Image Entertainment just released Elvis Presley: The Ed Sullivan Shows: The Performances, a DVD collection of Elvis’ three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956 and 1957.
Young, gorgeous Elvis first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show on Sept. 9, 1956, during the filming of Love Me Tender. Backed by The Jordanaires, Elvis sang a beautiful rendition of “Love Me Tender” as well as “Ready Teddy” and “Hound Dog”. In my opinion, Presley’s energy, charisma, and vocal power remain unmatched.
The special features on the disc include a segment explaining the events that led up to that first appearance. Sullivan initially refused to book the singer, but eventually gave into pressure when he fell behind in ratings. Sullivan was in the hospital at the time of the show, so actor Charles Laughton guest hosted.
Presley’s second and third appearances on the show were good, but not quite as captivating for me personally. He returned on Oct. 28, 1956 to sing “Don’t Be Cruel”, “Love Me Tender”, “Love Me”, and “Hound Dog”.
His January 6, 1957 performance began with a medley of “Hound Dog”, “Love Me Tender”, “Heartbreak Hotel” (which alternates with with “Don’t” as my favorite Elvis song), and “Don’t Be Cruel”. Later he sang “Too Much”, “When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold”, and a soulful rendering of “Peace in the Valley” (I don’t usually like gospel, but this is the exception!).
Other “Elvis Moments” included on the disc are various brief mentions of the singer during Sullivan’s monologues, promos and introductions from the show, a clip from the film Love Me Tender, the first moving images of Elvis captured on 8mm film during an early outdoor performance, and home movies of Elvis and Priscilla riding horses. There are also several interviews, including a 1992 interview with Sun Records founder Sam Phillips.
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