Gary and I enjoy watching America’s Got Talent. I know it’s a bit wild and crazy at times. But I love seeing what people will do for fifteen minutes of fame, and the judges really have “discovered” some awesome talent. I put the word discovered in quotes because I’m never certain how much of these shows are scripted, rehearsed, “rigged” or whatever. I don’t want to know. I don’t want to follow the Hoff blog or check the website for weekly updates and back stage gossip. I just want to be entertained for an hour. The singers and dancers and jugglers and magicians are just what I need as a break from crime shows and too much reality. Not so sure about the judges sometimes. I appreciate that Sharon likes dogs and kids, but I’m not a big fan of hers and can’t stand her husband. David is amusing, but too, too corny. Piers is often a voice of reason, even when it’s a whiny voice. And Nick is a good host, but he’s no Ed Sullivan.
Ed was THE MAN. And his show brought the talent of the world into our living rooms. The Ed Sullivan Show ( originally The Toast of the Town) wasn’t just entertainment; it was education and cultural evolution. The Ed Sullivan Show was the longest running variety show in TV history. It was on from before I was born (1948) to the year Katrina was born (1971)! Amazing! Ed showcased people we couldn’t wait to hear, along with people we’d never heard of, but would soon be talking about over dinner. Where else could you see Maria Callas, Yul Brenner, Rudolf Nureyev, Henry Fonda, Barbra Streisand, Elvis, Topo Gigio, and The Beatles? Ed tried to think of everyone in his audience, including children and teenagers. He brought over 10,000 acts to the stage. They don’t make shows like that anymore.
People made fun of Ed. His stiffness and lack of stage presence were fodder for comedians. His phrases, such as “really big shew” were imitated by everyone. But I think Ed was brilliant and his show was responsible for exposing me to opera, ballet, Broadway musicals, and the Beatles. Without his show I’m not sure any of those would have been a part of my isolated farm life. After fifty years I can still clearly remember some of the shows and performers I watched as a young child. I’m not sure I’ll remember too many of the acts from America’s Got Talent next week. Thanks Ed!