ELVIS – LOVING YOU – Let's Have A Party – (Part 2)

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Elvis Presley - Loving You 1957


Wallis tried to make his first Elvis movie the best it could be. Therefore, when a few days later, Kanter presented him with the first drafts of his script, the producer offered him a trip to Memphis – to meet Elvis.

He wanted the director to be able not only to get to know the young singer better, but above all to see him during live performances. Feel the atmosphere of his concerts. See the hysteria of the crowds under the stage and beyond. And finally experience life on the road with one of the most beloved and at the same time the most controversial vocalists of the time.

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He believed that everything that Kanter experienced during those few days spent with Presley could then be transferred to the screen, thanks to which viewers would receive an extremely authentic and believable story of the rock’n’roll star.

On December 13, 1956, Kanter flew to Memphis, where Elvis was waiting for him on the tarmac, accompanied by his cousin Gene Smith and Hill & Range publisher Freddy Bienstock, who, according to some sources, appeared in the city to help Presley in choosing the right songs for the soundtrack.

Elvis met me at the airport ,” recalled the director. “ He then took me on a tour of Memphis that took us about fifteen minutes. Later, I checked into the hotel where he picked me up shortly after and took me to his home* 1 for dinner and a family meeting .”

At the aforementioned dinner (who reportedly served roast chicken), in addition to Elvis’ parents and several of his closest associates, there was also Colonel Parker, whom the writer and director of the new film described as a “noisy gentleman .”

It was their first meeting.

However, the visit to Elvis’ hometown did not last long. The very next day, everyone – Presley, Scotty Moore, Bill Black, DJ Fontana and, of course, Kanter, set off for Shreveport, where Elvis was to play his last concert as part of the “Louisiana Hyride” program on December 16th.

The musicians traveled the entire route in two cars. ” Elvis was driving one ,” remembered Kanter. “ The second one, in which Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana traveled, was driven by Bill Black. We were driving from Tennessee to Louisiana at night. We arrived in Shreveport very early in the morning* 2 . When we got to the local hotel we tried to get some sleep .

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The only stop recorded by Presley’s biographers on this several-hour journey (the drive from Memphis to Shreveport takes about six hours) was a brief stay at Pine Bluff.

In the town of central Arizona, the band members had dinner with two friends of Elvis – singer Jim Ed Brown and soul singer Maxine Brown.

When I first met Elvis, I told him that my mother once said he was going to be a big star (Elvis, author’s note) ,” Brown recalled in an interview. “ He just laughed shyly. At the time, he really had no idea how big of a star he would become. I don’t think he had the head for it or even thought about it. He was too busy having fun and being young. I think he’d be happy to sing like he did on Hayride. Although his favorite music genre was old gospel.

We spent many nights singing old hymns that Elvis was the last to give up. He often told us that his dream was to become a gospel singer. That’s what his mother wanted for him. And who knows, maybe that would be best for him in the long run .”

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Upon reaching Shreveport, Presley and his companions checked into the downtown Captain Shreve Hotel. Existing since 1953, the former symbol of the city*.

About half past eight in the morning I was woken up by a horde of kids screaming Elvis’ name trying to wake him up ,” Kanter continued his story. ” Finally, Elvis opened the window and said, ‘Please let me get some sleep. See you later‘”. And to the great astonishment of the director, the singer’s fans gathered in front of the hotel fell silent in an instant. “I’ve never seen anyone control the crowd as easily as he does .”

The appearance of a group of fans of the singer outside the windows of the hotel was most likely the result of the “Find Elvis” campaign, which was initiated by teenage Presley fans after Colonel Parker’s assistant, Oscar Davis, confessed in an interview with The Shreveport Journal that he had no idea where the famous singer or what hotel did he stay at.

So the fans decided to look for him themselves …

1. At the time, Elvis was still living in a house on Audubon Drive in Memphis.

2. Elvis arrived at about five in the morning.

3. The Captain Shrave Hotel was part of the Youree Hotel, built in 1911 and founded by Peter Youree, a Shreveport banker and businessman. Currently, the Louisiana Tower apartment building is located on the site of the building

Information provided by EP Promised Land (Poland), Marius Ogieglo


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