A Nation that was Rocked: How The Ed Sullivan Show Contributed to the Success of Elvis Presley

Powerful Essays
The power of television is strong and inevitable. Television has the ability to draw people in and view the world through a perspective one would think unimaginable. After the second world war ended in 1945, electronic sales boomed and more families started to gather around the tv at night to view widely famous television shows. Specifically, The Ed Sullivan Show was known for its plethora of celebrities and up and coming entertainers. The shows popularity was able to take a small town artist and make he or she into an enormous success, specifically, Elvis Presley who was, “something new under the Sun” (Altschuler 30). Teenagers, however, viewed the television as an escape and a look into the unknown and intriguing world of African American culture. Through the extreme recognition of The Ed Sullivan Show, the power of mass media and the fascination with African American culture, Elvis Presley’s success skyrocketed and made him one of the most famous performers of all time whose fame became an inspiration for many.
As the television sales increased, so did entertainment. Edward Sullivan, also known as Ed, was hired to be the host of his own Sunday night, variety show in 1948 originally named Toast of the Town, but was later changed to The Ed Sullivan Show. From the moment the show begun to its end in 1971, it’s popularity spiked and people were drawn in every night to see what Ed Sullivan would do or say next. One of the many factors that added to the shows success was its abundance of different, unlikely guests. Sullivan featured guests that ranged from up and coming artists to already famous, Hollywood celebrities. A few of his best guests included the Beatles, Walt Disney, and Julie Andrews (Sundays with Sullivan). Not only did ...

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... be another Elvis, and there’ll never be another person like him” (Klein 294).
Elvis was like no other entertainer in the world. The talented man’s success and music will live on as some of the best in history. Elvis inspired a generation and overall transformed the way we see and listen to music today. John Lennon’s son, John Lennon Jr., even states, “Before Elvis, there was nothing” (Klein 291). However, without the help of The Ed Sullivan Show, Elvis’ influence would not have been able to spread across the nation. Television still has that impact in today’s society. One learns of new artists and up and coming celebrities through the world of social and mass media. Today’s generation relies on the power of mass and social media to express their opinions, thoughts and creativity. Without it, this world would be stuck in a non-innovated and non-expressive culture.
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