View Full Version : Remembering the hillbilly named Elvis Presley

10-23-2008, 03:48 PM
At a regular meeting, a Shriner said his son had heard a hillbilly singer / guitar player that would attract a mob of young people anywhere he played. His name was Elvis Presley. We decided to bring him to Forrest City as an addition to our money-making projects for our charities and operations.

It happened I was president of the club at that time. I set things in motion to bring him over. It was not difficult. By telephone we agreed on a date, time and to split the gate receipts 60 percent for Elvis and 40 percent for our club. The school made the Forrest City High School gym available. Elvis offset his limited income as an entertainer by driving a delivery truck from Memphis to Little Rock at night sometimes after a show.

When show time was at hand, my wife, Rosemary, asked me if she would enjoy it. I told her I doubted it as Elvis was a hillbilly type that wore a pink tuxedo, played a guitar and danced all over the place. She stayed home with our four young children.

I don't remember but do not think there were any tickets used, just cash collected at the two gym doors. I was the money man that gathered up the receipts and took it to a private place where an older woman and I made the 60 / 40 split. It was summertime and she was wearing a low-cut dress. She had a way of leaning over and handling the money with both hands. Somewhat distracting, but I got pretty much of 40 percent, I think.

I watched the show mostly from the door. Elvis went over big. His pink tux and guitar didn't keep him from gyrating over most of the basketball court. We all know that his style of dancing was bringing on a cultural change in entertainment.

Linda Hassler saved the day that kept Forrest City from being rude as we older ones just spoke to Elvis and left him alone. Girls invited him for a ride around town and he saw the sights.

That engagement was his last or next to last performance in the Mid-South area before he appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show from New York. On that show the cameras were kept sighting only from the waist up. Soon thereafter he became a top celebrity in the entertainment industry. My, how things have changed.


10-23-2008, 04:03 PM
Interesting article. Bet his wife was sorry later on that she stayed home with the kids instead of going to see Elvis perform.:D

Thanks Jen,


10-23-2008, 04:42 PM
I bet she did!
Thanks for the story,it was very interesting.