Mama saw Elvis on the street corner!
Today is Elvis’s birthday and he would be turning 80 years old – I can’t even begin to imagine him at that age – and what he would be doing! But hey, Chuck Berry is still out there doing concerts! So, you’re as young as you feel – or so they say….
When I think about Elvis, I remember looking for his newest album or 45 at Lawhorn’s Music Store or those Friday night movies at the Perry Theater. But most of all, I remember being glued to the movie screen watching his latest movie – just wishing I was that girl he was kissing on screen. Didn’t we all sit there wishing that? No matter who was really sitting next to you… come on girls, you can tell the truth now! How could you Not watch Girls! Girls! Girls – or Blue Hawaii and not be on the edge of your seat, drooling over him. Elvis starred in “31” movies from 1956 – 1969!
Elvis Aaron Presley was born on January 8, 1935 in East Tupelo, Mississippi to parents Vernon Elvis Presley and Gladys Love Smith. He was born a twin, with his brother, Jesse Garon Presley, born thirty-five minutes before him – but stillborn. Elvis ended up being an only child.
Elvis grew up in a two-room “shotgun” house on 306 Old Satillo Road. My mother has often called some of the houses in her town in Georgia by that name, and it always fascinated me, but I never really knew what she meant. The name “shotgun” means a narrow and long house with the second room directly behind the first – you can see in the front and out the back door at the same time.
Mama was living in Memphis, Tenn. late 40’s into the early 1950’s as my father was stationed at nearby Millington Naval Base. Being a young Navy wife, she often took the bus into town to shop and often passed the Army-Navy store on main street where she remembered seeing a young boy strumming and singing. He’d be standing outside there with his foot propped up on the corner light – and to this day she will swear on a stack of “anything” that – he was Elvis! All the girls stopped to listen and look – as she said he was quite cute with that look he had going on. Who knew he would become so famous? Maybe if she had insight – well who knows what might have happened.
In 1958, Elvis was drafted into the Army; he felt it was his American duty to serve and was proud to do so. On the day he arrived at Fort Chaffee, near Fort Smith, Arkansas, he stepped off the bus to a swarm of girls – it looked like a movie production! And right behind the the girls were the photographers – in hot pursuit of that first picture of Elvis heading onto the Army base. Just like one of his movies – Girls, Girls, Girls everywhere!
As I searched for a couple of Elvis pictures, I was certainly given quite the selection. My Yahoo search turned up 139,000,000 results! After flipping through a few pages, and seeing many that I never saw before – I gave up looking. What would Elvis think of all those photos? The Google search of Elvis in the Army only turned up 9,580,000! So if you have a few minutes, and want to look at Elvis photos, just google him; be prepared to spend some time looking!
Where were you on September 9, 1956?
Were you one of those 60 million viewers who watched his debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show? Eighty-two percent of the viewing audience was tuned in that night and I bet all the young girls were crowed around the TV set, if they were lucky enough to have one in their homes at that time. I was only six years old at that time, so I don’t have any early memories, but my mother remembers! All I have to do is mention Elvis and I hear, “I saw him on the street in Memphis.”
And if you missed him on the Ed Sullivan show, well you can go check out that performance of Don’t Be Cruel – when America came to truly know him as “The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sGZm7EOamWk
I wish it was Friday night again at the movies – and I was that girl sitting on the edge of my seat!