Elvis Fourth National Show…Ed Sullivan
Although at first, Ed Sullivan said he would never want Elvis on his show, but Sullivan changed his mind when ‘The Steve Allen Show’ with Elvis as a guest had about twice as many viewers as Sullivan’s show that night (they were competing for the same audience since they were in the same time slot).
After negotiating with Elvis’ manager, Ed Sullivan paid Elvis the huge sum of $50,000 for appearing on three of his shows: September 9, 1956, October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957.
For the first show, Elvis was actually at Television City in Hollywood and two of the photos below were taken in Studio 33. His performances that night were fed live to Studio 50 in New York where Sullivan should have been, but wasn’t. Sullivan had been in a car crash and was in the hospital…actor Charles Laughton filled in as host that night and here is Laughton introducing Elvis that night.
The reason Elvis did the show from Hollywood is because the date coincided with the opening of his first movie, ‘Love Me Tender’.
Elvis’ first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show was a major success. Over 60 million people, both young and old, watched the show and many people believe it helped bridge the generation gap for Elvis’ acceptance into the mainstream.
He returned to New York on October 25 in preparation for his second appearance on the Ed Sullivan’s show on Oct. 28. Below is a photo of Elvis, Nick Adams and Natalie Wood at a few days later at a NY theater seeing ‘The Last Wagon’ in which Adams co starred.
Elvis’ third and final appearance on Sullivan’s show on January 6, 1957, contains the legendary moments when the CBS censors would not allow his entire body to be shown. Seen only from the waist up, Elvis still put on an exciting show, singing seven songs in three segments. In one segment, Elvis and the Jordanaires sang ‘Peace in the Valley’, which Elvis dedicated to the earthquake victims of Eastern Europe.
Sullivan closed the show with a seal of approval for this new family-friendly version of Elvis, saying, ‘This is a real decent, fine boy. We’ve never had a pleasanter experience with a big name’. This was Elvis last television appearance until the Frank Sinatra Special on his return from the Army. When the show was over, Elvis boarded the midnight train to Memphis, where on Tuesday, Jan. 8, he celebrated his 22nd birthday. Enjoy and share! – Bobby Ellerbee