Tue December 1, 2009
"Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!" --- A New Ed Sullivan Biography
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Those pivotal appearances by Elvis and The Beatles are, in a way, only the beginning of the story. On today's edition of our program, we present a detailed discussion of "The Ed Sullivan Show" --- what made it so important, and so influential, for so long. For more than 20 years, Ed Sullivan, a Broadway gossip columnist turned awkward emcee turned TV icon, ruled the prime-time Sunday-night television airwaves. Our guest is Gerald Nachman, author of a new book called "Right Here on Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America." (Nachman's other books include "Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and '60s" and "Raised on Radio.") As Nachman explains, it was Sullivan's genius --- as a producer and promoter, actually, rather than as a host or personality --- that led him to convert the very tired old genre known as vaudeville into the new and exciting entertainment form that was (and is) the TV variety show. At once high-brow, middle-brow, and low-brow --- and immensely popular for generations --- "The Ed Sullivan Show" made an especially lasting impression on the life, culture, and memory of our nation. Nachman's book, essentially a work of popular history, is quite an enjoyable read --- and is illustrated with many classic photographs.