I guess if I got my love of music from someone in my family, it would be my mother. Some of my early music memories involve listening to oldies radio with her in the car or around the house while getting ready for school. If I remember correctly her favorite song was "Diana" by Paul Anka. My story tonight comes from her, I hope I do it justice.
So the year was 1956. My mom, who was a teenager at the time, took the bus with her two best friends to see Elvis Presley in the movie "Love Me Tender." It was a big event and the movie theater was holding a raffle after the showing. The prize was a life size cardboard cut out of the King that was used to promote the film in theater lobbies. My mom and her friends all agreed that if any of them won, they would share the prize. Mr. Presley would move from house to house every week, like the child of divorced parents.
Well, by the time they got to the bus stop Elvis was covered in lip stick marks of three different shades. The trio of girls climbed on board and my mom put the six foot cardboard standee on the seat next to her.
Well, I'm not sure how long this went on, but by the Christmas of 1958, Elvis was a permanent fixture at my mom's house. Her dad, my grandfather, got the great idea to dress the card board cut out of the King in a Santa Claus outfit and put him on the front porch. The neighbors loved it.
This went on for several years, Christmas would come along, grandpa would go down to the basement, grab Elvis and the Santa suit, and decorate the front porch. At the close of the season Elvis would go back down into the basement to await the next yuletide.
Well the winter weather and the damp basement eventually payed a toll on old Elvis and by the time I was born in 1973 Santa Presley was just a memory and a really good story.
Now, flash forward to present day. My mom is telling this story to my niece who is in college and writing a paper on the cultural history of our home town. I decide to look on Google for any information on this theater giveaway. I'm dying to see what it looked like when I stumble upon a recent episode of Antiques Roadshow. A man, in Minneapolis I believe, had one of these Elvis movie theater props. The appraiser went wild. "There are only 3 of these left known to exist," he says. "At an auction I would expect this to go, in it's current condition, for 10 to 15 thousand dollars."
My mom and I had a good laugh over it, and I'm sure somewhere Grandpa and Elvis are sharing one too.