Today is the anniversary of the Beatles historic first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. The group’s performance on the program was seen by over 73,000,000 people, setting a record at the time for the largest television audience in America. The group performed three songs at the beginning of the show, opening with an energetic rendition of “All My Loving” as girls yelled and bounced in their seats the entire song. Upon its completion, the crowd screamed even louder and wildly applauded as the group bowed in unison. Paul then took the spotlight again on “Till There Was You,” a lovely ballad from The Music Man that even the adults in the audience and at home could appreciate. The relative calm of the ballad was quickly shattered by a rocking version of “She Loves You” that provided a bold demonstration of the big beat sound. The loudest screams occurred each time John, Paul and George went “Woooo” and shook their heads.
The Beatles first segment was followed by a commercial for Anacin pain reliever. This may have seemed appropriate for the adults in the audience who developed headaches from the screaming of the girls.
The Beatles returned later in the show to play boot-tapping versions of both sides of their Capitol single, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” as the crowd screamed with its approval. When it was over, the group took their bows, followed by John, George and Paul removing their instruments and Ringo jumping down from the drum riser. The group then headed over to Ed Sullivan to shake hands and wave to the crowd.
Tonight I will watch the DVD of the Beatles historic first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show at 7:00 PM Central Standard Time, just like I did all those years ago. I’ll even have macaroni and cheese for dinner, just like I did that night. If you have the DVD, be sure to watch it tonight in its entirety. Marvel at the sixties commercials and the other performances. Be sure to look for future Monkee Davy Jones playing the part of Artful Dodger in the Broadway cast of Oliver! That’s him singing the song “I’ll Do Anything For You.” Impressionist Frank Gorshin, who later played the Riddler on the TV show Batman, does a comedy sketch of what it would be like if Hollywood actors ran the federal government. Also of interest is Tessie O’Shea strumming her banjo and singing several standards, including her theme song, “Two Ton Tessie.” The closing act, to clam the audience down, was novelty acrobatic act Wells and the Four Fays.
On the 50th anniversary of the show’s broadcast, a petite elderly woman can up to my table at the Fest for Beatles Fans to buy a copy of my book “The Beatles Are Coming!” She told me she had a connection to the original broadcast. Taking into account her size and age, I correctly guessed she was one of the Four Fays!
So tonight, pop your Beatles Ed Sullivan DVD into your DVD or Blu-Ray player and relive that incredible night. And if you really want to go back in time, follow it up with an episode of Bonanza!
In honor of the Beatles first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 498 Productions will be selling factory seconds of the hardcover edition of “The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America” for the price of $9. The books are in excellent condition except for some minor imperfections on the cover and are missing the title page. Also included will be a special poster and a bookmark that duplicates the front of the ticket.
Also available is the Archive Edition of the rare Slipcase Edition of The Beatles Are Coming! The price of $125 is reduced to $99 in honor of the February 9 appearance. Only 9 copies are available. The books and cases are in VG++ condition.