THE LIMA NEWS (OH)
August 7, 1969
By Earl Wilson
LAS VEGAS. It was the summer of 1956 – which I make to be 13 years ago – that we first started hearing about Elvis Presley making pelvis movements on the Jackie Gleason summer replacement show, hosted by Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey.Our columns were filled in those days with a lot of people not with us any more – Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield and, in politics: Adlal Stevenson.
Eight years later came The Beatles and Beatlemaniacs. Could you believe That was five years ago… 1964? Where are all those little Beatlemaniacs now who used to write horrid letters to me when I was so bold as to predict that Elvis, already a veteran, would outlast them as a team?
Now Elvis has a new breakthrough – he opened as a saloon singer at the Las Vegas International Hotel the other night, this coming with his hit record In The Ghetto and a new picture, Charro.
He performed so brilliantly – singing such of his songs as Hound Dog, That’s All Right and Jailhouse Rock, bareback – riding his guitar and doing cyclonic exercises with the microphone – that he will definitely challenge the idolators of Tom Jones, particularly the adoring females.
It was his first personal appearance in nine years, and his only night club engagement since he played the Frontier here in 1956. In fact, he told the audience, “Welcome to the new Frontier – I mean the new International – well, I guess I blew the job.”
In the audience were celebrities from Las Vegas and Los Angeles – Carol Charming, Burt Bacharach and Angie Dickinson, Wayne Newton. Toti Fields, Ed Ames, Shirley Bassey, Donald O’Connor, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, busting their hands in applause.
Comedian Sammy Shore, appearing ahead of Elvis, told the audience that he had been discovered by Col. Tom Parker, when he was a young man working as a boll weevil smasher in Tupelo. Miss. The comedian tried to demonstrate how Elvis mashed a boll weevil with his foot, this reportedly being the birth of his famous pelvic grind.
Signs saying just ‘ELVIS’ were all over Las Vegas. Col. Parker, a great promotional wizard, had waited until Barbra Streisand closed her one month engagement, and then hit the town with 200 radio spot announcements.
Parker admitted. “This town has never seen a promoter like me.” The visiting newspaper people all wanted to rush out to see their favorites in the other clubs at midnight.
Col. Parker, at the last minute, called a 12:30 a.m. press conference for Elvis. It was hinted that he might have something dramatic to say. Elvis told them he was glad to be there. Ecstatic over two genuine standing ovations. Elvis was candid about other things. When a reporter asked him “Why do you dye your hair?”
He replied, “Because it’s gray.”
– Courtesy of elvisconcerts.com