After surpassing one billion total views across all channels (including YouTube, Apple Music and Facebook) late last year, the archives of The Ed Sullivan Show have opened again on the day of the show’s 75th anniversary (June 20) to bring forth a “Happy Anniversary” clip originally airing on the show for their 8th year anniversary in 1956. The video clip consists of a broadcast message from Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Ronald Reagan, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, Walt Disney, Marlon Brando, and many other big stars singing a “Happy Anniversary” song to their friend, Ed Sullivan. Watch, HERE.
Fans can also tune into the YouTube channel the week of the anniversary to see key performance clips by Tony Bennett “What The World Needs Now Is Love/I’ve Gotta Be Me/People/What The World Needs Now Is Love (Reprise)” on June 18th; The 5th Dimension “Up, Up & Away” on June 19th; and Connie Francis “Second Hand Love” on June 25th.
Also, a new animation series kicks off June 21 focusing on Sullivan’s impact on modern culture. The collaboration with Pixel Park presents pieces of Ed Sullivan’s story in short, compelling visual adventures. The first animation is “Who Was Ed Sullivan?“
On The Ed Sullivan Show‘s YouTube Channel, fans can tune into newly released video clips of Hidden Gems featuring Ed Sullivan giving history lessons on the city of Las Vegas (where the show was filmed numerous times); watch Ed interview French actress, singer and model Brigitte Bardot on his “Around The World” series; follow Ed as he tours Rome on a carriage with English actor Rex Harrison; step onstage with actor and filmmaker Kirk Douglas as Col. Marcus in Cast A Giant Shadow; attend the premiere of Trapeze on the show while he interviewed actors and actresses Henry Fonda, Burt Lancaster, Marie Wilson and June Haver as they arrive on the red carpet; visit actor Clark Gable on the set of The King & Four Queens; converse with actor, dancer and film director James Cagney, actor, director, and producer Robert Montgomery; and actress, singer, and businesswoman Debbie Reynolds on set with Ed talking about The Singing Nun.
Personally involved in his show’s bookings, Ed was known to have said he wanted to “entertain all of the people some of the time,” leading the way for what American television would become. His television career initially began when, unbeknownst to him, the Harvest Moon Ball he hosted for The New York Daily News in 1947, was televised. CBS subsequently hired Sullivan to host their new variety show, Toast of the Town. In 1955 the show was re-named “The Ed Sullivan Show” and in 1967 Ed received one of his greatest honors — the theater from where he broadcast his show was re-named The Ed Sullivan Theater. This is the first theatre in New York to be named after a television personality. Watch the unveiling, HERE.
Among the individuals or groups who made their first television appearances on the show, or who were relatively unknown until they appeared, include Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, The Supremes, Dick Van Dyke, The Jackson 5, Hank Williams, Jr., The Band, The Rolling Stones, The Mamas and The Papas, The Beach Boys, Elvis Presley and, of course, The Beatles. Still, Ed would be as likely to present unusual acts like plate spinners, The Singing Nun, Señor Wences, and Topo Gigio (a mechanical Italian mouse) as he would be to introduce America to “culture” like ballet, opera, classical music and Broadway show tunes. In short, Ed became the arts and culture educator for America.
Perhaps the most memorable and iconic moments is U.S. music history, on “The Ed Sullivan Show” is it gave us two moments in television history – the legendary “from the waist-up only” appearance of Elvis Presley and the American television debut of The Beatles.
The Ed Sullivan Show ended in 1971 after over more than a thousand episodes. Ed Sullivan passed away on October 13, 1974 at the age of 73.
Sullivan’s show and its timeless 10,000 performances by so many of the world’s greatest artists (1,045 hours of “The Ed Sullivan Show” are archived) live on and to this day his name and all he accomplished still reverberates in both television and rock ‘n’ roll history. Taking a page from Ed Sullivan, Jimmy Fallon, and Stephen Colbert today still highlight artists from music, TV, and film, giving them a platform to directly connect with a global audience.