Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

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Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by MikeFromHolland »

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From “CENTER FOR FLORIDA HISTORY ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM” a November 5, 2017 interview with the blond girl reaching out her arm towards Elvis in the Polk Theatre on August 6, 1956, Gail (Akins) Ulrey.

4852238F-CEB9-457A-94E6-B577EB8D9EF7.jpeg


(..)

B: When did, um, I Love Lucy, when did that come out? Did you ever have that on?

G: Oh, yeah, that was a major thing to watch. I Love Lucy, but I can remember so that I enjoyed that people now wouldn’t have known even what they were. One was called I Married Joan, and the lead actor was, uh a guy named Jim Backus, and he went on to be in lots of things; he was also the millionaire in – on Gilligan’s Island. Have you ever seen Gilligan’s Island? But everything was black and white, we watched what there was because there just wasn’t that much. Of course, um, Elvis – Elvis made his appearance in the mid-fifties, ’54, ’55, ‘56, and then – then he was on TV. And whenever Elvis was gonna be on TV, that was like a major event; that would be like if U2 was gonna come into my living room tonight and play, you know? I mean that was a major thing.

B: Yeah. And, um, speaking of Elvis; you did see him at the Polk Theatre.

G: I did.

B: And was that two times or three?

G: Three and it was general admission. So you didn’t have reserved seating, so um two friends and I – one which was the driver when we went to see the Ku Klux Klan, Carol. One of our mothers dropped us off at the Polk Theatre at 8’oclock in the morning, and we had our brown bag lunch, probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And the first show wasn’t until like 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and she dropped us of at like 8’oclock. And there were two girls that we already there, and they – as it turned out – they were from Pinellas County. They were older than us, they were like sophisticated.
They had already seen him the night – the day before, in Pinellas County. So they had ticket one and ticket two, and I had ticket three and then my friends were four and five. So, we had on dresses, you know, not shorts, not jeans. And we had on dresses and we – we just stood out there from 8 am until they let us in. So, when we got in, I sat front row center, and it was a tremendous show; it was great.
And then at the end of that show, we had to leave; so when we went outside the lines were long. Cause when we got there – we were the first in line, so we didn’t have that experience; the lines were long. So I got in that line, thinking ‘okay I’ve seen him, you know, I’m gonna go back and see him. I won’t have the same experience.’ So when I got in some – some boys that knew I liked him real well were going ‘Gail! Gail! Come, we saved you a seat!’ So I went down and I sat in the front row, not front row center, but just a little ways down.
So then after that show, went outside, I think the last show was like 7 o’clock last night, and I’d been there since 8 in the morning, went outside now the lines really were long. Got in line again, and when I came back in, another two guys had saved me a seat. Front row, but this time I was over towards the end, where the – the stage would kinda come out. So, I was over there; so, um, I um – let’s see. That one’s older. Okay, here we are. So, I’m in there.

B: You’re in this picture? Oh my goodness, are you in the back? Where – which one are you?

7A8F008E-C789-4B26-B268-EABDE413EFCD.jpeg


G: I – I – I am this one right here, with the skinny arm. So actually I’m the first person because those are the policemen. His named was Mr. Lorde, so he went in that back and got me an autographed picture of Elvis.

B: That is so cool!

G: So it was terrific; it really was – it was so great. And, um, he and his groups stayed at – at the Tiger Villa Hotel on Highway 92; a motel. And um it was just – it was just a neat thing; I’ll so you the picture in a little bit. Now when I was in junior high – I don’t know if this is of any interest to you.

B: Oh yeah, anything.

G: This – this young lady right here was named um, Neva Jane Langley, she was from Lakeland and she was my brother-in-laws cousin. And – uh first cousin, well she went to school in Georgia. She went to Westland, and she became Miss America.

(..)


Source:
https://www.flsouthern.edu/FSC/media/other/florida-history/oral-histories/Gail-Ulrey-11-8-2017.pdf


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Re: Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by drjohncarpenter »

MikeFromHolland wrote:
Sun Jul 31, 2022 11:27 am


From “CENTER FOR FLORIDA HISTORY ORAL HISTORY PROGRAM” a November 5, 2017 interview with the blond girl reaching out her arm towards Elvis in the Polk Theatre on August 6, 1956, Gail (Akins) Ulrey.


