Presley signed by Ed Sullivan (1956)

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Even after Elvis Presley made his first TV very successful appearance on Steve Allen’s variety show on July 1, 1956, Time magazine reported that rival Ed Sullivan dismissed any notion of having the singer on his program, even adding, “He is not my cup of tea.” But television ratings have the almost magical power of being able to change someone’s tune. Just two weeks later, the following news story appeared in the New York Times.

Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, September 9 1956

Presley Signed by Ed Sullivan

Singer to appear on 3 CBS Shows, Beginning Sept. 9, reportedly for $50,000

Ed Sullivan joined the crowd beating a path to Elvis Presley’s agent yesterday. He completed arrangements to have the vocalist appear on three of his Sunday evening shows.

The host of the Columbia Broadcasting System show boosted Mr Presley’s stock in more ways than one. The three engagements will reportedly pay a total of $50,000. Two weeks ago, when the singer appeared on Steve Allen’s competing program he was credited with having helped the National Broadcasting Company’s ratings make one of its rare spurts past Mr Sullivan’s showing. He was said to have received $5,000 or $5,500 at that time.

Mr. Presley became the center of controversy after his appearance last month on Milton Berle’s show, also on NBC TV last month. The use of bodily contortions in projecting his tunes was considered to be in bad taste by some critics and a number of viewers.

However, his appearance on the Allen show was relatively placid, to the satisfaction of his critics and the discontent of his admirers.

In announcing the transaction, Mr Sullivan said that he had received thousands of letters from teenagers asking him to have the singer on his show. He said that he had never seen Mr. Presley until recently when he saw a kinescope of the vocalist’s appearance on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s “Stage Show” telecast and found nothing objectionable.

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Mr Presley will make his first stand on the Sullivan show on Sept. 9, and the two others at about eight-week intervals.

Photo and videos: Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show, September 9 1956. See more here!

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