Thursday, February 06, 2014

Ed Sullivan and “live” TV

50 years ago this month the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show and all the hoopla about that has reminded me of the times that my family and I would gather in front of our old grainy TV to watch Ed Sullivan.

I was in High School when his show first aired in1948 and it amazes me still that he became so popular. He was small in stature, as you can see in the picture above and almost wooden in his lack of animation. Even his smile seemed forced and when he turned his head his entire body turned with it making him appear like a robot.

In those days TV was strictly censored and his show in particular was family oriented and very tame by today’s standards. Since his shows were “live” he would often meet with his guests before their appearance and make it clear that he expected them to adhere to his rules.

In 1956 I was living in California when The Ed Sullivan Show announced that Elvis Presley was to be a guest the following week. My friends and I couldn’t wait . Elvis had already become known for his hip gyrations and we were making bets that Ed Sullivan would never allow that on his show.

Sure enough, as Elvis sang and played his guitar the camera zoomed in so that all you saw was from the waist up.  There were a lot of “I told you so”s from my friends but then, as we continued to watch, the funniest thing happened. Ed walked across the stage and shook hands with Elvis and then as he turned away from him and faced the audience Elvis did a quick hip and legs swivel. The place erupted with screams and when Ed turned to see what had happened Elvis, with an innocent look on his face, just shrugged as if he had no idea what it was all about.

Ah, “live” TV … you can’t beat it !



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall my mom, sis and I watching Ed. Don't think Dad watched it. He liked Perry Mason.

1:01 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Poor Ed Sullivan would have a stroke just listening to the language on the news let alone any of the other programs where words I used to get my mouth washed out over are now common place, let alone the subject matter that is not even remotely disguised.
And I remember Jack Paar getting in trouble for telling a joke that included the words - water-closet!
As I often say, "Sometimes progress ain't."

5:54 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

It was Sunday, and Sunday TV was kind of frowned upon. Plus it was showbiz, which was also kind of frowned upon. So, no Ed S for me.

7:21 AM  
Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

There are several important moments on live TV that stick in my memory. Hard to believe the Beatles arrived fifty years ago. I loved them then, and I continued to love them as their music seemed to mature along with me.

8:26 AM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Fun memories there. My mom loved the Sullivan show but Milton Berle was a no no. I supposed she though a man who dressed up as a woman might corrupt me.
We did avoid Gatlinburg and our friends who we visited actually lived in nearby Maryville...:)

3:36 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

As to Cedar Keys famous author I did talk to several people about her. The word is that she has requested people (fans) to respect her privacy. She still lives there. Such is the price of fame and fortune.....

5:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In those days TV was strictly censored" ! Hard to believe now !

4:25 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

I know my father liked to watch Ed Sullivan. I only watched as a young child when I was forced to or there was a good band on! He seemed stern and scary to me as a kid.

How time flies with the Beatles being so old and George and John dead for years. Sad actually.

4:41 AM  

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