Ken was off to Wisconsin today for a few days, so I occupied myself this afternoon with a visit to the fabulous State Theater to watch a showing of “Jailhouse Rock.” I met our friend Doug downtown, and it was his first time back to the State since it reopened recently.
As you can see, I came prepared, with my Elvis shirt that I got in Memphis at a gift shop across the street from Graceland!
We chatted with Drew and Mara for a bit, and got to meet Trish. I saw our old couch, and both Drew and Mara said that it is super comfortable, and Drew has even fallen asleep on it a few times! So happy that it has found a new home. Drew said I could take Doug up to the balcony and let him see that, which was a nice treat, since the balcony is usually off-limits. When you get up to the balcony, you get an idea of the size of the theater. I asked Mara, and she said that the original capacity, with the balcony and everything, was around 1,800. That’s a big theater!
It was especially fun to be seeing “Jailhouse Rock.” First of all, you all know that I’m a huge Elvis fan. Second, I had never seen it on the big screen before. It’s fun to catch older movies on the big screen. It gives you a whole new perspective. Third, it was a good tie-in to my History of Rock online course. The prof did an entire lecture on The Rise of Elvis, and recently mentioned the Elvis movies and cited “Jailhouse Rock” as one of the best. Of course, I loved hearing the music, and that Jailhouse Rock dance scene is one kicky blast, Daddy-O! I also loved seeing the mid-century modern furnishings and decor of the late ‘50s in the movie. Far out!
The main goal of this matinee was as an outing for a couple of downtown retirement/housing communities, one of them housed in the former Robertson’s department store building. The crowd was sparse, but I hope word gets out that it was fun. I’ll do my best to get the word out for the next movie! (More about that in a moment.)
After the movie, a local Elvis impersonator did a few songs. Doug and I grinned about the lady in the front row who was swaying and knew all the words to the songs. Then, what was really sweet...a lady involved with the housing community asked a few of the folks to share their “Elvis encounters.” One lady had open heart surgery in Indianapolis, in the early days of open heart surgery. Elvis was playing a show there and came to visit her! One guy was a kid in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and his Dad delivered telegrams for a living. He was along when his Dad delivered a telegram to Elvis, and said that Elvis was really nice.
Finally, the lady that Doug and I noticed in the front row. Mary said that she saw Elvis at Notre Dame (the same show that Shane went to!), and one of the security guards noticed her crying when Elvis opened with “My Way.” He came over and got her and took her up to the edge of the stage. Elvis came over to her, got down on a knee, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and put his scarf around her neck. After the song was over, he told the security guard to make sure that she got back to her seat and that NO ONE tried to take that scarf from her. Mary said that she still has it in a cabinet, and it still smells faintly of Elvis’s Brut cologne.
The reverence in her voice, and the memory that Elvis gave her...well, I teared up a little when hearing it, and I’m tearing up a little as I write this! He had his faults, just like any other human being, but he gave Mary a memory that she cherishes to this day. From everything I’ve read, he was a kind man who appreciated his fans, and I love him even more for giving Mary such a wonderful memory. That’s something special, you know?
As for October’s movie, those of us in attendance got to vote on it. There were some good choices, but the one that jumped out immediately for me and Doug was “The Blob.” Drew announced after the show that the people have spoken…”The Blob” it is! How fun will that be? I’ve never seen that one on the big screen, either! I exchanged a few messages with Drew, and he said he’d like to have a more formal start to the movie, maybe have a brief discussion about it, ask who has seen it, that sort of thing. I think that’s a great idea, and we both agreed that trivia about various movies can be a lot of fun and add to the movie and make it a richer viewing experience. So I’m going to do a little Blob research and see what I can scare up...so to speak!
It was a very enjoyable afternoon. Thanks to Doug for going with me, and thanks to Drew and everyone involved for doing this for the folks downtown—and for the rest of us!
Please enjoy one of my favorite Elvis songs. This song still makes me want to shake it, and this is a great clip with some groovy dancing and super cool outfits! Check out the ginger in the brown vest and orange shirt. Work it, Ginger!
TURN IT UP!