Memories of Elvis by Wayne Combs, a former broadcaster at WSGS & WKIC (1958 - 1962)
I associate some of my Elvis memories with being a student at the Blue Diamond Grade school located on First Creek in Perry County. Like other male students, I enjoyed the lively music of Elvis! The girls seemed more openly out-spoken about being an Elvis fan. Totally amazing to me was the fact that one girl’s “mother” carried a picture of Elvis in her billfold along with her family pictures! I have often wondered how the girl’s “father” felt about Elvis being in his wife’s billfold.
RCA bought Elvis’s contract from Sun Records in 1956 and released his first album called “Elvis Presley.” What is of interest and humorous today is the fact that some employees at the company were against having Elvis record his first album. They thought it too much of a risk because the teenagers didn’t buy albums, they bought 45’s! The album sales started off slowly but by the end of the year, mainly because of Heartbreak Hotel, the album started moving up the charts. Indeed, teens nationwide and in Hazard did buy the album which was the first rock L. P. to reach number one on the charts and made more than a million dollars!
When I was a freshman at M.C. Napier High School in 1957, the Elvis Christmas album came out. To this day, the album remains one of the most popular Christmas albums. However, there was some controversy back then over the way that Elvis sang White Christmas. Personally, I enjoyed the way that he recorded the song in a non-Bing Crosby style.
Skipping ahead to 1960, Elvis did the soundtrack album from the movie, GI Blues. I purchased the album from Home Office Supply on Main Street. I took it to WKIC the next day to play some of the cuts on the 1390 Club. I was a teen DJ at the station and Elvis was the most requested artist by my young listening audience.
After work that day, I had GI Blues tucked under my arm as I unlocked my car door in the parking lot located directly behind the radio station. The parking lot attendant, Beaver, wanted to know the name of the album. Upon seeing it, the Elvis fan wanted to borrow it for a weekend party. I handed the album to him. During my shift on Monday, I looked up to see Beaver holding my new album which didn‘t look new anymore. Obviously, they had partied hard all weekend. I still have the album. Wayne Combs
G I Blues was the first Elvis Presley movie I ever saw. I saw it for the first time when I was 16. I fell in love with it and have lost count of the number of times I have watched it. I fell madly in love with Elvis and the music from it used to give me shivers down my back. I just thought he was so gorgeous. I dragged everyone I knew to see it including my Mom who loved Elvis too. She thought he had a beautiful voice. Even my father who was totally anti Elvis was persuaded to come with me. I loved the music in 1960 and I still adore it today. I never get tired of Wooden Heart. I have even downloaded it as the ringtone for my mobile. One of my really favorite movies. Audrey Simpson
I am reminded of the time that my friend, Ruth and I slipped into the Cinema Drive-in Theater at Christopher. I was in college, believe it or not. We followed some young boys around to the back of the fenced area. They assured us that one could get in quite easily. My friend and I had been on a shopping spree and were both broke and she loved Elvis Presley and he was starring in Flaming Star that night. She was determined to see the movie. I just followed. The young boys, using a sumac stick held the corrugated metal fence flap back for us to crawl in. We stood up, dusted off our clothes to find that we were staring into the lights of so many cars with honking horns. We had entered to the left of the screen and had been watched by most of the occupants. Needless to say, by the time we were seated in the outdoor seats, we were kindly asked to leave by the guard. I was so embarrassed I could have killed her." Anonymous
I remember my mom sending me to the store to get a few items. We lived at Sassafras, KY and the Vicco Theater was showing one of Elvis' movies. I believe it was Jail House Rock. Of course Elvis was my idol so I said to myself I have to see this movie. All I had was the money mom gave me to get things she needed. She gave me 25 cents. That was enough to get me in the theater plus a coke and a bag of popcorn. So I saw the movie and was afraid to go home because I knew I was in trouble. I was sitting in the theater and I saw my older sister looking for me. I would duck down every time she got close to me but she finally found me. She said, 'boy are you in trouble.' So we went on home. I was expecting the worst from mom but when I told her I just had to see Elvis she started to laugh so hard. Because she loved Elvis too she forgave me but not before I promised I would never do anything like that again. I promised and got out of a butt spanking. Flora (Huff) Spencer, Hazard, KY
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