Interview with Elvis Presley Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 30, 1957
February 13, 2023
We'll take it, uh, right from there with Mr. Presley to mix one up and do the talking.
Elvis: I was listening to you or, uh, uh, now wait a minute, I don't wanna, uh, you know, listen, you or somebody was talking about you because I heard 'Bob Chase' about four or five times on the radio today.
While you were traveling?
Elvis: Yeah, while I was on the way out here.
Bob Chase WOWO Exclusive Interview with Elvis Presley Fort Wayne, Indiana, March 30, 1957.
You might've picked us up throughout the area. We're, we're struck out nationwide …
How do you feel sitting backstage before a performance now?
Elvis: Well I, uh, I enjoy when I'm talking to people and everything and meeting a lot of these people. And, too, I can straighten a lot of rumors out, because people always hear things and they want to get it straightened out. And I think maybe I can ...
Any particular amount of nervousness at all?
Elvis: Yes sir. Quite a bit.
Quite a bit. Have you seen things since you started?
Elvis: I haven't gotten to the point, yet, where I'm completely at ease. I don't think I ever will be.
What affects your type of performance, you're going on stage?
Elvis: Uh, when I first walk on stage it's my very nervous, I mean my, you know, nervousness ...
That's your maximum point right there?
Uh, as far as the records are concerned, what do you have happening, anything at all? New releases? Of course 'All Shook Up' is going great right now.
Elvis: 'All Shook Up' and uh …
Nothing new in the immediate future coming?
Elvis: Not any time soon, no.
Uh, one thing that, uh, I'd like to ask you as far as this particular area is concerned, uh, what is your religious denomination?
Elvis: Well, well, all my life I was, uh, Assembly of God.
I see, Church of God. The Church of God?
And do you currently attend? Of course, you're pretty busy ...
Elvis: Well, I'm usually gone, I'm never home. And whenever I get some free time, well, I do.
And what kind of traveling do you do, train, bus or car?
Elvis: I go by train most of the time.
That's your preferred way of going?
Elvis: Well, if I can get a drawing room, you know, a bed or something, it's much better for me.
When you first got started, as far as your career is concerned, was the music called rock 'n' roll at that time or was it more of a country-western?
Elvis: It was, uh, mine was more or less classed country-western I guess at the time. What I meant is, as I went along, well it got more, uh, more rock 'n' roll.
Well actually, you kind of developed ...
Elvis: That's what they tell me, I don't know the difference.
Yeah, but I mean, as far as your starting you probably developed more or less with rock 'n' roll, with, what, the two and a half years you've been at it.
Any particular highlights that you've had so far that stands out above all the rest of your experiences? You want to pick one?
Elvis: Well, I've had quite a few highlights (laughs), highlights, you know, I mean, uh, I guess you're talking in terms of [when] exciting things happen to you.
Yeah, when you're on the road or perhaps other experiences?
Elvis: Yeah, I've had quite a bit. I must say, it's been a heck of a lot of fun, and everything.
And we know, too, that you take more than periodic 'tannings' from a variety of groups, and a variety of people and parents.
Unused Concert Ticket to the Elvis Presley Show in Fort Wayne, Indiana March 30, 1957.
How does that affect you?
Elvis: All of that is part of the business, there are people that like you, there are people that don't like you regardless of what you do. I mean, I mean, uh, if everybody liked the same thing, they'd all be driving the same car and married to the same woman, you know? (laughs) Well, that wouldn't work out. And there'll be people that like you, and there was people that didn't like Jesus Christ, you know? And they killed him, and he was the perfect man.
That's a pretty good answer right there, as far as your, your comparison of the choice. Where do you go from here now?
Elvis: I go to Detroit.
And you're touring through this Midwest, Detroit, Buffalo, and ...
Elvis: I go to Detroit, Buffalo, Toronto, and Ottawa, Ottawa, uh, Ottawa (laughs) ...
That finish your tour then?
Elvis: No, then I go, come back to Philadelphia for two days.
When's your movie start?
Elvis: First of May.
Elvis: First of May, yes. Well we wish you an awful lot of success, it's been a real pleasure having an opportunity to speak with you. And we hope to see you again sometime in the future.
Well, thank you very much.
Elvis: Okay, thanks so much.
Elvis' Entrance Would Have Scared Savages
By Marjorie Barnhart
A hip-swinging, guitar-strumming hurricane blew through the Coliseum last night and practically leveled rock 'n' roll hipsters from as close up as section II and as far out as the upper balcony: Hurricane Elvis.
