Mojo Filter wrote:
cadillac-elvis wrote:There may not have been significant increases in the viewing numbers on those Dorsey shows, but
the difference between the first four appearances and the 5th appearance is very noticable.
the reaction of the live audience has changed. It's no longer polite or nervous applause, they are losing it and letting themselves go.
Elvis must have felt the difference too. Of course by this time, he had his first real national hit on the charts as well.
Yes, the Dorsey shows did have quite a stir by the 5th appearance for the reason you state, but if I remember correctly, there are some screams and reactions starting from the second appearance. Of course, the first show Elvis was an unknown, outside the south anyway, so the reaction was going to be moderate from a national point of view because they didn't know who he was, even though by that point he'd already caused sparks in the south with his unique brand of music that caused the initial change in music by future musicians while he was at Sun, and now he was spreading that change even more nationally by TV exposure. But even the first show you can bet that people started talking "who the hell's that?"or "he's weird" because he so different from all previous entertainers before him, certainly this would be the case outside the south. Elvis' regional fans were probably watching him from the first Dorsey show.
But the second Dorsey show did cause enough stir and interest from Hal Wallis to give Elvis a screen test for Paramount in March 1956 when someone told him, "switch onto the CBS program and watch this guy". As a result, Wallis was impressed and admitted that the boy "had something" that could result in something special for the big screen.
The Dorsey shows may not have had the TV ratings of Berle or Sullivan but they certainly did send ripples throughout America, and the very reason he was booked for the Berle show.
The reason the Berle show caused such controvsey was because of his "stage act". If you study Elvis' stage act from Jan '56 to '57, by television footage and concert footage from both years, you can see that it progressed wilder and wilder as time moves forward. For instance, the Dorsey shows basically has him just shaking his legs (and I must point out that the cameras on the Dorsey shows don't really show all of his legs and in some cases not even below the waist, it's only when it comes to Scotty's solos that the camera moves back a little and even then not past the knees sometimes) and playing the guitar which he does all the way through the song except for "I Was The One" where he removes the guitar. So that's the difference between the Dorseys and the Berle the stage act was a little wilder on the Berle show. And "Heartbreak Hotel" plus his first album were massive sellers before he even hit the Berle show and part of the reason for its success was his appearances on the Dorsey that boosted the sales no doubt.
In later performances, TV or Concerts, the guitar is virtually not being used and giving Elvis more freedom to move around because he knows it's his stage act that is causing the mayhem so he does it more and more and exaggerates his moves and this is what is captured on the Berle Show and people couldn't believe it.
But his act gets even wilder, particularly in concerts as '56 is nearing its end where he starts to lie all over the stage, dragging the mic across the stage floor, dropping to his knees. Unfortunately not much of this is caught on film except for the 57 Tupelo footage, which is a shame really.
Also note, and I think this is significant is that Elvis was originally signed to do 4 Dorsey shows with an option to add 2 more.
but the first 4 appearances were done in consecutive weeks. But, after the 4th appearance on
Feb. 18th, he didn't appear again on the show until Mar. 17th. So, for another 4 weeks, after that 4th appearance, "Heartbreak Hotel" was allowed to climb the charts. so, when he comes back on Mar. 17th, he was allowed to do the song, like it sounded on the record, rather than the ill-fated orchestra version from the third appearance on Feb. 11th. And it's obvious people knew who we was, and he had found new "friends".
On the last Dorsey show, which was also great, but he cut out one verse of "Heartbreak Hotel".
When he comes aboard the Navy Ship to do his first appearance on the Berle show, it doesn't seem like he had the impact he had on
the Dorsey shows.
It looks like the audience is all adult and mainly service men and woman.
I don't think there was much controversey with this show, and audience reaction is not
on the level of the 5th and 6th Dorsey shows.
Then of course comes the second Berle show that the stir began, the whole Elvis is vulgar campaign got it's start.
When he slowed down the ending to "hound dog", when his movements were quite outrageous for the time,
he got quite a bit of negative publicity, but that was great for his popularity.
And of course by then he had his 7 year movie contract and he was on a roll that wouldn't stop.