This site courtesy of Dave
Spriggs ('64) of VA - 03/11/03
|THEN:||NOW: Fire Station|
|1955||Monday, February 13, 1956||1959 Anchor, p. 178||About 1962||Friday, November 14, 2003|
|This photo is featured at Graceland.||Attached is a picture I made of The Paramount box-office when I was on the staff of The Daily Press. The year is about 1962. It was part of a series I did about what folks in NN do for entertainment. Hope you like it.|
('58) of VA - 08/14/13
COOL BEANS! Thanks, Joe!
Image by John London
(WHS - '57) of VA - 03/16/06
WOWZERS!!! Thanks, John!
Image by Dave Spriggs
('64) of VA - 11/14/03
It's no big
deal, but I do have a memory of "The Paramount, Elvis and Me".
At the time, I was not of legal age to be by myself, so I had a babysitter in the afternoon after school for a bit.
Boy, acknowledging that really hurts a "macho man" such as I was! I was around 8-10 years old and my mother
had a teenage girl in the neighborhood watch after me until she could get home from work.
As a reward
for the babysitter, my mother took her and me to the Paramount Theater to
see this new Rock and Roll
phenom that was beginning to sweep the country. I think he had released one or two records by then
and was gaining popularity very quickly. He was appearing "live", with some others on stage at the Paramount.
Remember, the Paramount had a stage?
To say the
least the place was filled with adoring teenage girls screaming to the top of
I didn't quite understand it. So, we get to the end of the concert, and as my mother usually did,
we waited until the theater was nearly empty before we left. We go out through the front doors,
take a right toward 34th Street to head to the bus stop at 34th and Huntington to catch a bus home.
I'll add here, if you recall, beside the theater and attached restaurant, on the corner of 34th and Washington,
was an open lot with a cab stand. There was no building there at that time,
and you could clearly see to the back walkway behind the Paramount.
To make a
short story longer, as we left the theater, I noticed a huge group of people,
again mostly teenage girls, across the street, spilling onto Washington Avenue in front of Patrick and Silk's.
Remember that place? I asked what that was about and was told that some of the singers
were going over there to sign autographs.
right at 34th, headed toward Huntington, I noticed three guys come out of the back
of the Paramount
and head toward Washington Avenue in our direction. Turning around to see what all the noise
was about across the street at Patrick and Silk's, I kept walking ahead looking backward toward the noise.
The next thing I know I've "run into" one of those guys who patted me on the head and said
something to the effect of, "Be careful there, big guy" or something to that effect.
My babysitter says, "Do you know what you just did?", to which I replied with something like, "I didn't mean it."
(and again I'm paraphrasing), "No, no, it's OK! You just ran into Elvis
To which I'm sure I must have said something like, "Who's that?"
She quickly spread the word around North End of my encounter with Elvis, and for a couple of weeks every teenage girl
in North End wanted to touch the kid that had "run into Elvis!"
But, the fame was fleeting, as fame usually is, and soon I returned to being nobody.
There you have it, "The Paramount, Elvis and Me", a true story.
Next, sometime, I'll have to tell you about Marlon Brando's version of Mutiny on the Bounty.
- Wayne Stokes
of VA - 05/22/03
WOW!!! Thanks, Wayne!
And the DEFINITE date of this grand event was February 13, 1956:
story reminds me of one of my own.
While not nearly so exciting or dramatic, the fact that it has remained in my head
all these many years is a sign of the impact it had on me at the time.
and Eleanor and I had gone to see "Love Me Tender" at the Paramount.
I just checked the release date, and it was on November 15, 1956, so it was sometime shortly after that.
Suffice to say that I was nine years old, and it was a very chilly night.
"Love Me Tender"
is, of course, a tear-jerker, culminating with Elvis' death, and I emerged from
the theater crying bitterly.
The frosty air was freezing the tears as they fell on my cheeks.
Mama told Eleanor and me (if I was nine, Eleanor was 15) to wait outside while she went to get the car for us.
Unfortunately, I just couldn't stop crying. I cried and cried and cried.
There was a young
good-looking soldier standing nearby in his uniform.
He took pity on me, and took a tissue and wiped my tears.
I was deeply touched by his considerate gesture to a little girl he didn't even know.
And y'all wonder why I'm such a sucker for a man in uniform!
- Carol Buckley Harty of NC - 05/22/03
(This image enlarges.)
This great piece of memorabilia
courtesy of Janice McCain Rose of VA - 05/30/03
Reviewing the "now" photos of our
old beloved theaters brought forth two thoughts -
well, more than that but only two that I can share!
One is a question, the shot of the "now" Paramount Theater (Fire Station)
appears to be on the corner of 34th & Washington, right?
The theater was more toward 33rd. No big deal! It's the same area.
