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Down In The Alley (Florida, 1956)

 

By Ger Rijff
 
 

01After a well deserved holiday with his girlfriend June Juanico in Biloxi, Mississippi, Elvis, Red, and two of his cousins take off for a long drive in his lavender colored Lincoln to the sunshine state Florida. Elvis and his band are booked for a week of concerts, starting in Miami on August the 3rd.
Other towns on the list are: Tampa on the 5th, Lakeland on the 6th, St. Petersburg on the 7th, Orlando on the 8th, Daytona Beach on the 9th, and the final 2 days in Florida (10 and 11) see him, and his entourage, perform in Jacksonville, for a total of 6 shows at the Florida State Theater.

02cIt’s there, in Jacksonville, where Elvis meets up with 17 year old Andrea June Stevens from Atlanta. She’s the lucky winner of the “Win a Date With Elvis” contest, held by Hit Parader magazine a month prior to the Florida tour. In between shows, Elvis takes her out for hamburgers and cokes, and hangs out with her in the hotel and backstage at the Florida Theater. Photographers follow their every move. Poor Andrea surely had more romantic hopes and dreams before the actual meeting with her idol, that afternoon in Jacksonville, took place.

 

fl1With cousin Junior Smith talking last details in his hotel room before leaving for the first of three shows at the Florida State theater.

 

fl5 fl4The teen-age crowd builds up rapidly at the front of the Florida Theatre in St. Petersburg

fl6 while the band park their cars in this side alley.

 

fl2Elvis and his entourage, inluding a policeman for safety matters, drive up in a taxi to the alley around the corner of the Florida Theatre in Jacksonville.

fl8 fl7They will enter the building thru the backsage door on their way to the dressing room …

fl15 fl14 some 45 years later James V. Roy visits the same location for some breathtaking photography. Some things have changed, but the grey painted back door is still there.

fl10 fl13

fl16The beautiful stage inside the Jacksonville Florida theatre.
(photographer unknown)

 

fl19cHit Parader magazine, in july of 1956, gave her readers ” … the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – the chance to spend the day with dynamic Elvis Presley!”.

fl17 fl18

And a few months after Andrea’s visit to Jacksonville, Hit Parader devotes 2 pages of her meeting with Elvis in the magazine:

fl21 fl22

fl23 fl25

Elvis trying to revive a fan who had fainted from too much emotions eyeing her hero in the hotel lobby, with a worried Andrea looking on.

fl26 fl27

 

fl28Still a little bewildered from the incident, Elvis returns to his hotelroom for some rest while preparing for the evening show at the Florida State theater. It had sure been quite a hectic first day in Jacksonville …

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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closing2 closing shot1CREDITS:
Photography by Bob Moreland and Jay Leviton.
Outside color photography by James V. Roy .
 
 
For more info regarding the Florida ’56 tour, please click this link:
HOT TIMES IN FLORIDA (1955 / 1956)
 
 
To the right, two photo books by Rijff, dealing with the 1956 Florida tour.

 

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6 Comments Post a comment
  1. James, thanks so much for letting us use your Jacksonville photography.
    It adds tons of atmosphere to the topic. And people, who follow my stuff here
    on Echoes, know I go for the entertainment factor, more than anything else, when
    it comes to presentation. I leave details and other nitty gritty sometimes untouched,
    because you can do that better than me, and these days I don’t spend hours diggin’
    thru books to find the answers to all the questions. I leave that for you to do.
    Thanks, bro.

    http://www.scottymoore.net

    Any other extensive location photography, then and now, from you we can use here?

    April 27, 2013
  2. Niels #

    This brings back memories from the first time i held “Florida close up”
    Still a favorite book of mine!

    The then and now pictures work for me so if James can… Please keep ‘m coming!

    Thanks guys!

    April 28, 2013
  3. Jim #

    Great article guys. Just enough pics and info to make you wish you were there.
    Jim.

    April 28, 2013
  4. Hi Ger.
    Looks awesome!
    There may be a few more you can add. I also hit Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando on that trip and recently wrote up a piece on the horn player that was part of the touring orchestra see http://scottymoore.net/august56.html for links to the specifics. I’ll have to dig through my backups to see if there were shots I took and didn’t put up.
    Jim

    April 29, 2013
  5. Paul Pearce #

    Great!!! Love those then and now pics … thanks James. Got those two books when they first came out – top quality books and thanks for those, Ger.

    June 4, 2013
  6. Bob and me , with the help of the amazing J.V.Roy, are preparing a big topic on
    Elvis at the Armory in Tampa with plenty of then and now photos. And we still
    have to update/ finish some of the other stories, like Richmond, a.o.
    Enough work that’ll keep us bussy for a while… Glad you enjoy what we are
    doing on this site. It’s without a doubt a kool & hep place to visit … I do it
    everyday… And so do hundreds of others, who dig 50s Americana, and on top
    of it all: the Memphis Flash himselvis !

    June 5, 2013

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