The Ed Sullivan Show (1948–1971)
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Episode #17.19 

The first appearance of the Beatles on American television.




Episode credited cast:
Ed Sullivan ... Himself - Host
The Beatles ... Themselves - Rock Group
Georgia Brown ... Nancy (scene from 'Oliver')
Fred Kaps Fred Kaps ... Himself - Magician (archive footage)
Cast of Oliver Cast of Oliver ... Themselves - Singers
Frank Gorshin ... Himself - Impressionist
Tessie O'Shea Tessie O'Shea ... Herself - Singer
Charlie Brill ... Himself - Comedian (as McCall and Brill)
Mitzi McCall ... Herself - Comedian (as McCall and Brill)
Wells and the Four Fays Wells and the Four Fays ... Themselves - Comedic Acrobats
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ronnie Kroll Ronnie Kroll ... Oliver Twist (scene from 'Oliver!')
Joan Lombardo Joan Lombardo ... Bet (scene from 'Oliver!')
Terry McDermott Terry McDermott ... Himself - Olympic Speed Skater


Ed Sullivan welcomes The Beatles as his guests in their first appearance on American television. The British rock group sings five of their current hit songs. Dutch comic magician Fred Kaps performs card tricks and a salt shaker stunt, the cast of the Broadway musical "Oliver" performs several numbers and Frank Gorshin does his impression of an imagined committee meeting of the U.S. Senate with its members all famous movie actors. British singer Tessie O'Shea performs three songs, including her hit, "Two-Ton Tessie from Tennessee", the comic team of Mitzi McCall and Charley Brill perform a comic sketch concerning the travails of a Hollywood producer trying to find the right woman for a part in a major motion picture and the comic acrobat team of Wells and the Four Fays perform a number of tumbling stunts. Written by David Bassler

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Music







Release Date:

9 February 1964 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS Television Network See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Before The Beatles made their first appearance on the show (on their first visit to America, in early 1964), manager Brian Epstein and host Sullivan made some careful negotiations. Epstein wanted the show to cover the band's flight expenses to New York and back, and in return Sullivan wanted more than one appearance. In the end, the Beatles performed for three weeks running (two live and one pretaped), making visits to Washington DC and Miami in between. See more »


[introducing the Beatles - 9 February 1964]
Ed: Yesterday and today, our theatre's been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation. And these veterans agree with me that the city never has witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves 'The Beatles.' Now tonight you're going to be twice entertained by them. Right now, and again in the second half of our show. Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles.
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Referenced in Post Mortem with Mick Garris: Frank Darabont (2010) See more »


As Long As He Needs Me
Written by Lionel Bart
Performed by Georgia Brown
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User Reviews

The Beatles' first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show" is still fascinating to watch, 50 years later
10 February 2014 | by tavmSee all my reviews

Since yesterday was the 50th anniversary of The Beatles' historic U.S. TV debut on "The Ed Sullivan Show", I thought I'd mark the occasion by rewatching it that day. Ed begins by mentioning the telegram from Elvis Presley and his manager, Col. Tom Parker, wishing The Fab Four well. With that, Paul, George, John, and Ringo perform "All My Loving", "Till There Was You"-during which their names appear under their faces with John's also saying "Sorry, girls, he's married", and "She Loves You". Next, a pre-recorded bit by magician Frad Kaps of card tricks and salt shaker which I found lame since he presumably was underehearsed. After that, the cast of "Oliver!" performs "I'll Do Anything" of which one of its members was Davy Jones as The Artful Dodger. If that name sounds familiar to you, then, yes, it's the same one who would eventually join a TV-created, Beatles-inspired music group called The Monkees. Other cast member Georgia Brown would then solo on "As Long as He Needs Me". Frank Gorshin-a couple of years before his fame as The Riddler in the "Batman" TV show-next does his impressions of various movie stars in congress which I found hilarious. Entertainer Tessie O'Shea then does a medley of show tunes. After that, McCall & Brill perform a Hollywood audition which was underwhelming to me. The Fab Four then return with "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand". Finally, Wells & The Four Fays perform some amusing acrobatic physical comedy. Except for the ones I noted weren't good, I mostly enjoyed the acts with the highlight of course being The Beatles with their hit songs they performed. And hearing those screaming teen girls with the camera shots on them was fascinating to watch. Good thing they didn't seem as loud as I remembered thinking they were since I last watched this. So this turned out to be the most watched broadcast of this time-approximately 73 million-because of the pandemonium of this group from Liverpool, England, causing a British Invasion here in America just a few months after the tragedy of the Kennedy assassination. They were a breath of fresh air in comparison to other, more traditional kinds of music at the time that was popular. So on that note, this historical broadcast is highly recommended. P.S. The commercials of that time are included as part of the program.

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