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Memorial Auditorium -- Wichita Falls TX
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Benchmark Blasterz
N 33° 54.572 W 098° 29.967
14S E 546273 N 3752238
Quick Description: In 1956 Elvis Presley played multiple concerts here in January and April on a playbills that also included appearances by Bill Mack, a local DJ with a country band who himself would become famous as "The Midnight Cowboy".
Location: Texas, United States
Date Posted: 5/14/2014 6:58:10 AM
Waymark Code: WMKQ0C
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 3

Long Description:
The day Blasterz were here exploring this magnificent building and the monuments outside, we ran into a city employee who went and got one of his co-workers who had actually seen the Elvis show. He was 8 years old. He remembered how the crowd went so wild for Elvis that it scared him a little. "He was all right singing," our witness recalled 58 years later. "Real nice and polite to the crowd. My mother was mad that my uncle had taken me because I had chores and schoolwork the next day."

For more on Elvis' visits to this building, see Scotty Moore's excellent website here: (visit link)

"On January 19, 1956, Elvis, Scotty, D.J. and Bill made the first of two appearances at the auditorium with two performances each time. Elvis, Scotty and Bill at least had performed in Wichita Falls twice before in 1955, at the M-B Corral club on April 25th and at Spudder Park on August 22nd.

This date was during a six day tour of Texas with Jamboree Attractions that included preceding stops in San Antonio, Galveston, Beaumont and Austin, and concluded with a stop in Fort Worth. Peter Guralnick wrote that this tour would be the last dates that Elvis and the boys would be a supporting act. Elvis received $1800 for the six days.

They would not tour again until February but would make their first two national Television appearances on the Dorsey Brother's Stageshow in the interim. According to Stanley Oberst, like the last Wichita Falls appearance at Spudder Park, this show was booked by Bill Mack.

. . . .

By their return trip and final appearance in Wichita Falls on April 9th, they had appeared on the Milton Berle show and Elvis had signed a movie deal with Paramount. This appearance took place on an off night from a five city tour promoted by A.V. Bamford, with Wanda Jackson and Faron Young that started in Denver the night before and commenced the following night in Lubbock followed by stops in El Paso, Albuquerque and Amarillo.

The two-show appearance in Wichita Falls was likely booked again by Bill Mack. Lee Cotten wrote that Elvis wore a blue suit and white shoes as he headlined two performances at the Municipal Auditorium in Wichita Falls, at 7:00 and 9:00 p.m. The show featured the Hank Locklin unit, with Charline Arthur and Bill Mack. Tickets were $1.25 for the balcony and $1.50 for the main floor with all kids admitted for 50-cents. Tickets purchased in advance saved a quarter.

Backstage Elvis was interviewed by Jay Thompson, (hear it below) host of the “Hillbilly Hit Parade" on KSTB radio in nearby Breckenridge. He mentions in the interview recently signing a seven year contract with Paramount and expectations of his first picture being The Rainmaker with Burt Lancaster and Katherine Hepburn.

Carol Allred, a native to Wichita Falls, attended the show that evening and took photos. She remembered that at the time it was called the "Municipal" Auditorium, as indicated in the ads for the show. She said, "from the stage, there was what was called the orchestra pit,....then we were sitting about 5 rows (that I can remember) back. Great seats. At the time I didn't know who Elvis was, but my friends wanted me to go, so I did....and screamed with the rest of the girls...not knowing who I was screaming for. Little did I know."

Judy L Patterson, another Wichita Falls native, went to see him at least twice, she said "he parked outside the back of the Memorial Auditorium and one of the boys in our neighborhood bragged that he stole the hood ornament off his Cadillac. Don't know if that was true or not. He signed autographs at the stage door."

After the Bamford tour, Elvis, Scotty, Bill and DJ would fly to Nashville for a session at McGavock St. and then return to San Antonio for three more dates in Texas with Wanda Jackson and Hank Locklin, the last appearances that they would make with any that could be considered their peers.

A country disc jockey now for more than a half-century, Bill Mack later worked for KDAV in Lubbock and went to WBAP in Fort Worth in 1969. In 1996 thirteen-year-old LeAnn Rimes launched her career with "Blue," a song written by Bill back in 1959. It hit #1 on the charts and he received a Grammy for it in 1997. Bill retired from WBAP in March of 2001 but today still hosts shows on Satellite radio."

For more on Bill Mack see here: (visit link)

And for Elvis, here: (visit link)
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Recent Visits/Logs:
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Benchmark Blasterz visited Memorial Auditorium -- Wichita Falls TX 12/30/2013 Benchmark Blasterz visited it
TerraViators visited Memorial Auditorium -- Wichita Falls TX 6/18/2009 TerraViators visited it

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