The 4 Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles is finally on DVD! Michelle’s Review


One of the biggest Pop Cultural moments in the last 100 years happened February 9, 1964 when television host Ed Sullivan uttered the immortal words – “Ladies and Gentleman: The Beatles,” and the rest as they say is History. The funny thing about that moment is, it’s often replayed but I’ve never saw the full performance. Did you know the Beatles played five songs that night? Did you know that 60s Batman Villain Frank Gorshin (actually funny!) was on that show? Or that the cast of Oliver performed as well. It’s odd to think that yes, it was a history making show but what must it have been like to follow the Beatles American debut? The folks at Shout Factory have captured these moments in their new DVD Set – The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows starring The Beatles.

The two disc set includes the full Ed Sullivan Shows that featured The Beatles. The shows aired February 9, 1964, February 16, 1964, February 23, 1964 and September 12, 1965. The shows even include all of those weird commercials from the 70’s. Watching this set is like stepping back into time. In addition to the Beatles, other performers included Cab Calloway, Soupy Sales, Mitzy Gaynor and an assorted group of Comedians, Acrobats, and more. Everyone looks so young! Ringo still looks like a goof.


Songs performed by the Beatles include She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There, I Want To Hold Your Hand, From Me To You, Twist & Shout, and more. Bonus material include 13 minutes of rare moments from the shows, a brief interview between The Beatles and Sullivan and more.

The Picture Quality on this disc is about what you would expect from prints as old as this. The Black and White quality is really saturated on the white light, but all of this is forgiven because, hey, it’s The Beatles on Ed Sullivan in its original uncut form.  The picture quality is all over the place – the first episode is Ok, the 2nd one is sharp and clear, the 3rd episode has some grain and screen tear on the right hand side and the 4th episode is really blurry.  I wish they took the time to do a proper restoration but I understand why they didn’t. It would cost a fortune to do so and television prints from back then probably just aren’t that good. So I’m being really forgiving here. The audio sounds really clean and crisp. Music and Beatles Fans should add this to their collection for the nostalgia factor – just don’t expect today’s quality image. The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles is available now.

Final Grade B

EM Review by
Michelle Alexandria
Originally posted 11.01.2010