Elvis Presley | On The Train to, Memphis, Tennessee | July 3, 1956
After a ratings-grabbing appearance on 'The Steve Allen Show' and a recording session in New York City that produced 'Hound Dog' and 'Don't Be Cruel', Elvis returned to Memphis by train for a concert at Russwood park.
In the morning, Elvis repaired to Penn Station to start a 27-hour train ride home to Memphis. At Penn Station he ran into fellow singer Gene Vincent, congratulating Vincent on the success of his hit 'Be-Bop-A-Lula'
During the train ride Elvis listened over and over again to the recordings he had made the previous day.
In the above photo Elvis listen's in bed to a replay one last time.
July 4, 1956
All Shook Up! Nearing Memphis after a 27 hour long trip, Elvis freshens upon the train only to find after washing his hands there are no more paper towels. Not making a big fuss, he shakes his hands dry.
Southern Railroad, July 4, 1956. (Photo © Alfred Wertheimer. All rights reserved.)
Elvis during a stop at Sheffield Alabama. Elvis ordered chicken and snack cakes.
What a shot, Elvis is looking at the camera, everyone else is looking at the food. No one is paying any attention to Elvis! Guess the folks didn't know they were buying chicken a la king.
You ain't nothing but a panda bear!
'Really, believe me, I'm Elvis Presley'
'Really, believe me, I'm Elvis Presley'. Those are words the King probably never had to use again. But on this train ride to Memphis from New York, the two young woman didn't believe who he was. So Elvis pointed to Alfred Wertheimer, and asked the girls why he'd have a photographer taking his picture on a train if he wasn't Elvis Presley. Good point! The girls then seemed to believe him, but still turned down an invitation to his concert at memphis' Russwood Station July 4th 1956. This photo is either july 3 or July 4, 1956.
Two hours outside of Memphis heading to his home, July 4, 1956.
When asked Alfred why he decided to follow Elvis when he was still unknown, he replied that Elvis 'permitted closeness, and he made girls cry'. Photographers today must be jealous looking at these intimate pictures. Now press agents build impenetrable walls to guard the artist’s myth. Alfred made the best of his access, clicking the shutter at the right moment and using mostly available light.
Can you guess what Elvis is doing in this picture?
Can you guess what Elvis is doing in this picture? According to photographer Alfred Wertheimer, Elvis was amusing his companions on the trip with an impersonation of Colonel Parker. He took the Colonels hat, tilted it to one side and began barking orders in an exaggerated Southern drawl. The Colonel, oblivious to it all, just kept right on talking. Elvis shrugged his shoulders and put the hat back on the rack.
Why is Elvis laughing?
It could be because because he was heading home to Memphis after a ratings-grabbing appearance on The Steve Allen Show and a recording session that produced 'Hound Dog' and 'Don't Be Cruel'. It could be because he was in the process of taking the entertainment industry - indeed the whole country - by storm. But actually, according to Alfred Wertheimer, it was because Elvis had just told a joke that no one else laughed at.
Elvis Presley telling a story on the train back to Memphis, T.N, July 4th 1956
When the train finally got near Memphis, Elvis asked to get off at a stop near the outskirts of town called White Station. It was closer to his home on Audubon Drive than the main station in Memphis. Wertheimer did not miss this moment with his camera and as a result, he captured a truly remarkable series of images of Elvis walking as a regular person for what may have been the last time. Wertheimer describes that moment:
With only the quick acetate cuts, no luggage or instruments, he hopped off the train and headed down a grassy knoll towards the sidewalk of this little town. Between telephone poles and Cadillacs, Elvis stopped to ask a black woman on the street for directions and then turned to wave to us on the train. As the train started moving, I quickly figured that I was better off taking pictures of what was going on in front of me instead of jumping off the train and following Elvis. If I had stopped to collect my bags and all my equipment, I would have missed what was probably one of the last times he could just walk down the street like an ordinary guy.
