Wednesday, April 17th, 2024

Profiling an ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ Super Fan

In the realm of entertainment history, there are aficionados, and then there’s Tom Smith. For Tom, the magic of television reaches its pinnacle with none other than the legendary Ed Sullivan Show. A devoted fan of classical music and TV, Tom’s unwavering dedication has seen him through every digital twist and turn of the show’s journey in recent years. In an era where streaming platforms and on-demand content dominate, Tom remains steadfast in his love for the timeless charm and magnetic allure of The Ed Sullivan Show

Let’s dive into Tom Smith’s favorite artists, playlists, and more!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I live in Ontario, Canada and have an honors degree in Economics, as well as a teaching degree in English and Accounting. Despite my business related qualifications, I have usually worked as an English teacher.
I have always loved musical history, and have spent much time researching and reading about it (as well as listening, of course). I guess you could say I am a self-taught historian on the subject. Music has been a big part of my life, as, through music, society encapsulates human experience and emotions. Music provides the soundtrack for our daily lives, and means a great deal to me. 

2. When did you first hear about The Ed Sullivan Show?

– Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents (and still live with my grandfather today). They would tell me stories about the Sullivan show. When I was in Grade 7, the first “Very Best of the Ed Sullivan Show” special aired. I watched it with my grandparents on Sunday night, February 17, 1991, and immediately fell in love with the program. I had never seen anything like it. All the excerpts from different shows featuring an array of great music and talent. I was awe-struck and I remember the next day, at school, talking to my friends about the special. We were talking about how great it was to see stars like Nat King Cole, who we had never seen before.

3. Who are some of your favorite Ed Sullivan Show artists?

– I am a great fan of 1950’s and early ‘60’s popular music, and opera artists. Thus, I have a great fondness for opera stars who perform popular music and operetta, on the show. I have a lot of favorites who performed on the Sullivan show (many of which I share in common with my grandfather). My favorite operatic style stars are Jan Peerce, Mario Del Monaco, Roberta Peters, Sergio Franchi and James Melton. Favorite pop and rock and roll artists include Teresa Brewer, Jackie Wilson, Joni James, Paul Anka, Neil Sedaka, the Platters, Buddy Holly, the Mills Brothers, Bobby Darin and Bobby Vinton. From the later years of the show, I am a big fan of The Bachelors, The Turtles, Gary Lewis and the Playboys, Tiny Tim and Mary Hopkin.

4. If you could meet one artist from the show who would it be and why?

– Such a difficult question, as there are so many I would have loved to meet. First, I would have loved to meet Ed Sullivan himself and thank him for the great show he presented each Sunday night. As for performers, I’d have to say Jan Peerce as I’m a great admirer of his singing, and through interviews I have seen, he seems to have been a very down-to-earth and friendly person who had a lot of great stories to tell. 

5. You seem to know a lot about the artists and the songs they performed on the show. Is there a performance that resonates with you?

– Out of the hundreds of great performances I’ve seen, there are two which immediately come to mind. One is Jan Peerce singing “Serenade” from the operetta “The Student Prince” which I think is one of the most beautiful songs ever written. The second is “Once I Had a Heart” by Robert Goulet, which I find to be an incredibly powerful and moving love song. It hasn’t been posted yet, but I’ve seen it in one of the “Best of Sullivan” shows which airs on Pluto TV.

6. You’ve quickly become a celebrity in our YouTube comment section. What motivates you to research these daily performances and give viewers more context around these timeless clips? 

– A great love of musical history, and The Ed Sullivan Show in general, and wishing to share my knowledge and research with others who are interested. I have a desire to help keep alive the legacies of the great performers of the past.

7. Why do you think The Ed Sullivan Show can still be relatable today? 

The Ed Sullivan Show is our cultural history, and I think, one of the most important television programs ever broadcast. Almost every important entertainment figure appeared on the show at one time, and Ed tried hard to appeal to all people, tastes and ages. It was like seeing the world on his stage each Sunday night. Anyone with an interest in history and particularly music, which I believe was the heart and soul of the show, owes themselves to discover the great performances of the legends of the past, which still resonate with us today.

8. What is your connection to The Ed Sullivan Show?

– I feel connected to the show through the great music which was presented. I also like the fact that Ed Sullivan wasn’t a slick rehearsed TV host, but someone who seemed like a person any of us could relate with. For that, I found him very likable.

9. What are your thoughts on the weekly YouTube Sunday Premieres?

– I like the fact that you include a variety of different artists in the premieres. Two of my favorite ones so far were Jackie Wilson singing “Forever and a Day” and Gary Lewis and the Playboys with “Sure Gonna Miss Her”.

10. Do you have a favorite YouTube playlist?

– Being that romantic songs are my favorites, the Love Songs on The Ed Sullivan Show playlist is my favorite!

As The Ed Sullivan Show continues to grace the homes of millions, even 76 years later, we are deeply grateful for the individuals who contribute to its ongoing success and rich history.  Enthusiasts like Tom Smith who breathe life into the show, ensure that others can discover and relish the wonderful era that defined The Ed Sullivan Show.