On May 27, 1956, The Ed Sullivan Show aired Peter and Joan Foldes' apocalyptic animation A Short Vision, thereby scarring wee viewers who had no clue they had front-row seats to doomsday.
The blog CONELRAD Adjacent has assembled a detailed history of the broadcast. What's hilarious about Ed's decision to screen the film was the fact that he sprung A Short Vision (above) upon his audience with barely a warning. Indeed, that evening's line-up instead promised acts like the ventriloquist Senor Wences, the "winners of the Harvest Moon dance contest and the Hasleves, acrobats." Here's how Ed introduced Armageddon:
[The] host was less than adamant in his parental caution on the initial broadcast. Here, verbatim, are his introductory remarks before showing what was about to become a very controversial film. Sullivan opens his comments with a timely reference to the first hydrogen bomb to be dropped from an American airplane - a feat that was trumpeted from the front pages of newspapers across the country earlier in the month of May 1956.
"Just last week you read about the H-bomb being dropped. Now two great English writers, two very imaginative writers - I'm gonna tell you if you have youngsters in the living room tell them not to be alarmed at this ‘cause it's a fantasy, the whole thing is animated - but two English writers, Joan and Peter Foldes, wrote a thing which they called ‘A Short Vision' in which they wondered what might happen to the animal population of the world if an H-bomb were dropped. It's produced by George K. Arthur and I'd like you to see it. It is grim, but I think we can all stand it to realize that in war there is no winner."