Within a few short months, Elvis Presley would be the most talked-about entertainer in the world. No one would ever again be able to photograph Elvis as Alfred Wertheimer had. Wertheimer captured Elvis at a crossroads of culture. He, with his camera, was our witness to the hero's return.
Somewhere in the area of White Station (on Poplar) the train stops and Elvis gets off alone so he can walk to the Presley family home on Audubon Drive. It is believed the train stopped somewhere between Mendenhall and Colonial Roads. This is a special moment in Elvis' life as he had not yet reached the level of fame that prevented him from walking home alone in Memphis. Photographer Albert Wertheimer captured the moment from the train of Elvis walking on Poplar Avenue (above) in the direction of downtown (perhaps waiting for the train to pass so he could cross over the tracks). In Al Wertheimer's photo above you can see a 'Town and Country Barber Shop' in the background. So from this we can locate the position today.
But first you have to understand that the area around Poplar and Mendenhall has changed considerably since 1956. Back then, Mendenhall was a two-lane road that stretched southward from Summer and dead-ended at Poplar. It didn't cross the railroad tracks, as it does today. About a block to the east, another two-lane road, called Mt. Moriah, ran southward from the railroad tracks along Southern all the way to Quince. The two roads did not line up, so drivers had to make a 'jog' along Poplar if they wanted to drive from Summer to Quince.
Sometime in the 1960s, the city widened the roads and constructed that big curve that runs by the Half Shell, effectively linking Mendenhall to the north with Mt. Moriah to the south. But here is where it really gets confusing. From the early 1900s to the late 1950s, there was a little train station at that intersection, on the south side of Poplar. The depot was called White's - later just White - Station. But it was located at Mendenhall/Mt. Moriah, not White Station. The road known as White Station was originally called the Bartlett Road, and stretched from Summer to Poplar. It didn't gain the name White Station Road until the late 1950s, when developers extended it south of Poplar to bring traffic to all the subdivisions they were building in that area. The Town and County Barber Shop shown in the photo was part of a row of one-story brick buildings that stood at the northeast corner of Poplar and Mendenhall. Other businesses on that corner included Modern Shoe Rebuilders, Hamkirk's Drive-In Grocery, Hamilton's Variety Store, and Brouse Drugstore. They all came tumbling down when Mendenhall was widened. A parking lot for a bank and Houston's restaurant occupies the site today. You know, that was a pretty long walk for Elvis, but back then, the little depot at Poplar and Mendenhall would have been the closest train station to his house on Audubon.
Memphis | 1034 Audubon Drive
Memphis, Tennessee, July 4, 1956 When Elvis reached Audubon Drive, he was welcomed home by his beloved mother, Gladys, his father, Vernon, his grandmother, Minnie Mae, and his high school sweetheart, Barbara Hearn, along with other cousins, friends and neighbors. Wertheimer photographed Elvis' homecoming, even going so far as to photograph Elvis while swimming with him in his new pool and while riding with him on the back of his Harley Davidson motorcycle. Wertheimer has repeatedly said that 'Elvis permitted closeness', and he appreciated the opportunity to get close to Elvis as a photojournalist.
Elvis couldn't wait to let loose in the pool
After a long train trip from New York, Elvis couldn't wait to let loose in the pool.
And even though the water was shallow due to a plumbing problem, he dove in and the horseplay began.
But suddenly, Elvis surfaced - he'd forgotten to take off his watch.
So Elvis yelled for his mother, who scurried to the edge of the pool. And when she dried the timepiece with her dress and assured him it was still working, it was back to water fun for the young man who would be King.
Elvis on the phone at his Audubon Drive house with his young cousin, Billy Smith, who would later become part of the 'Memphis Mafia', Elvis' entourage. In the background is Elvis' father, Vernon Presley, shaving.
