Wayback Wednesday: Stage Show 1954

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Stage Show Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com

Sixty-five years ago, today, the CBS TV variety series Stage Show debuted. It was produced by Jackie Gleason Enterprises and hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. Starting out as an hour-long, summertime replacement for The Jackie Gleason Show, it was returned in the Fall of 1955.

This is the show that introduced the world to Elvis Presley.

Dave Marsh, in his insightful musical biography Elvis, writes about the moment Elvis Presley burst upon the American scene via The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show on January 28, 1956. “In his first appearance on the Dorsey Brothers’ TV show, the young singer rocked the world”. Marsh described Elvis’ startling rendition of Heartbreak Hotel and concluded, “He owned the song and he owned the crowd”.

Elvis Presley Image Two
March 17, 1956
Photo Credit: elvispresleymusic.com.au

After 17 months of personal appearances all over the south […], Elvis […] made his first appearance […]. Those shows were broadcast, live, from the CBS Studios in New York City. Young Elvis The Pelvis’ first appearance […] was followed by 5 others throughout the next 2 months until the 24 of March, 1956.


Introduced by Bill Randle, Elvis’ January stage set was Shake, Rattle & Roll, Flip, Flop & Fly and, I Got A Woman.

Bobby Darin also made his television debut on this show in March of 1956 singing Rock Island Line. The June Taylor Dancers were regular guests & performers and, Jack Carter became the permanent host in the show’s final season. Up against the The Perry Como Show on NBC, ratings began to decline. The final show was aired September 18, 1956, two months before the death of Tommy Dorsey. Jimmy passed in June of the following year.

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9 thoughts on “Wayback Wednesday: Stage Show 1954

    Gunjan Arora said:
    July 4, 2019 at 2:00 AM

    WOW! knowing history is so amazing!!!

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    July 4, 2019 at 6:40 AM

    I always wondered where Elvis got his break. Thank you.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      July 4, 2019 at 4:37 PM

      That was a surprising find. Everyone always refers to when Elvis was on Ed Sullivan. He was there in September 1956 but, these appearances pre-date that show. And, no one ever mentions it.

      Glad you enjoyed!

    badfinger20 said:
    July 16, 2019 at 10:43 PM

    This is when Elvis was great… before the movies.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      August 31, 2019 at 12:17 AM

      He was stunning. He blew everyone’s hair back, much like The Beatles eight years later.

      I’ve seen some of his dramatic movies. He was a damn fine actor.

        badfinger20 said:
        August 31, 2019 at 12:29 AM

        He was a really good actor with a manager who was short-sighted. He was offered A Star Is Born role in the mid-seventies… but the Colonel didn’t think it was enough money. It would have helped his career at the time. He wanted it bad.

          The Hinoeuma responded:
          August 31, 2019 at 1:16 AM

          Wow. Imagine him against Streisand instead of Kristofferson. Boggles the mind. That is right up there with imagining Tom Selleck instead of Harrison Ford for Indiana Jones.

          The ‘Colonel’ was an ass.

            badfinger20 said:
            August 31, 2019 at 1:19 AM

            I would have loved to see it. You never know…it could have prolonged his life because he planned a diet and a work out routine.

            Yes he was…

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