Home > Newspaper Articles > 1956 > August 5 1956 Tampa, FL.

CONCERT DATE: August 5 1956 Tampa, FL.

Shouting, Pushing Mass of Youngsters Stampedes Elvis Presley Show Here
By Paul Wilder and Harry Roberts
Tampa Tribune
August 6, 1956

America's only male hootchy-kootch dancer gave 10,000 kids the screaming heebi-jeebies in Tampa yesterday.

Elvis (The Pelvis) Presley, boy wonder of show business, rocked them in their seats and even rolled some of them in the aisles (at least three persons fainted) at two electrifying Rock 'n' Roll performances in Fort Homer Hesterly Armory.

A mad rush of hundreds of mesmerized teenagers became a shouting, pushing, pulling, tugging mass of young humanity as gates finally open to the armory yesterday afternoon, but luckily no one suffered more than triumphant battle bruises.

Teenagers weren't the only ones joining in the uncanny frenzy. There were calm, ordinary suburban-type housewives stomping their feet, rolling their eyes, and gasping to the pounding, jerking rhythm of Hound dog, Presley's record-breaking new song.

An RCA-Victor recording of the weird pulsating rock n roll song has sold more than a million copies in the last two weeks-the fastest selling record of all time.

The long-side-burned onetime $40 dollar a week truck driver now grossing more than $1,000,000, a year turned on a bedlam of screams and shouts at will as he wrestled microphones, slunk panther-like across the stage with a masculine version of Marilyn Monroe wriggle in every jerking step, and blasted his feminine heart-wilting voice into every cranny of the huge armory.

He had to because there were people in every cranny.

By the time the afternoon show was over shortly after 5 o'clock there was already a two block long line of people forming for last night's show.

Two girls camped out at the armory from 5 o'clock yesterday morning to assure themselves of being first in line and in a front row seat.

Three women, two of whom came all the way from Chicago to see the Presley show here and visit relatives at the same time, left their husbands home to care for a total of 12 children as they themselves begged for a change to get an autograph of Presley-just as teenagers were doing.

The sulky-faced singer, who wrings every last gasp of excitement out of his audience, then laughs in their faces, was whisked away from the auditorium from the fenced rear of the auditorium in his lavender Lincoln Continental-latest in his fleet of cars that includes three Cadillacs.

Cry Real Tears

When a dozen jumping, frenzied teenagers discovered they had missed out on getting a close look at their atomic-powered idol, they left eh auditorium weeping, crying real tears.

Those who got a chance to touch the hand or even get a wink from the 21 year old swoon king were the immediate envy of hundreds of other youngsters in a hubbub of feminine sighs.

Hundreds of youngsters with flashbulb cameras kept streaks of light popping all over the huge building and many of the bolder ones paraded in a crouching stoop to get close to the stage for pictures.

Six policemen, a dozen National Guardsmen and 40 members of the Sertoma Civic Club moved constantly to keep the teeming crowds herded into some semblance of order, but nothing could curb the deafening chorus of ear-splitting shrieks that accompanied each tiny twitch of Presley's celebrated torso.

Nothing Halts Clamor

Even when he stood stock still and gave little crooning yelps to the end of a word in a tender throbbing song like Heartbreak Hotel the clamor echoed from every rafter of the huge roof.

Seemingly everywhere at once was Presley's promotion manager, Tom Parker, a Kentucky colonel, who once was manager of Tampa's Humane Society. He listened to a dozen pleas for help in the Presley hubbub coming from every direction and somehow kept the storm quieted.

The mania that beset the ducktailed hair-do set was not confined to those yelling teenagers.

Grown newspaper, radio and television cameramen and reporters kept in a constant swirl interviewing Presley on every stupid question imaginable.

One St. Petersburg radio announcer's blonde secretary, who cornered Presley for a radio taped interview, was shaking as she asked her questions.

Don't Be Nervous

"Don't be nervous, honey," said Presley, putting his arm around her. "There's nothing to it."

While waiting for his appearance on-stage, Presley paced back and forth in a cubicle filled with other side-burned rock n rollers, plunking guitars and swapping, "See you later, alligator" remarks.

While appearing moody and sullen he was patient with each questioner, kindly with each interviewer.

An Elvis Presley junior-size carbon copy caused untold excitement and squeals on his own. Wearing long side-burns and a black wide-square coat something like one of Presley's. 18 year-old Terry Sharpe of 2505 Nassau St. popped in and out of the auditorium and immediately caused shouts and screams as he was mistaken for the One-and-Only.

Nearly Mobbed

Once outside the armory the duck-tailed Terry was spied by a group of girls who nearly mobbed him before he broke away and reached the safety of the auditorium. Terry says he is joining the Navy today when he will swap his swept-back hair-do for a crew-cut. Terry became a Presley admirer on the singer's last appearance in Tampa when Terry was an elevator boy at eh Floridian hotel.

The two Chicago women who made their Tampa visit coincide with Presley's appearance were Mrs. Marcellina Fernandez and Mrs. Albert Centeno who were visiting Mrs. Marvin Tucker of 5006 17th Ave. Their husbands stayed home with the kids.

Frankie Besieged

Frankie Connors, Tampa Irish singer who emceed part of the show and led off with the singing was besieged by teen-agers wanting more information about Presley's private life. He professed to know little about it.

Nila Shea and Anne Murray both of Northwest St. Petersburg High School seniors were the two who arrived at 5 A.M. to get their front row seat. They were accompanied by Nila's mother. Nila said she saw Presley in LaGrange GA. At a swimming meet, but was too far away for a good look.

"I was determined to get a good look this time", she said. The three took folding chairs and packed a lunch but in all the excitement they never ate the sandwiches-just drank a couple of Cokes that were being sold by the thousands.

Mrs. Mary Rubio, attractive young mother, wearing a low-cut black dress that drew stares wherever she went had in tow her two children. Terry Lee, 3, and Michelle Denise, 2. Mrs. Rubio said the children were Presley fans listening to him on the radio every afternoon at 5:30 and that she came specifically so the youngsters could see him.

"I can take him or leave him." She said of her own reaction to Presley.

Evelyn Goid, 2727 Ridgewood Ave, showed a whole scrapbook filled with Elvis Presley clippings. She said she knew Presley before he became famous.

Perhaps the most persistent picture takers were 14 year old Susan Gree, of Pascagoula Miss. Who kept bobbing up in front of Presley on the platform with a flashbulb camera and Joan Rushing, 4517 Beach War Dr. and a companion Jane Morris of Lakeland both skinned their knees crawling in front of the stage they said.

Calmest People

Two of the calmest people in the place were a pair of 5 year old twins identified by a friend as Susan and Joy Magnon. 5 year old daughters of Dr. West Magnon. They ate peanuts and waited patiently while their father helped with the ushering Sertoma members.

All the applauding fans weren't teenagers. Mrs F. H. Albritton of 1159 Sunset Point Dr. in Clearwater, looks young for her age which she said was 72. She came to the show with her two daughters and four granddaughters, and said she was having a wonderful time.

Asked what she as a grandmother thought of Presley she said: "Well, he's all right for the young people but he's just entertainment for me."

Up at 7 A. M.

Five girls form Venice got up at 7 o'clock yesterday morning to see the Presley show. They were Arlene Sikora, 16, Maxine McMullen, 17, Coral Therriel, 18, Bonnie Grahm, 16, and Maryann Clancy, 17. They screamed and yelled just like the rest.

Sammy Paxton, manager of a Tampa night club, carried his two daughters into the armory so they could have their pictures taken with Presley. The signer obligingly held each one-Nancy 4 and Toni 2 1/2. The cameramen crowded around them and got the shot.

Manny DeCastro, Tampa's perennial on-the-spot special policeman was on the spot for a picture with Presley. Manny kept the Negro section roped off which was small. Only 12 Negros attended the afternoon performance.

By 8 o'clock last night every seat in the armory was filled and more than 100 persons were still waiting outside.

Courtesy of Kurt Hinkle