- Includes shows from February 9, February 16, and February 23, 1964, and September 12, 1965
- Restored original mono or Dolby 5.1
The Four Complete Historic Ed Sullivan Shows Featuring the Beatles
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A great concept: The Beatles appeared four times on CBS' The Ed Sullivan Show, and while one is tempted to skip through this collection to watch only the Fab Four's 20 performances, there is historic value in seeing Sullivan's complete programs. Wi
A great concept: The Beatles appeared four times on CBS' The Ed Sullivan Show, and while one is tempted to skip through this collection to watch only the Fab Four's 20 performances, there is historic value in seeing Sullivan's complete programs. With America reeling from the murder of a popular president, JFK, less than three months prior, the Beatles' Sullivan debut on February 9, 1964, ushered a renewing joy into the country's living rooms. The band kept it up another two weeks, sharing Sullivan's variety-show bills with the likes of impressionist Frank Gorshin, comedians Allen & Rossi, future Monkee Davy Jones (in a scene from Oliver!), and sundry unrepentant vaudevillians, magicians, and acrobats. Various problems with microphones and bad direction (one barely sees John Lennon on 2/9) couldn't stop the magic, and by the time the Beatles made a return trip in September 1965, the group's brilliance and wit outsized their television surroundings. --Tom Keogh
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Top customer reviews
One interesting note about the entire set is that you might get a feel for the generation gap that existed in America at that time and what impact the Beatles had on whom Ed Sullivan called "youngsters." Performances by Acker Bilk, Tessie O'Shea (from England), and Gordon & Sheila McCrae show us what most adults who tuned in to Sullivan were listening to. The Beatles clearly went against the grain. As one famous person noted, "Suddenly, there were the Beatles and everybody else. And everybody else just looked wrong." As you see the younger generation embrace the Beatles, references to Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and even Dave Barry's comedy routine (on disc 3) seem like something that only the "old folks" would be interested in and perhaps considered very "square." Suddenly, the younger generation has decided what they like and what they would listen to. Soon after the Beatles first visit, Sullivan would be sure to always include "something for the youngsters."
Historic and classic comedy routines by Allen & Rossi, Morcombe & Wise (also from England), and Soupy Sales are enjoyable to watch as well. The novelty acts are quaint and somewhat amusing, but nevertheless important because they were an integral part of Sullivan's shows. The real importance of these discs lies in the music and musical productions.
The only drawback to the set is that it leaves Beatle fans hungry for more in the sense that now we want "the story behind the story." Davy Jones mentioned his inability to leave the wings during the broadcast because he was so enraptured by the Beatles' performance and how he suddenly realized that he wanted a future in a band. McCall & Brill, who perform a comedy skit on the first show, have told of their experience that Sunday night. Ed Sullivan hated their skit and wanted them to switch to another routine just before they hit the air. They panicked and didn't know what to do. By chance, they met the Beatles backstage while John Lennon was looking for a Coca-Cola. All of the Beatles made them feel more at ease and they went ahead with the routine, but Sullivan was not pleased. You'll notice that he does not call them over to shake hands, which is what Sullivan usually did with the acts he truly liked. It would have been nice to see interviews with reflections from those involved in the production of the first show.
There are naturally some technical glitches once in a while but they are really not noticable. The shows are in glorious black and white and the audio is at its best. If you are a Beatle fan, this is definitely a must-buy. If you're not, but have a longing for musical variety programs once again, this set is still classic and enjoyable.
The DVDs are packaged perfectly, and they are very professional recordings. The audio and video quality is excellent, so it was like sitting in the living room of the 60s watching The Beatles enter our country's social and music conscience for that first time. I got chills to see them toss their floppy but manicured hairdos as they plunked on their electric guitars, playing those first great melodies like "She Loves You, Yah, Yah, Yah"; "I Want To Hold Your Hand"...oh; there are a NUMBER of great first Beatle songs in this collection! (There are two discs, with a total of four shows, all with the Beatles included in each show).
And just as fun to watch are the other acts before and after the Beatles' performances. The Ed Sullivan Show was the venue for LOTS of showbiz performers with good (or corny) acts and we see them all, minute by minute WITH the commercial breaks that Ed announces. Even witnessing the way we were sold Pillsbury cake mixes, shave cream and pain relievers back then was fascinating.
Great price and worth every penny. It's wonderful visiting that priceless moment of television history.
Packaging is deluxe, a sturdy foldout book with a top flap that keeps it closed. Within, each disc is stored on opposite sides in clear plastic trays that are each the size of the book. Beneath these is a b&w photo of waving Beatles fans.
Picture and sound quality from old broadcast tapes is surprisingly good. There's no literature with this collection, but all four Sullivan shows have a complete roster of performers, in order of appearance.
The first historic Beatles broadcast opens with Ed announcing a well-wishing telegram from Elvis and Col. Parker. This is followed by ads for two products no longer made, a shaving cream and shoe polish.
The Fabs are introduced and they perform two of Paul's numbers, "All My Loving" and "Till There Was You." This first set concludes with the three front men harmonizing to "She Loves You," as Ringo smiles from above and behind while giving his drum kit a good workout. A deep bow from the boys, and they're off until later. An Anacin spot follows (sarcasm from the oldsters, perhaps?).
The two-DVD package is distributed by GOODTIMES, of all companies. They've hit a home run, no a grand slam with this one! (Now a magician is on. I'm lovin' every second, and so will you!) Buy with confidence.