This is an important and watershed episode for a number of reasons. This was one of the last television appearances of Diana Ross and the Supremes as a group (she went solo about three months later) and they do the ironic "Someday We'll Be Together" (they would, in a disastrous appearance on "Motown 25" in 1983, which is another story).
But the beauty of this episode is the national debut of the Jackson 5 (not Ed Sullivan-that would air nearly 2 months later on December 5, although a number of references to Sullivan appear in this episode). The brothers (along with keyboardist Ronnie Rancifer and "Cousin" Johnny Jackson on drums) are far rawer and funkier here than in their Sullivan appearance. A live version of "I Want You Back" differs sharply from the familiar version (more harmonizing from the brothers on this one). Mike does some dances here that, as Diana puts it, "I would get arrested for doing." They also jam on James Brown's "There Was a Time." So in a way, this is a watershed episode of the past (Sammy Davis Jr. in a fit of mock jealousy over young Mike), present (Diana and the Supremes), and future (Michael and the Jackson 5) of African American entertainment. Just as historic as the Beatles and Elvis on Ed Sullivan, but this NEEDS TO BE ON DVD, though. I hope Berry Gordy & company is listening.
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