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Ed Sullivan Show (CBS 1948-1971)

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Often, talk show hosts are charming and competent on camera, and maybe not the most business-savvy off-screen. Ed Sullivan was just the opposite—pasty in the bright lights, shifty in his stance, and notorious for bungling introductions and monologues. But ironically, that high discomfort factor helped develop the cult of Ed. There was just something novel about an awkward host, and like a fender bender on the side of the highway, people just couldn’t avert their gaze.

Off camera, Sullivan was a brilliant tracker and arranger of talent. A variety show always has variety, but nothing was as eclectic as the mish-mash that Sullivan put together, from puppet shows to opera. There were countless acts and performers who made their debuts—or their most famous TV outings—on his show. He had his finger right on the pulse of what was hot and intriguing in the way of talent, even if he himself didn’t have a discernable pulse onstage. He knew how to book ‘em, probably better than anyone.

Sullivan began his media career as a sportswriter, and then he took over famous gossip man Walter Winchell’s syndicated column. He hosted Broadway specials, charity events, and, through the 40’s, various war relief efforts and his own radio show. In 1948, CBS hired him to host its first variety show endeavor, a new format that combined vaudeville and television and was nicknamed “vaudeo.” The show was called The Toast of the Town.

For his inaugural program, Sullivan assembled Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Rodgers and Hammerstein, a pianist, a ballerina, a troupe of crooning firemen and a boxing referee whose next gig was the Joe Louis-Jersey Joe Wolcott match. If you wanted to see the phrase ‘something for everyone’ incarnate, there it was.

The critics were rough on Sullivan—they lambasted him for his wooden hosting style and the scattershot tone of his guest menageries. But the show did well anyway. In 1955, its name changed to The Ed Sullivan Show, and the following year, it broke all of TV’s single night ratings counts when a young Elvis Presley swiveled that famous pelvis on Sullivan’s stage. June Taylor provided her six dancing “Toastettes,” Ray Bloch led his orchestra, and Sullivan was a Sunday night institution soon enough. With producer Marlo Lewis, he decided during rehearsals how long each act would last, what order the acts would appear in, and what, out of each performer’s cache of material, should be performed.

Just a sampling of the people who made their American TV debuts on Sullivan’s show (Elvis isn’t on the list—he had been on TV shows prior to Sullivan’s): Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Martin and Lewis, Dinah Shore, Albert Schweitzer, Irving Berlin, Fred Astaire and Jane Powell, Eddie Fisher, and probably most famously, The Beatles. Most Americans got their first exposure to the band from this broadcast, the Beatlemania phenomenon commenced, and the floodgates for other British bands were opened. It remains one of the most highly watched single shows in TV history.

Since hip, cutting-edge musical acts were clearly treating him right, he responded by booking The Rolling StonesThe Doors, Janis Joplin, Marvin Gaye and Bob Dylan, though Dylan jumped ship when the network wouldn’t let him sing “Talkin’ John Birch Society Blues,” a song about an over-zealous Communist seeker. Not that this was Sullivan’s only problem with emerging rockers: The Stones were banned (temporarily, it turned out) after their rowdy first appearance, and the show’s director asked The Doors to leave out the line “girl we couldn’t get much higher” from “Light My Fire” (they agreed, sang it anyway, and likewise got banned).

Sullivan’s celebrity guests sat in audience, not backstage in a fancily-catered green room, and so when the acts were introduced, they came right from the audience to the stage. Sometimes, with no prior planning, he’d invite them back up for additional performance. His interplay with mechanical Italian mouse Topo Gigio and Señor Wences and his talking box (“S-all right? S-all right!”) showed a soft side on camera, but once again, since the man was a dichotomy, don’t ever think he was all softie. He feuded with executives who didn’t want to book as many African American acts as Sullivan did, he went head-to-head with Steve Allen, his rival variety show host, and with Walter Winchell, Jack Paar and Frank Sinatra over the way he insisted on booking and arranging (or in Sullivan-speak, “routining”) the acts. For the most part, thank goodness, people knew not to bully him. If he didn’t like you, he could put the brakes on your career in the space of a single night.

The Ed Sullivan Show was the longest-running variety show in TV history, and an undisputed institution. Towards the end of that long run, with the country divided by Vietnam and shifting value systems, Sullivan’s catchall format didn’t cross the demographic lines like it used to. Time slot rivals The Walt Disney Show and The F.B.I. were gaining momentum, and CBS, eager for youth-oriented programming and fearful that Sullivan was a vestige of older generations, canceled the show.

