There was a time in America in the mid 20th century when people looked forward to Sunday nights because of The Ed Sullivan Show. For more than two decades, the leading variety show featured different entertainers, from vaudevillians and comedians to novel singers and the biggest names in sports and rock and roll. It has forever changed the face of American television.
The show was often the ticket to a golden opportunity for any performers. The Ed Sullivan Show never failed to have high ratings and it will always be considered as one of the greatest TV shows of all time. Its last show telecast was on March 28, 1971.
The Show Was Initially Called “Toast of the Town”
In 1948, CBS created its first variety show and the network executives hired Ed Sullivan, a sports reporter, and master of ceremonies of vaudeville revues and charity events. The show was the first of its kind as they ventured into a new format that merged vaudeville with television. They called it “vaudeo” and it was dubbed The Toast of the Town. You could say that the executives aimed for a show that would be highly regarded and well liked.
The debut featured Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin, Rodgers and Hammerstein, as well as a ballerina, a pianist, a boxing referee, and a group of firemen who sang. The inaugural show gave the audience a taste of the diversity that has kept viewers entertained throughout the years. Although Ed was criticized with his stiff hosting manner, it was evident that he was the star so, in 1955, they changed the title to The Ed Sullivan Show.