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Insiders Artifact: 1956 TV Guide Listing for "The Ed Sullivan Show"

September 06, 2012

This week's Insiders artifact features the TV Guide listing for the first of Elvis' three appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show" on September 9, 1956. Elvis had already appeared on other national television shows such as "Stage Show," "The Milton Berle Show" and "The Steve Allen Show," when Sullivan booked Elvis. After negotiations with Colonel Tom Parker, Sullivan paid Elvis $50,000 to appear on September 9, 1956, October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957. For Elvis' first appearance, Ed Sullivan was not able to host due to injuries from a very serious car accident. In his place, Oscar-winning actor Charles Laughton hosted the show from New York. Elvis actually appeared on a stage in Hollywood where he was filming "Love Me Tender." Wearing a plaid jacket and holding a guitar, Elvis thanked Laughton and said, "This is probably the greatest honor that I've ever had in my life." Elvis attracted the highest ratings for any television variety show at the time, receiving 80% of the national viewing audience.

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