APRIL 25, 1955 MONDAY
And than that evening, Elvis Presley and the other TNT artists, along
with Dub Dickerson of Capitol Records, had been hired by Sam Gibbs of the M-B Corral to play a benefit show for the Volunteer Fire Department in Seymour, a small town 52 miles southwest of Wichita Falls. That show was advertised to begin at 7:30 p.m. at the
Auditorium of Seymour High School in Seymour, Texas.
As the acts in Wichita Falls completed their turn on stage, they drove to Seymour. However, the show at the M-B Corral
was running late. Elvis Presley didn't take to the stage until after 10:00 p.m. The promoter in Seymour halfheartedly assured the crowd at the Auditorium during intermission that he had talked to Elvis Presley by phone, and that Elvis was on his way.
As soon as they wrapped up their first show in Wichita Falls, Elvis Presley hopped into his pink Cadillac with Scotty Moore and Bill Black leading the way in a second car. Ten miles from
Seymour, in the small town of Maybelle, Elvis ran out of gas, but Scotty and Bill were too far out front to notice. There was not a gas station open at this time of night and Elvis Presley feared he was stranded.
Fortunately, a carload of High School girls from Throckmorton was trailing Elvis from Wichita Falls. They were more than happy to give him a ride to Seymour where he bought a can of gas and caught a ride back to Maybelle.
By 11:00 p.m. all the opening acts in Seymour had already been on stage twice stalling for time. Even Scotty Moore and Bill Black performed for a time. Nevertheless, an anxious crowd still
filled the Auditorium.
Finally, Elvis Presley pulled up to the High School just before midnight, and he performed for thirty minutes. Tickets were $1.00 at the door,
but the promoter had already refunded 50-cents at 10:30 p.m. when it looked as Elvis was going to be a "no-show".
Scotty laughed and plugged his guitar into the amp.
Bill took his customary position on the right. Elvis landed on the stage wearing appropriately enough, a fire-engine red sportcoat, white shirt, bow tie, and blue trousers two sizes too big, so he could perform his gyrations without ripping his pants.
Guitar suspended in front of him, Elvis ambled to the microphone, tugged on his pants, and stood with half closed eyes. Scotty looked him over for a few moments and stepped behind the singer,
pretending to wind him up. Leg shaking, Elvis launched into "That's Alright, Mama" and the show took off.
Billy Thompson & Elvis Presley, backstage at M-B Corral,
Wichita Falls, Texas, April 25, 1955. After five back-to-back numbers, Elvis spoke to the crowd. "Ladies and gentlemen, we aren't really supposed to be here tonight. We were booked into the M-B Corral over at Wichita Falls for a dance. We didn't know about
this booking until we got a phone call earlier in the evening and found out about the mix-up.
We weren't gonna come, but we found out all you folks were waiting for us,
so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a little while. We were in such a hurry, we ran out of gas about twelve miles out of town and had to hitch a ride in. Hectic man. Anyway, we made it and we appreciate you waiting for us''.
The band played for forty minutes to the delighted crowd. When Elvis wrapped up the show, fans rushed the stage seeking autographs and kisses. One girl leaped into his arms asking, Do you
Yes, I met you in Stamford. Elvis never was one to forget a face, especially a female one.
Scotty and Bill packed the equipment in the car, and the three sped back to Wichita Falls, some of the teenagers trailing them to catch the show for the second and third time that night. When the trio arrived at the Corral, the carriage had
already reverted into a pump-kin and the footman into a hound dog. Pal Billy Thompson and the Miller Brothers entertained the throng as they promised until Elvis returned, but much of the audience had already left the house, muttering darkly under their breath.
Elvis never accepted another booking from TNT Records again, partly because he didn't trust them, but mostly because they folded shop a few months later. Despite Elvis's Herculean attempt
to play both places that evening, he managed to satisfy neither. Gene Wagner, one of the owners of the M-B Corral, remained furious that "that snotty-nosed kid" had returned to the Corral way too late. The promoters of the Seymour gig simply didn't pay him.
THE TRUE STORY FROM DOUG DIXON - ''It was late March 1955 and my dad was taking me to school in our old '42 Buick. The radio was tuned to the local station,
and suddenly Elvis' voice burst upon the airwaves, singing ''That's All Right''. Then, just suddenly, Elvis' voice faded into the background and the announcer declared in an excited voice that Seymour Volunteer Fire Department was sponsoring a country music
show on April 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Seymour High School Auditorium, presenting a host of TNT recording stars, with special guest star... Elvis Presley! I could hardly believe my ears'', Dixon said.
