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Sundays with Sullivan: How the Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America
     

Sundays with Sullivan: How the Ed Sullivan Show Brought Elvis, the Beatles, and Culture to America

by Bernie Ilson
 

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When forty-six-year-old Ed Sullivan—a gossip columnist for the New York Daily News—stepped on stage at CBS Television Studio for the first time in 1948, no one could imagine the great success that lay in store for The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan didn't sing, dance, or act, but he became one of the country's greatest showmen, hosting what would become

Overview

When forty-six-year-old Ed Sullivan—a gossip columnist for the New York Daily News—stepped on stage at CBS Television Studio for the first time in 1948, no one could imagine the great success that lay in store for The Ed Sullivan Show. Sullivan didn't sing, dance, or act, but he became one of the country's greatest showmen, hosting what would become television's longest running variety and music show. For twenty-three years, from 1948 to 1971, The Ed Sullivan Show was America's premiere variety show, airing live every Sunday night. Sullivan used the one-hour program to bring stars of the entertainment world into living rooms across the nation, turning acts such as the Beatles and Elvis Presley into household names. But Sullivan certainly didn't limit his show to rock musicians. The performers featured on The Ed Sullivan Show were an eclectic array of talent that included everything from opera singers to dancing bears, high-wire walkers to classical violinists. This book is an inside view of The Ed Sullivan Show and the unusual story of one of the most unlikely television stars who played host to such diverse talents as Van Cliburn, Rudolf Nureyev, Robert Goulet, Richard Pryor, and the Rolling Stones. With his distinctive nasal voice, Sullivan regularly promised audiences a "really big show" and delivered by offering up virtually every form of twentieth-century entertainment. Bernie Ilson, one the most famous publicists in the field of public relations, and the press representative for the final eight years of The Ed Sullivan Show, gives the reader a unique inside view of the amazing newspaperman and television host, Ed Sullivan, who anticipated the interest of 35 million viewers each Sunday and presented them with the greatest talent in show business, week after week, for almost a quarter of a century.

Editorial Reviews

Indie Street Radio
...[P]ick up a copy of this book and give it to your grandparents as a gift… but do yourself a favor and read it first (just don’t crack the spine, dummy, it’s a present!).
Publishers Weekly
For more than two decades, Ed Sullivan's Sunday night show was, especially for fledgling stars like Elvis Presley and the Beatles, both a hallmark of success and the greatest exposure an act could get. Few people, however, appreciate the sizable cultural impact Sullivan's show had with regards to its commitment to color-blind booking and "high culture" acts from the worlds of opera, ballet and the theater. Long-time show business public relations man Ilson worked with the show for several years, and wrote his PhD dissertation on the Ed Sullivan Show's cultural impact; as such, Ilson has behind-the-scenes insight and several cogent arguments about the relevance of the show, which he unfortunately repeats, with little variation, throughout the text. Buoyed by interviews with producers and executives, Ilson continually returns to the same few points: high culture bits were popular, but in small doses; Sullivan was not a great host, but a fantastic booker; and Sullivan's success was largely due to his experience in news media. A shorter treatment would certainly prove intriguing, but Ilson's redundant text becomes dry, if not outright irritating, before the first act is over. 40 b&w photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781589793903
Publisher:
Taylor Trade Publishing
Publication date:
12/25/2008
Pages:
232
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Ilson has been running his own public relations company in New York City since 1963, when his first client was Sullivan Productions, the producers of The Ed Sullivan Show. He lives in New York City.

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