The Ultimate Ed Sullivan DVD collection – TMOQ Gazette (HMC 032)
DVD 1; The Ed Sullian Show – 9th February, 1964 / The Ed Sullivan Show – 16th February, 1964 (Rehearsal) / The Ed Sullivan Show – 23rd February, 1964 (Pre-recorded 9th February) / The Ed Sullian Show – 24th may, 1964 / The Ed Sullivan Show – 12th September 1965 (Pre-Recorded 14th August) / Unseen 1965 rehearsal.
DVD 2; The Ed Sullivan Show – 16th February 1964 (Complete and Uncut) / The Ed Sullivan Show – 5th June, 1966 / The Ed Sullivan Show – 26th November, 1967.
The further we get from Beatlemania, the quainter it all appears. For those of us who weren’t there at the time the panic, screaming and tears, even the music all look rather humbled as opposed to the madness that we see on our TV screens and the cut and shut, mass produced garbage that sits at the top of the charts (Go on, name what’s number one on your country at the moment – Unless your kids are spinning it in perpetuity or you have a soft heart for the mode of the humble single then it’s more or less likely that you’ve no idea.)
To see the Beatles in full flight in the early 60’s, when the press, media and fans had whipped up a frenzy for the fabs all propelled by the hubris of an infant market is still something else. If you set your mind back to the time, the furious flurry of the four long hairs from Liverpool and their appearance on America’s biggest variety entertainment programme at the time. A lot has been written about the appearances of course – the crime stopping in NYC through the duration of the Beatles premier appearance (My own personal favourite) to the rest of the bustle that that appearance brought to America.
The prodigious – as of late – label HMC have compiled a great selection of the Beatles appearances on to two DVDs using some of the best sources available. These are, for the most part, incomplete shows as opposed to the officially released Eagle Rock sets where we were given all of the show but then if you happy with performing dogs on other ‘of the time crooners’ with your Beatles, you would have been happy. If you prefer your Beatles performances, nice and simple, this set is for you.
We begin with the fabs introduction to America – The February 6th, 1964 edition of the Ed Sullivan show. Beginning with a scant introduction before an Anocin commercial, then two more introductions by Ed (The second follows a commercial that has been cut out for some reason. The image is pure nostalgia, a clean, bright and crisp print has been used which will transport you straight back to the time (Especially if you were there before!).
The Beatles set kicks off with a straight through rendition of ‘From Me To You, leading on to the Music man’s ’Till There Was You’. The Beatles, in turn, try to keep their cool as the cameras pan on their faces – Ringo’s cover is blown first as he tried to keep his smile hidden. George’s bushy eyebrows dance as soon as he knows he’s been caught, John is keeping it cooler than most or maybe it’s because he can’t see a damned thing anyway and Macca’s charm spills out like a hairy treacle as they play up the audience.
“She Loves You” proceeds another brief break introduced by Sullivan before the Beatles crash in to ‘I Saw Her Standing There’. In-between the cameras flash back to the audience who – lets face it – are mainly girls who can barely contain their excitement for the arrival of this much hyped band from Liverpool. Done up to the nines, as adult at a 60’s teenager would allow, their hands wring, their bodies tumble, they let out some magnificent screams.
“I Want To Hold Your Hand” closes this segment but not before a quick meet and a couple of quiet “hellos” to the audience from the band as Ed leads us out giving thanks to the police.
The second segment is a rehearsal recorded on the 16th of February while the Beatles are fully suited. The picture is a few shades less than the first segment but being rehearsal footage it doesn’t matter so much.
A spirited ‘She Loves You’, a close harmony “This Boy” and another launch through “From Me To You” begin the set before we catch sight of Ed again with a truncated intro and outro. We return with another take of “I Saw Her Standing There” but – shades of the Hollywood Bowl – Macca’s microphone is lost for half of the track and so we have a near instrumental take of the song before the sound is repaired in the final quarter.
“From Me To You” follows before the Beatles get a little more animated – Aware that they were being recorded but weren’t going to have this set broadcast, the Fabs use a little more ‘Cavern – humour’ on their audience as John shouts at the audience for making a racket while Paul is trying to introduce “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and also uses a little of his cripple humour – a point that the audience fail to miss and howl through.
Mr. Sullivan returns to the stage to introduce the band and almost joins in with the threat by pretending to throw his mike in to the audience. The sound cuts towards the end however and his speech is cut short before the Beatles reconvene their places. There is no more music from the rehearsal however as the tape stops there. The full show for which this rehearsal was made appears in full on disk two – More about that later.
Our next segment comes from the 9th of February again but wasn’t actually broadcast until the 23rd of that month – the visuals maybe a little slighter than the first show but still monochromaticly glorious. This time, the Beatles are back to the black suits.
