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correct date

Fri Sep 14, 2007 1:11 pm

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What is the correct date of the picture showing Dewey Phillips, Judy Crainer and Elvis Presley sign cards for Univerity Status?

Fri Sep 14, 2007 2:39 pm

Here is the photo, folks...


Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:03 am

Looks to be circa Nov-Dec 1956.

Brian P ???

Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:19 pm

Hi Brian,

I need your help. Thanks.

Sun Oct 07, 2007 5:46 pm

Thanks guys for your trust in me.

Mississippi, thanks for posting this photo which I guess is new to almost all of us. Doc is nailing the period as usual.

In "The Atomic Powered SInger" I wrote:
Friday, December 7, found Elvis at Jim's Barber Shop for a haircut and a trim of his famous sideburns. Some teenage girls saw the big Presley car in front and went in for autographs. Elvis was gracious and signed his name and chatted with the girls while the barber carefully snipped. A girl, seeing the dark locks fall, said, "Oh, can I have some hair?" It was all right with Elvis and the girls got generous samples of his hair.

Prior to his visit at the Barber Shop Elvis had signed a postcard to Governor Clement, asking him to get behind a move supporting university status for Memphis State College. Dewey Phillips was with him and also signed a card.

I also wrote:
Sometime in December 1956, probably on December 7, Elvis attended the WDIA Goodwill Revue in Memphis, Tn. This was a show with black artists only and Elvis was photographed with some of the stars of the show as can be seen on page 135.

As we all know now the date Elvis attended the WDIA was in fact December 7th and if you look closely on the photo with Dewey and Judy Crainer you'll notice that Elvis wears the same shirt under his jacket as in the WDIA photos.

So there you have it, December 7, 1956 it is.


Sun Oct 07, 2007 7:01 pm

Hi Brian,

many thanks for this superb answer.


Sun Oct 07, 2007 9:34 pm

Always glad to be of service :D 8)


Sun Oct 07, 2007 10:42 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote:Looks to be circa Nov-Dec 1956.Brian P ???
bripet56 wrote:So there you have it, December 7, 1956 it is.

Though we are all pretty close on this one, it may be from an other date; December 1st or 8th.
Below you will find an email from Judy Crainer (as shown in the picture) from earlier this year:

Source: Judy Crainer ---Edited---

The picture was taken in the fall of 1956 (I think sometime in late November, but I can't remember exactly).

The picture was taken in the studios of radio station WHBQ in Memphis. It was taken as a part of the publicity campaign to urge the Tennessee State Legislature to vote to give university status to what was then Memphis State College. The student committee had thousands of postcards printed up and distributed them all over Memphis -- the postcards were addressed to the State Legislature and asked them to vote favorably to make Memphis State a University rather than a college.

Since, in those days, Elvis was our "hometown hero" - it was thought that if we could get Elvis to sign a postcard and have a picture and article in the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, that would help publicize the university effort.

One of the committee members knew Dewey Phillips and enlisted his help to get Elvis to agree, and he did. So, on a Saturday afternoon, Elvis was finally available and because I was well known on campus (Memphis State was relatively small in those days), I was asked to be the student representative for the picture. And so, I did.

The picture and article appeared in the Commercial Appeal. On the first page of the newspaper, there was a close up shot of just Elvis' hands signing the postcard -- with a caption -- Whose Hands Are These? The actual picture with the accompanying article appeared on an inside page. Unfortunately, somewhere over the years, I misplaced (or lost) the original newspaper. The picture also appeared in the 1957 edition of the Memphis State yearbook, which was called the DeSoto.

The campaign was successful and the state legislature granted Memphis State university status in early spring of 1957.

Hope this little bit of history helps. The picture you attached is the only picture that was taken -- I am attaching a little better copy for you.

I knew Elvis personally (although was not part of his "crowd"). In fact, before he moved to Graceland, I lived in his neighborhood. The first time I saw Elvis perform was way before he became famous. A new shopping center had just opened at the corner of Lamar Avenue and Airways Blvd. and one of the biggest stores in the center was a Katz Drugstore (I think Katz later became Osco and is now CVS Pharmacy). Anyways, to celebrate the opening, several local bands played; one of which feature Elvis. They performed on the back of a hay wagon...
(I kid you not, a hay wagon) and Elvis sang That's All Right Mama and Blue Moon of Kentucky.

Since she did (re-)assure me that it took place on a Saturday - and since her other memories seem to be accurate as well, I've dated this picture: Saturday 1 (or 8 ) December 1956.

The original newspaper clipping, should provide more details.

Mon Oct 08, 2007 11:10 am

Great information – thanks E-cat and of course Judy Crainer, too.

Mon Oct 08, 2007 12:54 pm

E-Cat, thanks a lot for the info from Judy Crainer.

I am at work right now but I have the "Whose Hands Are These" news-paper clipping at home and I am pretty sure that one took place in December of 1957 and Elvis wore totally different clothes.

There is no doubt in my mind that the photo we're talking about here is from December 7, 1956. I'll check the newspaper clipping from December 56 as well and see if Judy Crainer was mentioned in the article and I just didn't mention her in my book as I had no photo to go along with the information.

I'll also search my notes for 1957 and see I have mentioned Judy Crainer in those because I know that I have read about her in connection with my research many years ago.


Mon Oct 08, 2007 2:21 pm

bripet56 wrote:E-Cat, thanks a lot for the info from Judy Crainer.

You are welcome Brian

bripet56 wrote: I'll check the newspaper clipping from December 56
...I'll also search my notes for 1957

great - thx !

Mon Oct 08, 2007 6:52 pm

Well, I've just gone through my clippings and I must admit that I was wrong. And so was Judy Crainer.

I was wrong when I said that the "Whose Hands" article was from December 1957 and Judy Crainer was wrong when she stated the article was from the Commercial Appeal. However, since she has misplaced the article it is easy to forget which of the two papers the article appeared in.

However, I was right when I said the photo was from December 7, 1956.
The article appeared in the Memphis Press Scimitar on December 8, 1956. I have the clipping from the front page right in front of me now and the exact caption is:
WHOSE HANDS? and what are they signing? Turn to Page 3 and find out.

Just like Judy Crainer I have misplaced the page 3 article but there is no doubt this is the incident in the photo. The front page clipping has Elvis' hands signing the poster and it is the exact same portion as in the photo above.

I know I have the article somewhere but it might take me some time to dig it out as I haven't got the faintest idea where I have misplaced it. Maybe that's why they call it being misplaced :lol:

Anyway, the photo is from December 7, 1956, the same day Elvis visited the WDIA Goodwill Revue later in the evening.


Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:05 pm

bripet56 wrote:Well, I've just gone through my clippings and I must admit that I was wrong. And so was Judy Crainer.

bripet56 wrote:Anyway, the photo is from December 7, 1956, the same day Elvis visited the WDIA Goodwill Revue later in the evening.

Brian, so many thanks for the clarification and for reconfirming the correct date !
If time permits - please do post the clippings, Judy will be so delighted to see these again !

Mon Oct 08, 2007 9:55 pm

bripet56 wrote:Anyway, the photo is from December 7, 1956, the same day Elvis visited the WDIA Goodwill Revue later in the evening.

Brian, you and E-Cat are real assets on this forum. This is yet another terrific topic.

Interestingly, this signing may have been done on the way to the WDIA benefit -- the clothes Elvis has on appear to be a match. And no doubt DJ Dewey Phillips, a huge fan and supporter of R&B, was going as well.