re: Ed Sullivan's lineup

Ed Sullivan's show on 7 February 1964 included The Fabs (who opened the evening), singing "All My Loving", "Till There was You", and "She Loves You".

Fred Kaps, an Eastern European magician, followed (on tape delay; he wasn't live, as the Beatles and other acts were that night).

Two scenes from the Broadway production "Oliver!" (a travelling show which had originated, with British actress Georgia Brown, in Los Angeles), included Davy Jones (later of the Monkees, then a mid-teen actor who had settled in the States), with songs "I'll Do Anything" and "As Long As He Needs Me".

Frank Gorshin, an impressionist, followed, doing a string of rather embarrassing imitations of Hollywood actors.

Ed Sullivan then introduced Harry McDurmett, a recent medalist at the Winter Olympics, who thankfully gave no demonstration of his prowess. :-)

Then there was Tessie O'Shea, a British music-hall-style comedienne and singer whose act was somewhat retrograde, to put it politely. But Ed's focus was on British acts, and she must have been free that night. :-)

Comic duo McCall and Brill followed, with several skits; their act appears dated today, but they made the circuit of American variety shows and were in keeping with a standard male/female team exemplfied by Stiller and Meara and (on a much higher level of expertise) Nichols and May.

The Fabs then returned (the audience, seemingly mostly teenage girls, kept remarkably quiet during the rest of the show, but their tension and exuberance was palpable here), singing "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Ed had the Boys come out to stage right to shake hands and have them wave to the audience after this musical finale.

Anticlimactically (to put it mildly) was a group of apparently Swedish acrobats whose act remains the most bizarre of the evening (viz., entirely out of touch with the artistic heights of the previous entertainment. :-)

Ed's raison d-etre was not to showcase anachronistic comics and singers, it should be remembered, but to bring live entertainment to American television audiences, a concept that was laudable during an era when miming and lip-synching were much easier to accomplish.

What's immediately obvious to anyone watching the *whole* show, in its historical context, is how revolutionary these *live* Beatles appear to be---how remarkably they stand out from all other performers that evening. Of course those of us who heard the music during the weeks preceding that appearance already knew what was in store for us...or at least we had a dim clue. It's no mystery, though, why the Fabs swept the U.S. off its metaphorical feet once they appeared before us in all their visual glory. Our musical blindness, one might say, was cured in the very instant they stepped before the cameras. We have Mr. Sullivan to thank for that particular epiphany....

"Nice lads of course---as we are always being reminded---in spite of their fans, their clothes and their haircuts." -- saki ( Click here to return to the rmb home page.

Click here to return to saki's index.