Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Other Guests When the Beatles First Appeared on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' (Including Davy Jones!)

For those who saw the Beatles' first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, their performance, and the experience of watching it, is indelible. But even Beatles fans born decades later know the impact and import of that show.

February 9, 2014, is the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Ed Sullivan Show debut. The band performed five songs that night - "All My Loving," "Till There Was You" and "She Loves You" at the beginning of the show, and "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" at the end. In-between, Sullivan brought out his usual quirky assortment of guests.

Do you know who any of the other guests were that night, Feb. 9, 1964? We do, and we'll show you who they were.

Coincidentally, one of the most famous non-Beatles on the Sullivan show that night was a future member of the Monkees, the Beatles-inspired group (who became much, much better than their made-for-TV origins, by the way - a very underrated group). That would be Davy Jones. But Jones wasn't the headliner in the act in which he appeared.

Georgia Brown (with Davy Jones, et.al.)

Broadway star Georgia Brown performed the song "As Long as He Needs Me" from the musical Oliver! And in the role of The Artful Dodger, dueting with Brown, was young Davy Jones:

For Jones, the night was an eye-opening, life-changing experience. "The kids went banzai, you know, they loved it," Jones later said of the Beatles' appearance, "and I saw the reaction and I thought, 'I want a piece of this action.'

"That particular night changed my whole way of thinking around. If I hadn't of been on The Ed Sullivan Show that night and wanted that reaction as much as I did, then I wouldn't have taken part in the Monkees. ... If there hadn't of been a Beatles, there would never have been a Monkees."

Tessie O'Shea

Welsh singer (and banjo player) Tessie O'Shea was also a Broadway performer, and later an Emmy winner. A portly woman, in this clip she does a song called "Two-Ton Tessie":

"They played tennis on her double chin." Who knows, maybe this song inspired Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." (OK, we do know, and it didn't.)

Fred Kaps

Fred Kaps was a magician from the Netherlands, and he was a very good magician, one of the best of his era and still very highly regarded today. According to Wikipedia, Kaps is "the only magician to become FISM Grand Prix world champion three times" (FISM being the acronym for the International Federation of Magic Societies).

This is Kaps' performance on the Sullivan show of Feb. 9, 1964 (Sullivan has to settle the crowd down before bringing Kaps out). His card trick is hurt by the poor quality of the video, but his second trick, called "the Long Pour Salt trick," is one he was famous for:

If you're a fan of traditional magic, check out YouTube for better clips of Kaps in action.

Wells & the Four Fays

Wells & the Four Fays was part vaudeville, part acrobatics, all strange. One of the troupe members was the mother of choreographer and "Mickey" one-hit wonder Toni Basil (Hey Mickey, you're so fine, you're fine you blow my mind! Hey Mickey!). Here they are on Sullivan:

Frank Gorshin

Among the non-Beatles on the Feb. 9, 1964 Ed Sullivan Show, the best-known at the time was impressionist and comedian Frank Gorshin. Gorshin was a nightclub regular, a Las Vegas regular, a favorite (and sometime opening act) of the Rat Pack. We know him best today, however, as The Riddler on TV's Batman.

This performance by Gorshin is from an episode of The Dean Martin Show, with Gorshin imagining other actors in the roles of Batman and Robin:

There's a better Gorshin performance, from the 1975 Sammy Davis Jr. series Sammy and Company, on YouTube here (non-embeddable, alas.)

McCall & Brill

And finally, there was McCall & Brill, the husband-and-wife comedy team of Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall. They went on to appear on a lot of game shows in the 1970s, such as The Gong Show and Tattletales, as well as plenty of TV guest acting roles.

The following clip is from one of those 20/20 or Dateline type shows, although what, exactly, it's from I'm not sure. But it's a good clip because it begins by explaining why Sullivan (seemingly alone among the Serious Adults of the time) recognized that the Beatles were must-haves for his show. The clip also includes the Davy Jones quotes used above.

And it includes scenes from the McCall & Brill performance during the Sullivan show, which both members of the comedy team describe as a disaster.

Brill says that when they got back to their dressing room after bombing, they wondered, "How are we ever going to face the world again? This was the worst thing that ever happened to us."

Yes, it was tough being one of the other acts on The Ed Sullivan Show that aired Feb. 9, 1964.

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