Image



(..)

B: When did, um, I Love Lucy, when did that come out? Did you ever have that on?

G: Oh, yeah, that was a major thing to watch. I Love Lucy, but I can remember so that I enjoyed that people now wouldn’t have known even what they were. One was called I Married Joan, and the lead actor was, uh a guy named Jim Backus, and he went on to be in lots of things; he was also the millionaire in – on Gilligan’s Island. Have you ever seen Gilligan’s Island? But everything was black and white, we watched what there was because there just wasn’t that much. Of course, um, Elvis – Elvis made his appearance in the mid-fifties, ’54, ’55, ‘56, and then – then he was on TV. And whenever Elvis was gonna be on TV, that was like a major event; that would be like if U2 was gonna come into my living room tonight and play, you know? I mean that was a major thing.

B: Yeah. And, um, speaking of Elvis; you did see him at the Polk Theatre.

G: I did.

B: And was that two times or three?

G: Three and it was general admission. So you didn’t have reserved seating, so um two friends and I – one which was the driver when we went to see the Ku Klux Klan, Carol. One of our mothers dropped us off at the Polk Theatre at 8’oclock in the morning, and we had our brown bag lunch, probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And the first show wasn’t until like 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and she dropped us of at like 8’oclock. And there were two girls that we already there, and they – as it turned out – they were from Pinellas County. They were older than us, they were like sophisticated.
They had already seen him the night – the day before, in Pinellas County. So they had ticket one and ticket two, and I had ticket three and then my friends were four and five. So, we had on dresses, you know, not shorts, not jeans. And we had on dresses and we – we just stood out there from 8 am until they let us in. So, when we got in, I sat front row center, and it was a tremendous show; it was great.
And then at the end of that show, we had to leave; so when we went outside the lines were long. Cause when we got there – we were the first in line, so we didn’t have that experience; the lines were long. So I got in that line, thinking ‘okay I’ve seen him, you know, I’m gonna go back and see him. I won’t have the same experience.’ So when I got in some – some boys that knew I liked him real well were going ‘Gail! Gail! Come, we saved you a seat!’ So I went down and I sat in the front row, not front row center, but just a little ways down.
So then after that show, went outside, I think the last show was like 7 o’clock last night, and I’d been there since 8 in the morning, went outside now the lines really were long. Got in line again, and when I came back in, another two guys had saved me a seat. Front row, but this time I was over towards the end, where the – the stage would kinda come out. So, I was over there; so, um, I um – let’s see. That one’s older. Okay, here we are. So, I’m in there.

B: You’re in this picture? Oh my goodness, are you in the back? Where – which one are you?


Image



G: I – I – I am this one right here, with the skinny arm. So actually I’m the first person because those are the policemen. His named was Mr. Lorde, so he went in that back and got me an autographed picture of Elvis.

B: That is so cool!

G: So it was terrific; it really was – it was so great. And, um, he and his groups stayed at – at the Tiger Villa Hotel on Highway 92; a motel. And um it was just – it was just a neat thing; I’ll so you the picture in a little bit. Now when I was in junior high – I don’t know if this is of any interest to you.

B: Oh yeah, anything.

G: This – this young lady right here was named um, Neva Jane Langley, she was from Lakeland and she was my brother-in-laws cousin. And – uh first cousin, well she went to school in Georgia. She went to Westland, and she became Miss America.

(..)


Source:
https://www.flsouthern.edu/FSC/media/other/florida-history/oral-histories/Gail-Ulrey-11-8-2017.pdf



Image



I think a rather important statement was missed in this oral history . . .


:shock:


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Re: Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by drjohncarpenter »

So . . . I read the entire interview and the KKK reference is actually innocuous. But I was surprised to see it in your interview excerpt without any context.

Also interesting to confirm that concert photo is from Lakeland show #3 that day, which began at 9pm.

Our fan Gail saw all three of them!

