What’s On TV – The Ed Sullivan Show

List Item:  Watch half of the 1001 TV Series You Must Watch Before You Die
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Title: The Ed Sullivan Show
Episodes Aired: 1068
Year(s): 1948-1971
Country: USA

Variety shows are shows that don’t age too well. So much of the sensibilities are dated and for every performance from someone who is still incredibly famous, like Sam Cooke or Elvis Presley, you have a number that no longer hit or are just a bit off. On the positive side though, you do have some interesting variety acts that don’t really get television time anymore – but I am not sure how many people would tune in to see a bongo player.

Whole episodes are hard to find streaming online, most of what you can find are clips – some of them not even the full musical performance. Now we are 50 years since the show came to a close, this is probably the best way to give it a go. Whole hour long episodes drag and it’s incredibly hit and miss. It’s pretty much how I felt about The Judy Garland Show – although that had the interest of it being hosted by Judy Garland where, at least in what I saw, I didn’t quite see Ed Sullivan oozing charisma.

There is no denying the importance of The Ed Sullivan Show though – even if it doesn’t have the impact 50-70 years later. This is the earliest show on the TV list and it featured so many cultural landmarks of the day. It was the show to be on and an appearance was a sign that you had made it. It debuted rock n roll into the world of television, it was a key part of the Beatles’ “British Invasion” and was part of the meteoric rise of Elvis Presley (where he was famously shot from the waist up as he was seen as too sexual).

Again, this is a show to see just to see where television and popular music owe a lot of allegiance to. However, unlike What’s My Line which I am still watching multiple times a week, I am happy yo leave this in the past.

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