The Fabs twist their set list beginning with the throat tearing ’Twist And Shout’, straight in to “Please Please Me”. There is a short intermission before we end with a version of “I Wanna Hold Your Hand”. We have an added bonus to the segment with an additional couple of adverts by Pillsbury the bakers – Don’t watch this DVD if you’re dieting, it could corrupt you!!
The Beatles next appearance on the show on the 24th of May, ’64 was via a short prerecorded interview on the set of AHDN with Ed Sullivan. Much more chatty and cheeky than of their previous appearances, the Beatles talk America, the trials of touring and their new movie before we’re treated to a bit of the onstage footage of ‘You Can’t Do That’ from the film after which Ed applauds them once again.
Now their final live appearance on the show, recorded on the 14th of August, 1965 to be broadcast on the 12th of September. You can see that the fabs have had a little time to grow their hair and the set designers at the show have been given a little more to work with.
The set begins with “I Feel Fine”, “I’m Down” and Ringo introduces himself on “Act Naturally”. Another brief introduction precedes “Ticket To Ride” which also begins with an extended introduction so a montage of the bands faces can be spanned across the screen first. A confident Paul quietness the crowd right down for a gentle “Yesterday” (To which John quips on Macca’s rendition soon afterwards) and then the band lead off with the title tune to their latest album and film, “Help!” before an outroduction by Ed, a commercial for headache tablets, then the titles roll over a version of “Help!”, played again but broken up by a spoken advertisement for the Dick Van Dyke show.
finally on disk one we have the 1965 rehearsal material – a real dogs end of things as Ed introduces next weeks show – the first to be broadcast in colour – while we have an outtake of “Help” interrupted by a Lipton Tea commercial. This quickly ends as the screen moves to black and all we hear is Ed telling his audience to be careful outside of the studios. The tape spools back and replays again – The Ed Sullivan introduction, “Help!”, the lipton commercial – The time the tape plays for a longer time though and we also have a Kent cigarettes commercial and the Dick Van Dyke promo.
The rest of “Help” is mainly obscured by the end titles however only having 10 – 15 seconds that are left untarnished. The tape then fades out only to feature Ed in another small snippet before the disk comes to an end.
Disk two begins with the complete Ed Sullivan show from the 16th of February, 1964. It’s not just the Beatles this time but all the acts from the show. Beginning with footage from the race course in Miami, we have quick adverts for Lipton and Kent cigarettes before Ed’s introduction , then a longer Lipton editorial before we get to the main show again. The Beatles are back in their grey suits for this show, just like the rehearsals, but a little better behaved.
Some of the best shots come from watching the audience again – they split between the flush faced and giddy to the girls who have caught their own image on the TV and nervously look straight towards the camera, not quite sure of what to do for the folks back home. A weathered and warm Beatles play their slot for the audience, still cheeky, still acting up, It’s Ringo at the back who seems to be suffering the most though as his smile barely rises.
Boxers Sonny Liston and Joe Lewis are given a namecheck from the audience, we get more Lipton teas commercials than we need for a life time (Unless you really like Lipton teas!) then Martin Allen and Steve Allen perform a quick fire double act sketch on the topic of boxing, Mitzi Gaynor appears and performs her one woman and backing dancers Broadway slot performing “Too Darn Hot” before an advert for Anacin and after with a couple of performances of blues standards, including “St. James Infirmary”. Also appearing are trapeze acts, The Nerveless Nocks and Myron Cohen who performs another stand up routine. The Beatles end up the show. The visuals are still nice and tight, the audio is a little grainy though and not quite as good as the rehearsal.
The second segment features a taped spot from the Beatles to promote “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”. The clips were recorded at Abbey Road especially for the Ed Sullivan show and are in colourful broadcast. The visuals are not quite as smart as the B&W prints of before, they are more more like old VHS recordings but the sound is still very, very good. The audience do appeared to be fooled by the false ending at the end of “Rain” however though and clap before the song ends. The segment finished with Ed giving an introduction to our good friend Anacin.
Finally the disk ends with the final appearance by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show – A telegram was sent to accompany the video for their Magical Mystery Tour song, “Hello Goodbye”. Here, Ed’s introduction is in the soft VHS colour tones but the actual video is in stunning quality – near ‘Anthology’ remastering – but it tips back to the VHS quality towards the songs coda. It’s left to Ed Sullivan to finish off the set.
An exceptional product – it sold out on preorders for the first run – clear of all the extraneous material that you don’t need and featuring some classic early Beatles material, if you find this set, you need it, you buy it. It’s possibly the final word on the Beatles appearances on Ed Sullivan .. Bring on the Rolling Stones.