The Screening Room: Happy 55th Anniversary Bye Bye Birdie

News   The Screening Room: Happy 55th Anniversary Bye Bye Birdie
 
Bye Bye Birdie, the Tony-winning musical that poked fun at the Elvis Presley craze, opened at the Martin Beck Theatre (now the Al Hirschfeld) 55 years ago today.

The show starred Dick Van Dyke and Chita Rivera, but one of the highlights was a song in which neither of them appeared, "Hymn for a Sunday Evening," a reverent ode to variety show host Ed Sullivan, whose Sunday night TV program, originally called "The Toast of the Town," and later just "The Ed Sullivan Show," was widely known just as "Ed Sullivan."

To promote Bye Bye Birdie, it was a natural idea to do a scene from the Broadway musical on Ed's program. And, guess which number they decided to do?

Here are Paul Lynde, Susan Watson, Marijane Maricle, Johnny Borden and the chorus performing "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" for its namesake, who comes out and shakes their hands afterward. Introduced by Van Dyke, the clip opens with original Birdie (Dick Gautier) doing a scene from the show, so you can see what the original sets and costumes looked like. The song starts at the 6:14 mark.

 

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