Rushville Republican


October 8, 2013

A Hall, A Wall, and the King, Dinged!


Next, we strolled past a long, tall Sally. . . .wait, check that, it was a long, tall wall covered floor to ceiling in prints replicating concert posters and promotions for country artists across the decades. One of them is a poster for performances by Elvis Presley in Jacksonvillle, Florida, Aug. 10-11 (1956, I found out when I got home and ferreted out the poster on the internet; this was just a month before Elvis first appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show).

Tickets to the show cost a budget-busting $1.50. (Yes, that’s one dollar and fifty cents.) But you have to figure it was worth it, since besides Elvis, the audience got to see an “All-Star Cast” including The Jordanaires, Phil Maraquin, Frankie Connors, the Blue Moon Boys, “and others.”

The Jordanaires are pretty well-known by country and pop music aficionados like me as the long-time back-up vocalists to Elvis, and many other big acts. I find it curious that none of the guys in the group, which shifted personnel over the years, was ever named “Jordan.” Or “Aire.”

Phil Maraquin is, I think it’s safe to say, not so well known, or at least not to me. He was a comedian, whose signature bit was expelling golf balls from his mouth. A newspaper review I discovered online, from the Lakeland Ledger, covering the performance of this same troupe at a show in Lakeland, Florida three days before the Jacksonville show, says the comic “coughed up a million golf balls,” no doubt enthralling a theater full of Elvis-loving teens.

Frankie Connors was an Irish tenor, who apparently had an even tougher time connecting with the crowds “while singing at an Elvis concert in Toronto in April, 1957, Connors was booed! By polite Canadians!

That’s being pretty stingy, miserly and such-like with the love, but it’s topped by that Lakeland Ledger reviewer, who wrote that the concert overall was “of a caliber well worth the $1.50 admission, with the exception of Presley.” Doesn’t that just take the pake!

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