Jackie Mason's Finger Gesture - On the October
18, 1964 installment of THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW, as comedian Jackie Mason concluded
his comedy routine, he noticed some off-stage finger gestures from Ed Sullivan's
indicating that his time was 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..." Ed Sullivan thought that the glib finger joke 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 controversy over the "finger" damaged Mason's career. He retaliated with
a libel suit in the New York Supreme Court and won. They had 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
Years later, Jackie Mason resurfaced in a successful Broadway Tony Award
winning one-man show and in the short-lived sitcom CHICKEN SOUP/ABC/1989.
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