Black SplatThe Ed Sullivan Show (1948-1971)

"Here’s a finger for you, and one for you..."

The Ed Sullivan Show - Jackie Mason

Description: An alleged insult delivered to host Ed Sullivan by comedian Jackie Mason on the October 18, 1964 installment of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW/CBS/1948-1971).

As comedian Jackie Mason concludes his comedy routine, he notices some off-stage finger gestures from Ed Sullivan indicating that his time is winding down.

According to Mason, he jokingly took the moment to comment on the signs, by saying, “and here’s a finger for you, and one for you." Unfortunately, Ed Sullivan thought that the glib finger reference was actually a case of Jackie Mason giving him the “finger” on-the-air. Outraged, Ed Sullivan barred Jackie Mason from any further appearances on his program.

The resulting controversy over the “finger” damaged Mason’s career. He retaliated with a libel suit in the New York Supreme Court and won. They viewed his performance and found “nothing offensive.”

However, the influence that Sullivan possessed relegated Jackie Mason to “show-business-limbo” forcing him to work in outlying Catskill mountain resorts and related second-hand entertainment establishments.

Years later, Jackie Mason resurfaced on the successful Broadway Tony Award winning one-man show and in the short lived sitcom CHICKEN SOUP/ABC/1989.

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