Today in history, Ed Sullivan was born in 1901. Interesting facts about Sullivan: he was born a twin, but his brother, Daniel, did not survive but a few months.
Sullivan was a journalist first and a performer on the radio. Then, he began hosting a show, The Toast of the Town, in 1948. In 1955, the show was renamed The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1967, CBS renamed the Billy Rose Theater, from which Sullivan broadcast his show, the Ed Sullivan Theater. The show was cancelled in 1971, after 10,000 individual guest performances and 23 years. Since 1993, David Letterman’s show has broadcast from the Ed Sullivan Theater.
Ed Sullivan is remembered for dominating the limited television offerings in the 1950’s and 60’s, establishing America’s taste. The guests who appeared at Christmastime are many, including Bing Crosby and the Muppets. (The Muppets performed 25 times on his show.) I’ve included YouTube videos of the Muppets performance and Gayla Peevey’s “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” in the early 1950’s. (The song was released in 1953.)
Ed Sullivan was known for supporting African American performers, and The Supremes were on his show 16 times. They performed “My Favorite Things” in 1966.
Theres a DVD, “A Classic Christmas–The Ed Sullivan Show.” featuring many of Sullivan’s Christmas performers. Here’s a link to the Amazon site to purchase.