South Slope. Asheville.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

TV Icon Discovers Watt Espy

Hope you can read what Ed Sullivan wrote to Uncle Watty.  This was long before Watt Espy achieved any notoriety from his death penalty work, so my guess is, being the showman that Ed Sullivan was, he simply knew how to flatter and charm on a grand scale.  And likely this "gift" made him the name he was.  If you were going to be a BIG star during his era, you had to appear on his show.  And often, like his successor Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan was given credit for discovering new talent.  I remember my mother telling that she saw Elvis' first performance on The Ed Sullivan Show. I think it was the most widely viewed TV event of the time.  I had always thought The Ed Sullivan Show was Elvis' introduction to America.  However, digging a bit more into this story, Ed Sullivan did not think Elvis' dancing and sexual appeal were suitable for the American TV audience - Funny, isn't it? - and his show actually was not the first television show to invite Elvis on.  "Between January and March 1956, Elvis made six appearances on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey's Stage Show."  - source  Click here for his first television performance.  Elvis even then went on The Milton Berle Show before Ed Sullivan came to his senses.

For my other posts on Elvis Presley, including when my brother and I visited Graceland, click here.
And interesting bit about Ed Sullivan:
As part of the United States-Soviet Union cultural exchange program, Mr. Sullivan led a variety troupe on a successful Soviet tour in 1959 and presented an hour-long telecast of the Moiseyev dancers on his show.  - Source  This happens to be same year that Granddad Major's Alabama Agribusiness group visited the USSR.  To learn more about it, click here.  Would their paths have crossed in Moscow??
This is a postcard I mailed Mother from Los Angeles when Mark and I were on a trip there in the late '90s.  When I find the scan of the written side, I will add it here.

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