Three marvelously early and historic Roy Orbison & the Teen Kings window cards from 1956, when he was just starting out and recorded for Sun Records.
In fact, these were entirely Sun Records shows, as he shared the bill with star Carl Perkins and up-and-comer Warren Smith, both of whom also recorded for Sun.
All three of these cardboard Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings poster boards were printed by Hatch Show Print of Nashville, TN. And the ones I’m showing you actually came directly from Hatch’s file cabinets many moons ago.
This explains why all three were once quarter-folded, with the primitive creases still remaining to some degree; and all have the year written in ink pen on the back for easy reference.
The first Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings placard I show today is from, quaintly, a High School Gym in Ripley, MS. And in fact, it also states “The Senior Class Presents” – how fun & cool is that?
The date was Thurs. Nov. 8, with no year needing to be on there. This thing was probably printed in October and most of them thrown away right after the show, so who needed to be reminded that it was 1956?
I do like the headline wording on this Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings in-person poster… “Rock & Roll Revue – Starring Carl Perkins” and then giving his classic song title from earlier in the year, “Blue Suede Shoes.”
Sun recording artist and rockabilly pioneer Warren Smith then gets the second spot on the bill, along with a plug for his seminal and influential “Ubangi Stomp.”
In fact, this Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings billboard consists entirely of Sun Records artists… that fact alone ramps up its coolness factor considerably.
Then you have Orby himself listed at the bottom, almost looking lonely down there, although it does add “Sensational” to the billing, which is a nice little feather in their cap.
In showing you the second Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings window display in this video, I have to move forward only one night… that’s right, Friday, Nov. 9 (1956).
The state was Kentucky this time, the city was Paducah and the venue was the “Electrician’s Hall.” Showtime was 8:00 PM, as it is on all three posters.
However, this particular Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings event poster is the only one of the three to give ticket prices, which are always great to see. “Admission: Advance $1.50, At Door $2.00” it states.
I have no idea why the other two posters leave off the ticket prices; I can only guess it was the choice of each local promoter.
Instead of the previous “Rock & Roll Revue,” this Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings show placard from Kentucky says “Rock & Roll Dance Party.”
And then you’ve got the headliner, once again… Carl Perkins, rightfully described as “Mr. Blue Suede Shoes.”
And the look! Guess where the subject of this Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings concert sign is billed now… second! Orby moved up above Warren Smith this time… but lost the “Sensational.”
And interestingly, Smith got a new song title attached to his name… “Rock ’N Roll Ruby,” his follow-up Sun single to “Ubangi Stomp.” But neither one ever charted on Billboard magazine’s singles charts – pop or country.
And then the third & final Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings boxing-style concert poster loses Smith altogether, and moves Orby up with big, tall letters so that he’s practically co-billed with Perkins.
And a song title! Hurray! There it is, “Ooby Dooby” right there on the poster, under their name. Not a smash hit by any means, but the beginning of Roy’s long and storied career.
And then it says “3 Hour Show and Dance” at the bottom of this third Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings ticket poster. It’s the only one of the three to give any indication of how long the show was.
Odd note about this third one: Someone, probably at Hatch, took an ink pen and scratched out “Show &” and wrote in “Party” by hand, and same with “In Person” being crossed off and “Starring” written in. I presume this was for future shows (and posters) on the tour.
So which Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings street sign would you choose for your collection, if you had to choose just one? Would you go for the last one, since it has the biggest lettering and the song “Ooby Dooby”?
Or would you go for the second one, where Roy is middle-billed and you have the fun ticket prices on there?
Or, like me, would you pick the first one, because I love the “before-he-was-famous” aspect of having him bottom-billed, the word “Sensational” in there, and the fact they’re playing at a high school gym and presented by the Senior Class?
Tough choice, isn’t it? I mean, any Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings fence poster would be awesome to have, but when I stumbled across all three of these for my blog, I was totally thrilled.
In a later blog, I’m going to show you two from 1960, the year he broke through with “Only the Lonely,” and one from 1964, the year of “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
These three Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings concert advertisements measure the standard 14 by 22” in size, and were printed with red & yellow ink onto white cardboard.
If these things had been made of paper, many of them would not have withstood the weather elements, especially in the fall, when they were posted outside on telephone poles and fences.
These Roy Orbison & The Teen Kings street signs are proudly & happily shown to you today by rock ’n’ roll historian and lifelong collector Peter J. Howard. I started my music career at Wallich’s Music City on Sunset Blvd. in Hollywood in 1972, and have stayed in the music business ever since!
Please be aware that I pay the very HIGHEST prices in this hobby for cool, rare, collectible music and rock & roll stuff like this. You can reach me either by using firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (805) 540-0020.
And to see more great ’50s rock ‘n roll ticket posters, including a terrific one of Jerry Lee Lewis when he was also on Sun Records, just move over a notch to this page: