Elvis on Sullivan

By | Sep 9, 2010

It was on Sunday night September 9, 1956 that Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Even though the show was broadcasted from New York, Elvis’s appearance came from California, where he was in the middle of filming Love me Tender, his first film role.

Ed Sullivan had originally said that he would never have Elvis performing on his show. This was until Elvis appeared on the Steve Allen Show on July 1, 1956. The Steve Allen Show drew twice as many viewers than his show and won the time spot for the first time. Allen and Sullivan was on at the same time on different networks. Elvis had also appeared on The Milton Berle Show and the Dorsey Brothers’ Stage Show

Ed Sullivan was not hosting the show on that night. Sullivan had been involved in a car accident and unable to host. Charles Laughton introduced Elvis that evening. 50-60 million people watch the show that night.

Elvis appeared twice during the show. His first performance, as many know, the camera’s focus on Elvis was from the waist up. He performed Don’t be Cruel and Love Me Tender. Love Me Tender was from his new movie and it had not yet been released.

Later in the show he performed a second set, Ready Teddy and Hound Dog. the camera angles were more relaxed and widen out to see some of his famous gyrations.

For three appearance Sullivan paid Elvis $ 50,000, which in 1956 was a lot of money. Elvis would appear on the shows of October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957 to complete the contract.


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