The Ed Sullivan Show: Season 23, Episode 22

Episode #23.22 (22 Feb. 1970)
"Toast of the Town" Episode #23.22 (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-G  |   |  Comedy, Music
5.5
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This show, devoted to the Fab Four's writing talents, is entitled "The Beatles Songbook". The guest cast have turns singing various numbers and medleys, including a trio of Dionne Warwick, ... See full summary »

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Title: Episode #23.22 (22 Feb 1970)

Episode #23.22 (22 Feb 1970) on IMDb 5.5/10

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Cast

Episode credited cast:
...
Himself - Host
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Duke Ellington Orchestra ...
Themselves
...
Himself - Band Leader
Peter Gennaro ...
Himself - Dancer (as The Peter Gennaro Dancers)
...
Herself - Singer
...
Himself - Singer (archive footage) (as The Beatles)
...
Himself - Singer
...
Herself - Singer
...
Himself - Singer (archive footage) (as The Beatles)
...
Himself - Singer (archive footage) (as The Beatles)
...
Themselves
...
Himself - Singer (archive footage) (as The Beatles)
Edward Villella ...
Himself
...
Herself - Singer
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Storyline

This show, devoted to the Fab Four's writing talents, is entitled "The Beatles Songbook". The guest cast have turns singing various numbers and medleys, including a trio of Dionne Warwick, Peggy Lee and a superimposure of John Lennon from a 1964 (Black and White) appearance. An all out costume version of "Sgt. Pepper" is performed. Written by WesternOne

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Comedy | Music

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22 February 1970 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Soundtracks

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
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User Reviews

 
Sullivan's Beatles tribute with no Beatles.
31 August 2008 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

Ed Sullivan and the Beatles had enjoyed a mutually profitable relationship ever since the Fab Four made their Stateside debut on Sullivan's TV show. Gradually, the Beatles tapered off their participation in Sullivan's shows, diminishing from live appearances to taped appearances to mere archive footage.

This IMDb review is specifically for episode #23.22 of Ed Sullivan's show, which represents his attempt at one more bite of the cherry (or Apple), and one more attempt to squeeze some magic out of the Beatles name. This was a special "Beatles tribute" episode of Sullivan's show, but in fact the Beatles had no direct participation at all, and are seen merely in some archive concert footage. The acts that do appear in person here are pretty much Ed's usual bunch of cronies and favourites, doing Beatle-themed material.

Peter Gennaro and a couple of dancers do a comedy dance routine to "Sergeant Pepper", wearing band uniforms and fooling about with props such as a detonator. A more classical dance is provided by Edward Villella, doing a solo ballet routine to an instrumental version of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds". If you watched this with the volume turned down, you'd never guess it was Beatles material: Villella's in excellent form, but he's doing just the usual classical ballet manoeuvres, with lots of athletically high leaps and entrechats. He makes no attempt to offer tribute to rock music here.

The Muppets do a routine that's allegedly underwater, with one Muppet (voiced by Jim Henson) attempting to sing "In an Octopus's Garden" while a Muppet marionette (voiced by Frank Oz) keeps swimming past (on strings) to interrupt him with underwater puns such as "Are you a friend or anemone?". Finally, the Henson Muppet loses all patience and asks his tormentor: "Why are you doing this?", prompting the Oz Muppet to reply: "Oh, just for the halibut." Boom-boom! I was amazed that a pun on the word "hell" would make it onto Ed Sullivan's strait-laced show.

Weirdest of all is Peggy Lee's turn. She stands stock-still onstage, speak-singing "Maxwell's Silver Hammer". Onto the stage in sidelong gait come a pair of Peter Gennaro's dancers, covered in weird metallic canisters. When Miss Piggy ... I mean, Miss Peggy Lee gets to the chorus, these two dancers whack themselves in their respective heads with little ball-pean hammers to get the "clang, clang!" effect. Truly weird.

Along come Steve and Eydie to do a medley of the very softest and most mainstream Beatles songs, with a couple of Vegas gags thrown in. While they're warbling "Michelle, Ma Belle", Steve gets all Gallic on the French lyric, then he goes fortissimo on the line "I love you, I love you" so that Eydie can change the third "I love you" into "I HEARD you!" and get a laugh from the studio audience. The problem is that, as performed here, this sounds like just one more Steve and Eydie easy listenin' duet that would go over just fine in Vegas.

In fact, all the performers here seem to be basically following their own blisses, rather than trying to bend their own talents to the unique sound of the Beatles. Which proves, I suppose, the universal appeal of the Fab Four. Or something. I wanna hold, you're bland ... yeah yeah yeah.


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