After finishing up in Las Vegas, Elvis began using "Hound Dog" to close his road show. He had 17 bookings between May 13 and June 3, and so he had his raucous version of the song nailed down by the time he and the boys arrived in Los Angeles on June 4 for the Berle show. Several reporters and columnists were on hand for the rehearsal that day. Other scheduled guests included actress Debra Paget, "Sheena of the Jungle" actress Irish McCalla, and seven-year-old Barry "Boy Wonder" Gordon, "but Elvis is the big one in the spotlight now," noted Herald-Express columnist Bob Hull.
The rehearsal discussion with the press seemed to down play Elvis's rowdy rock 'n' roll reputation. Berle told the assembled journalists, "This kid sings to music the way kids who love him talk." Elvis added, "All I do is sing … I want to sing ballads, stuff like the things Harry Belafonte does. I can't help it if rock and roll happens to be popular now. I enjoy it and get a kick out of it."