Sunday, September 12th, 2010

‘The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring the Beatles’: A Generational Divide

The DVD begins rather worryingly with generic cod-Beatle music, like that episode of Gilligan’s Island with the Mosquitoes. It’s a world in black and white, one in which the kids are about to go way overboard festooning their brittle limbs with a kaleidoscope of color. This is a moment in history, in part because the Beatles were riding the crest of that particular wave.

The timing of this new two-disc DVD set, The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles, is perfect, especially if you’re a fan of Mad Men. Never mind the commercials, which don’t just seem quaint when viewed through a contemporary lens, but might also have resulted in Peggy Olsen and the gang receive a withering dressing down by a drunken Don Draper at 11:15 in the morning during a presentation pitch. Mad Men is roughly at this point in history this season, and among the standard bad behavior by its ensemble, there’s also rumblings of a generational shift that swept across the country in the storyline. Why not have a look at it in black & white, then?

This is history, though in truth only two of the four episodes really hold that weight.

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