The 75th anniversary of one of the best-loved and most enduring series in television history, The Ed Sullivan Show, has been celebrated in a special feature on CBS Sunday Morning.
In the piece, correspondent Tracy Smith takes a look at the legacy of the world-famous variety series with Andrew Solt and his son Josh, who oversee its huge archives. She also talks to Otis Williams, the co-founder and last remaining original of the Temptations, who performed on the program six times, and to Debbie Gendler, who as a 13-year-old, was in the audience for the most famous edition in the show’s history, broadcast on February 9, 1964, when The Beatles made their US television debut, attracting a then-record audience of 73 million viewers.
Historic clips from the vaults are added to the official Ed Sullivan Show YouTube channel on a daily basis, following the agreement between UMe and SOFA Entertainment Inc. for the global digital rights to the show, embracing its complete 23-year primetime run on CBS. For its first seven years, the series was called Toast of the Town; overall, until its last edition in its weekly format on March 28, 1971, the show ran for 24 seasons and 1,068 episodes.
The Ume/SOFA pact was launched in June 2020, with scores of rarities becoming available digitally for the first time, and others upgraded to high resolution. Within 14 months, 100 million total views had been added under the agreement, taking total views on the channel past 150 million. At this writing, that figure had soared to just under 400 million. Other platforms on which the archive is available include Pluto, Freebee TV, Facebook, and Instagram, and Andrew Solt says that total streams across all platforms now total 1.8 billion.
In another feature on the anniversary by Forbes, Solt notes: “The British invasion comes under the Beatles movement, but it also led to the revival of American rock and roll. Everybody from the Temptations, the Supremes, Diana Ross comes out as a solo artist on Ed Sullivan, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and everything was so beautifully captured because it was state-of-the-art in those days.”
Watch all the latest archival videos from The Ed Sullivan Show on the program’s official YouTube channel.