By Don Stuart
---- — According to my calculations, it’s been roughly 50 years since things that happened in 1964 happened. And among these things was the first appearance by The Beatles on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” It was Feb. 9, 1964, and unlike tens of millions of people throughout the United States, I neither knew nor cared about this seismic event. Of course, I can be forgiven, because I was only six years old.
If only this seismic event had happened a little later. And no, I don’t mean 9 p.m. instead of 8 p.m. I mean, like, in 1972-ish, by which time I was a HUUUGE Beatles fan. If only they’d made their Ed Sullivan debut then! – I would’ve been into it BIG-time!
Anyway, you’ll probably hear lots of scholarly commentary and read lots of scholarly essays about The Beatles on Ed Sullivan and what it meant then, and what it’s meant since, to life on our planet. None of that kind of stuff here. Instead, you get stuck with a random collection of Beatles factoids, or at least musings dressed up to look reasonably factual, from a once – and still – HUUUge Beatles fan.
> At the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, there’s a good bit of Beatles memorabilia on display, including little Beatles dolls, still in their original boxes. The products were licensed by “Seltaeb, Inc.” My No. 5 son (age 12) was 9 years old when we visited the museum and he witnessed me standing in thrall of these objects. He, in his typical smarty-pants fashion, immediately understood how the word “Seltaeb” was formed, and asked if I did; it is, of course, a clever rearrangement of the letters in “Le Beast.”
The ‘splanation: Seltaeb was established hastily around 1963 because the Beatles’ brain trust didn’t understand how to do licensing. They asked a guy named Nicky Byrne to take it over. Byrne, who once said he’d been “sitting around doing nothing for half of 1963,” also knew nothing about licensing, and got the job mainly for being known as a “posh bloke” who threw great parties.
> Way back in 2005, the show business publication Variety was celebrating its 100th anniversary, and decided to name some entertainment industry figure as “Showbiz Icon of the Century,” or SIC.
The entire entertainment world was abuzz with rumors, unfortunately none that mentioned me, in spite of my repeated calls and e-mails to Mary Hart of “Entertainment Tonight.” When the winner was finally revealed, I gotta tell ya, every person I talked to thought Variety got it exactly right – SpongeBob SquarePants.
Ha-ha, not really. Variety’s actual SIC, the one entertainment figure who towers above all others wazzzzz – The Beatles! Some people protested this choice, saying The Beatles weren’t one figure, they were four (or seven, according to those who insist on counting Pete Best, Stu Sutcliffe, and Sgt. Pepper).
As soon as I heard the news, I called my parents, and suggested they re-evaluate a key event from my sixth year of high school – my Senior English term paper about The Beatles.
Now that The Beatles are verifiably SIC, I asked them if they’d revise their opinion that my term paper was the dopiest thing I’d ever done.
They brightened up immediately and said “Oh, son, we stopped thinking that a long time ago! When you started writing those newspaper columns!”