31 March 2000 | critic-2
I used to watch this program sometimes when I was growing up. Technically,of course, it is light years out of date--no flashy special effects, no elaborate staging, nothing except a host that acts like either a marble statue come to life, or a cold fish (take your choice!), and singers(pop and otherwise), actors, dancers, comedians, classical music virtuosos (such as then 13-year old Itzhak Perlman) and acrobats simply "doing their thing".
I took it for granted then. I didn't realize that we were sometimes seeing rare, priceless footage that we would seldom, if ever, see again in the future, and that it contained such gems as original cast performers singing the hit songs from legendary Broadway classics such as "My Fair Lady", "West Side Story", "Camelot", and "Man of La Mancha"-in full costume, yet. I always thought, "Well,we have the albums,and there's no reason these segments wouldn't be rerun someday. Besides,we'll have the film versions of the shows,so who needs to be so eager to catch the Broadway performers?"
How wrong I was.
Because, up until the advent of video remastering and restoration, and the invention of the VCR, these shows disappeared, apparently gathering dust in the CBS archives because modern-day programming and technology had made them seem so old-fashioned. Now they are back. Some years ago,Disney had the foresight to issue a video called "The Best of Broadway Musicals from the Ed Sullivan Show", and this priceless tape, which has since been transferred to DVD, contained Julie Andrews singing "Wouldn't It Be Loverly?", Andrews and Richard Burton singing "What Do The Simple Folk Do?", Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert singing "Tonight",Richard Kiley singing "The Impossible Dream",etc. And recently, when Ed Sullivan was broadcast on Nick-At-Nite,not only was Kiley shown singing this song, but we were also given the rare treat of seeing the original Aldonza/Dulcinea, Joan Diener, singing the lovely "What Does He Want of Me", a song omitted from the film version of "Man of La Mancha".
That is the kind of program this was.