On this night 50 years ago I was 7, gathered around a black-and-white TV set, watching “The Ed Sullivan Show.” That Ed Sullivan show. The one with the Beatles.
Frank Gorshin also was on that night, but that was before he became the Riddler on “Batman.” So we didn’t care about Frank Gorshin.
I remember being excited. Mom seemed excited, too. Dad? I don’t remember if Dad was excited, but if I had to guess, I’d guess not excited. Because when I was 16 and Dad came home from work, and loud music would be coming from the big stereo console in the living room — the one that looked like a piece of furniture — Dad would say that “What’s that?” and I would say “Kiss” and then Dad would say “Kiss, my a—” and turn it down from 11 to like 2.
After the Beatles appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” a bunch of times, Topps came out with Beatles bubblegum cards. So instead of getting baseball cards in my Easter basket that year, I got Beatles cards. And when my brother and I got in a fight, he tossed one of my Beatles cards into the toaster and pulled the lever down.
I nearly cried.
Had it been the card showing the Beatles with short haircuts, or even one of Ringo, I probably wouldn’t have cared. But this was a Paul card, from the blue series, the original series.
And whereas Ringo cards were like Jerry Lumpe baseball cards — it seemed you always got doubles of Jerry Lumpe or Bob Priddy or Mike de la Hoz — a Paul from the original series was like a Mickey Mantle card.
You almost never got a double of Mickey Mantle or Paul from the original series.