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Old Ed Sullivan Shows Become Series, Special

September 14, 1990

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Ed Sullivan’s big shows will be back on television for the first time since 1971, when the legendary Sunday night variety series was canceled after 23 years on CBS.

Producer-director Andrew Solt said Thursday he had purchased every episode of ″The Ed Sullivan Show″ and is negotiating with syndicators and CBS, NBC and ABC for a series and a two-hour network special featuring excerpts from the library.

Sullivan’s daughter, Elizabeth, and her husband, Bob Precht, who produced the show for many years, had refused several offers for the archives, which contain more than 1,000 hours of programming.

Solt was allowed to purchase the tapes and old-fashioned Kinescope films because he and the Prechts were friends, Solt spokeswoman Maggie Begley said. The Prechts also wanted a new generation to see Sullivan’s shows, which filled two 82-foot flatbed trucks when delivered to Solt.

Sullivan brought some of television’s most memorable moments into American living rooms.

There was Elvis Presley’s 1956 appearance, in which the gyrating idol was visible only from the waist up; the U.S. television debut just seven years later of four long-haired Brits called The Beatles; and the infamous 1965 censoring of The Rolling Stones, who were forced to change their hit song ″Let’s Spend the Night Together″ to ″Let’s Spend Some Time Together.″

Other performers making their American TV premieres on the show included Charles Laughton, Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Dinah Shore, Eddie Fisher and Walt Disney.

Originally titled ″Toast of the Town,″ the program debuted on June 20, 1948, and starred Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, who were paid $100 each for their performances.

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