Elvis Presley had a career that spanned beyond his monster hits like “Jailhouse Rock” and “Hound Dog” and his sleeked-back black hair and gyrating hips.
For instance, Presley had quite a film and TV presence. He starred in movies like “Flaming Star,” “Love Me Tender,” and “Loving You.” He also had a variety of appearances performing on television programs like “The Ed Sullivan Show,” one of the most popular variety programs at the time.
In fact, he was once paired with TV icon Andy Griffith for NBC’s “The Steve Allen Show.” On July 1, 1956, he had some fun alongside up-and-coming comedian Griffith, and Steve Allen, who poked a little fun at the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
He had Elvis Presley tone down his trademark pelvis thrusting and gyrating (the ones that got him his nickname Elvis the Pelvis). He has Presley sing to a basset hound earlier in the episode. There’s nothing like watching Presley sing “Hound Dog” to an actual hound dog on live television.
Andy Griffith and Elvis Presley
The two were on the program before their careers had reached their peak. Andy Griffith had not yet appeared on the classic eight-season-long classic show, “The Andy Griffith Show.” At the time, Griffith was just a North Carolina native who had starred in the Broadway show “No Time for Sergeants.” It actually earned him a Tony nomination as well.
Similarly, Elvis Presley didn’t have his landmark appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” yet. It was one of the most controversial of his career.
Andy Griffith and Elvis Presley were joined by Imogene Coca, a comic actress known for her role in “Your Show of Shows.” The skit was called “Range Roundup.” The team comes together to get a laugh from crowds by making fun of country music variety shows of the time like “Ozark Jubilee.” This includes the nicknames “Rattlesnake Griffith” and “Tumbleweed Presley.”
Elvis Presley was known as quite the jokester and prankster in his personal life. He even cracked the funniest joke of the skit. “Dentists recommend Tonto Bars, because tests prove that Tonto Bars cause more cavities than any other candy bar,” he said.
The small little team on the skit even gets together to sing a little Western-tune. Eventually, Coca trys to take over the performance and ends up jokingly ruining the show. The gang then finishes strong anyways, as they move and sway around the stage.
Elvis Presley: The Jokester and Comedian Behind the Scenes
Besides starring in little skits on live television, Elvis Presley liked to entertain his close group of friends and family.
According to Express, Elvis Presley once played an elaborate joke on some of his guests in the basement of his Graceland mansion.
“The basement was always a room for whatever reason for mayhem. I would transform when I would go down the stairs and I don’t know why, just throwing things down there and getting into trouble … He, I found out later, threw a tear gas bomb or laughing gas when everyone was down here. There were exits so people could get out…” Lisa Presley said in an interview on “The Talk” from 2013.
Elvis Presley had quite the stage presence, but he knew how to entertain on and off the stage.