The Super Bowl Halftime Show is one of the most-watched television events of the year, garnering hundreds of millions of viewers in recent years. The production of the spectacles can cost around $13 million and exhibits some of today's most popular stars who give career-defining performances. However, the show did not start out like that, and has changed dramatically since its inauguration in Super Bowl I.
What was the first Halftime Show?
The first Super Bowl Halftime Show occurred during Super Bowl I, also known as the AFL–NFL World Championship Game, and occurred on January 15, 1967, in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The show included performances by the University of Arizona Symphonic Marching Band and the Grambling State University Marching Band, along with the Anaheim High School Ana-Hi-Steppers Drill Team and Flag Girls. Additionally, the show featured jetpacks and an appearance by the Three Stooges. The following is an excerpt from Larry Fine's autobiography, Stroke of Luck, describing the experience.
Larry Fine later commented that the outburst cost The Stooges a $42.50 fine by CBS.When did the Halftime Show transition to using celebrity singers?
Marching bands were commonplace for NFL and AFL teams during the early years of professional football. The first five Super Bowl Halftime Shows showcased little more than an assortment of local collegiate and high school marching bands, including the Florida A&M University, Southeast Missouri State, Southern University, and Miami area High School marching bands. However, this first changed during the Halftime Show in Super Bowl IV, in 1972, which starred Carol Channing and Ella Fitzgerald, and was the first halftime show to premiere celebrity vocalists.
Around this same time, the halftime show slowely began to evolve into more of a production, rather than simply a fun transition into the final half of the game. Similarly, the shows also started to use titles as seen in Super Bowl X which showcased a halftime show titled "200 Years and Just a Baby: A Tribute to America's Bicentennial" by Up with People.
Even so, it was not until the later 1990s that the halftime show transitioned into its modern incarnation. It would take stars like Gloria Estefan, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and New Kids on the Block to propel the halftime show into its modern day prominence.
What were the most-watched Halftime Shows?
The most tuned-in for Halftime Shows include Madonna in 2012 (114 million), Bruno Mars in 2014 (115.3 million), Coldplay in 2016 (115.5 million), and Lady Gaga in 2017 (117.5 million).
However, the Halftime Show reached preeminence during Super Bowl XLIX with Katy Perry's scintillating performance, which also featured Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliot, and attracted 120.5 million viewers.