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The Quick 10: The Beatles' Ed Sullivan Debut

As a big Beatles fan, I sure wish I was there 46 years ago when the Fab Four appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time. Since we haven't quite worked out that whole time travel thing yet, I'll have to content myself (and you!) with trivia.

SULLIVAN beatles1. Although appearing on Sullivan was a huge "We've finally made it" moment for most bands, the Beatles agreed to come on the show only if their travel expenses were covered. Ed and his producers said that was fine, but only if the Beatles would make multiple appearances.
2. In addition to travel expenses, the Beatles also received $10,000, which covered both the famous debut appearance and the other two "multiple appearances" Sullivan had requested in return for paying their airfare. Adjusting for inflation, that's about a $70,000 paycheck.
3. It's been reported that 73 million people turned on their television sets to check out these long-haired boys who had been causing a sensation overseas. If that's true, that was 38% of the population of the United States at the time. Talk about a ratings bonanza!

4. Remember Charlie Brill and Mitzi McCall? No? That's OK. Neither do the majority of the 73 million people who watched that night. Brill & McCall were the unfortunate act who had to follow the earth-shattering, industry-changing Beatles performance.

The married sketch comedy duo pretty much bombed "“ their audience was rather distracted "“ and they later said they thought it ruined their careers. Here's an extra bit of unrelated trivia for you: Brill and McCall are the godparents of Melissa Gilbert.

lennon5. You've surely heard that old legend that the crime rate in the U.S. dropped dramatically during the Beatles' appearance on the show. Apparently the whole nation was so transfixed by the lads from Liverpool that everyone preferred to tune in instead of running around committing felonies and such. It's a nice story, but according to Snopes, it's not true. The rumor started when a reporter from the Washington Post snarkily remarked that while the Beatles were on that evening, no hubcaps were stolen anywhere. It was meant to infer that the Beatles appealed to the type of degenerate who would do such a thing, but the meaning was twisted and reprinted by Newsweek. The Post ended up printing a tongue-in-cheek retraction on February 21, 1964:

"It is with heavy heart that I must inform Newsweek that this report is not true. Lawrence R. Fellenz of 307 E. Groveton St., Alexandria, had his car parked on church property during that hour "“ and all four of his hubcaps were stolen. The Washington Post regrets the error, and District Liner Fellenz regrets that somewhere in Alexandria there lives a hipster who is too poor to own a TV set."

6. Wasn't it nice that Elvis kicked off the Beatles' American "debut" (see #5 for the explanation for the quotes) with a personal telegram? Just before John, Paul, George and Ringo took the stage, Ed Sullivan announced that he had received a "very nice" telegram from the King, wishing the Fab Four "tremendous success." Notoriously known for being jealous of the Beatles, Elvis had actually done no such thing. His manager, Colonel Tom Parker, was responsible for the note, and only sent it because he thought it would make Elvis look good.

7. As our own David Israel pointed out in September, this was not really the Beatles' American T.V. debut. They had appeared on NBC's The Huntley Brinkley Report on November 18, 1963, in a whopping four-minute-long segment on the craze that was sweeping England.

8. Davy Jones was also on The Ed Sullivan Show that night, but not as part of the Monkees. Davy was performing with the cast of Broadway's Oliver! Jones played the Artful Dodger (and ended up being nominated for a Tony for the role).

9. The Beatles had been gaining steam in the U.S. prior to the Sullivan show: the show was flooded with 50,000 ticket requests for the February 9 show "“ and it wasn't because of the show's other guest, Frank Gorshin (the Riddler from Batman the T.V. show). More than 49,000 people were disappointed because the studio only held 703 guests.

10. If you've never had the pleasure of seeing the performance (and hearing the ear-splitting shrieks of a crowd packed full of teenage girls), you're in for a treat:

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10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes
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iStock

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.

1. THEY’VE BEEN AROUND SINCE THE 17TH CENTURY.

While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.

2. A GERMAN IMMIGRANT BROUGHT THE TRADITION TO THE STATES.

It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.

3. THEY HAVEN’T ALWAYS BEEN STRIPED.

Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.

4. THEY’RE A (RELATIVELY) VIRTUOUS HOLIDAY TREAT.

Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.

5. THEY DON’T ALWAYS FIT ON A CHRISTMAS TREE.

The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.

6. EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN WAY OF EATING THEM.

Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.

7. MORE THAN A BILLION ARE MADE EACH YEAR.

According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?

8. A PRIEST PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN THE CANDY’S MOVE TO MASS PRODUCTION.

Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.

9. THEY HAVE THEIR OWN (ODDLY-TIMED) HOLIDAY.

December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.

10. THE PROCESS FOR MAKING THEM BY HAND IS MESMERIZING.

Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

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10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films
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MoviePilot.com

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.

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