1948: The Ed Sullivan Show debuts
Though it was originally called Toast of the Town, the legendary variety program was informally referred to by its more common name long before officially adopting it in 1955. Sullivan himself had no prior TV experience, having worked as a theater and entertainment columnist in New York. During the show’s 23-year run on CBS, it became one of the central cultural touchstones of 20th century America. The first “really big show” featured the comic stylings of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, along with Rogers & Hammerstein previewing the score of their soon-to-open new show South Pacific.
Not only did Sullivan help introduce America to acts including Elvis Presley, The Beatles, and The Jackson 5, he also shattered Humphrey Bogart’s then-record by inspiring over 15,000 terrible impressions by stand-up comics in a single year. -A.D.
Today’s Birthdays: John Goodman, gold standard sitcom dad (60); Martin Landau, impossible mission vet (83); Josh Lucas, even he can’t believe The Firm actually aired (41); Tress MacNeille, Babs Bunny and a cast of thousands (61); John Mahoney, Crane with a cane (72); Anne Murray, CBC songstress (67).