DECEMBER 28, 1954 TUESDAY
Houston, Texas, Elvis Presley
headlined at Cook's Hoedown Club, 602 Capitol Avenue, as part of the "Yuletide Jamboree and Dance". Other acts included singer/songwriter Floyd Tillman, hot rocker Link Davis, Tommy Sands, Laura Lee and Hub Sutter. Bill Collie was the evening's emcee. Tickets
were $1.25 at the door, and about 1.50 persons attended.
The show benefited the Golden Park Volunteer Fire Department. Pappy Covington had booked the
appearance, and about 150 people attended. The crowd was festive, and Elvis Presley closed the show with an hour-and-a-half performance. When he was called back for an encore, Elvis Presley surprised Scotty and Bill by closing with a cover version of LaVern
Baker's "Tweedlee Dee".
According disc jockey Smokey Stover from KRCT radio in Baytown said, ''The hottest country music in the Houston area in those
days was Cook's Hoedown Club. In twas located in downtown Houston at the intersection of Capital Avenue and Smith Street. The place seated approximately 1500 people. The place was packed. The women went crazy over him''.
Mayme Frawford Holx said that, ''In 1954, I was fifteen years old, and on December 28, my uncle, Allen Parks, took his daughter Peggy and me to see Elvis at Cook's Hoedown in Houston. My cousin
Peggy got in to see Elvis, but they wouldn't let me in because I wasn't old enough. My uncle and I sat in his pickup until it was over, and I just cried because I couldn't go in to see Elvis''.
And Peggy Hightower said, ''Although she had the right chest, Mayme didn't have the right ID, and she got to sit with Daddy out in the car, and let us dance for about three hours. They did let her come in the door
and retrieve Augustine and me. She got a glimpse. We had a restaurant, a 24-hour truck stop, and had a jukebox played, the more money my daddy got. The truck drivers would match you quarter for quarter for five plays, and I was really good at it, and we had
the jukebox going all the time''.
''Natural Music Company from Brenham serviced the jukebox machines, cigarette machines, and pinballs. We set up a
howl for Daddy to take us (to see Elvis). Augustine lived with us, she was one of our waitresses. We all loved dancing. Everybody went to the dances, including Grandma. It was the sound. We had seen pictures of him, he was pretty to look at. I think we did
a lot more looking than we did dancing. We were shoulder to shoulder. He looked good and he sounded good. The ceiling was very low.
The stage was not
far high. There were tables around the outer edge. We had a table close to the stage. There were a lot of females. He spoke to us, said 'Hello' and asked if we had a good time. And we told him that our cousin was in the car and that she couldn't come in, and
he said, 'Oh, that's sad'.
And Sandra Lawson said', Daddy took several pictures. However, the only surviving photo is a close-up of us. The show was
over, and Daddy asked Elvis if he would take a picture with us''.
Elvis Presley may well have played other Texas and Arkansas dates over the next three
days, including the Red River Arsenal, near Texarkana. Elvis Presley's third Sun single "Milkcow Blues Boogie"/"You're A Heartbreaker" (SUN 215) are released on this day. In December, a paternity suit was filed against Elvis by a Mississippi teenager, but
the case was later dismissed.
In December, Elvis' photo appeared in the souvenir program from the "Louisiana Hayride", which sold for only a dollar.
Tony Sepolio, owner of the Paladium, owned a club called the Hayloft on Old Galveston Road in Houston, Texas, and he brought over Elvis Presley and Tommy Sands on one occasion,
most likely during these days.
DECEMBER 29, 1954 WEDNESDAY
The Memphis Press-Scimitar reports that "Elvis Presley, the 19-year-old Memphian whose first two records ("Blue Moon Of Kentucky" with "That's All Right" and "Good Rockin' Tonight" with "I Don't Care If The Sun Don't Shine") won him quick
acclaim, has signed a management contract with Bob Neal, WMPS folk music disc jockey, it was announced today''.
''Presley, who appears each Saturday
night on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, said increasing demands for appearances made a manager necessary, and he preferred a Memphian for the job. Two other Memphians are in his group and appear with him on the Louisiana Hayride. They are Guitarist Scotty
Moore and Bill Black on bass''.
''The affiliation was announced simultaneously with release of Presley's latest records "Milkcow Blues" and "Heartbreak".
He records for Sun Records Co. a Memphis firm headed by Sam Phillips''.
Starting in the new year Neal will book dates within his own listening area
on an exclusive basis as well as setting up engagements through the Hayride network in such far-flung new territory as west Texas and eastern New Mexico. A variant of the "spiky haired" photograph from Elvis' original July 27 interview at the Press-Scimitar
is used to accompany this story, which also announces the simultaneous release of Elvis' third Sun single.
According Bob Neal, ''I set up a little office
in a building right across from the Peabody Hotel at Union. I had an office in there where I did correspondence and handled fan club things. Helen my wife, was the original fan club president and we had fan club cards made up. Plus a good percentage of the
booking we did at that time followed the trend that I had going for a number of years... going out and working shows in the territory, because having a good following on WMPS, I could travel a range of 150 to 200 miles around town. I'd simple set up a date
in a schoolhouse, auditorium, or something like that. Basically I would do all the advertising on my show, because we covered all the territory. Sometimes we'd buy a few window cards or like that... then we'd go out and do the show''.
Ronald Smith, guitarist in Eddie Bonds band The Stompers said, ''Bob rented a cheap offices across from the Peabody Hotel. I think they called it Elvis Presley Enterprises
or something like that. What i won't forget is going up there to visit Elvis. They had a phone in that office that Scotty, Elvis or Someone had painted red with fingernail polish! They had glued some fake plastic jewels on this phone. I was afraid to ask if
it was meant to be a bad joke or what''.
UNKNOWN DATE DECEMBER 1954
Elvis Presley appeared at Humes High School for the Christmas show, and all the teachers and kids flocked around, but some of them acted stuck-up, like they thought he was going to act stuck-up first, which didn't seem right at
Elvis Presley's new single, his third for Sun Records, came out simultaneously with the announcement of the new management setup. They had chosen
''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' and ''You're A Heartbreaker'' from a pre-Chrismast session, and the reviews were as encouraging as before. In retrospect, ''You're A Heartbreaker'' ended up being the least acclaimed of all of Elvis' original Sun releases. Although
''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' in the minds of many was the hot side, ''You're A Heartbreaker'' was the designated radio cut, the track that the success of the single ultimately depended upon. The record would, in the end, be the poorest seller of Elvis' five Sun
singles. In Texas at least, no matter how convincing the Presley version, ''Milkcow Blues Boogie'' would always belong to Bob Wills.
DECEMBER 31, 1954
/ JANUARY 1, 1955 FRIDAY/SATURDAY
Elvis Presley appeared at a special New Year's Night broadcast from Eagle's Hall, Houston, Texas, which Biff Collie
also set up. (See 1955 Elvis Presley 1).
Sometime in late December 1954 or early January 1955, Elvis Presley purchases what will become the band's first
official automobile. With Bob Neal's help, he buys a used, tan-colored, 1951 Cosmopolitan Lincoln, putting a rack on top for the bass, with "Elvis Presley - Sun Records" painted on the side. It replaces Scotty's wife Bobbie's 1954 Chevrolet Bel Air.
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