I was also wondering why this lady was interviewed in the first place, but found more on the main school site. It appears students interviewed various people who could share their experiences growing up and/or living and working in Lakeland.


hs-gail-ulrey.jpg
GAIL ULREY
(1942- ) shares stories of her life growing in Lakeland in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. She attended Dixieland elementary and Lakeland High School. She speaks of her memories of the Polk Theatre, downtown department stores, and playing on the campus of Florida Southern College. She was at the Polk Theatre when Elvis Presley performed there in 1956. Ulrey eventually married and endured several years alone when her husband served in the Vietnam War. She also shares her memories of Martin Luther King, popular movies, songs, and television of the 1950s and 1960s.

Subjects: Florida Southern College, Ku Klux Klan, Race Relations, Civil Rights, Elvis Presley, Vietnam War, Dick Clark, American Bandstand, Vietnam War, Neva Jane Langley

11/8/17 InterviewPDF

Oral Histories - Center for Florida History
https://www.flsouthern.edu/academic-life/centers-institutes/center-for-florida-history/oral-histories.aspx
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by Mississippi »

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:48 am
So . . . I read the entire interview and the KKK reference is actually innocuous. But I was surprised to see it in your interview excerpt without any context.

Also interesting to confirm that concert photo is from Lakeland show #3 that day, which began at 7pm. Our fan saw all three of them, too.

I was also wondering why this lady was interviewed in the first place, but found more on the main school site. It appears students interviewed various people who could share their experiences growing up and/or living and working in Lakeland.


Image

GAIL ULREY
(1942- ) shares stories of her life growing in Lakeland in the late 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. She attended Dixieland elementary and Lakeland High School. She speaks of her memories of the Polk Theatre, downtown department stores, and playing on the campus of Florida Southern College. She was at the Polk Theatre when Elvis Presley performed there in 1956. Ulrey eventually married and endured several years alone when her husband served in the Vietnam War. She also shares her memories of Martin Luther King, popular movies, songs, and television of the 1950s and 1960s.

Subjects: Florida Southern College, Ku Klux Klan, Race Relations, Civil Rights, Elvis Presley, Vietnam War, Dick Clark, American Bandstand, Vietnam War, Neva Jane Langley

11/8/17 InterviewPDF

Oral Histories - Center for Florida History
https://www.flsouthern.edu/academic-life/centers-institutes/center-for-florida-history/oral-histories.aspx

That concert photo is from Lakeland show #3 that day, which began at 7pm

Lakeland, Floride: Shows at 3 : 30 -- 7 : 000 -- 9 : 00.

The photo is from show #2.

Mississippi


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Re: Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by drjohncarpenter »

Mississippi wrote:
Thu Aug 04, 2022 4:10 pm
Lakeland, Floride: Shows at 3 : 30 -- 7 : 000 -- 9 : 00.

The photo is from show #2.

Mississippi




You're correct about the 1956 Lakeland show times, as this newspaper ad confirms:




560806_Lakeland Ledger_ad.jpg
Lakeland Ledger - Monday, August 6, 1956



But the photo is indeed from the third and final performance that day. Gail makes this clear in her 2017 interview (see below).

What she mis-remembered was the correct time of that third performance (she also mis-remembered the time of the afternoon set).

I've updated my previous post, thanks!


Yeah. And, um, speaking of Elvis; you did see him at the Polk Theater.

I did.

And was that two times or three?

Three and it was general admission. So you didn’t have reserved seating, so um two friends and I –- one which was the driver when we went to see the Ku Klux Klan -- Carol. One of our mothers dropped us off at the Polk Theater at 8 o'clock in the morning, and we had our brown bag lunch, probably a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. And the first show wasn’t until like 1 o’clock in the afternoon, and she dropped us of at like 8 o'clock.

And there were two girls that were already there, and they –- as it turned out –- they were from Pinellas County. They were older than us, they were like sophisticated. They had already seen him the night, the day before, in Pinellas County. So they had ticket one and ticket two, and I had ticket three, and then my friends were four and five.

So, we had on dresses, you know, not shorts, not jeans. And we had on dresses and we, we just stood out there from 8am until they let us in. So, when we got in, I sat front row center, and it was a tremendous show; it was great.

