In high school I was part of a weekly radio program called “Teen Talks” in Eugene, Oregon. We heard that Ed Sullivan was coming to town with a small group of actors, including Tyrone Power, Raymond Massey, Judith Anderson and Martin Gabel to perform "John Brown's Body" in McArthur Court, the largest performance space in town, mostly used as a basketball court.
Several weeks before his arrival we wrote a letter to the “Ed Sullivan Show” requesting a personal interview with him. Much to our surprise, and delight, our request was granted and we were given instructions to hold the interview behind stage at the intermission.
The radio station’s sound engineer brought along his wire recorder for the event and we were introduced to Mr. Sullivan. I don’t remember the relevant questions we might have asked, like who was his favorite interview, or
how was he able to
transition so successfully from a writing career into television.
|My interview with Ed Sullivan, May, 1955|
When I am in the presences of famous people, and much to my detriment, I completely lose my composure, thinking I will make a stupid statement and true to history I did with Mr. Sullivan. Out of nervousness I asked, “How tall are you, Mr. Sullivan?” and he said “Why, five ten.” And I replied, “No you’re not. I am five ten and you are shorter than I am.” He kindly said that I must have been wearing heels – which I wasn’t. I was so embarrassed by myself that I froze and my companions breached the etiquette bump and asked some more relevant questions.
Much to Mr. Sullivan credit he was a complete gentleman and couldn’t have been nicer to a small group of inexperienced teens.
Thank you Mr. Sullivan wherever you are, and I am sorry to report that I still have this composure impairment and still make a fool of myself in the presence of greatness. I hope I never have to meet the Queen.