Ed Sullivan with The Beatles
For those whose memories do not include TV with 3 or 4 channels, here’s a bit of history…Simon Cowell was NOT the first one to dream up a program featuring talented people hoping to give their career a big boost. He also wasn’t the first to embarrass marginally-talented people who THOUGHT they had a shot at stardom. (Thank you Chuck Barris for The Gong Show) No, Major Edward Bowes, Ted Mack, and Arthur Godfrey gave people with all sorts of “talent” the opportunity to show the country how good they were, possibly win some money, and maybe start a career. Heck, Ed was even working with a silly sidekick.
Simon had Paula Abdul, Ed Sullivan had Topo Gigio.
But the one who really became the maker of stars was Ed Sullivan. An invitation to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show carried quite a bit of cache. Viewers all across the US had an appointment with their televisions on Sunday night to see who Ed would have on. Elvis Presley and The Beatles, are usually the first to come to mind.
For Classical music lovers, however, a winter evening in 1959 was one they will always remember. That was the evening Ed Sullivan introduced a 14-year-old boy from Tel Aviv by the name of Itzhak Perlman who wowed them with his playing. The response was so great, that Mr. Sullivan brought him back a few years later to perform again. Here is a video of that return-engagement in 1964 as Perlman played the finale to Wieniawski’s Violin Concerto No. 2. — Boyce Lancaster
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