Once on camera, Elvis cleared his throat and said……..

9 Sep

File:Sullivan Elvis Ready Expression.JPG

On September 9, 1956, Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show (after earlier appearances on shows hosted by the Dorsey BrothersMilton Berle, and Steve Allen) even though Sullivan had previously vowed never to allow Presley on the show.[9] According to biographer Michael David Harris, “Sullivan signed Presley when the host was having an intense Sunday-night rivalry with Steve Allen. Allen had the singer on July 1 and trounced Sullivan in the ratings. When asked to comment, the CBS star said that he wouldn’t consider presenting Presley before a family audience. Less than two weeks later he changed his mind and signed a contract. The newspapers asked him to explain his reversal. ‘What I said then was off the reports I’d heard. I hadn’t even seen the guy. Seeing the kinescopes, I don’t know what the fuss was all about. For instance, the business about rubbing the thighs. He rubbed one hand on his hip to dry off the perspiration from playing his guitar.’ ”

Sullivan, however, was not able to host his show in New York City because he was recovering from a near fatal automobile accident. Charles Laughton guest-hosted in Sullivan’s place. Laughton appeared in front of plaques with gold records and stated, “These gold records, four of them… are a tribute to the fact that four of his recordings have sold, each sold, more than a million copies. And this, by the way, is the first time in record making history that a singer has hit such a mark in such a short time. …And now, away to Hollywood to meet Elvis Presley.”[12]

Once on camera, Elvis cleared his throat and said, “Thank you, Mr Laughton, ladies and gentlemen. Wow”, and wiped his brow. “This is probably the greatest honor I’ve ever had in my life. Ah. There’s not much I can say except, it really makes you feel good. We want to thank you from the bottom of our heart. And now…” “Don’t Be Cruel“, which was, after a short introduction by Elvis, followed by “Love Me Tender“.[12]

The second time he appeared that night, the camera widened out and the TV audience was able to see Elvis’ now infamous gyrations as he sang “Ready Teddy” and ended with a portion of “Hound Dog.” A record 54 million viewers – nearly 83 percent of America’s TV sets! – were tuned in to the event. The next day, pre-orders for “Love Me Tender” began rolling in, forcing the release of the single to be moved up by weeks.

The complete appearance on Ed Sullivan:

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