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Beatles with Ed Sullivan

Edward Vincent Sullivan (September 28, 1901 – October 13, 1974) was an American television personality, impresario, sports and entertainment reporter, and syndicated columnist for the New York Daily News and the Chicago Tribune New York News Syndicate. He was the creator and host of the television variety program The Toast of the Town, which in 1955 was renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. Broadcast from 1948 to 1971, it set a record as the longest-running variety show in U.S. broadcast history. "It was, by almost any measure, the last great American TV show", said television critic David Hinckley. "It's one of our fondest, dearest pop culture memories."

Sullivan was a broadcasting pioneer during the early years of American television. As critic David Bianculli wrote, "Before MTV, Sullivan presented rock acts. Before Bravo, he presented jazz and classical music and theater. Before the Comedy Channel, even before there was The Tonight Show, Sullivan discovered, anointed and popularized young comedians. Before there were 500 channels, before there was cable, Ed Sullivan was where the choice was. From the start, he was indeed 'the Toast of the Town'." In 1996, Sullivan was ranked number 50 on TV Guide's "50 Greatest TV Stars of All Time".

In November 1963, while at Heathrow Airport, Sullivan witnessed the Beatlemania spectacle as the band returned from Sweden and the terminal was overrun by screaming teens. At first Sullivan was reluctant to book the Beatles because the band did not yet have a commercially successful single in the U.S., but at the behest of his friend, the legendary impresario Sid Bernstein, Sullivan signed the group. Their initial Sullivan show appearance on February 9, 1964 was the most-watched program in TV history to that point. The Beatles appeared three more times in person and submitted filmed performances afterwards. The Dave Clark Five, who claimed a "cleaner" image than the Beatles, made 13 appearances on the show, more than any other UK group.

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