''I was familiar with Elvis, having listened to him perform on the Louisiana Hayride every Saturday night since that first night in October of 1954, when he made his debut. By April of 1955, Elvis had become the Louisiana Hayride's
most popular star, and here he was to perform in a town whose population was less than 4,000. Elvis had been appearing quite regularly in several of the larger surrounding town, playing mostly for dances, as he toured the South and Southwest. Elvis had gained
somewhat of a following in this part of Texas, and that is why I was surprised when I got to the auditorium around 6:30 p.m. to find only about 150 people present. There was a man standing at the entrance with a cigar box taking the admission, but giving no
tickets. You just paid your $1.00 and walked in. By the time the show started, there were perhaps 200 people in attendance''.
''TNT's recording stars were obscure artists,
and the little independent San Antonio based label would fold a short time later. They put in a pretty good show, however, but of course the crowd was impatient to see Elvis. Every singer there sang twice, even the man who had taken our money at the door got
up and sing. Someone up front shouted, 'We want Elvis'! That was when the MC admitted that Elvis wasn't there, but the he would be there pretty soon. Then he announced an intermission''.
''A most unusual thing happened next. The man with the cigar box came around and gave us back 50 cents of the $1.00 we had paid. 'The boss said we have overcharged you folks', he explained. That's when I suspected that Elvis wasn't going
to show, and that they were attempting to soften the blow. However, when the show resumed about thirty minutes later, the MC still insisted that Elvis would show. He claimed to have just spoken to him on the phone''.
''The second half of the show was pretty good, much a rerun of the first half. One thing I did notice was that now the house was full. People had wandered in off the street during intermission. 10:30 came and
still no Elvis. People were up roaming around; paying little attention to what was going on on-stage. Finally, the band just quit and disappeared backstage. Eventually, most of the audience left, grumbling about being ''took''. Even some people, who had come
in during intermission without paying, complained. Only the hardcore Elvis fans remained, hoping for a miracle''.
''Suddenly a girl sitting in a position to see the stage
door screamed: 'He's here. He's here'! It was almost midnight. Scotty and Bill, Elvis' band members, came on stage. Scotty stepped to the microphone and said, 'Sorry, folks, Elvis couldn't make it'. The same girl screamed, 'He's here, I saw him come in'! Scotty
laughed and plugged his guitar into the amplifier. With the two-piece band in place, Elvis appeared. He was wearing a fire engine red sport coat, bow tie, white shirt, and blue trousers. Both coat and trousers were about two sizes too large, so he could make
his moves without ripping something. Elvis approached the microphone, legs straddled, with his guitar hanging in front of him. For a moment he stood there with half-closed eyelids, not saying a word. Scotty stepped up behind Elvis and pretended to wind him
up, as one winds up a wind-up toy. With this done, Elvis suddenly grabbed his guitar and broke into ''That's All Right, Mama''. His two-piece band followed suit, and the show was on''.
''What a show it was! Elvis shook, danced and twisted, as he sang one song after another. Later, I would see Elvis on TV, but none of those performances could compare with the one I witnessed that night. Bill Black rode his bass like it was
a horse, as he slapped out a rockabilly beat. Scotty Moore's guitar lashed out adding to the frenzy of the crowd. Girls screamed, cried and several appeared to faint. The girl sitting next to me moaned and slid the floor and lay there jerking, as if she was
having some kind of a seizure. I got as big a kick out of the crowd's reaction as I did watching Elvis''.
''After four or five songs, Elvis paused long enough to explain
to the audience why he had been so late. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, we really aren't supposed to be here tonight', he said. 'We were booked into Miller Brothers, over at Wichita Falls for a dance. We didn't know about this booking until we got a phone call earlier
in the evening... some kind of a mix-up. Anyhow, we started not to come, didn't really have to. Then we heard that you folks were waiting up for us, so we talked the Miller Brothers into letting us run over here for a little while. We were in such a hurry,
we didn't check our gas, and 'bout twelve miles out of town here, we ran out of gas and had to hitch a ride in. Hectic, man... real hectic. Anyway, we made it, and we sure appreciate y'll waiting for everything and us. We would also appreciate someone taking
us back to out car with a can of gas after the show'. Almost every girl in the audience volunteered'', said Dixon.
''Then Elvis broke into another round of songs. He
sang all of his recordings released to date, plus a few that he had added to his show. At 12:35, he ended his performance, once more thanking us for waiting up for him. Of course, fans rushed the stage, seeking autographs and kisses. One girl jumped into his
arms asking, 'Do you remember me'? Yes', he replied, 'I met you at Stanford, Texas''.
''It was almost 1:00 a.m. before Elvis got back on the road to Wichita Falls, some
fifty-two miles away. I don't know if Elvis ever got paid for his Seymour performance, if he did, it couldn't have been much. However, it was this sort of devotion to his fans that would some day make him ''the King'''.