On September 9, 1956, 21 year-old Elvis Presley made his debut on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Ed Sullivan couldn't be there to host the show as he was recuperating in hospital from a recent car accident. Noted British actor Charles Laughton stood in for Ed. Elvis Presley himself was not in the New York Studio due to movie commitments in Hollywood. He was in the midst of making his acting debut in the 20th Century Fox movie "The Reno Brothers," later retitled "Love Me Tender."

Although at first Ed Sullivan said he would never want Elvis on his show, he changed his mind when The Steve Allen Show with Elvis as a guest had about twice as many viewers as Sullivan's show that night.  After lots of negotiating with Elvis' manager, Ed Sullivan paid Elvis the huge sum of $50,000 for appearing on three of his shows: September 9, 1956, October 28, 1956, and then on January 6, 1957.