Dueling Shows: Several shows on rival networks tried to dethrone CBS's Sunday evening cornerstone:
In the early 1950's, The Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC was a very strong competitor, even managing to surpass the "big shew" in ratings for a while, but eventually Ed Sullivan prevailed. note Interesingly, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, the most popular of the Colgate hosts, were guests on the June 20, 1948 premiere of Toast of the Town.
In 1956, NBC gave dethroning Sullivan another try by scheduling Steve Allen's new variety show directly against him. They gave up by the 1959-1960 season, when they rescheduled Allen to Mondays at 10, but their show still managed to snag Elvis Presley before Ed Sullivan could.
In 1964, The Hollywood Palace stepped up as ABC's answer to Ed Sullivan and proved to be a modest success, lasting until 1970, one year before Sullivan got cancelled himself.
Topo Gigio is an Italian mouse puppet who made regular appearances on the show, but became a superstar in Latin America thanks to his long running variety show which had various incarnations beginning in the 1960s up to at least the 1980s.
Canadian comedy duo Wayne and Shuster holds the house record for most appearances with 58 shows.
British bands, especially The Beatles, were warmly welcomed on the show.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Bob Dylan was slated to make his first nationwide television appearance on the show in 1963, but walked out when the show's producers told him he couldn't sing his intended song, "Talkin' John Birch Paranoia Blues", due to its then-controversial references to communism.