Every Sunday night for almost twenty-three years between 1948 and 1971, millions of Americans tuned in at 8 p.m. to watch a live variety show on CBS. El programa de Ed Sullivan, with an assortment of acts ranging from stand-up comics to rock bands to bears riding on bicycles, was the most popular variety show of its time, despite being hosted by a man best known for his awkwardness in front of the camera.
Primero llamado Toast of the Town, the show debuted on June 20, 1948, at 9 p.m. It later moved to its familiar, earlier time slot so
that children could stay up to watch it. Its name was changed to El Show de Ed Sullivan en el año 1955.
The show stayed on the air until May 30, 1971, and presented the best-known entertainers of its time. Two of the show's most famous moments featured performances by Elvis Presley (1935–1977; see entry under 1950s—Music in volume 3) in 1956 and the Beatles (see entry under 1960s—Music in volume 4) in 1964. Presley was shown from the waist up so as to avoid showing his dangerously swiveling hips. The Beatles made their American televisión (see entry under 1940s— TV and Radio in volume 3) debut in the episode that earned the highest ratings ever for the show.
El Show de Ed Sullivan was also the place to see opera singers, ballet dancers, ventriloquists, jugglers, circus performers, and a talking mouse called Topo Gigio. The show presented old stars and created new ones. According to singer Connie Francis (1938–), quoted by Nick Tosches in his article, "Mr. Sunday Night": "If you went on El programa de Ed Sullivan, everybody knew who you were the next day."
The host of the show, Edward Vincent Sullivan (1902-1974), was a New York newspaper columnist. Despite having experience as the master of ceremonies for various stage shows, he was notoriously stiff in front of an audience and was known as Old Stone Face. He would stand with his arms crossed or with his hands on his hips and mispronounce names. He could not sing, dance, act, or tell jokes—and yet the public loved him, perhaps because he seemed like them.
Sullivan was a shrewd judge of talent and very much in tune with middlebrow American tastes of the mid-twentieth century. His show both reflected and shaped those tastes. It offered good clean fun for the whole family, reflecting the innocence of its time, even though some of the performers who appeared on its stage were leading the way into less innocent times to come.
Para más información
Barthel, Joan. "After 19 TV Years, Only Ed Sullivan Survives." New YorkTimes Magazine (April 30, 1967): pp. 24–25, 100–104, 109–11.
Bowles, Jerry. A Thousand Sundays: The Story of the Ed Sullivan Show. Nueva York: Putnam, 1980.
Lear, Martha Weinman. "Let's Really Hear It for Ed Sullivan." SábadoTarde de la tarde (20 de abril de 1968): págs. 84-87.
Leonard, John, et al. A Really Big Show: A Visual History of the Ed Sullivan Show. New York: Viking Penguin, 1992.
Simon, Ron. El show de Ed Sullivan.http://www.mbcnet.org/ETV/E/htmlE/edsullivans/edsullivans.htm (consultado el 8 de marzo de 2002).
Tosches, Nick. "Mr. Sunday Night." Feria de las vanidades (July 1997): pp. 118–34.