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Greeting Catchphrases

"Tonight, we have a re-e-ally BIG SHEW!" - Ed Sullivan's exaggerated and often improper pronunciation of the English language was a trademark of this former newspaper columnist turned host of America's favorite Sunday night variety show THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW/CBS/1948-71 (originally called TOAST OF THE TOWN).

Ed Sullivan - Cover of Colliers Magazine

Sullivan began his weekly show with "Good evening ladies and gentlemen, tonight we have a really Big SHEW!" and "On our stage tonight..." It wasn't unusual for him to introduce a singer like Robert Goulet as Robert Goolitt.

Ed once proclaimed "Let's hear it for the Lord's Prayer!" after Sergio Franchi sang it on the 1965 Christmas show.

Sullivan's strange awkward style was imitated by many impressionists, the best being the look-alike Will Jordan, who made numerous appearances on Sullivan's show. Standing side-by-side they were very close to identical twins. Sullivan, himself cracked up when he heard this other man doing him so accurately. In the 1950s, Ed helped make a parody record called "It's a re-e-ally Big SHEW Tonight!"

Another Sullivan catchphrase used was "Stand Up and Take a Bow" when Ed Sullivan recognized notable celebrities each week in his studio audience.

One of Ed Sullivan's "Biggest SHEWS" was the February 9, 1964 broadcast of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW when Ed introduced the British rock and roll band The Beatles to the American public.

During the 1990s, late night talk show host David Letterman, who broadcast his program from refurbished Ed Sullivan Theater, in New York City, resurrected the celebrity in the audience bit and even had the ghost of Ed Sullivan floating about the studio from time to time.


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