Before Mark Evanier had a web site, when he was still in print at the now-defunct Comics Buyer’s Guide, where I used to be a contributor myself under the name of — you guessed it, Dog Rat — I sent him e-mail saying he should have a web site that, no surprise, was already in the works. Mark’s had an online presence for a long time since then, and he writes a lot about stuff that interests me, like comic books and politics, where I learn something and/or agree with pretty much everything he says, and he also writes about some things that don’t interest me at all, like Las Vegas and Jerry Lewis. Mark is absolutely 100% right about Frank Ferrante, whose Groucho show is superb.
One thing that Mark is not is a Rock and Roll guy. He’s into show tunes, and nothing he has ever said conveys a sense that he followed the top 40 charts while growing up, or was captivated while listening to multiple playings of “Revolver” or “Who’s Next.” So today, when Mark commented on the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan, his background on Ed was interesting but I think Mark’s parting comment shows him out of his entertainment expertise element:
Some people called the disc jockey known as Murray the K “the fifth Beatle.” Nonsense. The fifth Beatle was Edward Vincent Sullivan…and without him, I’m not sure we’d have had the other four.
Not wanting to be a noodge, I don’t often write to Mark, but I did a little while ago because I feel that he’s so far off the mark about the Beat Boys:
“The fifth Beatle was Edward Vincent Sullivan…and without him, I’m not sure we’d have had the other four.”
I would say that you are probably in a minority of one in this opinion. You might want to ask Gary Owens what he thinks.
Ed got a lucky break, lining up the Beatles on the cheap, before “I Want to Hold Your Hand” went to #1 in America. The timing for the Beatles’ first appearance on the Sullivan show was perfect, but it wasn’t essential to their success.
Murray “The K” Kaufman called himself the fifth Beatle, no one else did, and whatever visibility he gleaned from that bit of self-promotion didn’t save WINS from quickly losing the New York airwaves to Dan Ingram and “Cousin Brucie” Morrow at powerhouse WABC.
And while writing this, by chance the music server played Pat Boone’s 1962 song “Speedy Gonzales,” featuring the voice of Mel Blanc. That’s an example of something about which I would never question Mark.