THE BRECKENRIDGE STORY - After a break Elvis, Scotty, and Bill started another set of backto- back gigs across north central Texas, starting in Breckenridge.
Poised on the brink of West Texas, Breckenridge lay in Tornado Alley, about 100 miles. . . from absolutely nothing. Immediately after the show, the boys would have to scoot 166 miles through the "lake district" to their Thursday Gainesville concert, only to
back-track past Breckenridge to catch Friday night's double feature in Stamford. On these long drives, Scotty and Bill usually alternated at the wheel, not out of deference to their lead singer, but out of sheer selfpreservation.
With a country driver certainty that any road they traveled would eventually get him to his destination, Elvis maintained a brilliance for getting lost. Earlier ventures found Scotty jolted awake in the wee hours
of the morning by the uneven sur-face of an abandoned gravel road. When asked for a location update, Elvis contentedly announced that he didn't know, while continuing to rocket through country so remote, even the local roadrunners had to consult their GPS
compasses. It's said that when you see road signs printed in Spanish , you should start worrying. Thus, Elvis-the-driver got demoted to Elvisthe- passer for the majority of their adventures., except when they needed speed. Then Elvis was their man. This agreement
lasted until Elvis bought his first car, a 1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan he was so attached to they had to pry him out with a crowbar.
Scotty pulled up short in front of
Breckenridge High School. The dirt that had chased them across the state finally settled across the broad hood of the used pink and white Cadillac, stuffed to the girls with band equipment. Last month, after a valiant struggle, the Chevy Bellaire got called
to a higher service station.
True to his promise in Abilene, disc jockey Sid Foster brought Elvis and the gang to his hometown stomping ground. Sid personally arranged
the concert, filling the bill with the local talent of disc jockey/singer Ben Hall; country singer Onie Wheeler; Dean Baird, who played with the Champs of "Tequila" fame; Weldon Myrick, whose steel guitar stylings can still be heard behind many other famous
musicians; Gene Funderburk; and Sid himself.
Sid made sure the concert received a plug from every disc jockey who owed him a favor, which constituted most of the state.
Packed to the rafters with rock-a-billy aficionados ready to par-tay, the house band found it an easy task warming up the audience. They were already stoked when Elvis and the Blue Moon Boys vaulted on the stage and set the high school ablaze. The girls shrieked
their approval of everything that came from Elvis's mouth. He could have sung "Row, Row, Row Your Boat," and the females would still have screamed. And when he gave them the come-hither look and sang, "I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with
another man," the women climbed over the beats and their boyfriends' heads to rip the orange and black Ricky Ricardo jacket off his body.
Needless to say, the boyfriends
ceased to be quite so thrilled at the evening's entertainment. Bill danced with his bass and slapped it in time to Scotty's mad guitar pounding. Strings flew off Elvis's guitar as he literally ripped the chords off his Martin. Warned by Sid that Elvis played
the guitar like a ravenous wolf with a T-bone, the house band stayed out of the range of the Martin jerking violently on the neck strap. Elvis had been known during particularly happenin' moments to slam the instrument backwards so violently that it bashed
into the gut of any unsuspecting band member who stood within ten feet behind him. Years later when a newspaper reporter remarked to Johnny Cash that he played the guitar hard, Cash exclaimed, ''I don't play hard. Now, Elvis, he played hard. He broke strings
before he got started''.
Tonight the only victim to his enthusiasm was the six-string, five-string, four-string, threestring. Bill Black asked backup Gene Funderburk
if Elvis could borrow his guitar while the other one went into outpatient surgery. Gene resisted the temptation to clutch it to his chest and take off for parts unknown. Like a parent watching his only daughter moving out of the house, Gene painfully handed
over the precious instrument to the wild man. Ironically, Elvis treated it like Gene's daughter, stroking the strings gently instead of wrenching them off the neck.
the performance, Elvis returned it to its grateful owner/father, not a scratch marring the surface.
During the photograph signings, Elvis found himself a date to take
to the Dairy Mart for a burger and Coke. He returned a few hours later to catch Sid's wife, cousin, and Sid himself going out for a late bite at the Why Not Cafe. A second dinner? Why not.
One of the girls at the show walked home that night, proudly bearing a newly autographed Elvis picture. When she got ready to pay the baby-sitter, she realized she'd fust spent her last available dollar on a picture of the King. Instead of
waiting for a bank to open in the morning, or an ATM to be invented in forty years, the baby-sitter opted to take the picture instead. Even though she hadn't been to the concert, she thought the man in the photograph looked handsome. That photograph is now
worth about $750, pretty much what one night of baby-sitting costs today.