Home > Newspaper Articles > 1956 > June 3, 1956. Oakland, CA.

CONCERT DATE: June 3, 1956. Oakland, CA.

Elvis Hits Town and Teen-Agers Turn Out
by William McPhillips
The San Francisco Chronicle
June 4, 1956

A young man with a virile voice and twitching hip muscles yesterday supplied what was apparently a notable lack for a segment of Bay Area teen-agers: an idol

Sort of between gods since Eddie married Debbie, 3500 squealing school kids found their man in Mississippi's gift to the arts, 21 year-old Elvis Presley

It was only after one of the most elaborate warm-ups in local show business that they saw him performing on the stage of Oakland's Auditorium Arena


But once he got there, they found Presley was everything they hoped for - and a lot more.

Frank Sinatra, who went on to gain weight in his roles if not his physique, and Johnnie Ray, who sobbed his heart out on order, both appealed to an awakening maternal instinct

Presley, 180 pounds of undeniably male characteristics built in a six-foot frame, appealed to something else.


Said a disgusted Oakland cop, one of a dozen detailed to guard RCA Victor's new find from possible harm at the hands of autograph seekers:

"If he did that same stuff on the streets, we'd lock him up"

Dubbed "Elvis the Pelvis" by some critics, Presley stalked glowering out onto the stage for a mere 20 minutes after other performers teased the audience for an hour and a half

The roar that met him subsided only when he launched his almost powerful baritone into "Heartbreak Hotel," which under his handling has become the Nation's top-selling record.


The crowd was quiet as he sang, in lyrics verging on the unintelligible - until one of his black-denim-clad knees shot out.

When the screams subsided, the right knee picked up where the other left off and gradually, as the movement spreed upward, the famous voice was lost in bedlam.

Presley, his ducktailed lawny hair now hanging in his eyes, grabbed the microphone as if it were alive and dragged it around the stage, now petting it now tirning upon it the full vent of his manly wrath

Every song sounded much the same almost as identical as the reactions of the audience which paid up to $2.50 to see his writhings.


Composed mostly of teen-aged girls, the audience contained some oldsters and a sprinkling of weird-looking young men

During a ten-minute intermission - after the build-up and before Presley's appearance - they had ample time to pick up a few souvenirs as provided by Presley's manager, former Tennessee carnival worker Colonel Tom Parker.

There were "programs" for 50 cents - which contained ten pages of pictures and a space for autographs

There were song books which at $1 a copy contained words and music of the rock-and-roll hillbilly tunes Presley has made famous

Or there were autographed pictures of the singer, which sold at either 50 cents or a dollar, depending on the customer's emotional pitch

In the lobby, the day was dedicated to teen-ageers, with soft drinks replacing the sandwich stand's usual beer and coffee menu

In his dressing room, both before and after his performances, Presley, who two years ago drove a truck in Memphis for $35 a week, was surrounded by budding beauties.

One was 14 year old Sandra McCune, who as president of newly formed Oakland chapter of the Elvis Presley Fan Club wanted to know if he approved of their official dress - a quilted skirt with his name emblazoned in red


It was worn, she explained breathlessly, only with a locket containing his picture, which by club rules must be placed over the heart.

Presley absently put his arm around her and confided to reporters that he wanted to be an actor.

"But all this wild emotion in me" he said "I've got to sing and I think I do it well."

A lone music critic in the audience agreed with him, at least partially.

"He's is wonderful I guess," he said "From the hips down, anyway".

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez