The set is called The Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring the Beatles, and when they say “complete” they mean it: not only does it include the entire Sullivan shows on which the Beatles appeared, with all the other guest performers, but it even includes the original commercials. Last night Charles and I screened the first of the four programs (three in a row in February 1964 and one from September 1965), the legendary one from February 9, 1964 that more or less first introduced the Beatles to U.S. audiences. I say “more or less” because the Beatles had been seen on American TV before — Jack Paar had acquired a film clip of the Beatles from one of their British TV appearances and had shown it on his prime-time show in January 1964, talking through the song “From Me to You” and essentially ridiculing the act and anyone who would like them, but then shutting up and letting the Beatles be seen performing “She Loves You” sans the Mystery Science Theatre 3000-type commentary. But the Sullivan show is remembered as the official introduction of the Beatles to the U.S. because it was live, they were actually here in New York City — and their stay in the city at the Plaza Hotel itself became a major news story — and their breakthrough song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” was already topping the U.S. charts (it had hit number one on Billboard February 1 and would stay there for seven weeks, and its replacement would be another Beatles’ record, “She Loves You”).
What’s fascinating about watching this now is the context of the program and in particular the unwitting clash between the Beatles and the entire apparatus of old-fashioned show business that they would essentially blow out of existence. The Beatles performed twice on the program, doing “All My Loving,” “Till There Was You” and “She Loves You” right at the start and then “I Saw Her Standing There” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in the next-to-closing spot (tradition from the old vaudeville days held that the next-to-closing spot was considered the most prestigious, because people would frequently leave the theatre during the very last act on a bill). In between their two appearances Sullivan featured Austrian magician Fred Kaps (his gimmick was pretending to do one sort of simple trick but actually doing something more complicated even while ostensibly failing at the trick he was supposed to be performing; his spot was previously filmed, a rare exception to the live ethos that usually ruled on the Sullivan show), “I’ll Do Anything for You” and “As Long as He Needs Me” from the musical Oliver! performed by the original British cast (ironically including Davy Jones, who would become one of the Monkees, the attempt by Columbia Pictures to create a “pre-fab four” to copy the Beatles on TV, though the show and their music were both surprisingly good and the Monkees actually displaced the Beatles as teen idols as the Beatles’ music got more complex and their audiences got older), impressionist Frank Gorshin performing a funny and uncannily prescient routine about what would happen when movie stars actually started running for office themselves instead of just giving away money to politicians, Mitzi McCall and her real-life husband Charlie Brill in an O.K. comedy routine about a producer desperate to cast a female role in a new movie (I did an Internet search for them and came up with a Washington Post article from 2004 at http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&contentId=A17603-2004Feb5 about how they remembered it as “the most godawful night of their lives,” though in truth they’re pretty funny and the only real problem with their act was that Carol Burnett and another real-life couple, Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara — Ben Stiller’s parents — did this sort of humor a good deal better), and Olympic speed skater Terry McDermott, America’s only gold medalist at the 1964 Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria (at the 500-meter distance), gets introduced from the audience.
At 23 he’s a contemporary of the Beatles, but with his brutally short haircut and good-natured jock demeanor, he looks like he stepped in from another planet — as do most of the people in the commercials, the males in even shorter haircuts and conservative business suits even when they’re supposedly lounging at home, and the women with perfect perms, wearing baggy dresses and made up to the nines as they declaim about the wonders of the latest laundry detergents, appliances or baking products they’re using. According to the Washington Post article cited above, not all the original commercials from the program are seen in the DVD — one that was left out was for Kent cigarettes (featuring actor Paul Dooley, who later won a reputation for character parts in movies like Breaking Away, The Runaway Bride and Waiting for Guffman), replaced with yet another commercial for what seemed to be the show’s main sponsor, Pillsbury — but the ones that are here made me think more fondly of the documentary Art & Copy, recently aired on the Independent Lens series on PBS. This Sullivan broadcast not only catches the broader entertainment culture on the eve of a revolution — a revolution largely sparked by the show’s main guests — but also catches American advertising as it was just before the people profiled in Art & Copy revolutionized it by using irony, wit and humor to sell products. The most fascinating commercial on the program was for Anacin, and featured a pendulum that almost seemed to be there to hypnotize the viewer as the unseen announcer ran through a litany of pain … depression … pain … and other bad things, every other word of the list being “pain,” that Anacin could supposedly relieve. I suspected that a lot of people who didn’t have headaches when they started watching this commercial did by the time it was over!
Anyway, perhaps the most interesting performer on this show after the Beatles was Tessie O’Shea, a Welsh-born British entertainer who sang, played banjo and made jokes about her own zaftig dimensions — her signature song, which she performs here at the end of a medley, was called “Two-Ton Tessie from Tennessee.” She’s fascinating not only because she’s a member of an earlier generation of British entertainers deriving their act from American sources, as the Beatles had also done (like the Beatles, O’Shea sings in her closest approximation of an American accent), but because she represents a type of performer the Beatles had already blown off the stages of their home country and were about to do in in America as well. The Beatles weren’t the first group to gain the kind of adulation from screaming teenage girls documented on this program — where the screams and orgasmic moans from audience members seem to have precious little to do with what the Beatles are actually doing, musically or visually, on stage (as a stage act the Beatles were pretty dull, smiling and looking more or less happy but not indulging in the spectacular moves that had helped make Elvis a star), but somehow they changed show business in a profound, enduring way that previous teen idols — Bing Crosby in the 1930’s, Frank Sinatra in the 1940’s, Elvis in the 1950’s — hadn’t. The earlier idols had mellowed with age and fit themselves into the usual showbiz routines; as they got older, the Beatles got even farther out, both physically (within three and one-half years their hair had got even shaggier, their outfits wilder and their overall appearance farther removed from the normality of the “straight” world back when the term “straight” meant “un-hip,” not “un-Gay”) and musically. The February 9 Sullivan telecast captures the Beatles just at the point where they’re conquering the world and seemingly everything is open to them — and yet there are also signs of the tensions that would both add to their creativity and, in less than six years, rip them apart: in the second set John Lennon faces the camera with an unmistakable air of disgust which I suspect was due to the fact that the five songs picked (by Sullivan, Brian Epstein or whoever) for them to perform had all featured Paul. One doesn’t often get to see the revolutionaries who are about to tear apart the ancien regime starting their revolution on the ancien regime’s own turf; watching the Beatles on Sullivan seems as if the French Revolution had started with the peasants storming Versailles instead of the Bastille. — 12/19/10
I ran Charles the second of the four Ed Sullivan Shows containing appearances by the Beatles. This one was aired February 16, 1964, one week after the famous show on February 9 that was reportedly watched on 86 percent of the televisions then extant in the U.S. (at least that’s the figure Sullivan gave while introducing this one), and was broadcast live not from Sullivan’s studio in New York but from the Hotel Deauville in Miami, with one of the Lipton Tea commercials done at the Hialeah race track — where they also staged a chilling performance (pre-recorded) by a quartet of acrobats called “The Nerveless Knocks” who were by far the most entertaining act on the program next to the Beatles. The Nerveless Knocks essentially reversed the principle of the trapeze; instead of suspending themselves on swings strung by ropes hanging from a framework above them, each of the quartet climbed up a long, flexible pole and maneuvered around on them, bouncing around and using the poles’ torsion to approach each other and, at the climax of their act, switch themselves onto each other’s poles: it’s hard to explain but the feat was astonishing and quite original.
Also on the bill was Mitzi Gaynor — who, as usual, was a formidably talented singer and dancer but also a surprisingly uncharismatic one (throughout her selections — “The More I See You” and a “blues” medley consisting of “The Birth of the Blues,” “St. James Infirmary” and, of all things, “When the Saints Go Marching In” and “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” — I couldn’t help but think how much more effective these songs would have been with Judy Garland singing them even though by 1964 years of abuse had left Judy’s voice in tatters and Gaynor could have sung rings around Garland technically) — and comedians Marty Allen and Steve Rossi (the show acknowledged the upcoming heavyweight championship fight between Sonny Liston and the fighter then still known as Cassius Clay and later as Muhammad Ali, and Sullivan introduced Liston and Joe Louis from the audience — in 1941 Louis had had a song about him recorded by Paul Robeson and Count Basie, and 23 years later there he was in the audience to see the Beatles!) doing a reasonably amusing routine in which Allen was a heavyweight contender supposedly training for a fight against whoever would win the Liston-Clay bout. Actually, another comedian, Myron Cohen, was actually funnier even though “middle-aged Jewish standup guy” was not exactly a niche market audiences were panting for and it seemed odd, to say the least, to be watching a comic with a striking physical resemblance to Sam Goldwyn. As for the Beatles, they performed six songs, three at the beginning of the program (“She Loves You,” “This Boy” and “All My Loving”) and three at the end (“I Saw Her Standing There,” “From Me to You” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the last introduced with a typical bit of quirky Beatles’ humor by Paul as having been recorded by “our favorite American group — Sophie Tucker”). The Beatles performed well on these shows, though the ensemble was a bit ragged compared to the records (at least partly due to the sound mix — on “I Saw Her Standing There” the balance favored Paul’s supple bass line but John’s backing vocal drowned out Paul’s lead); interestingly, the audience for this show was older and there were fewer screaming teens to drown out the sound and make it difficult for the Beatles to hear each other and stay together (years later they said that at their stadium shows they had had to resort to reading each other’s lips — monitor speakers were several years in the future when the Beatles did their big tours) — and what’s most interesting about these shows today was what was considered state-of-the-art entertainment on the nation’s biggest and most popular variety TV show.
The Beatles got a key career boost from the Ed Sullivan Show but ultimately part of their long-term influence on entertainment was, ironically, to undermine and ultimately destroy the whole world in which a show like Sullivan’s, with its mad mélange of acts aimed at every conceivable audience, could survive and prosper. Just as the rise of jazz in the 1920’s had severed the link between popular and classical music (before that most “pop” songs had long, lyrical melodies similar to opera and operetta arias and it was relatively easy for someone familiar with pop music to adapt to listening to opera, and vice versa), the rise of rock and its allied youth culture in the 1960’s shattered the idea of a “mass audience” for music and ensured that the record business would be driven primarily by the buying tastes of teenagers and the enormous profits that could be made from rock superstars. (In the mid-1970’s jazz impresario Norman Granz shopped his biggest talents, Ella Fitzgerald and Oscar Peterson, to various major labels, showing charts based on their track records that anyone who signed them could count on a modest profit from their sales — and he discovered, much to his chagrin, that the record executives of the day weren’t interested in making modest profits: they were interested in the killing they could earn from the “next Beatles,” the “next Stones,” the “next Dylan,” the “next Hendrix,” etc.) Also on the disc were a few so-called “special features,” mostly Sullivan either promoting the upcoming Beatles appearance on his shows (just before the Beatles’ debut, on February 2, 1964, the star of his show was the great jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, and it was on that occasion that he asked if someone had an extra ticket to the Beatles’ show for Randy Paar, daughter of Jack Paar, with whom Sullivan had been publicly feuding; later, on March 1, he joked that he’d seen the Liston-Clay fight — won by Clay on a technical knockout after six rounds — and they were so pathetic “the Beatles could have beaten either of them!”). Given Sullivan’s penchant for screwing up the names of his show’s performers and for malapropisms in general (when they appeared on his show, George Burns and Gracie Allen joked about how other announcers made it sound like they’d known the performers for years; Sullivan made it sound like he’d never heard of them before), it’s worth noting that throughout these programs he says “show,” not “shew,” though he seems unable to pronounce the “t” in “Beatles” — it keeps coming out “Bea’les,” with a glottal stop between the syllables — and he also introduces Mitzi Gaynor as “Gaynar.” — 1/3/11
When Charles and I were finally able to watch a DVD together I picked the third in sequence of the three Ed Sullivan Show appearances of the Beatles in February 1964. This one was actually the best as an overall program — complete with at least one guest who approached the Beatles’ charisma, Cab Calloway, doing a medley of a slow version of “St. James Infirmary” and a fast version of “Ol’ Man River” with Sullivan’s house band as backup that actually worked surprisingly well even if all the greasy kid stuff he put on his hair to straighten it must have looked rather atavistic even in 1964. (The Afro era was still to come, but most of the young Black male singers of 1964 had hair that, though cut short, still had the nappy curls one expects to see on African-descended heads.) There was one of the dorky puppet acts Sullivan loved so much — Pinky and Perky, which despite the name was actually three puppets, one representing a caterpillar, one a cow and one some indeterminate species of animal, all lip-synching to rock songs, and while I think Sullivan missed a bet by not having the Beatles play behind them (the Beatles might well have agreed — after all, on British TV they were used to doing Monty Python-ish sketches and otherwise stepping out of the confines of a musical act), the song “Speedy Gonzalez” turned out to be surprisingly good (despite its racist reputation) and the act was O.K. if a little too arch to hold up well. Sullivan also booked two other acts from the Beatles’ homeland, comedy team Morecambe and Wise (who do a routine in which they successively break three allegedly priceless antique brandy glasses from Louis XIV) and jazz clarinetist Acker Bilk — who’d actually been part of the “trad” (i.e., Dixieland) movement that had dominated the British charts in the early 1950’s and had held on to a surprising degree of popularity (especially compared to the low repute in which jazz was held in the U.S. in the 1950’s — modern jazz had a cult following but Dixieland seemed to hang on mainly in small clubs and at industrial shows; the Dukes of Dixieland sold a lot of records in the 1950’s but Sid Frey, president of their record label, sold their albums mainly as demonstrations of how good your stereo was) until the Beatles led the rock invasion that tumbled just about every other style of music off the top of the charts.
Right after the Beatles’ two opening numbers — they only performed three songs this time (“Twist and Shout” and “Please Please Me” at the beginning, and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” at the end) instead of the six they’d played on each of the two previous week’s shows — there was a quite clever and amusing number by a blonde singer I’ve never otherwise heard of named Gloria Bleezarde called “Safety in Numbers.” It was a satire on a phenomenon you would have had to be around in the mid-1960’s to regard as anything remarkable — the shift from telephone-exchange names to all-number dialing (the exchange for Hillcrest used to be “Cypress” but it got changed to “29”) and the almost simultaneous introduction of ZIP Codes by the U.S. Post Office. A lot of people were upset by this and it came out in a few satires — Allan Sherman sang the “Let’s All Call Up AT&T and Protest to the President March” and Mad magazine did a two-page spread about what would happen when numbers took over everything (one young man is shown whispering to his girlfriend, “0 … 000 … 00 … 0,” and a bystander says to another bystander, “What’s he doing?” “He’s whispering sweet nothings in her ear” — and in another part of the spread a woman is confronted by an escaped convict and introduces herself, then asks, “What’s your number?,” to which the convict replies, “Society takes our numbers away when they put us in prison. They give us names instead. I’m Murray Finster!”), and Gloria’s song was pretty much in the same vein: she rattles off her phone number, her Zip code, her Social Security number (all with different arrangements of digits than the ones used for real to avoid accidentally duplicating anyone’s actual number) and all manner of account numbers at her bank and various stores and mail-order houses, but then laments, “But I can’t remember my name,” and the punch line is she gets a letter addressed to “Gloria Bleezarde” but can’t remember who that is.
Besides Morecambe and Wise there were also two American stand-ups, Dave Barry (who was O.K.) and Morty Gunty (who, despite his name, was actually quite funny), and a bizarre spoof of the Garry Moore Show by Gordon MacRae and his wife Sheila. In the eight to nine years elapsing since Oklahoma! and Carousel, Gordon MacRae had become considerably heftier, and Sheila had blown up to opera-singer proportions — and the sketch is a medley of Broadway songs that would probably be funnier if the Garry Moore Show were remembered for anything other than having given Carol Burnett her start. The show featured some of the same obnoxious commercials as the previous two — when we saw the pendulum moving across the screen and heard the announcer start to talk about Anacin, Charles and I knew what was coming and started chanting, “Pain … pain … pain,” more or less in unison with the commercial — and, like the other two, it was a fascinating cultural flashback and a look at what the traditional world of show business and TV looked like in the face of the act that was going to lead the rebellion that would smash that whole world — variety shows would die a slow death at the hands of an increasingly “narrowcast” audience (prefiguring today’s media world in which people like to watch one and only one form of entertainment, and are not only bored but often actively displeased by anything aimed at anyone else) and most of the acts Sullivan put on would find their popularity plummet in the face of the rock onslaught led by the Beatles — yes, rock ’n’ roll as a genre had preceded them, but somehow Elvis Presley came and went on the Sullivan show without leading an offensive that fundamentally changed the way people were professionally entertained the way the Beatles did. — 1/20/11
With today being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show — and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS, the people who give out the Grammy Awards and have hissy-fits over the very idea that someone, somewhere, just might be listening to a song over the Internet without having paid a record company for the privilege first) and CBS planning to present a mega-special about it tonight, featuring live appearances by the two remaining Beatles (Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr) — I decided to dredge out my package of the Beatles’ four appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show and watch the one Charles and I hadn’t seen when we got the initial package in 2010. Four Beatles’ appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, you’ll probably be asking about now? Weren’t there only three? Well, there were only three in the original sequence, when in an unprecedented move Sullivan booked them for three consecutive Sunday-evening programs February 9, 16 and 23, 1964 — but this is the nearly forgotten final appearance of the Beatles on Sullivan, aired September 12, 1965, by which time the Beatles were no longer the hot new thing in showbiz. They were the biggest stars of rock ’n’ roll and their music was already growing beyond what live performance, especially live performance under the conditions of the mid-1960’s — with relatively primitive amplification equipment, no monitor speakers (the Beatles frequently had to read each other’s lips to stay together) and that bizarre screaming noise that came from the emotionally and sexually transfixed young women in the audience, which one of the Beatles later compared to having to do your act on the runway of an airport as a jet airliner revved up its engines in preparation for takeoff.
I remember commenting on the previous three Beatles appearances on Sullivan and noting the irony that the Beatles were using the show as a platform to reshape the entertainment industry so extensively that later acts wouldn’t need the showcase of a TV variety show to validate them — and, indeed, one of the developments the Beatles helped facilitate was the demise of the TV variety show, as the huge success not only of the Beatles but rock ’n’ roll in general fragmented the audience and essentially created two styles of entertainment, one aimed at the youth audience and one aimed at what came euphemistically to be referred to as the “over-40’s.” Since then the world of showbiz has been so relentlessly “narrowcast” that there really isn’t just one audience for entertainment anymore; there are a dizzying array of niche markets — and one misses (I miss, anyway) what I’ve come to call the “portmanteau” movie of the 1930’s, when producers sought to include a wide variety of elements in a film in hopes that there’d be something in it that would appeal to every audience member. Today, audience members tend not only to be interested in just one form of entertainment but actively displeased by anything else, so modern producers hone their presentations to appeal to one and only one sort of moviegoer, reader or listener. The September 12, 1965 Ed Sullivan Show featured the Beatles, Cilla Black (a fellow Brian Epstein discovery from Liverpool — she’d actually worked as the hat-check girl at the Cavern Club when the Beatles were in residence there, she’d got onstage and occasionally sung with the Beatles and the other bands that played the Cavern, and finally Epstein decided she had the makings of a professional singer, got her a contract with EMI and prevailed on the Beatles to give her “Love of the Loved,” a Lennon-McCartney original the Beatles had performed on their Decca audition but hadn’t recorded for release on EMI, as her first record), comedian Soupy Sales (doing a surprisingly modern “mash-up” act combining standup comedy with stock footage that ostensibly represented Ed Sullivan’s vacation in Rome, then returning to sing his own rock novelty number, “The Mouse,” a minor hit in 1965), the comedy team of Marty Allen and Steve Rossi, and a pre-taped segment with a Las Vegas “illusionist” (i.e., a stage magician) named Fantasio. As I’ve written before about the Sullivan show, whenever I encounter one of these clips of magicians, acrobats, plate-spinners or whatever I find myself wondering where else they worked, since by the mid-1960’s these forms of entertainment were pretty much fading out.
The other acts on this program were a mixed bag, but generally intriguing; Cilla Black got two songs, a nicely phrased version of “Goin’ Out of My Head” in the second half of the program and a raucous cover of “September in the Rain” in the first half — when Sullivan did one of his little stand-up interviews and she named Dinah Washington as her favorite singer, it was no surprise since her “September in the Rain” was a quite close copy of Dinah’s (close enough, Charles said, that if he’d listened to the record “blind” he’d probably have assumed that the singer was Black). She also looks even more than usual like John Lennon in drag (that sort of thing could start rumors!). Next to the Beatles, though, the best part of the program was Steve Rossi, without his partner, singing a “straight” version of the song “Try to Remember” from the legendary off-Broadway musical The Fantasticks — and singing it quite beautifully; though Harry Belafonte’s lovely, eloquently phrased version on the album The Many Moods of Belafonte remains my favorite, Rossi really did it quite well, without the cabaret affectations that have frequently afflicted singers doing this song out of context — far better than the horrible live version by Robert Goulet I recently dubbed to CD from a Columbia Records compilation LP, The Best of 1966, Volume 2. Then Ed Sullivan brought on Rossi’s comedian partner, Marty Allen, and announced that they’d just signed a movie contract with Paramount Pictures — who gave them a James Bond spoof called The Last of the Secret Agents? (that question mark is part of the official title), when it occurred to me that the film they really should have done was a biopic of Abbott and Costello, with Rossi as Abbott and Allen as Costello. (Their act — particularly the contrast between the tall, relatively personable Rossi and the short, whiny Allen — is strikingly similar.) They told a few jokes — including a long, pointless one Rossi told on his own — and did a surprisingly good pastiche of the Beatles, turning “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (with bits of “She Loves You” mixed in) into a big-band dance numbers and trying to dance with some of the girls in the audience, whose disinterest in seeing a middle-aged Jewish guy try to pass himself off as Ringo’s brother was all too obvious. As I joked to Charles later, “I’ve heard worse big-band covers of the Beatles!
O.K., now for the main act; as they had in their Ed Sullivan Show debut 19 months earlier, the Beatles got to do six songs, three in the first part of the show and three in the second part. The audience was a bit sparser than it had been and the reaction not quite so hysterical. The Beatles opened with “I Feel Fine,” in which the growing sophistication of their music and their increasing difficulty in duplicating the effects on their records in live performance became obvious as soon as the song began with an ordinary guitar chord — instead of the magisterial feedback opening we all know from the record. Then they did “I’m Down,” with John Lennon surprisingly playing not guitar, but mellotron (the electronic keyboard instrument, midway between an electric organ and an early synthesizer, the Beatles used on a lot of their records) — as far as I know this is the only clip of the Beatles playing live in which one of them is playing a keyboard instrument. The first set closed with “Act Naturally,” the obscure country song by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison, which had already been on the country charts for Buck Owens in 1963. Two years later Ringo, with his ongoing obsession with country music and the whole mythology of the American West (in 1962 he wrote the Houston Chamber of Commerce asking for information on employment opportunities there, and he got his stage name from Gregory Peck’s character, Johnny Ringo, in the 1950 Western The Gunfighter), decided to cover it — and Russell and Morrison were probably startled when the royalty checks started coming in. It’s the one song on this show that the Beatles actually played better than they had on their record; it’s faster and Ringo seems to be having a lot more fun with it.
After the break they did “Ticket to Ride” and “Help,” and in between them they did a unique version of “Yesterday” in that it was done exactly like the record, with Paul McCartney, his guitar and strings playing the arrangement George Martin had written for the studio version. “Yesterday” was part of their live set in 1966, too, but that version (preserved on the concert video from the Budokan Arena in Tokyo, Japan that is apparently the only film of an entire Beatles’ concert in color) was done with electric instruments and was more in the rock ballad tradition than the MOR style of the recording and the Sullivan version. “Ticket to Ride” documents what Ringo said later that he had got lazy during the tours because the screaming was so loud it didn’t really matter whether he played well or badly, so he would just play on the afterbeats instead of throughout the song; at the start of “Ticket to Ride” he’s doing exactly that, but once the Beatles get to the song’s release (“I don’t know why she’s riding so high”), Ringo’s chops kick into gear and he starts playing on every beat and really driving the band. On “Help” John Lennon forgets the words (“Just because I wrote ’em doesn’t mean I can remember ’em!” I joked) but the performance is otherwise quite spirited, and the song is heard again over the closing credits (did they videotape the live performance that had just taken place and rerun it, or was it from a rehearsal on the same set?). The camerawork is a bit more creative than it had been in 1964 — there are some nice superimposition effects in which close-ups of the individual Beatles are shown over the shots of the whole band — and after the Beatles are done there’s a rather heartbreaking announcement from Sullivan to the effect that his next program will be done live from Hollywood and feature some major movie stars along with the musical act Dino, Desi and Billy (Dino was Dean Martin’s son and Desi was Desi Arnaz, Jr.). What’s heartbreaking about it is that Sullivan announces that that show will be seen in color — which can’t help but make one wish they’d had the color equipment at their New York theatre on September 12 as well. The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in color … ah, what a missed opportunity! — 2/9/14