Series / The Ed Sullivan Show

A long-running Variety Show, hosted by New York Daily News theater columnist Ed Sullivan, that was required Sunday-night viewing on American television for decades. It aired on CBS as Toast of the Town from June 1948 to September 1955, and as The Ed Sullivan Show until June 1971.

It is best remembered for the numerous rock music acts it featured, particularly Elvis Presley and The Beatles, as well as its comedy and novelty acts. And it played a key role in the early history of The Muppets.

Briefly revived in the 1990s as The Virtual Ed Sullivan Show, with a CGI recreation of its famous host a la Max Headroom.

As usual, you can find the basics at The Other Wiki and at IMDB.

"We've got some really big tropes":

  • Broadcast Live
  • Cool Old Guy: Ed himself. He was already in his sixties when The Beatles first appeared on his program in February 1964. He also gave national exposure to the likes of Richard Pryor and George Carlin and featured youth-friendly artists such as The Rolling Stones, The Mamas And The Papas, and The Doors (even if the Doors were never invited back after Jim Morrison defied the censors' request not to sing "Girl, we couldn't get much higher" while performing "Light My Fire"). And even though Joan Rivers and Barbra Streisand aren't exactly considered "youthful" these days, they got a big help by appearing on Sullivan's show when they were young (or youngER in Rivers's case) upstarts in The '60s.
  • The Eponymous Show
  • Flipping the Bird: Comedian Jackie Mason nearly saw his career destroyed after being accused of having done this during a 1964 appearance. Sullivan banned him from appearing on the show again for nearly two years, and only relented after Mason (who vociferously denied having made the gesture, or even being aware of its meaning) initiated a libel suit.
  • Long Runners: The show lasted for 23 years (1948-1971) and within the series, the Canadian comedy duo, Wayne and Shuster, appeared 67 times.
  • Muppet: Jim Henson made several appearances in the show's later years.
  • Variety Show