- Wayne Stokes of VA - 11/18/03
My best memory of this old theatre is when I was in 10th grade and a girlfriend and I skipped school
and went to see "Cool Hand Luke".......I loved that movie. My mother found out I had skipped school
and she called the school office and told on me and I got into trouble!
- Dianne Hunter Preston ('64) of FL - 02/02/05
- Jack Nelson
('54) - 02/11/06
WOWZERONI!!! Thanks, Jack!
I have another story that I would like to see if anyone can clear up. Back in the late 50's or could have been in the 60's but I think Elvis was in Newport News and sang at the Paramount Theater and I think I heard that he got caught driving drunk. Is that a true story or can anyone remember that happening? It's funny the older you get how all these flashbacks seem to come to you.
('60) of TX -
Thanks, Glenn! I tend to think it is totally apocryphal, but we'll need to turn it over to the group.
- Wayne Stokes of VA - 08/03/07
Here's a story for Glenn Dye ('60 - of TX) about Elvis that probably very few people know about...It goes like this...
This the only thing I remember about Elvis being in Newport News is Pam Pennington's ('58) insane crush on him. One day, soon after Elvis' visit, I saw tiny little Pam struggling on Washington Avenue with this huge cardboard cutout. I couldn't tell what if was from the back so I tapped her on the shoulder and as she turned around I saw that it was a life-sized cardboard Elvis. Pam, also life-sized was no match for the "Hunk 'a Burning Love" she was trying to wrestle it to the bus stop so she could take it home. She said it was for her room, and with tears glistening in her eyes, from frustration, I watched as she, all by herself, got Elvis up the bus steps and took him home. I hope she still has him stashed somewhere because that was quite a PRIZE for a smitten 'teen as Pam definitely was! This is the only story I know about Elvis being "STIFF" in Newport News, and HE wasn't driving...the bus driver was!!!!
If Elvis was playing in Newport News I doubt he had a car, He and his group probably came in on a bus...I know I saw him leave on one, and he was with Pam Pennington!!!!!!
Love from Sepi a.k.a. "Dimples"
I still don't know how she got this marvelous cutout; small but determined, our tiny Pam!
- Sepi Dinwiddie Prichard ('58) of
NC - 08/03/07
- Courtesy of Bill Lee (WHS- '54) of
NC - 03/13/10
Thank you so much, Bill!
The blonde lady buying tickets in
(Warwick HS - '57 - of VA) image (above) carried
in Bill Lee's (Warwick HS - '54 - of NC) article looks a lot like Codi Sinclair.
- Norris Perry
(Warwick HS - '59) of VA - 03/15/10
AHA! Thanks, Norris!
Dear Miss Typhoon,
You may wish to send the following account of attending the Elvis Presley concert at the Paramount Theatre in February of 1956 to Luca for the book.
My friend, Archie Dail (who is now deceased), and I were there. Surely we were, and we saw and heard the Great Elvis. I remember it like it was yesterday and it will never be forgotten--that is the screaming girls, the great songs and Elvis shaking his boody. The theatre was full, not any standing room left, and after waiting for at least a half an hour and listening to the screaming girls and watching them jump out of their seats and yelling, "We want Elvis". The lights finally went dim and his band came out on the stage and played one or two of his hit songs. Finally Elvis made his way out onto the stage with his big smile and his head somewhat bowed and headed toward center stage. He walked over to the edge of the stage and as it was some three feet higher than the aisles, he was careful not to get too close for fear of falling off in the darkness. He brought a stick of gum he was chewing to his lips, took his fingers and pulled it out of his mouth and threw it on the floor. The place went wild and every girl in the audience ran down front, fell on their knees and starting yelling and feeling for the gum in the dark. Pandemonium broke out and the place went crazy. Fifty girls started jumping up and down holding a piece of gum high above their head proclaiming that they had found Elvis's gum. The entire time Elvis was just standing there with a big grin on his face waiting for the girls to settle down. I think a few of the boys even wet their pants. What a show Elvis gave, one that will always be remembered for eternity.
A side note, Archie was a great Elvis fan and collected every record that he ever made. We listened to them over and over until the 45's and 33's were smooth and no songs were left. What a sad closure to one's life.
Helliesen ('61) of MI - 06/23/10
WOWZERONI! Thanks, George!
Do you remember February 13, 1956?
Elvis Presley did a series of
shows at the Paramount Theater on February 13, 1956. He was originally scheduled
o perform 3 shows, but when they quickly sold out, he added a fourth. It also sold out.
Did you attend one of the shows?
Do you know how many people could have been in attendance at a sold out show?
Do you remember who was president of the Peninsula Elvis Fan Club?
- Joe Drewry ('58) of VA -
Thanks, Joe! My own answers are: No, No, and No. Let's see who really remembers!
Paramount Studios Theme wav file courtesy of http://www.internetstart.nu - 11/18/03
Sparkling Theater Lights clip art courtesy of http://gifsnow.com/ - 05/22/03
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