No matter. Guts and diversity like that, which goes for the show and the man, tend to stick around in a person’s (and a country’s) consciousness.

Release History
6/20/48 – 6/6/71 CBS
 Sub Categories
variety
 Network
CBS
 Cast
Host Ed Sullivan
Conductor Ray Bloch
Regulars The June Taylor Dancers
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TV

Christmas Princess (UP 2017, Nicole Munoz, Zak Santiago)

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Christmas Princess Nicole Munoz

Christmas Princess is the true story of Donaly Marquez who, through a childhood of neglect and abuse, achieved her dream of becoming a rose bowl princess. An inspirational story of resilience, strength and finding a family to call your own.

cast
Nicole Muñoz as Donaly Marquez
Rosa Blasi as Sara
Zak Santiago as Ignacio Marquez
Olivia Steele Falconer as Emily Marquez
Jaedon Siewert as Abraham Marquez
Lina Renna as Young Donaly
Paloma Kwiatkowski as Chloe
Ty Wood as Trent
Pendo Muema as Monique
Kalyn Miles as Maria
Kaaren de Zilva as Roberta
Garfield Wilson as Dr. Miller
Clay St. Thomas as Judge #1
Patti Allan as Judge #2
Natalie von Rotsburg as Judge #3

crew details
Director: Allan Harmon
Writer: Tracy Andreen

production details
Country: Canada
Network and Production Companies: UP
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: Sunday 10 December 2017

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TV

Christmas Reunion, A (Lifetime 2015, Catherine Hicks, Denise Richards)

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A Christmas Reunion Lifetime

In A Christmas Reunion a Madison Avenue executive, Amy, discovers an unusual Christmas surprise when she inherits her Aunt’s hometown bakery. The real surprise comes when she learns the other half of the bakery was left to her long-ago boyfriend, Jack.

Unresolved personal issues resurface between them, as the exes return home to co-manage the store, along with its traditional holiday cookie bake-off.

cast
Denise Richards as Amy Stone
Patrick Muldoon as Jack Evans
Jake Busey as Dylan Carruthers
Catherine Hicks as Aunt Linda
Parker Stevenson as Don Dupree
Patricia De Leon as Janette Crowder
Jon Briddell as Luke Crowder
Robert R. Shafer as Frank O’Brien
Anna Barnholtz as Chloe
John Colton as Steve Evans
Sandra Evans as Shari
Brody Fitzgerald as Young Jack Evans
Michael Gaglio as Earl Pratt, Sr.
Gib Gerard as Earl Pratt, Jr.
Joyce Greenleaf as Helen

crew details
Director: Sean Olson
Writers: Margaret Base, Mary Glenn, Sam Irvin, Sean Olson, Peter Sullivan, Michael Varrat

production details
Country: USA
Network and Production Companies: Lifetime – Hybrid
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From: 13 December 2015

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TV

Final Vision (ID 2017, Scott Foley, Dave Annable)

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Final Vision ID

Final Vision is a twisted psychological thriller and a true-crime drama based on the longest running criminal case in U.S. history. It’s the story of Jeffrey MacDonald (Foley), a handsome, Ivy League-educated U.S. Army Green Beret doctor, who was convicted of brutally murdering his pregnant wife and two young daughters in the middle of the night.

Told through the eyes of best-selling author Joe McGinniss (Annable), who was approached by MacDonald to write a book about his personal nightmare as he was about to go to trial.

cast
Scott Foley as Jeffrey MacDonald
Dave Annable as Joe McGinniss
John Doman as Bernie Segal
Lochlyn Munro as Wade Smith
Jessica Harmon as Colette MacDonald
Caroline Aaron as Leslie Sterling
Primo Allon as MP Sergeant
Julia Maren Baker as Kimberly MacDonald
Julia Benson as Nancy McGinniss
Baylee Breen-Wood as Kristen MacDonald
April Cameron as Nurse at St. Mary’s
Aaron Craven as James Blackburn
Bruce Dawson as Doctor
Parveen Dosanjh as Woman at Party
Lane Edwards as Brian Murtagh

crew details
Writer: Denis O’Neill
Director:  Nicholas McCarthy
Executive Producers: Angela Bromstad, Christine Connor, Linda Berman S

production details
Country:  USA
Network and Production Companies: ID – Lincoln Square Productions
Duration: 1×120 minute episode
Aired From:  Sunday 10 December 2017

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