After having taken a shower, and still bare chested, Elvis has his high school sweetheart, Barbara Hearn, listen on the phonograph to the acetate disc with cuts of his songs from the New York recording session. 1034 Audubon Drive, Memphis, Tenn. July 4, 1956. (Photo © Alfred Wertheimer.) Click image to view larger size.
Taking a break from fans, Elvis relaxed with family on the patio of his home at 1034 Audubon Drive in Memphis. Elvis paid $40,000 for the four-bedroom, ranch-style house in 1956, a year before he puchased Graceland. On the same day this photograph was taken, July 4, Elvis also played a benefit concert at Russwood Park.
Elvis Presley : Hudson Theater in New York City : July 1, 1956
Elvis Presley : RCA Studio One, Memphis, Tennessee : July 2, 1956
Elvis Presley : Russwood Park, Memphis, Tennessee : July 4, 1956
Elvis Presley : Joseph's Hospital Memphis Tennessee : July 5, 1956
Elvis Presley RCA's McGavock St Studio | January 10 and 11, April 14, 1956
1956 business contract signed by Colonel Parker and Elvis for The Elvis Presley Show
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | January 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | February 4, 1956
Elvis Presley, Scotty Moore and Bill Black | February 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Backstage February 10, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show| February 11, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | February 18, 1956
Elvis Presley The Lousinana Hayride | March 10, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | March 17, 1956
Elvis Presley singing and playing gospel music | March 17, 1956
Jimmy Dean and Elvis Presley on the Jimmy Dean WMAL-TV Show, March 23, 1956
Elvis Presley The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show | March 24, 1956
Elvis Presley The Milton Berle Show | April 3, 1956
Elvis Presley Arena | San Diego | April 4, 1956
Elvis Presley Wichita Falls, Texas | April 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Fair Park Coliseum, Lubbock, TX | April 10, 1956
Elvis Presley RCA's McGavock St Studio | January 10 and 11, April 14, 1956
Elvis Presley San Antonio | April 15, 1956
Elvis Gives Out With Crazy Cool Interview | April 17, 1956
Elvis thrilled Tulsa teens at fairgrounds April 18, 1956
Elvis Presley Oklahoma City | April 19, 1956
Elvis Presley April 20, 1956 | North Side Coliseum, Forth Worth
Elvis Presley, New Singing Find, Booked Into New Frontier | April 21, 1956
Elvis Presley at The New Frontier Hotel | From April 23, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas Sun | April 26, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas SUN | April 28, 1956
Review | Elvis Presley at The New Frontier | Las Vegas SUN | May 1, 1956
Letter to the editor | Las Vegas SUN | May 12, 1956
Elvis Presley Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota | May 13, 1956
Elvis Presley May 14, 1956 | LaCrosse Wisconsin
Elvis Presley May 15, 1956 | Ellis Auditorium
Elvis Presley Detroit, MI. Fox Theater May 25, 1956
Elvis Presley Columbus, Ohio | May 26, 1956
Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ performed two shows at the UD Fieldhouse in Dayton | May 27, 1956
Elvis Presley Dayton, Oh., as Elvis left for Memphis | May 28, 1956
Elvis greeting fans at Los Angeles Airport, 1956
Elvis Presley 1956 | March/ June/ July
Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley swap autographs, Memphis | June 1, 1956
Elvis Presley Arriving in Oakland | June 3, 1956
Elvis Presley In Concert | Oakland California | June 3, 1956
The Milton Berle Show Los Angeles | June 5, 1956
Elvis Presley June 7, 1956 | Long Beach Municipal Auditorium
Elvis Presley June 8, 1956
Elvis Presley | Wink Martindale Show | June 16, 1956
Elvis Presley Interview with Wink and Sandy Martindale
Elvis Presley and Red West at Elvis' 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 14, 1956
