On This Day: Elvis Presley Makes a Memorable Appearance on ‘The Steve Allen Show’ in 1956

by Clayton Edwards

For a time, Elvis Presley was inescapable. For instance, his songs were all over the radio as well as in just about every jukebox. At the same time, he had a burgeoning film career. So, moviegoers could see his face plastered on movie posters and on the silver screen. The King wasn’t just on the big screen, though. He made several television appearances over the years as well.

In fact, some of Elvis Presley’s most iconic and memorable moments come from his time on the small screen. For instance, he made several appearances on the Milton Berle Show. One of those appearances became famous because they would only show him from the waist up. The more stuffy members of the audience found the King’s dance moves vulgar. So, they demanded the show censor his performance.

In one of those appearances on the Milton Berle Show, Elvis Presley performed the song “Hound Dog.” His dance moves during that appearance caused a huge media backlash. More than that, it caused one host to decide to use the song to mock Elvis.

That brings us up to Elvis Presley’s July 1, 1956 appearance on the Steve Allen Show. Here’s how it went.

Elvis Presley on the Steve Allen Show 65 Years Ago Today

Steve Allen wasn’t a fan of Elvis Presley, according to Amo Mama. In fact, he was among those who thought that the King’s only talent was gyrating his hips. At the same time, he saw the backlash from Elvis’ previous television performance of, “Hound Dog.” So, he had something special in store for Presley.

When it was time for Elvis Presley to perform, Steve Allen wanted him to do “Hound Dog.” However, it wouldn’t be any old performance. He wheeled a basset hound out on stage on a podium. Allen wanted Elvis to sing to the hound. The pup was sporting a top hat and bowtie. So, he was nearly as dapper as Elvis himself.

Many believe that Steve Allen was trying to make fun of Elvis Presley by doing this. However, the video below shows that the King had a grand old time. For starters, Elvis loved animals. So, having the pooch on stage was no big deal for him.

Elvis Presley starts the performance by holding the dog’s chin and looking directly into his eyes. He can’t keep the smile off of his face while he’s dealing with the ridiculous setup.

During the first verse, you can see Elvis Presley adjusting the pooch’s hat. He even takes time to pet the pup. Then, the best part of the video comes about one minute in. Elvis kicks into the chorus, “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog. / Cryin’ all the time,” when he can’t hold back the laughter anymore. He never misses a beat. However, you can hear him laugh for a second as he croons the soon-to-be=hit to his canine co-star. He wraps the performance up by giving the hound a big hug. It might be the most wholesome thing Elvis ever did.