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Elvis Presley : Jacksonville, FL. Florida Theater (3 shows per day) : August 10-11, 1956

Elvis Presley Jacksonville, FL. Florida State Theater
 
Elvis Presley in Person 10-11 August. Jacksonville, FL. Florida State Theater
Elvis Presley August 10-11, 1956

Elvis appeared at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville, FL. Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding warned Elvis in chambers after the first show that he must tone down his act. Elvis told reporters 'i can't figure out what I'm doing wrong'. Elvis modifies his show nonetheless, wiggling his little finger suggestively with a gesture that replaces some of his less restrained body movements and at the same time still drives the audience wild.

'One of the most memorable events in the theatre's history occurred in 1956, when Elvis Presley came to the Florida Theatre for his first concert appearance on an indoor stage.  Presley, the City of Jacksonville and the Florida Theatre found themselves subjects of a LIFE Magazine feature when Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding sat through the performance to ensure that Presley's body movements would not become too suggestive'. Florida State Theater.

Crowds await entrance to see Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.
Crowds await entrance to see Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.

Baptist preacher Robert Gray denounces Elvis in Jacksonville, FL
Baptist preacher Robert Gray denounces Elvis in Jacksonville, FL.

The controversy over Elvis' sex appeal reached its Zenith during the summer of '56, when Elvis arrived in Jacksonville for a series of performances. When he had appeared there in 1955, the Jacksonville girls had been so impressed they'd risen as one to strip him of his clothes. Now, in an effort to protect these females from further enjoyment, the Reverend Robert Gray held a prayer meeting at Trinity Baptist Church. There he informed his teenage flock that Elvis Presley had "achieved a new low in spiritual degeneracy. If he were offered his salvation tonight, he would probably say 'No Thanks'. The teens were then instructed to bow their heads and pray for Elvis' redemption. When Elvis learned of this, he was deeply insulted. 'I feel the preacher was just looking for publicity', he said. 'I have gone to church since I could walk'.

In Jacksonville they were scheduled to play six shows over a two day period at the Florida Theater.

When they arrived they were greeted with unsigned warrants prepared by Juvenile Court Judge Marion Gooding charging Elvis with impairing the morals of minors.

The judge told them he was upset over what had happened during their last visit (hysterical fans nearly ripped Elvis' clothes off) and he wanted to prevent a recurrence. If Elvis did those hip-gyrating movements for which he was famous, Gooding warned, he would sign the warrants and Elvis would be taken straight to jail.

Elvis arrives through the alley at rear of theater : Aug 1956.
Elvis arrives through the alley at rear of theater : Aug 1956.

Elvis arrives through the alley at rear of theater : Aug 1956.
Elvis arrives through the alley at rear of theater : Aug 1956.

Scotty Moore and Elvis on stage.
Scotty Moore and Elvis on stage.

Teenage fans during Elvis' appearance at the Florida Theatre.
Teenage fans during Elvis' appearance at the Florida Theatre.

Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.
Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.

Teenage fans scream during Elvis' appearance at the Florida Theatre.
Teenage fans scream during Elvis' appearance at the Florida Theatre.

The judge meets with Elvis after a performance.
The judge meets with Elvis after a performance.

Prior to the show, Judge Gooding invited Elvis to his chambers to set Elvis straight as to recommended restrictions on Elvis’ performance. Elvis declined this meeting but did meet with Judge Gooding at some point during this visit to Jacksonville. Fortunately there were no arrests or riots during the concert and Clarence enjoyed the concert and honor of representing Elvis so much that he forgot to bill Elvis.

Judge Gooding and committee members watch Elvis' show(s).
Judge Gooding and committee members watch Elvis' show(s).

With threats of criminal prosecution, Elvis and his management arranged for legal representation when he performed at the theatre. A young attorney by the name of Clarence Wood was hired to represent him. Clarence sat just off stage and was there just in case Judge Gooding decided to issue an arrest warrant at the concert and took the assignment in stride noting that Elvis was just a young man trying to entertain his fans.

Judge David Gooding, who holds the same seat his father did 50 years ago: Juvenile Court Judge, said 'my father had gotten calls from various cities that he had visited -- by law enforcement and judges from the area -- saying that riots had been caused as a result of his performance. My understanding is that a civic group filed a petition to censor the performance'. So the elder Judge Marion Gooding called the 'sinful' young singer into his chambers. The two talked over how much -- was too much. When they did the concerts, the police were out in force, armed with movie cameras. Elvis did what he was told, but all that nervous energy had to come out in some way. 'That's where the curled lip and the little finger thing really got started', said Scotty. 'He stood there flat footed and did the whole show'. The judge was delighted with the performance. Later, Elvis told reporters he was unhappy about the controversy. 'I don't do no dirty body movements', he told a reporter.

'My father's response, after meeting with Elvis and his lawyers, and hearing from the petitioners, was to instruct him that he would accept wiggling from side-to-side, but no back-and-forth motions', Gooding said. 'What I've been told is that Elvis behaved himself like a gentleman.

He was represented by an attorney, and the petitioners got along, and everyone got along well. And I think Elvis understood the concerns that my father had at the time. My father was very pleased with the way Elvis behaved himself during the performances in Jacksonville, all three of my sisters had dates and tickets to come to the concerts ... Dad let them come. He saw the performances and thought they were appropriate for them to see', the younger judge said. 'I can remember back during the '70s and '60s that my father would always watch Elvis with great fondness when he would appear on television. He was a big fan'.

Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.
Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956. From the book Photographs & Memories by JAT Productions.

Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.
Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956. From the book Photographs & Memories by JAT Productions.

Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.
Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956. From the book Photographs & Memories by JAT Productions.

Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.
Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.

Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.
Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.

Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.
Elvis Presley performs at one of his two concerts at the Florida Theatre on August 10 & 11, 1956.

'Drive careful on your way home', Elvis teased the crowd, and don't let anybody pass you'.

Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956.
Elvis Presley : Florida Theater : Jacksonville : August 10, 1956. From the book Photographs & Memories by JAT Productions.

View from the balcony.
View from the balcony.

Memories Of Elvis' Scandalous First Coast Show

It was the first big show in the history of the First Coast. The man we've come to call the King was just a kid, only 21 years old. But the way he sang his music -- along with the way he snarled his lip and shook his hips -- rocked this town. When this guy wiggled his waist -- he hypnotized the whole world. And on August 10th and 11th, 1956, the smokin' hot singer set his sights on six shows at the Florida Theatre.

You can still see the spot on Newnan Street where teenagers lined up around the block to get a glimpse. The mob was so stricken by the sideburns, the smile, and the sexiness -- guards slipped him in through a back alley -- the same way they sneak in some of the biggest stars today.

And you can't blame the crowd for its craziness. Just read the ad from the Florida Times-Union that ran the morning of the first show. It's jazzed up with bold letters and bolder claims. 'On stage today and tomorrow!' 'Mr. Dynamite -- in person!' 'The sensation of the nation!' In fact, 'the nation's only atomic powered singer!' The three big shows each night were well worth the ticket price: $1.25 in advance or $1.50 at the door.

For plenty of parents, though, all that talk of dynamite and explosions was more than just hype. Jacksonville is where the rock -- almost met the jailhouse. 'My father had gotten calls from various cities that he had visited -- by law enforcement and judges from the area -- saying that riots had been caused as a result of his performance', said Judge David Gooding, who holds the same seat his father did 50 years ago: Juvenile Court Judge. 'My understanding is that a civic group filed a petition to censor the performance', the younger Judge Gooding said. So the elder Judge Marion Gooding called the 'sinful' young singer into his chambers'.

The two talked over how much -- was too much'. My father's response, after meeting with Elvis and his lawyers, and hearing from the petitioners, was to instruct him that he would accept wiggling from side-to-side, but no back-and-forth motions', Gooding said. 'What I've been told is that Elvis behaved himself like a gentleman. He was represented by an attorney, and the petitioners got along, and everyone got along well'.

'And I think Elvis understood the concerns that my father had at the time'.

And to keep the King honest, the elder Judge Gooding sat quietly in the back row through all of the first three shows'. What I have been told is that my father was very pleased with the way Elvis behaved himself during the performances here in Jacksonville', said Judge David Gooding, who was four years old when all this went on. If you want proof the elder judge was all right with Elvis, consider this. 'All three of my sisters had dates and tickets to come to the concerts... Dad let them come. He saw the performances and thought they were appropriate for them to see', the younger judge said. And those three shows even won the King a new fan: the no-nonsense judge in the back'.I can remember back during the '70s and '60s that my father would always watch Elvis with great fondness when he would appear on television. He was a big fan', Judge Gooding said.

One month later came Presley's first stop on the Ed Sullivan Show. Millions watched, and his fame only grew. But to this day, any true story of the King's life includes a stop in Jacksonville'.

It's really kind of a unique part of history. One that we'll never see again', Gooding said.

Elvis Presley back stage at the piano : Jacksonville : August, 1956 : Note Red West at left.
Elvis Presley back stage at the piano : Jacksonville : August, 1956 : Note Red West at left.

Elvis Presley back stage at the piano : Jacksonville, August, 1956.
Elvis Presley back stage at the piano : Jacksonville, August, 1956.

Scotty and the Jordanaires load up the car for the trip to the next gig.
Scotty and the Jordanaires load up the car for the trip to the next gig.

Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens, walked into the hotel lobby, August 10, 1956, Jacksonville
Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens, walked into the hotel lobby, August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.

Elvis and contest winner, Andrea June Stephens, walk into the hotel lobby : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.
Elvis and contest winner, Andrea June Stephens, walk into the hotel lobby : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.

Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.
Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.

Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.
Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.

Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.
Elvis and the contest winner, Andrea June Stephens : August 10, 1956, Jacksonville.

Elvis Presley and Kathy Campbel : August, 1956.
Elvis Presley and Kathy Campbel : August, 1956.

The woman kissed by Elvis (when she was 15)

Thousands, maybe even millions of teenage girls in the 1950s and '60s dreamed of getting a kiss from Elvis Presley. Clay County resident Kathy Bray is one of the lucky ones who did get a kiss from the king of rock 'n' roll, who was known for his swiveling hips and sexy sneers. And she has photographic proof as well.

She was Kathy Campbell, a 15-year-old ninth-grader at Lakeshore Junior High School in August 1956 when she and three of her girlfriends heard Elvis would be performing at the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville.

'We were the first in line and we got a front-row seat for the concert', Bray said in a recent interview at her Fleming Island home. 'We were so excited'. After the concert, Kathy said a photographer asked her and one of her friends if they wanted to go backstage and meet Elvis. They said yes, of course. 'We went back there and met him', she said. 'He just said hello and we posed for the picture. You can tell from the picture that he was more concerned about being photographed than kissing me. But I didn't wash my cheek for over a week'.

Note! Read the full story ... The woman kissed by Elvis (when she was 15)

Elvis Presley Photos 31 July. Tampa, FL. Fort Homer Hesterly Armony (2.15pm & 8.15pm)

Elvis Presley Photos : Elvis Presley as you have never seen him before. ElvisPresleyPhotos.com

Elvis Presley Photos

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