We all know what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist attacks destroyed the Twin Towers in New York City, murdering almost 3,000 innocent civilians. Instead of revisiting that horrific event, let’s turn instead to a musical milestone that took place nearly 50 years earlier.
On Sept. 9, 1956, Elvis Presley made his television debut on the Ed Sullivan Show. An estimated 54 million people (82.6 percent of the TV audience at the time) sat glued before their television sets as Elvis sang “Hound Dog” and “Love Me Tender.” The cameras were forbidden to show anything below his waist, so viewers could only guess at what all the fuss was about. For his efforts, Presley was paid what was then the largest sum ever for a TV performance — $50,000.
Elvis’s recordings and other memorabilia, including visits to Graceland, continue to attract thousands of new fans every week. So much so, in fact, that the Presley estate earns more on royalties from licensing agreements today than Elvis ever earned while he was alive.
— Chip Wood