Patterico's Pontifications


50th Anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 11:29 pm

Was today.

50 years ago today, my brother sat in front of the TV and celebrated his 10th birthday by watching the show.

Today he celebrated his 60th by watching the same show again.

Happy Birthday!

12 Responses to “50th Anniversary of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan”

  1. Many Happy Returns to your brother.

    nk (dbc370)

  2. so..u here–oops u hear imagine on radio…then u pause…ask ur co-workers..” Hey–who sings this song, having a brain freeze’..and they say ‘John Lennon’..then you sigh and shake ur head and say..”Somebody should shoot that guy’

    pdbuttons (f79f91)

  3. with extreme predujice

    pdbuttons (f79f91)

  4. Yeah, I watched it with some amusement over the dumb girls. I was eleven or so.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  5. Andy Rooney wrote that Arthur Godfrey was actually more important than Ed Sullivan. He was bogger than Jack Benny. He was the biiggest star that CBS ever had, and had two nighttime shows: Talent Scouts and Arthur Godfrey and his Friends plus an hour and half daytime morning show. He had the biggest ratings in the early 1950s.

    Both Arthir Godfrey’s two nighttime shows and the Ed Sullivan show (Toast of the Town) originated from the same theatre, but CBS later named the theater after Ed Sullivan.

    Ed Sullivan was a pointer, while 90% of Arthur Godfrey and his Friends was Arthur Godfrey. The only thing Ed Sullivan had over Arthur Godfrey, wrote Andy Rooney, was longevity.

    Andy Rooney:

    For reaasons I don’t understand, some people make the history books and other people don’t. It has no direct relation to accomplishment. Fame has a life of its own. Some people become legends, known long after they’ve departed. Others, equally famous in life, are all but forgotten sortly after they die. Godfrey is ddestined to be one of those. He’d hate it.

    I remember listening to a little bit of Arthur Godfrey’s afternoon radio show. I think it continued until August, 1968 or maybe that’s when I heard it.

    WCBS 880 AM had become an all news radio station (after WINS 1010 the previous year) but they had one hour for Arthur Godfrey between 2 pm and 3 pm I think because he was still under contract – from the days when radio was imnportant. That show still continued. Until August 1968.

    That’s all I knew of him, plus the fact that he’d written one or two books.

    But, in “Sincerely, Andy Rooney,” a collection of letters published in 1999, Andy Rooney writes that Arthur Godfrey was very important to CBS and the history of television.

    He wrote the letter to someone who was writing a history of television (John Fischer) and said that CBS had recently broadcast a show about its first fifty years (that would be about 1976) and had not once mentioned “its single, all timer, most popular star, Arthur Godfrey,” which, he said, was like omitting George Washington from a history of the United States.

    He says Arthur Godfrey first brought to public attention (through his Talent Scouts show) Steve Lawrence, Tony Bennett, Pat Boone, the Smothers Brothers, Leslie Uggams, Vic Damone, Beverly Sills, Wally Cox and the McGuire Sisters.

    Sammy Finkelman (c08134)

  6. Poor lad – Pete Best

    mg (31009b)

  7. I watched the original. Like most first-graders in Lamesa, Texas, I had a burr (a/k/a buzz-cut) haircut myself. But there was a pretty girl a few years older than me who lived down the street, and in anticipation of the Beatles’ appearance on the Sullivan show, she’d gotten me a present.

    So I watched the historic concert in her family’s den, wearing a Beatles wig to please her.

    Beldar (8ff56a)

  8. No one ever gave me a Beatles wig to wear…

    I saw some of the special. One thing was that on the day of rehearsal setting up lights and camera angles and such, George was sick, so one of the show assistants stood in for him…and Sullivan walked onto the set wearing a “Beatles wig” and gave it to the fellow so he could fit in.
    Another funny thing from the special, McCartney was to perform “Yesterday” without the rest of the band. He said he had never been on stage before without the rest of the band, and was a little nervous. As he was sitting there with acoustic guitar in hand, the stage hand operating the curtain asked him if he was a nervous. McCartney said he replied, lying, “Not really”. Then the stage hand, right before opening the curtain on cue, said, “Well, you should be, 73 million people will be watching you!”

    Also, Lennon was a bit awestruck upon being told he was standing right where Buddy Holly had been standing when he was on the show.

    I remember the name Arthur Godfrey, sort of the face, but can’t remember ever watching the show.
    I don’t remember seeing the Beatles, I was a little young, but I do remember Marcel Marceau, never knowing he was in the French Underground in WWII, and that silly little mouse on occasion. And somebody that would spin pie plates on sticks.
    And the Irish Rovers and the Unicorn.
    And Tiny Tim, but maybe that was the Tonight Show.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  9. I remember Richard Pryor and George Carlin when they worked “clean”. And I remember disrupting an 8th grade mixed chorus performance with a friend of mine by singing like Mrs. Miller! A promising singing career cut much too short…

    Colonel Haiku (4a0ebc)

  10. OT on the wayback machine:

    We aren’t going to get close to 1875-78 record of 68 straight. At about 44 and our string is ending tomorrow.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  11. I need to correct a few errors:

    The Arthur Godfrey show continued on CBS radio uintil 1972, when his 20-year contract ran out.

    The date August 1968 that I remember is when his program became the only non-news segment on WCBS 880 AM.

    I didn’t listen much to it. I wasn’t that interested, and, probably didn’t have the opportunity also most of the time.

    He didn’t write many books. I confused him (or his name) with John Gunther. Both begin with a G and have two syllables and are roughly from the same time.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  12. 8. Comment by MD in Philly (f9371b) — 2/10/2014 @ 5:50 pm

    I remember the name Arthur Godfrey, sort of the face, but can’t remember ever watching the show.

    That shouldn’t be surprising since he ended his television shows in 1958 or 1959, because of illness – or maybe because he really liked doing radio a lot better. Kinescope may be available on YouTube.

    It seems like CBS must have listened to Andy Rooney’s complaint because in 1978 they did a special called special 50 Years of Television which he and Lucille Ball co-hosted. he also (date unspecified co-hosted Candid Camera for a while)

    He got into a feud with Ed Sullivan because Ed Sullivan used to put on his show people whom Arthur Godfrey fired, and he would fire a lot of people.

    He got his big break in 1945, when he covered FDR’s funeral (his narration wound up on the record “I Can hear it Now”) so he was really famous only for about 15 years.

    He was so famous that President Eisenhower persuaded him to record some announcements for us in the event of nuclear war. Frank Stanton, president of CBS News until Bill Paley forced him to take mandatory retuirement at the age of 65 in 1971, although Paley never did that himself, confirmed this in 2004 in an exchange with a writer with the Web site CONELRAD. (Wikipedia Indicates his retirement was in 1973 – I thought 1971) and he was born in 1908, not 1907. But teh artivle is practically a stub.

    Steve Allen, who was then a disc jockey, got his break in 1953 from Arthur Godfrey when he was called in to host his nighttime show in an emergency and did a parody of a Lipton tea commercial. The next year he started the Tonight Show on NBC.

    One of Arthur Godfrey’s big sponsers was Chesterfield cigarettes and he came up with the slogan “Buy ’em by the carton”, but he dropped them after “his doctors had convinced him that his lung cancer was due to smoking.” Later he became a anti-smoking crusader.

    He also had one of the earliest hip replacements in 1953.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

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