Elvis Gives Out With Crazy Cool Interview | April 17, 1956
Source: Waco News Tribune | April 17, 1956
April 18, 2021
All the hep cats were there and not enough fuzz (cops). Out in the stands and on the floor, his audience of idolizing teen-agers did all but hiss and boo to rid the stage of a group of other hillbilly entertainers and bring Presley out behind the microphone that he handles more like a limp blonde than a mechanical gadget.
Still Elvis made them wait … and he stared out at them, half scared and half unbelieving. Then with some sort of spasmodic movement, he turned to talk about himself. 'What do you want to know about me, honey?'
'Elvis, have you any idea at all about just what it was that started the girls going crazy over you?'
'No, I don't. I guess it's just something God gave me. I believe that, you know. Know what I mean, honey? And I am grateful. Only I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'll go out like a light, just like I came on. Know what I mean, honey?'
Presley has a way with that 'honey' business. When he talks, he looks straight ahead, or sort of dreamy like in no direction at all. Then he turns with that 'know what I mean, honey?' His face is close, real close. Right in your face - almost.
'When do you start making your first movie, Elvis?' (Everybody calls him Elvis.)
'Oh, early in June, I think, because … '
At this point he stopped talking and stared ahead into the crowd. He squinted his eyes, jerked up a pencil (which had no lead) and began scribbling on the dash of the car. Then he turned and said: 'Huh, did you say something?'
'Elvis, when you start acting, will you keep the sideburns?' (The sideburns come down below his ears.)
'Oh, I don't know, it depends on what type part they put me in. You know, I'm supposed to do ‘Billy the Kid' pretty soon'.
'But Elvis, ‘Billy the Kid' has been done to the ground'.
'Yeah, I know, but this time it will be different'. The way he says 'different' it really will be.
'Elvis, will you sing in your first movie?'
'No, honey, sure won't. Going to be in it with Katharine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, and I won't sing. I don't want to, I want to be an actor'. Then he turns and stares into the crowd again, listens to one of the other entertainers singing and grins slowly.
'But Elvis, have you thought how unhappy all these girls are going to be if you stop singing?'
'Huh, what was that? Oh, I'll never stop singing, honey, never'.
He was beginning to make me wonder if I knew what I was talking about, so I changed the subject: 'Elvis, I hear you walk in your sleep'.
'Well, I have nightmares'.
'I dream I'm about to fight somebody or about to be in a car wreck or that I'm breaking things. Know what I mean, honey?' (I don't have any idea what he means.)
'Where are you from?'
'From Memphis, Tenn'.
'Oh, yes, that's where all the hill-billy singers come from, isn't it?'
'Maybe so, but I'm no hill-billy singer'.
'Well, have you typed yourself … I mean your type of singing?'
'No, I don't dare'.
'Cause I'm scared, know what I mean, honey? Real scared'.
'I don't know … I don't know. Know what I mean, honey?'
'At this point I thanked him for his time and started to make a beeline for the door. He grabbed my hand, sat there looking sleepy-eyed into my face and fanned his long lashes while he said: 'Write me up good, will you honey?'
And he drove out to meet the hysterical adoration of young girls and boys whose emotions he has found are easy to stir up with a song.
Bea Ramirez interviewed Elvis just before he took the stage in Waco on April 17, 1956.
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