Wednesday, July 29th, 2020

Watch Jackie, Mantle, Mays on Ed Sullivan

Jackie Robinson again grips a bat, his muscles bulging through his suit jacket. Eight days after announcing his retirement from baseball, Mickey Mantle speaks in what surely was his first major public appearance since leaving the game. Willie Mays, always the entertainer, unintentionally prompts laughter from the studio audience.

These arresting images, all more than a half-century old, can be seen via streaming video on The Ed Sullivan Show’s official YouTube channel. Nearly everybody possessing or approaching senior-citizen status or who maintains ample pop-culture knowledge recognizes Sullivan’s impact. Celebrities boosted their profiles and aspiring performers vaulted from anonymity to stardom with even the briefest appearances alongside Sullivan, whose variety shows aired Sunday nights on CBS from 1948-71.

To celebrate Thursday’s opening of baseball’s regular season, SOFA Entertainment/UMe is releasing footage of Sullivan stints by Robinson, Mantle and Mays, who continue to inspire awe among today’s fans.