The storm gathered in Memphis and picked up momentum in stopovers in New York and Hollywood. From the time the first forecasts were sounded, you could tell then it would be one of the most ferocious and cause much damage until it finally wore itself out.
Well, the readings were right: Elvis is a pretty stiff wind to have to wait out, but like all other hurricanes that blow with such twisting velocity, we're certain it won't take too long.
Before a mixed crowd of followers and curious observers that numbered more than 10,000, elvis, who makes a good living by attracting more adolescent attention than the PTA, gave a wild performance that will long be remembered. If not for the quality of the performance then for the sheer dynamics ot demonstrated.
Long before Elvis appeared, the crowd warmed up in its seats with small twists, nail-biting, voice clearing and a sort of apprehension.
With the first indication of his appearance, wide-eyed teenage girls gripped the edge of their chairs, stamped their feet in passionate furor and started clutching each other for emotional support.
So help me, the kid in the gold coat could only manage a silly giggle for the first three minutes he was onstage, so great was the din. About two minutes later he was able to mumble: 'ladies an' gentlemen.' so terrific was the roar, you would have thought he'd announced everyone in the crowd had hit uranium.
Hoosier hysteria, notwithstanding, this had to be youth's finest hour in the Coliseum. And certainly, the Coliseum's finest moment in history came when Elvis skipped to the rear of the during a number to gently kiss the fingertips of a couple of his swooning admirers. (Continued after Interview).
When Elvis announced his first number, 'I Was the One', a long loud agonizing screech arose from the audience. After many attempts to begin, he finally succeeded in getting through.
An ominous announcement went out over the speakers for Doctor 2377.
'Don't be Cruel', one of the Memphis meteor's more popular exercises, came next and caused one girl in the back of us some pretty anxious moments. We were certain that at the end of the number a torn seam sounded its shrill note.
These girls, shown in the Memorial Coliseum Saturday night, followed the nationwide pattern for reactions to Elvis rPesley[sic].
Photo courtesy News-Sentinel.com
Hip And A Lear
Elvis executed these first two with just a few mild taunts at his fans - a hip here, a lear there. By the time he was into the third number, we thought that his music was beginning to get to
him: his eyes gave that spooky look that let us all know that we were really in for something.
equipped with some very special props - a pair of uncut sideburns, an autographed Gibson guitar and the top half of the famous gold $2,300 suit - Elvis launched out into 'No Good Woman.'
All through his performance from here on it was a demonstration of gyrations, arms flailing, and mike hugging.
He carried the microphone, which gave some initial trouble because it refused to stay attached to the post supporting it, from one end of the stage to the other. at times he would pause at the far end and taunt young girls by focusing his staring and cries to their group.
Elvis onstage at Memorial Coliseum March 30, 1957 (Photo courtesy News-Sentinel.com).
Coos To Her
Elvis, doing a back-breaking number appropriately titles 'I'm All Shook Up', drifted to the other side of the stage and literally coaxed another teenager out of her chair with his fracturing cooings.
The members of the small band playing in back of Presley made noises similar to those of a raided Chinese crap game and we wondered how Doctor 2377 was making out.
The hero of most of these numbers is a frustrated creature who goes his was trying to get along. He has a sense of aesthetics - 'When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold;' fond memories are his treasure - 'One Night;' a good sense of values - 'You Ain't Nothing but a Houndog.'
They said Presley would sing 11 of his hit songs. Maybe he did, but with shrieks of ecstasy and the thud of fainting bodies, it was hard to tell where one number left off and another began.
The end to all this drama came unexpectedly. Elvis mumbled the last of 'Hound Dog', shook his hips a couple of times and suddenly beat a retreat from the stage like a scared jack-rabbit.
So he left them in tears on his farewell tour before entering the army.
Well, he'll probably make a good soldier, anyway.
The rest of the show was a pretty well put together a group made up mostly of comedians. The one we liked the most was a young Texan named Rex Marlowe. The Jordanaires, a vocal quartet that has made records with the star, rendered some examples of their talents and got a very fine reception.
The lead act was an Irish tenor, Frankie Connors, who looked and sang a lot like Frank Parker
Concert Review #2
This is the original concert review that ran in Fort Wayne The News-Sentinel April 1, 1957.