And then at the end of that show, we had to leave; so when we went outside the lines were long. 'Cause when we got there, we were the first in line, so we didn’t have that experience [of] the lines were long. So I got in that line, thinking, "Okay, I’ve seen him, you know, I’m gonna go back and see him. I won’t have the same experience."

So when I got in, some, some boys that knew I liked him real well were going "Gail! Gail! Come, we saved you a seat!" So I went down and I sat in the front row -- not front row center, but just a little ways down.

So then, after that show, went outside, I think the last show was like 7 o’clock last night, and I’d been there since 8 in the morning, went outside -- now the lines really were long -- got in line again, and when I came back in, another two guys had saved me a seat.

Front row, but this time I was over towards the end, where the, the stage would kind of come out. So, I was over there.


So, um, I, um -- let’s see. That one’s older. Okay, here we are. So, I’m in there.



560806_Polk Theater_Lakeland_9pm.jpg


You’re in this picture? Oh my goodness, are you in the back? Where, which one are you?

I, I, I am this one right here, with the skinny arm. So actually I’m the first person, because those [in front of me] are the policemen. His name was Mr. Lorde, [later] he went in the back and got me an autographed picture of Elvis.

That is so cool!

So it was terrific, it really was -- it was so great. And, um, he and his groups stayed at, at the Tiger Villa Hotel on Highway 92, a motel. And, um, it was just, it was just a neat thing.



Center For Florida History, Oral History Program
Interview with Gail Ulrey by Beka Urban, Brandon, FL - November 5, 2017

https://www.flsouthern.edu/FSC/media/other/florida-history/oral-histories/Gail-Ulrey-11-8-2017.pdf




The Scotty Moore site has Gail's story on the Lakeland page, and a nice photo from 1956, when she was 14.


560400_Linda Gail Akins.jpg
Linda Gail Akins, Lakeland FL - circa April 1956


Scotty Moore - The Polk Theater - Lakeland, FL
http://www.scottymoore.net/lakeland.html




This WordPress page has the above concert photo with Post-it annotations of folks in the picture:



The photo shows the following names annotated:

L-R: Jimmy E. Mock, Sr. (LPD Officer), Katina Perdicaris, Clyde Hostetler (usher?), Gail Akins, Helen Perdicaris, Sarah Williams, Linda Sapp



Besides Gail, where are these kids today?
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Re: Just a neat memory of someone who was there… August ‘56

Post by MikeFromHolland »

drjohncarpenter wrote:
Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:58 am


(..)


Besides Gail, where are these kids today?

Not mentioned above*, but Linda Shiver was there as well. She was 12 at the time. An interview with her can be found here:
https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/news/2022/06/23/lakeland-woman-remembers-elvis-presley-s-live-performance-in-polk-county-#


* Perhaps she is mentioned in the above, as Linda Sapp?

20F8067F-C7CA-40A2-8D83-0D61BD3679B1.jpeg


“I remember it totally — I was 12 years old,” said a longtime fan, Linda Shiver. “My mom didn’t like him — they used to call him 'Elvis the Pelvis.'”

Shiver said seeing Presley perform that day in 1956 left an enduing impression on her.

“Oh yes, I’ll never forget that day — I was in the third row,” she said. “I had remembered watching him on the Ed Sullivan Show and they only showed him from the waist up because he gyrated too much.”

Shiver recalled spending $1.50 for a ticket to see Elvis play at the Polk Theatre. That was a lot of money back then, but she said it was worth every penny for her and the friend she attended the show with.

“If you can imagine, my friend that I was sitting next to was screaming and pulling her hair," Shiver said. "I’m surprised I could hear him with all that carrying on, but I did and we loved the show.”

After that, she said she would save her lunch money to buy Elvis records, which only cost 15 cents at the time.

“We didn’t know who he would become then," Shiver said. "Back in 1956, he was still new, but we loved him. I liked him better than then when he became the Vegas Elvis with all the glitz.”


47B9B9E7-FC6B-4F8F-B321-CD6040E60E52.jpeg

7557F9B4-DB12-4655-8239-E6DFF3B6FBA8.jpeg




I wonder what became of this documentary:



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