A vintage 1955 Elvis Presley concert poster from his hometown of Memphis, TN when the future King of Rock ’n’ Roll was a Sun Records recording artist.
In fact, Presley’s third Sun single, “Milkcow Blues Boogie” b/w “You’re a Heartbreaker,” is plugged on this very poster, although both titles in truncated form.
But you have to look at the bottom of this Elvis Presley show poster to see them… remarkably, he was billed fifth at this show, after a group of country and gospel artists.
This is because Elvis was at the beginning of his career and making inroads in the C&W market, and those other musicians were generally established country music stars.
If this Elvis Presley poster looks familiar to you, it’s because a significant number of them have turned up over the years. I’m deducing that quite a few of them were gathered and saved after the concerts, for who knows what reason – but we’re glad they were!
So they’re still collectable, but nothing like a few other very early Elvis concert posters where only one or two are known, which is more the norm.
I love the way the printer added a third color, brown, for the text at the top of this Elvis Presley billboard. It plays really nicely off the other two colors and the white background.
Since that venue information up above is a different color, you might think that this was a “tour blank”… used in more cities besides Memphis. But I’m never seen it from any other city, and the words “Memphis’ Own” pretty much limits it to that city and its outskirts.
From top to bottom, here’s the text found on this Elvis Presley in-person poster (although some would call it just a country music poster):
(First in the brown ink): Sunday – Feb. 6 (1955, but year not given)
Two Shows 3:00 p.m. & 8:00 p.m.
Auditorium Memphis, Tenn.
(Now in blue & red ink): Faron Young, “If You Ain’t Lovin’”; Martha Carson, Beautiful Gospel Singer (no song given); Ferlin Huskey & the Hushpuppies (also no song given); Doyle and Teddy – the Wilburn Brothers (likewise no song);
Plus… Memphis’ Own ELVIS PRESLEY
Scotty and Bill
He’ll Sing “Heartbeaker” – “Milk Cow Boogie”
There’s some spelling weirdness to be found on this Elvis Presley concert placard. Ferlin Husky is spelled “Huskey” (with an extra letter) in this instance, which I thought was a mistake (and say so in this video), but it turns out he did spell his name this way in the ’50s. From 1967-on, he shortened it to just “Husky.”
But there’s no getting around the blatant misspelling of the B-side of Elvis’ third Sun single. The typesetter left an “r” out in the middle of the word, turning “Heartbreaker” into something akin to “heart-beeker.” Whoops!
Then you have Scotty Moore and Bill Black, guitarist and bass player respectively, listed below his name on this Elvis Presley window poster. They’re present on every early Elvis poster I’ve ever encountered, although a couple of times their names were reversed to Bill and Scotty, which doesn’t sound quite right.
Some might say, “Where’s D.J. Fontana?” But that drummer didn’t join Elvis & his Blue Moon Boys on a permanent basis until later on in the year.
Now to the printer’s credit, of which there is none on the poster itself: this Elvis Presley concert advertisement was produced by Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee.
For whatever reasons, Hatch usually did not list their name at the bottom of their vintage window cards, a break from the usual because most printers did (Globe, Murray, Tilghman, Posters Inc., etc.).
Most early Elvis concert posters used red and blue alternating colors, and as you can see, this Elvis Presley appearance poster is no exception. It does get a little confusing right in the middle, though… “The Hushpuppies” should have been in blue ink because they were Ferlin Huskey’s group, but the red ink makes it look like they were part of the Wilburn Brothers.
And as I pointed out earlier, those alternating colors are offset nicely by the brown ink up in the venue box. I’ve never seen another 1955 Elvis Presley telephone-pole poster use any color other than red & blue on a white background, so that’s highly unusual.
And then there’s the large water stain in the upper left portion… that looks brown, too, but we won’t count that as an official color (LOL).
And how’s this for an impressive bit of trivia: between the 3 o’clock and 8 o’clock shows, Presley met Sun’s Sam Phillips in a diner across the street from the Auditorium, and Colonel Parker joined them. Some historians like to say that this was the first time Elvis ever met Parker, but others question that and say it can’t be confirmed.
Manufacturing specifics: this Elvis Presley ticket poster measures 14×22”, the size most commonly used by Hatch back in the day.
And they manufactured it on stiff cardboard, so that it survived the elements outside. Most Hatches were made on cardboard, regardless of the time of year.
This Elvis Presley concert sign is studiously discussed by long-time poster collector Peter J. Howard. That’s me, and I can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org, or telephoned at 805.540.0020. I will absolutely, positively pay TOP DOLLAR for this or any other 1950s Elvis Presley concert posters, guaranteed!
To see a couple of other genuine Elvis Presley fence posters, including one where Faron Young gets his picture billed above Elvis, just hop over to this page right here on my web site: http://www.postercentral.com/elvispresley.htm