I really loved my Dad. He was only 58 when he died, and I was 17, two months from high school graduation. Dad was the music arranger for Ray Bloch’s CBS Orchestra and the Ed Sullivan Show for the entire 23 years. They also did the Jackie Gleason Show when it was in New York. I remember Dad telling me that he was going to try and get autographs of the Beatles for me when they came to rehearsal. But the girls mobbing them at the airport prevented it from ever happening. In June of 1964, Dad arranged for my Cub Scout den to attend the Sullivan Show. Robert Horton, TV actor on Wagon Train, appeared that week and Dad did his music. Dad arranged for Horton to come out after the show and pose for a picture with us. Fortunately, he forgot. When he didn’t show, a crew member went back to find him. When it was learned Horton had already left, they brought back a substitute… Ed Sullivan himself! It was the first celebrity I ever met! The show photographer came out and took a shot of us with Ed on the very stage the Beatles had appeared on only a few months earlier. Here’s the pic, with me right below my mother in the hat! (But there’s more below.)
As regular followers here know… in September of last year, I returned to the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York with my wife Julie. As a result of my heritage, the kind folks at the David Letterman Show made us their guests. We visited with Paul Shaffer and announcer Alan Kalter, and actually sat at Letterman’s desk and guest chair, on the same stage the Beatles… and Elvis… had performed on. It brought back a flood of nostalgia for me, and was thrilled my wife could be part of it this time. Nearly 50 years after the Beatles and the Cub Scouts, I was back in Dad’s office. Happy anniversary, Beatles! And thanks for the memories Ed… and Dad!