Thursday, June 24th, 2021

50 Years Later, ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ Still Charms and Challenges

Between 1948 and 1971, millions of Americans had two appointments on Sunday: church and “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS — a connection the 1960 Broadway musical “Bye Bye Birdie” made when it praised the show’s host in the number “Hymn for a Sunday Evening.”

SOFA Entertainment purchased the variety show’s library in 1990, and last summer that company and Universal Music Enterprises teamed up to create an official “Ed Sullivan Show” YouTube channel, which makes available daily uploads of “Ed Sullivan” clips. To date, there are more than 1,300, most of them spruced up to superb visual and audio quality.

“The goal is to stay true to the variety-show format,” SOFA’s president, Josh Solt, said in a Zoom conversation. “So you’ll see rock, you’ll see jazz, a Broadway novelty, magicians, some amazing sports figures. Going back to the history of the show, we have a responsibility to curate across all of these genres.”