The Ed Sullivan Shows

Elvis Presley

Image Entertainment

This triple-DVD set not only features Elvis' first three appearances on Ed Sullivan (Sept. 9 and Oct. 29, 1956 and Jan. 6, 1957), it includes the shows in their entirety. So you get the newly minted, fresh-faced King sandwiched between dog novelty acts, scenes from Broadways musicals, acrobats and comedians (including first-timer Carol Burnett in a not-funny set). I suppose that the unexpurgated shows do have some value in terms of historical Americana (at one point, Ed plugs a convention of the winners of the Congressional Medal of Honor to be held in Lakeland, Fla.), but mostly it's campy filler. As for Elvis, his performances are lively but not galvanizing. By the third show, his aw-shucks style has given way to hamming it up through a medley of "Houndog," "Love Me Tender," "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Don't Be Cruel." He already looks disinterested in the material. Elvis uses ironic little gestures and chuckles to elicit squeals from the audience — as if he had his own personal on/off switch. Oh, and by the way, it wasn't until the third show that they started shooting him from the chest up. There's some fascinating content here, just not enough of it. 2.5 stars

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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