Imagine being a teenager and getting the chance to interview rock n’ roll legend Elvis Presley at the beginning of his career in 1957. The following article by teen Ruby Woods, was found in a newspaper archive from the Detroit Tribune.
“Next week the Olympia will be jam packed to greet that famous rock n’ roll singer, none other than Elvis Presley.
Elvis who is a clean-cut, sincere honest youngster who knows he is in the limelight but as yet is unspoiled.
Elvis was born in Tupelo, Mississippi January 8, 1935, he was an identical twin, but his brother did not survive, so Elvis was the only child in the family. His father was a paint factory employee.
Elvis attended grade school in Tupelo and graduated from Hume High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
Elvis Grade School Photo Age 11
Elvis Hume High School
His first guitar cost a tidy sum of $2.98 and he learned to pick out his own accompaniments.
While attending school in the day time he was studying at night to be an electrician. During this time, he decided that he would make an amateur record for his mother, so off he went to Sun Records Co., in Memphis, and cut a record titled “That’s All Right Mama.”
The president of the recording company heard the record, and asked Presley to leave his name and address, realizing that there indeed were great possibilities in this rather unusual style.
Elvis heard nothing more from the recording company, so for a year and a half he worked odd jobs. Then almost before he knew it was happening, he was rushed off to the studio for a recording session and a contract was signed. From it all came his first two sides of “That’s All Right Mama”, with “Blue Moon Kentucky” back to back.
The night the record was to be played over Memphis radio station WHQB, Elvis slipped off to a movie house and hid himself. He was afraid his friends would laugh at him. But while he shyly watched a movie, destiny was sitting on his shoulders.
Fourteen telegrams and 47 phone calls hit the station during the three hour broadcast of disc jockey Dewey Phillips, who had to play the same record seven times.
During the week that followed, 7000 of Presley’s first records were sold in Memphis.
From then on things moved fast; personal appearances, more recordings, stacks of fan mail, TV guest spots, theatre dates and now the movies.
His recordings of “Mystery Train,” “I Forgot To Remember To Forget,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” and “I Was The One,” are just a few of his first sensational record hits.
Always devoted to his parents, he missed them so much he had them come to Hollywood to be with him while he worked on his latest picture at Paramount Studios.
“My home base will always be Memphis” says Elvis. But with his acting career all set, he will naturally have to spend a good deal of his time away.
Shunning the easy route of celebrities who sign up for a guest star just for the box office purposes, Presley chose to start his film career as a full-fledged actor.
In 1956 he tested for a dramatic scene from “The Rainmaker” produced by Hal Wallis and singing his famous “Blue Suede Shoes.”
He was immediately signed to a term contract by Wallis. His first Wallis film for Paramount release was “Loving You,” to be followed by “Sing You Sinners,” which will go into production in early fall.
Before these he made his screen debut in “Love Me Tender” for 20th Century-Fox.
Elvis Love Me Tender Costume Test Photo
Although he is a prize catch for any young lady, he has managed to remain fancy free and has no serious romantic attachments.
This six foot, blue eyed kid has his brown hair cut in a style that is his trademark- a heavy mop over his forehead, a ducktail in the back and sideburns. His nose is straight, a set jaw and has a strong mouth. Yes, Madam, he is brutish and handsome.
When I asked Elvis just what he is thinking about when he drops his head and comes up with that childish smile. He just smiles, and replies, “I am thinking how wonderfully blessed I am and that I’m so grateful to all my fans all over the world for expressing joy with my singing.
I love to hear them yell, I enjoy every minute of it when I’m out there. I’m so happy with it all.”
I love the obviously star struck love sick teenagers description of Elvis.
I must note a few discrepancies in the article that have now come to light.
It was later discovered that Elvis first ever recording was not “That's Alright Mama”.
When he walked into Sun Records, he recorded, “My Happiness” and gave it to his mother as a late birthday present.
Elvis Presley's First Ever Recording, "My Happiness"
Elvis' 1st Recording Digitally Transferred at the Country Music Hall of Fame
As for his first movie audition, “Elvis read through a part in "The Rainmaker." A film that starred Burt Lancaster and was one of the biggest hits of the year. Elvis was so convincing in his test, that he was offered the part of Katharine Hepburn's younger brother, who was sort of only half-there in the brains department. For certain, it was a difficult part, but Elvis ran through the series of emotions the part called for as if he had been acting professionally for years.
Colonel Parker didn't like the part and decided that Elvis should pass the role up. So the part went to Earl Holloman, a character actor who received a lot of credit for his part in "The Rainmaker." It was decided that Elvis' screen debut would wait until Hal Wallis could have a screenplay, titled The Reno Brothers, written especially to introduce Elvis. The title of the film was, of course, later changed to "Love Me Tender."
I hope you enjoyed this unique perspective of a teenager who was fortunate to interview and write about one of the biggest music legends of all time.
Ruby Woods The Detroit Tribune March 23, 1957
Third Man Records https://www.thirdmanrecords.com
The Memphis Sound https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tC-LG7wfvmU
Strictly Elvis No. 76 https://elvis-collectors.com/strictly03.html
Elvis School Picture http://www.dailyyonder.com
Pinterest Elvis Photo