NEVADA STATE JOURNAL
August 8, 1969
By Myram Borders
LAS VEGAS, Nev (UPI) Swivel-hipped singer Elvis Presley broke all attendance records on the ‘Strip’ during the first seven days of a month long engagement.
About 125 persons were lined up at the showroom reservation counter early Monday, normally a slow day. Last Saturday some 500 persons were there at 10am in hopes of getting reservations during the busy weekend. Many were turned away.
Officials at the International Hotel said weekends were sold out and that bookings during the week were “tight” for Presley’s first appearance before a live audience in eight years. Some Presley fans came all the way from Europe to see the show. The hotel received a letter from a woman in France with a 100 franc note enclosed as a deposit for 10 shows. The woman wanted reservations for both the dinner and midnight shows for five straight days.
“So far we have yet to have an empty seat in the house. He is the hottest thing that has hit Las Vegas”, said Bruce Banke, an executive of the hotel.
It was his first stage appearance in eight years and his only return engagement to Las Vegas in 13 years.
Presley in the flesh has lost nothing. It was still all there. Gyrating legs… wide stance … a bobbing head with tossed black hair … rotating guitar .. knee bends and the pounding rhythm of such tunes as Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, Jailhouse Rock, Heartbreak Hotel and one of his newest recordings In The Ghetto.
He was contracted to appear here for an undisclosed salary.
“We are very happy with the deal.” said Col. Tom Parker, the distinguished Presley manager with the honorary southern title. He blithely side-stepped the question of how much the performance was costing the International Hotel.
Reportedly, Presley is being paid as much as Barbra Streisand who opened the resort in early July for a reported $1 million during a three-year period.
Parker has deftly guided Presley, the Tennessee country boy, to the top of the heap in money earnings. Presley has recorded almost 50 gold records, an unprecedented number, and has made millions in movies.
Presley arrived in Las Vegas a week before the July 31 opening and practiced daily. He still was rehearsing at 5 p.m. on opening night – two hours before the invited guests began arriving.
Actor George Hamilton was among the first nighters along with performers such as Carol Charming and businessmen of the Howard Hughes organization. A plane load of admirers flew in from Atlanta, and members of the news media converged here from the East Cost and Europe.
Temperatures outside the International Hotel neared 110 degrees the night Presley opened inside the 2,000 seat showroom – after viewing an hour of Presley’s gyrations – blood pressure were on the rise.
“Oh… it’s Elvis,” wailed a woman in her 50s as if she were surprised to see the star after fighting long lines for hours to get a seat.
Presley received a long standing ovation. It was one of the the rare occasions when a Las Vegas standing salute was sincere rather than rigged with a few cronies of an entertainer planted down front to stamp and scream approval.
– Courtesy of elvisconcerts.com