• Sullivan has nearly 100% name recognition among people 40 and older
• In a survey of the fifty most influential programs in the U.S., TV Guide ranked The Ed Sullivan Show #10
• Show still appears on PBS and on cable stations across the country
• Sixty million baby boomers grew up watching The Ed Sullivan Show
For more than twenty years, from 1948 to 1971, fifty-five million viewers watched The Ed Sullivan Show religiously every Sunday night. Everyone who was anyone appeared—the Beatles and Elvis, of course, and Woody Allen, Bill Cosby, and Elizabeth Taylor, plus public figures such as Fidel Castro, David Ben-Gurion, and Martin Luther King, Jr. More than thirty years later, the program remains a pop-culture icon. But despite Ed Sullivan’s prominence, little was known about the private man...until now. Impresario reveals what the Sullivan viewers never saw: nasty, hot-tempered, craven, yet also capable of high ideals and, above all, hugely ambitious. At a time when Americans are looking back, The Ed Sullivan Show stands out as a shining example of television during the golden era. Impresario lets readers look behind the screen to see the man who made it happen.
Running from 1948 to 1971, the Ed Sullivan Show's "Big Tent" theory defined family viewing. Each Sunday night, more than 35 million people tuned in to see everyone from Elvis to Richard Pryor, the Beatles to Nureyev. Animal acts and high art shared billing. A gig on Sullivan made many performers. Maguire, who is also publishing an account of the National Spelling Bee this season (American Bee), reveals the man behind the curtain, portraying Sullivan (1901 1974) as tyrannical, egotistical and controlling. As Maguire tells it, the sportswriter turned Daily News columnist had one goal: fame. Sullivan failed at radio and film, but triumphed in print, and though his early TV years were rocky, he successfully (and lucratively) captured the zeitgeist; his tastes were America's tastes. As an emcee, he was awkward and stilted in front of the camera; as a producer, he was brilliant and intuitive. "ithout being able to sing, tell jokes or be charming," he became famous. Yet the successful star was a loner. He adored his wife, but had no close friends or real home life. Maguire has written a fascinating biography and meticulously recorded the birth of TV, the heyday of newspaper columnists and the glamour of New York. 40 b&w illus.