“see him! hear him! on stage show” flyer

Es­ti­mated reading time is 4 min­utes.

ELVIS’ FIRST AP­PEAR­ANCE on na­tional tele­vi­sion was on Jan­uary 28, 1956, when he per­formed two songs on Jackie Gleason’s Stage Show. This was the first time that most Amer­i­cans got to see him andun­less they were a fan of country & western music—it was the first time they got to hear him sing!

At the time of this first ap­pear­ance, I Forgot To Re­member To Forget / Mys­tery Train was a double-sided hit in its eigh­teenth week in the Top 10 on the Bill­board Country & Western Best Sellers in Stores chart. His new single, Heart­break Hotel / I Was The One, had just been re­leased the day before.

Elvis Presley – See him! Hear him! on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show!

To pro­mote these ap­pear­ances, someone printed and dis­trib­uted a 10 x 14-inch flyer. The front of the flyer fea­tured a black & white photo of the singer that would adorn the covers of his first al­bums a few months later.

The flyer re­ferred to Elvis as “the most talked-about new per­son­ality in the last 10 years of recorded music.” This was a bold state­ment in early 1956 that would seem rather re­served by the end of the year.

Be­neath the photo, the flyer read, “Elvis Presley. See Him! Hear Him! on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show” with the dates for the singer’s first four appearances.


See him: front of flyer advertising Elvis Presley's first appearances on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show in 1956.
This is the front of the flyer ad­ver­tising Elvis Pres­ley’s first ap­pear­ances on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show in 1956. De­spite the damage done to this item (creases, stains, chips out of the edges), it sold for $3,500 in 2020!

See him on Stage Show

This flyer is an in­cred­ibly rare Elvis ar­ti­fact! A copy was sold on the Her­itage Auc­tions web­site in 2020. The site’s ed­itor wrote:

“There’s no ques­tion this flyer was meant to draw eye­balls to the TV set on those dates, pro­moting the heck out of RCA’s new wun­derkind and get the ball rolling be­hind the many records they were al­ready starting to press. Best guess is that it was sent out to all press, radio and re­tail out­lets, hoping the latter would post them in their stores for the whole world to see.

These were in­deed Elvis’s very first tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ances, with RCA ex­er­cising its mighty clout. Al­though pro­duced by Jackie Gleason, Stage Show was hosted on-air by big-band leg­ends Jimmy and Tommy Dorsey. The per­for­mances took place at CBS Stu­dios be­tween 53rd & 54th Streets in Man­hattan. The winter weather was rough that first night and Elvis was un­known in the Big Apple, so at­ten­dance was sparse.

So this wickedly charis­matic piece, even in tough con­di­tion, could be con­sid­ered Elvis’s big-bang hand­bill ad­ver­tise­ment from RCA Records. It’s pretty spec­tac­ular any way you look at it. And it’s as rare as rare can be; the very first time Her­itage has ever had one for sale.”

To see the ad on Her­itage Auc­tions, click here.


See him: back of flyer advertising Elvis Presley's first appearances on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show in 1956.
This is the back of the Stage Show flyer. The ad­he­sive tape at the top and the water stain in the middle is more ev­i­dent on this side. Four pieces of tape re­in­forcing the crease marks are vis­ible here that cannot be seen on the front.

The Avid Record Collector’s price guide

The ed­i­tors at Her­itage Auc­tions did not as­sign an overall grade to this piece but in­stead listed the fly­er’s flaws. These in­cluded up­wards of twenty little pin­holes, vis­ible creases, water stains, tape residue, and small tears.

De­spite this damage, the “See him! Hear him”/Jackie Gleason Stage Show flyer fetched $3,500 at auction!

I could not find any other ref­er­ences to this item on the in­ternet (which doesn’t mean there aren’t any ref­er­ences, just that I didn’t find the right set of words to call up that reference).

On the other hand, its being listed in 2020 may have been the first time it was of­fered for sale on the in­ternet and most dealers and col­lec­tors simply don’t know of its existence.

Should a copy in nearly mint con­di­tion be found, it could sell for five figures . . .

A flyer ad­ver­tising Elvis Pres­ley’s first ap­pear­ances on Jackie Glea­son’s Stage Show in 1956 was re­cently un­earthed and, de­spite ex­ten­sive damage, it sold for $3,500! Click To Tweet

See him: retouched front of flyer advertising Elvis Presley's first appearances on the Jackie Gleason Stage Show in 1956.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page is an al­tered ver­sion of the image on the Her­itage Auc­tions site. I “re­placed” the pieces that were torn out of the flyer around its edges and cleaned up both the tape and water stains. I left the hor­i­zontal crease alone.

See him: Elvis in his gold suit in 1957.Postscriptually

While I am not sur­prised that other copies in better con­di­tion of this piece have not turned up, I am a little sur­prised that unau­tho­rized re­pro­duc­tions (you know—bootlegs) haven’t found their way onto the col­lec­tors market.


Hah—somebody beat me to it and is selling re­pro­duc­tions (stains and all) on Etsy. If you want one, click here.



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