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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Backstage With Elvis: 1956

Backstage With Elvis: 1956

May 27, 1956. Dayton, Ohio. A 21-year-old Elvis Presley with his cousin Gene Smith backstage at the University of Dayton field house, where they sang for a zillion swooning coeds. 35mm negative by Phillip Harrington. View full size.

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The tap

When the boys were touring on the road regularly they often did things to break the monotony. One thing they did was play a game where if one of them was talking and one of the others tapped them on the head they would have to immediately start talking about something else without completing their thought. This I believe is what Elvis is doing to Gene.

The Dayton gig(s)

More on that here.

Elvis--The Early Years

In the very beginning, the King toyed with the idea of becoming a faith-healer before realizing he could sing!

The mosquitoes were bad...

...that spring in Dayton. Clearly.

The fever that started it all

At the moment this photo was taken, cousin Gene wasn't feeling well. Elvis is attempting to assess whether or not he has a fever, after Gene remarked, "Lord Almighty, I feel my temperature rising. Higher higher, it's burning through to my soul." And the rest is history.

I saw him too!

It was in 1990, walked into a McDonalds and there he was, eating a Quarter Pounder and Fries.

I met Elvis!

Back in 1970s L.A. I met the King, he was with his daughter Lisa. We spoke for about 5 minutes regarding his astrological birth sign, Capricorn. His interest was numerology and he redirected the conversation to me, asking my birth date. It was amazing to see this famous man focusing in on me, a stranger and my numerology. On his neck was a gold charm necklace with different symbols of various religions. Very much a kind, outgoing and warm gentleman. Never did get his autograph, that would be quite valuable now.

My Dad Played with Elvis

My father's greatest claim to fame is that he played in the pit orchestra that accompanied Elvis on his tour of Florida in the summer of 1956. My dad played the saxophone for all the opening acts, and then he sat through the show while Elvis performed onstage. He said Elvis spent a lot of time backstage talking to his cousins. But dammit, he had never had his picture taken with Elvis!!! If anyone ever finds one, please let me know!

I Think

He is about to tell him he should have had a V-8.

The King at the gas station

My agent back in Denver ran into Elvis at a gas station in Needles when she was 12


It looks like Tri-X, from the grain.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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