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"The Ed Sullivan Show" Episode #17.19 (1964)"Toast of the Town" Episode #17.19 (original title)

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The Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" is still fascinating to watch, 50 years later

Author: tavm from Baton Rouge, LA
10 February 2014

Since yesterday was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' historic U.S. TV debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show", I thought I'd mark the occasion by rewatching it that day. Ed begins by mentioning the telegram from Elvis Presley and his manager, Col. Tom Parker, wishing The Fab Four well. With that, Paul, George, John, and Ringo perform "All My Loving", "Till There Was You"-during which their names appear under their faces with John's also saying "Sorry, girls, he's married", and "She Loves You". Next, a pre-recorded bit by magician Frad Kaps of card tricks and salt shaker which I found lame since he presumably was underehearsed. After that, the cast of "Oliver!" performs "I'll Do Anything" of which one of its members was Davy Jones as The Artful Dodger. If that name sounds familiar to you, then, yes, it's the same one who would eventually join a TV-created, Beatles-inspired music group called The Monkees. Other cast member Georgia Brown would then solo on "As Long as He Needs Me". Frank Gorshin-a couple of years before his fame as The Riddler in the "Batman" TV show-next does his impressions of various movie stars in congress which I found hilarious. Entertainer Tessie O'Shea then does a medley of show tunes. After that, McCall & Brill perform a Hollywood audition which was underwhelming to me. The Fab Four then return with "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Finally, Wells & The Four Fays perform some amusing acrobatic physical comedy. Except for the ones I noted weren't good, I mostly enjoyed the acts with the highlight of course being The Beatles with their hit songs they performed. And hearing those screaming teen girls with the camera shots on them was fascinating to watch. Good thing they didn't seem as loud as I remembered thinking they were since I last watched this. So this turned out to be the most watched broadcast of this time-approximately 73 million-because of the pandemonium of this group from Liverpool, England, causing a British Invasion here in America just a few months after the tragedy of the Kennedy assassination. They were a breath of fresh air in comparison to other, more traditional kinds of music at the time that was popular. So on that note, this historical broadcast is highly recommended. P.S. The commercials of that time are included as part of the program.

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