A few weeks ago, when I was reviewing pictures in my files for the recurring feature Postscripts to Earlier Elvisblogs, there were several photos from Elvis’ first appearance in Las Vegas. That was his two-week engagement at the New Frontier Hotel’s Venus Showroom from April 23 to May 6, 1956.
I tried to find the original ElvisBlog article to check out just what pictures had been used to illustrate the story. Surprisingly, I couldn’t find the article. I freaked out until finally remembering that the story hadn’t been used on the blog. Rather, I submitted it to Elvis International magazine, and it was published in July 2010.
The editor, Darwin Lamm, decided not to use any of the photos I submitted with the story. They were mostly small low-resolution pictures that work OK in a blog but not in a first-class magazine that mostly uses full-page photos. Darwin got four good ones from EPE to illustrate the story.
So, now I get to pick from both my original photos and the newer ones to illustrate a blog article on how much fun Elvis had during his first stint as a Vegas performer.
Elvis on Stage (nice bowties)
There are a few photos that show how Elvis spent his daytime hours at the New Frontier.
DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore, Bill Black and Elvis Poolside at the New Frontier Hotel
Elvis with a Fan Out on the Vegas Strip
Elvis and Two More Fans at the Hotel Pool
Elvis in Front of Huge Poster Advertising His First Las Vegas Appearance
There do not seem to be any photographs chronicling what Elvis did at night after his performances at the New Frontier. However, a 1956 Associate Press story by Steve Kanigher in the Las Vegas Sun states, “Presley enjoyed the Las Vegas nightlife… Presley and his posse would stay up all night and hit the shows.”
How do you like this quote about Elvis from long-time friend and partying pal Joe Esposito? “He enjoyed Vegas tremendously because this was the only town you could do 24 hours a day.” Of course, Joe was describing Elvis in the 70s, but it seems Elvis' love of Las Vegas nightlife started in 1956.
The Las Vegas Sun story added a revealing line about Elvis and the guys going backstage after some shows: “They were constantly surrounded by showgirls.” That’s probably one perk Elvis arranged for himself with no help from Col. Parker.
Elvis sent this New Frontier Hotel postcard to his friend and Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips. Part of the message on the other side was, “I hope you can make it out here before they fire me. It sure is crazy out here.”
I’ll bet it was… and Elvis enjoyed every minute of it.
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