Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Forgotten Hits Remembers "The Ed Sullivan Show"

Three generations grew up watching The Ed Sullivan Show on CBS Television back in the '50's, 60's and '70's.  It became THE showcase for break-out, new talent.

Certainly it is BEST remembered for helping to launch the careers of Elvis Presley and The Beatles ... and, while it may be true that NEITHER of these artists actually made their very first television appearance on Sullivan's program, it was The Ed Sullivan Show that catapulted each of their respective careers into the Show Biz Stratosphere!

Ed's Sunday Night Program ran from 1948 through 1971 ... an incredible 23 years as literally "The Toast Of The Town" of variety entertainment television (which, ironically enough, is what the show was first called when it debuted back in 1948!)  Through the years, Sullivan brought into our homes the full gamut of pop culture ... you'd catch "something for the kids" like The Rolling Stones, Herman's Hermits or The Dave Clark Five ... the era's hottest comedians (like George Carlin and George Gobel ... Joan Rivers and Carol Burnett ... 
or Richard Pryor and Flip Wilson) ... a complete Broadway Production Number, recreated "right here on our stage" from "West Side Story", "Camelot", "My Fair Lady" or "Oliver" ... singers' singers like Barbra Streisand and Tony Bennett ... or Ethel Merman and Judy Garland ... and it was ALL on display ... every Sunday Night ... right in our living rooms ... and often all within the same 60 minute show!

It was the very essence of family, variety TV ... and nobody did it better than this most unlikely of hosts, Ed Sullivan.  An appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was the epitome of "making it" ... The Holy Grail of Entertainment ... if you were asked to do THIS show, you knew you were either on your way ... or already there.

Some of our clearest and fondest memories are of performances we saw "live" on The Ed Sullivan Show on Sunday Nights ... yet for years now, many of these have remained exactly that ... simply memories.  Much of this footage has been locked up in the vaults for decades now ... but every once in a while we'd see a special new release to renew hope that some of this material might become available once again ... to the audience that would MOST appreciate seeing it!

That plan now seems to be in motion ... Andrew Solt, who purchased the EXCLUSIVE rights to the entire library of Sullivan shows back in 1990, has been releasing special compilation DVD sets over the past several years, spotlighting "favorite son" artists like Elvis and The Beatles, encompassing ALL of their COMPLETE appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show into one collectors' piece home video set.  Recent releases include the complete appearances of The Rolling Stones ... a Tribute To Motown (featuring key artists like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, The Jackson Five, The Four Tops and many, many others) as well as individual releases spotlighting the appearances of Diana Ross and the Supremes and The Temptations.

Several compilation DVDs are also available, covering Ed Sullivan: The Rock And Roll Years, dipping back to the '50's for vintage performances by the likes of Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke and Paul Anka ... through the '60's appearances of everyone from The Doors to The Mamas and the Papas to Creedence Clearwater Revival ... and into the earliest shows of the '70's ... with artists like The Carpenters, The Jackson Five and Santana.  Similar collections are also available, spotlighting Comedy, Broadway and The Arts.  There are even deluxe box set packages that give you a little bit of everything ... and some of these packages even play back with the original commercials!  (It just may be the closest we ever get to an actual time machine ... and it all works PERFECTLY!!!)

Of course, The Ed Sullivan Show wasn't JUST about Elvis and The Beatles ... virtually anybody who was ANYBODY appeared on this program back in the day.  British Invasion acts like Herman's Hermits, The Rolling Stones, Gerry and the Pacemakers and The Dave Clark Five ... contemporary pop stars like Tom Jones, The Fifth Dimension, Neil Diamond, The Beach Boys, The Four Seasons and Simon and Garfunkel ... Soul Legends like the aforementioned Sam Cooke, James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles.  And there were SO many more one-off appearances FAR too lengthy to mention here.  Imagine having ALL of these performances available for viewing again!

Sure, for OUR purposes, we LOVED the music acts ... as we said, Ed ALWAYS made sure that he had "something for the kids" on his program ... and, as such, had the ratings to prove it!  And Forgotten Hits is ALL about the music.  But it's SO nice to see that ... FINALLY ... more and more of these clips seem to be making their way to home video.  A visit to Click here: The Ed Sullivan Show - Official Website for DVD's, CD's & Videos shows you which DVDs are currently available ... and which new releases are planned.  There is also now an exclusive Ed Sullivan YouTube Channel, courtesy of Andrew Solt and SOFA Entertainment, providing one minute "teaser clips" of some of the other material available in the vaults.  (For YEARS you didn't DARE post a clip from The Ed Sullivan Show on YouTube ... the site was CONSTANTLY being policed to insure that these videos vanished just as quickly as they appeared ... and Solt is VERY proud of his exclusive rights to this material, as he should be.  How cool is it that HE is now personally making some of this material available again!)

For the next two weeks, we'll be taking an EXCLUSIVE look back at The Ed Sullivan Show ... and its musical impact on our teenage landscape.  Andrew Solt, the official "keeper of the castle", has agreed to sit down with us and answer a few questions ... as well as share some of his OWN memories and favorite moments.  (Who knows ... we may even share a few classic Sullivan clips right here on the site!)

It's something you're NOT going to want to miss ... and it's all right here EXCLUSIVELY in Forgotten Hits.  Please join us for our musical tribute to The Ed Sullivan Show!!!

Kent Kotal
Forgotten Hits

Key Links:
Here's a link to the Main Home Page of 
Click here: The Ed Sullivan Show - Official Website for DVD's, CD's & Videos ...  
browse around and you'll see ALL of the DVD's currently available for order:
And click on some of the sub-links to see lists of "Favorite Artists" and background history information on both Ed Sullivan, the program and SOFA Entertainment President Andrew Solt.
And here's the official Ed Sullivan Show YouTube Channel:
You'll find many of these snippet clips posted here for your review!

And then be sure to check back with Forgotten Hits every day for more on one of the most important television programs of our lives ... 
The Ed Sullivan Show!  (kk)