Elvis Presley Souvenir Photo Album (EPE, 1956)
By Juan Luis / Bob Pakes
In this article we take a look at the Souvenir Photo Album that was available at Elvis concerts in 1956 and ’57. Since no less than three different Photo Albums were produced in 1956, we will kick this article off with a little “Who’s Who?” in the land of photo albums before we turn the spotlight on the photo album that is commonly known as The Second Tour Book and which was part of the successful Elvis Presley Enterprises merchandise train in 1956.
Followed by the small introduction, is Part 1 of this article in which we present a complete scan of THE SECOND TOUR BOOK.
In Part 2 we go ON TOUR WITH THE TOUR BOOK by letting some magnificent photographs taken at Elvis’ concerts in 1956 and ’57 (all of which include the Tour Book!) guide us through the days of ultimate cool.
All aboard the Echoes Time Machine! First stop: 1956 …
The first Photo Album, “MR. RHYTHM“, was printed in early 1956 and consited of 12 pages. Elvis graced the frontcover and was featured on three pages, but this rare Album also contained full-page photos of The Louvin Brothers, Benny Martin, June Carter, Justin Tubb and Mother Maybelle And The Carter Sisters.
The second Photo Album, “MR. DYNAMITE“, was the first Souvenir Album to solely contain Elvis images.
Even though not officially the first Elvis Tour Book, it is usually referred to as such by collectors.
The third Photo Album came without a subtitle and is commonly known as “THE SECOND TOUR BOOK“.
THE SECOND TOUR BOOK was available for a long period of time and printed in different variations. The most visual differences are the pricetag and the number of pages:
Some editions came WITHOUT A FIXED PRICE while others have PRICE 50¢ printed in the upper right corner. The Tour Book was also available in 12-PAGE and 16-PAGE editions.
According to Presleyana there is no difference in collector’s value between these variations (estimated at $200 each).
All editions have the EPE copyright logo on the inside page.
Part 1 – THE TOUR BOOK
Part 2 – ON TOUR with THE TOUR BOOK
October 28, 1956
New York, NY
On this day a huge cut-out of Elvis Presley was unveiled on the marquee of the Paramount Theatre. The unveiling was part of the huge upcoming LOVE ME TENDER PREMIERE (on November 15th).
This photo offers us a rare glimpse at an Elvis merchandise stand (inside the theatre lobby). Next to the Tour Book, also visible are the EPE hat and the sheet music of Love Me Tender.
However, the nicest thing about this photo are the two teenagers to the right, admiring the EPE merchandise in the same way a young child admires all that delicious candy in a candy store. Simply a beautiful photo.
April 1, 1957
Here we have a couple of nice backstage photos of Elvis with some of his teenage fans.
Even though these kind of images have a certain spontaneous feel about them, they were often planned ahead. The Colonel would always make the most out of any situation that involved the presence of journalists and photographers.
The girl on Elvis’ left is holding the opened Tour Book while the girl on Elvis’ right is holding a pen.
The photo below to the left is a (low-resolution and heavily cropped) alternative angle of the same ‘meet and greet’.
(probably) Ken Butts
April 2, 1957
Toronto, ON (Canada)
These three photos all belong in the category A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words. Please do yourself a favour and click the enlargment for a better and more deserving view.
Of the two shows he did this day, the first would be the last time Elvis would wear THE GOLD SUIT
The first photo:
Toronto police is trying to move the fans back to their seats. Excitement is in the air!
I guess we can call this a true action shot since there is so much movement going on.
Two copies of the Tour Book are clearly visible but there are actually three Tour Books in this photograph. Can you spot the third one?
It must have been quite an experience for these two innocent looking boys who went to see an Elvis Presley show but found themselves cornered by an overload of female hormones.
The front rows were usually packed with screaming teenage girls. But what about the three guys we see in the third row? They seem to be enjoying themselves, applauding their way through a wild 1957 Elvis Presley gig.
The Tour Book is pretty dominant in this photograph, in fact, it almost seems to be photoshopped in. But this is really 1957 (and not 2016).
The most eyecatching person in this photo is the older lady with the Elvis button and the Tour Book on her lap. Who said Elvis only appealed to teenagers??
In the middle of the photo we see a boy wearing a Cowichan sweater but still thoroughly enjoying himself! The girl nex to him is clenching her fist with excitement.
Then we have the glasses wearing schoolteacher-type who seems to be making her own (dirty) mind up about the hipshaking sexual-movements-making breathtaking singer up on the stage in front of her.
Next up we have a girl replacing the flash bulb of her camera. And then we enter the Twilight Zone: we see the legs and hands of a boy holding the Tour Book while his torso and head have left planet earth …
April 3, 1957
Ottawa, ON (Canada)
Like the day before in Toronto, Elvis did two shows in Ottawa and according to local newspapers the fans were screaming so loud that it was impossibe to hear Elvis sing.
The fans in the image to the right appear to have left their seats and moved up to the stage.
Photographer (photo to the right):
In the four photos below we see Elvis kissing a young girl by the name of Janet Fulton. For a very interesting interview the fabulous EIN website had with the lucky teenager in 2011, please go here: PIERS BEAGLEY INTERVIEWS JANET FULTON
April 5, 1957
In this photo we see Elvis doing a Press Conference for a bunch of High School Journalists. Going by her EPE wardrobe, the upcoming report of the Journalist to the left will probably not be one of the very objective kind. In fact, all of these reporters seem to be engaged in a staring-at-Elvis-contest more than anything else.
The two photos below speak for themselves! And even though the Tour Book is only visible in one of them, we decided to post both images since they go so well together. The facial expression of the two girls in the same row as ‘Ecstatic Girl’ is priceless.
Also notice the young lady all the way to the left in the first image, she appears to either be asleep or passed out.
Photographer (photos below):
October 26, 1957
San Francisco, CA
On this day Elvis started a three city California tour. The shows from this tour turned out to be his final live gigs in the 50’s on US mainland. In November Elvis would do the 3 shows in Hawaii that marked the definitive end of the wild rock ‘n’ roll live era.
Elvis did two shows on the 26th. The photo (with Ken Moore to the left) is from before the 2nd show.
We can see Elvis signing the Tour Book that, by this time, had been on the market for about a year.
Given the length of it’s availability, the Tour Book has become part of the legendary status that Elvis’ concerts in 1956 and 57 have achieved. To hold a copy of the Tour Book in your hands, is to hold a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history.
The Tour Book on this page is from the collection of JUAN LUIS. My thanks for his enthousiasm in creating this article!
St. Louis, MO (March 29, 1957)
Fort Wayne, IN (March 30, 1957)
Photographer: Tommy Wadelton