Marjorie Barnhart Of The News-Sentinel
Those who weren't there think you're exaggerating.
The 10,003 who took part in the mass hysteria, known as the Elvis Presley Show, aren't quite sure that they remember rightly. On a cold, damp Monday it is hard to believe in the strange goings-on in the Allen County Memorial Coliseum last Saturday night.
But the entrance of Elvis Presley will remain in Fort Wayne history as a dramatic entrance to end all dramatic entrances.
The crowd had been carefully and deliberately built up, not only during the first half of the show but during the months of Elvis Presley publicity filling the newspapers and magazines.
The highly-charged atmosphere of suspense and excitement which distinguishes a crowd assembling for a crucial game could be felt as the teenagers poured into the Coliseum.
The sense of suspense was built up during the first half of the show which had the youngsters clapping with the rock n' roll rhythm and screaming for performers.
Then, after the intermission came Presley.
The screams of the audience were ear-splitting and sustained as if no one found it necessary to breathe.
Elvis fans at Memorial Coliseum March 30, 1957.
As Light As Day
The flashbulbs from cameras flashed all over the huge arena making a light as bright and blinding as the finale at the Fourth of July celebration - but without the booms.
The light was as brilliant as that seen during a severe thunderstorm when the flashes pile up one upon the other in rapid succession. But there was no thunder.
Presley with his tousled black hair and sideburns, his gleaming gold jacket swayed and moved about the stage as if blown by a gigantic gale. But there was no wind. Only screaming, loud, long, shrill, unending.
We couldn't help but think that uneducated savages, without knowledge of flashbulbs or teen-age behavior in civilized countries, would have seen in this the materialization of a pagan god! There was the scary feeling of the supernatural about it.
They tell me that Presley then sang 'I Was The One', 'Don't Be Cruel', 'No Good Woman', 'I'm All Shook Up', 'When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold', 'One Night', and 'You Ain't Nothing But a Hounddog'.
Couldn't Hear Him
I wouldn't know. I was sitting on the front row. But I couldn't hear a thing. The girls never stopped screaming. I would have liked to have heard at least a snatch of something.
Not being able to hear him sing, the audience had only two other possibilities for reward. For some it was enough just to look at the ex-truck driver with his gold shoes with rhinestone ties, black slacks and before-mentioned gold coat with its rhinestone lapels and rows of rhinestones down the center seam in the back. But the sight of him brings me no special joy.
So that left his controversial gyrations as the only reason for sitting there in the midst of all that screaming. I can believe that, at first, the boy used his hip-swinging movements unconsciously to sell his songs.
But this was not the case Saturday night where his songs could not be heard. Presley used the motions deliberately to tease the girls and to lure them into demonstrations. His control over the girls amused him, and he and the Jordanaires, his vocal quartet, exchanged many a laughing glance over the crowd reactions.
It was as if the crowd were something he could touch. Although they stretched out to the distant back wall of the Coliseum, the eagle-eyed girls seemed able to see his slightest movement. They screamed when he moved a finger. They screamed when he lifted a shoulder. And the din was deafening when he bent a knee or wiggled with vigor.
I don't know enough to trace the origins of his movements, whether from burlesque as some claim or from the native Negro snakehips as other content. Once I saw a tassel-twirler at the Allen County Fair do the same all-over shake he exhibited.
But I've seen sexier dances on Broadway, in the movies or even on the stage here. As a shimmy dancer, he's no great shakes. His choreography is put together as he goes along, without form or pattern. I didn't see anything specific to rise up in indignation about, but the mass hypnosis and sex-conscious build-up probably deserves a second look.
On stage, Presley was what I had expected. Elvis Presley at the press interview was a surprise. He did not have the bleary eyes, the slack mouth, or the loose-jointed, drunken demeanor of his stage appearance.
On stage, he flirted with specific girls near the stage and teased a group behind it until they stood up shrieking. In the press conference, he did not try to charm any of the women present.
Although he finds himself suddenly powerfully rich and popular, Presley does not seem at all impressed by himself. He tried very hard to answer the questions fully and honestly. With dignity, he fended off some personal probes and exhibited more intelligence than I had anticipated.
Presley kept repeating that he was a guy who had 'hit it lucky' and he meant to enjoy it while it lasted. He gave the impression that the whole thing is as flabbergasting to him as it is to us. His show will be long remembered not as entertainment, but as an experience in mass reaction.
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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.