Vernon, Gladys and Elvis Presley sing at the piano | 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 17, 1956
Elvis Presley and Barbara Hearn | June 19, 1956 | Fairgrounds Amusement Park, Memphis
Elvis Presley and Barbara Hearn at Elvis' 1034 Audubon Drive House | June 19, 1956
Elvis Presley with Susan Hayward | June 28, 1956
Elvis Presley Mosque Theater, Richmond, Va | June 30, 1956
Elvis Presley 1956 | March | June | July
Elvis Presley Hudson Theater | New York City | Steve Allen Show | July 1, 1956
Elvis Presley RCA Studio One, Memphis, Tennessee | July 2, 1956
Elvis Presley On The Train to, Memphis, Tennessee | July 3, 1956
Elvis Presley Russwood Park, Memphis, Tennessee | July 4, 1956
Elvis Presley St. Joseph's Hospital Memphis Tennessee | July 5, 1956
Elvis Presley Ocean Springs, MS. | Thursday, July 12, 1956
Elvis performs with The Statesman Quartet at Ellis Auditorium | July 27, 1956
Elvis Presley Water Skiing | Biloxi July 31, 1956
Elvis Presley Love Me Tender Movie Set Photos
Elvis Presley Olympia Theater, Miami, Florida | August 3, 1956
Elvis Presley August 5, 1956 | Tampa Florida
Elvis Presley Florida Theatre St. Petersburg | August 7, 1956
Elvis Presley Jacksonville, FL. Florida Theater (3 shows per day) | August 10-11, 1956
Elvis Presley August 7, 1956 | Candid Photos
Elvis Presley at the Knickerbocker Hotel, Hollywood | August 18, 1956
Elvis Presley Love Me Tender Recording Sessions | August 24, 1956
Elvis Presley August 31, 1956 | On the set of Love Me Tender
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show 1956-1957
Elvis Presley September 1-3, 1956 Recording Sessions
Elvis Presley First Appearance | The Ed Sullivan Show | September 9, 1956
Elvis Presley Asleep In Flight | Back To Memphis September 23, 1956
Elvis Presley September 26, 1956 | Tupelo, MS. Mississippi-Alabama Fairgrounds
Elvis Presley wearing the new 'Elvis Presley hat', backstage in Tupelo, September 26, 1956
Elvis Presley at the Mid-South Fair | Memphis September 29, 1956
Elvis Presley October 5, 1956
Elvis Presley Cotton Bowl, Dallas | October 11, 1956
Elvis Presley October 18, 1956
Elvis Presley October 19, 1956 | Assault Charge
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show Rehearsals | October 26-28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | Dress Rehearsals | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | Press Conference | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley gets his Polio Shot | October 28, 1956
Elvis Presley The Ed Sullivan Show | October 28, 1956
Natalie Wood and Elvis Presley outside the Hotel Chisca | October 31, 1956
What is an Elvis Presley?
The Million Dollar Quartet (December 4, 1956)
Elvis Presley December 11, 1956 | Mobbed by fans in Memphis after running out of gas
Elvis Presley's Last Louisiana Hayride Performance | December 15, 1956
Elvis Presley Touch Football | Dave Wells Community Center | December 27, 1956
The Movies Of 1956
1956, Love Me Tender, Twentieth Century Fox
The Movies In Photos
CDs | DVDs | Books
Buy Elvis Presley CD, DVDs and Books at ...
Never before have we seen an Elvis Presley concert from the 1950's with sound. Until Now! The DVD Contains recently discovered unreleased film of Elvis performing 6 songs, including Heartbreak Hotel and Don't Be Cruel, live in Tupelo Mississippi 1956. Included we see a live performance of the elusive Long Tall Sally seen here for the first time ever. + Plus Bonus DVD Audio.
This is an excellent release no fan should be without it.
The 'parade' footage is good to see as it puts you in the right context with color and b&w footage. The interviews of Elvis' Parents are well worth hearing too. The afternoon show footage is wonderful and electrifying : Here is Elvis in his prime rocking and rolling in front of 11.000 people. Highly recommended.
Tupelo's Own Elvis Presley DVD Video with Sound.