item 1 >>> Now Playing… pluto Pluto Shervington was one of the best reggae artists ever, and this is one of his cleverest tunes. Other good ones are “Ram Goat Liver,” “Book of Rules,” and my personal favorite “Dat.” This one is called “Your Honour,” and I chose a video that gives the lyrics, so you have some chance at understanding the story…if you still don’t see what’s going on, leave me a comment and we’ll talk…
item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†!… panda cow OK, these 2 news-babblers are pretty annoying, but this is interesting if you like animals, and they do show some neat pictures thru-out with the interview. Amazing they could get the markings just that way…
item 3 >>> So from yesterday, B-Day, the Beatles first appearance on Ed Sullivan, Feb. 9, 1964. They performed 5 songs, 3 in the first half of the show, and 2 later on. And they really were in fine form. OK, John was immobile and only occasionally cracked a smile, altho at the end when they ran over to join Ed, he was all smiles, so maybe it was just a touch of nerves. But George and Paul were having a lot of fun, really getting into it, especially Paul, jumping around, shaking his hair, shouting “hey!” whenever the opportunity presented itself. And Ringo was good old Ringo, up on a platform above the others, having a jolly old time. Compare this to the many other British Invasion groups who followed, some of whom stood like statues, with no showmanship to save their lives. But by this time, the Fab 4 were seasoned entertainers, altho new to us, and they had the right personalities for the job, no question. Heck, Paul and George even knew which camera to look at.
item 3.5 >>> But before I forget, I made a mistake yesterday, talking about the commercial content of the show. There were indeed 6 minutes of network commercials, but I had forgotten the local breaks, when they “paused for station identification” every half hour. That would have added another 2 to 4 minutes worth, I’ll get back to you on that. Then I’ll change yesterday’s blog…yup, that’s the beauty of the internet…unlike newspapers and magazines where, as I always say, “A mistake in print is a joy forever.” Back in college, we even made a catch-phrase out of it when the Globe (I think) published the headline THE BEATLES ARE EDAD. Yeah, and this item is #3.5 so I can delete it later and not have to re-number them…who you think you’re dealing with here, cousin? 😉 😉
item 4 >>> And I have to say something about the selection of songs they performed…looking back on it, it was very smart. They started with “All My Loving,” a good representative choice of their Mersey Beat sound…not their wildest, but rockin’ nonetheless. Then, lest Mom and Dad were having trouble breathing, they launched into the softer “Till There Was You,” a show-tune, a shrewd move. But after that, they tore the roof off the sucker with “She Loves You,” and the girls go bananas. This is it, this has arrived, no turning back. And the second set leads of with arguably their hottest number at the time “I Saw Here Standing There,” then a rousing finish with “I Want to Hold Your Hand” as the closer. Brilliant, IMHO.
item 5 >>> The other acts were a mixed bag…but on this historic night they included what can only be described as a historic coincidence: Davy Jones, who in 2 short years…but how slow time moved back then!…would be a Monkee. Here, he was starring on Broadway in the title role of the hit musical Oliver! Altho he had just turned 18 in December, he was already a seasoned pro, and appearing with other cast members on the show, it’s not a stretch to say he had more stage presence than even the Moptops, at this point in their career. After all, besides being a singer, he was a real actor, too. And actually, this was part 2, as the Oliver! cast had been on the week before as well.
item 6 >>> Of the others that night, special kudos go to McCall and Brill, that’s Mitzi and Charlie. They were a standup comedy act, sort of a low-octane version of Nichols and May, or Stiller and Meara. Their routine was typical old school shtick, but they did have the presence of mind to put in a joke about the Beatles, at which the girls yowled. Both went on to be game-show staples, altho you might remember Charlie, with mustache and curly hair, on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, and Mitzi did some time on Laugh-In.
item 7 >>> And really, the rest weren’t horrible…well, one was, king-sized British cabaret chantoosie Tessie O’Shea. Maybe in a smoke-filled dancehall, when you’re 3 sheets to the wind, she’s a scream, but not here, not now. I never liked Frank Gorshin‘s over-the-top celebrity impressions, just a tad too psychotic for comfort. He did the usual suspects: Brando, Dino, Kirk Douglas, but some others you might have forgotten, like Burt Lancaster, Anthony Quinn, Broderick Crawford, and for a finale, Alec Guinness. The audience loved him. There was a magician named Fred Kaps, who apparently went on to become a legend in his field. He had a vaguely German accent, his jokes fell flat, but his card trick, confusing at first, turned out to be pretty clever once it got going. And there were acrobats, how could there not be, 4 blonde ladies and a 5th who turned out to be a guy…what can I say, I like watching acrobats…so do you, don’t bamboozle a bamboozler.
item 8 >>> But what can you say about old Ed….lurching about on the stage, stiff as a board, talking too fast, oddly inappropriate comments*…as thoroughly unprofessional as could be…and he’d been doing this for 16 years, and would put in another 7. OK, he was a newspaper columnist by trade, but he reminded me of that guy at work…they say, “Every day is like his first.” But of course, who would change a hair on Ed’s head? Not me, brother, not me. And what a name-dropper…before the Beatles came on, he mentioned they’d received a congratulatory telegram from Elvis Presley and Col. Parker. And after their first set, he said something kind of strange: that the Beatles had dedicated those 3 songs to Johnny Carson, Randy Parr, and Earl Wilson, no, not the baseball pitcher, the gossip columnist. Randy Paar was Jack Paar’s then 15-year-old daughter. Today’s she’s a big lawyer in NYC.
* For example…the Beatles were signed for 2 more shows. Ed announced next week’s would be live from Miami, or as he called it, Miamah. Then it would be back to New York City for the 3rd show, what he called the Beatles’ “farewell.” OK, he didn’t mean it like that, altho I’m sure some of the viewers were hoping…
item 9 >>> You’ll notice I’ve been inserting pictures of Beatle girls…the one with the small binoculars, who apparently liked what she saw, putting them down to give somebody a long-distance smooch. BTW, I know the girl next to her can’t be Carole King, but still… Next, 2 girls, one having a spasm, the other a paroxysm…can you tell which? I can’t. There’s the wider shot with the 2 boys…one looks pretty glum about something. They showed this group clapping after 4 of the 5 songs. And finally this one here, who looks a little old to be going nuts, but why be judgmental at a time like this…knock yourself out, punkin! Someone in the row behind her is getting a kick out of it, and I don’t mean the old guy on the right.
item 10 >>> All in all, the worst night of Pete Best’s life, I reckon. The next week, the Beatles’ performance wasn’t up to snuff, but the show as a whole was much stronger, with Mitzi Gaynor, some funny Jewish jokes from Myron Cohen, and Allen and Rossi’s famous “Punch-drunk Fighter” routine, and again, they included a Beatles gag. Plus more acrobats, these were the renowned Nerveless Nocks from Switzerland, doing a truly dangerous act, to put today’s Cirque wusses to shame. Week 3, the Fab 4 were back to their old selves, mainly because it had been taped on B-Day, before their live appearance.
You threw out the wrappers? You know better today, right?
shameless green plugs…
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi