Really Big Shoo

On June 9th, 1954 television and radio personality Ed Sullivan shook the hand of 9th District Federal Court Judge George Bolt at the Lincoln Mercury dealership on Tacoma Avenue South before they both attended the cornerstone laying for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. Ten years later, on February 9th, 1964 The Ed Sullivan Show presented the British born Beatles live on American television for the first time . And ten years after that, on February 12, 1974 Judge Bolt handed down his landmark decision reaffirming the rights of Washington’s Indian tribes to fish in accustomed places. Rights that stemmed from the Medicine Creek treaty that was signed not far from South Tacoma at the mouth of the Nisqually River in 1854. Handshakes a hundred years apart and not that far away.

Ed Sullivan

TPL Caption:

Tacomans of all ages wait their turn to meet television host and columnist Ed Sullivan and to get his autograph at Ray Ridge Lincoln-Mercury on Tacoma Avenue during a personal appearance on June 9, 1954. While waiting they can check out the new 1954 Mercurys in the showroom. For 23 years, America invited Ed Sullivan into their homes on Sunday evenings for shows that featured opera, rock music, comedic acts, ballet and dramatic readings, often on the same telecast. The show’s name changed from “Toast of the Town” to simply “The Ed Sullivan Show” in September, 1955. Mr. Sullivan’s famous saying was “We have a ‘really big shew’ for you.” The former journalist with the awkward wooden delivery also had a sentimental side which appeared in his conversations with the Italian mouse, Topo Gigio, and in his continuing press for more children’s medical facilities. He was in Tacoma for the cornerstone ceremony at the new Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. ALBUM 7.


Written by TacomaHistory

This site is about the way history, in this case of a city and it's surrounds, is remembered or recorded in stories and small bits of memory. It's also about the way images and stories go together, how they inform and enrich each other and how we as thinking people fill in the content between a narrative and a visual document. So here is my city in time past, the way it looked and the people and events that create its character. For more than 20 years I have taught a 5 credit course on the History of Tacoma at the University of Washington Tacoma. With an average of 30 or 40 students a year, each doing a research paper as their primary focus for the course, I have benefited from many paths of inquiry and many researched and assembled stories. Here are some of them in the retelling along with the treasures of photographs and images in the collections of the Washington State Historical Society, Tacoma Public Library, University of Washington Digital Archives, Washington State Archives at the Office of the Secretary of State, Library of Congress, Washington State University, Alaska State Library, and many other archives, libraries and private collections.


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