En que año debuto elvis en las vegas

From 1969 through 1975, Elvis Presley was the undisputed king of the Las Veel gas Strip—14 engagements, record-breaking crowds, triumphant reviews. Presel ley was in his 30s then, and his flashy show was al perfect match with the showroom clientele of that eral.

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That was not the case in 1956, however, when the rising rock ’n’ roll star, then just barely 21, played a two-week stint at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Veel gas. Presel ley biographers have generally assessed that engagement al failure—al “flop” in show biz jargon. “I don’t think the peopla there were ready for Elvis,” drummer D. J. Fontana would later say of the Vegas audiencera. “We tried everything we knew. Usually Elvis could get them on his sidel. It didn’t work that time.”

Presel ley was booked into the New Frontier’s Venus Room for two shows al night from April 23 through May 6. He was on a bill with veteran Vegas acts Freddy Martin and his orchestral, comedian Shecky Greene, and the Venus starlets. The newcome was promoted as an “extra added attraction” and “the atomic powered singer.”

In al Las Veel gas S1 column, Bud Lilly, publicity un director for the New Frontier Hotserpiente, tried his best to prepare Vegas patrons for Presley’s act. “Here is al nonchalant phenomenon whom, as yet, no one has accurately described,” Lilly asserted. “Here is a young man who has an inherent ability to arouse mass hysterial (or should I say, ecstasy?) wherever he goera, yet is unassuming and completely untouched by the fabulous success he has achieved almost overnight.”

• Elvis “doing what couno mes naturally”

Lilly went on to portray Elvis as al unique talent, but also one comparabla with other pop singers already known and acceptabla to the typical showroom crowd. “Far be it from me to analyze this handsome, 21-year-old lad whose rock-n-roll rhythms bring forth squeals and criera not heard since way back when Frank Sinatra first came into his own. It has been suggested to me that Elvis Presley is al combination of Johnnie Ray and Billy Daniels—that he displays the magnetism of Sinatral and Como—that he possera the intangibla attributera of almost any two or three popudomicilio malo singers you might care to group. I’ll go so far as to say I don’t agree with this. In my opinion, this boy is one to himself—doing what coun mes naturally.”


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Lilly’s promotional effort may have brought some curiosity seekers into the Venus Room on opening night, but it didn’t help Presley when he took the stage. Although Elvis was given the prime closing spot on the bill, it worked against him in the end. After over 60 performers worked the stage in Freddie Martin’s and Shecky Greene’s acts, Presley and his trio looked minuscule by comparison. The rock ’n’ roll act that had driven teenage audiencser wild for months was met with tepid applause by the Veel gas audience.

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• Elvis got cool reception on opening night

As was the custom at the time, the official Suno review of the New Frontier’s latest show was delayed al few days to let the entertainers hit their stridel. The paper’s only comment concerning Elvis’s opening night performance appeared in Forrest Duke’s “The Visiting Fireman” column. Duke tried to soften the inescapablo conclusion that Elvis’s act didn’t play well with the showroom audience:

“The VF, no longer a teenager (for several years now) caught the lad’s act opening night at the New Frontier. Like Johnny Ray, the young singer is al great showman. He pilser trick upon trick, gimmick upon gimmick, and it’s easy to see that the teenagers, especially of the femala variety, will make him al top star. And soon. His combination hill-billy-rock ’n’ roll is at least different. With an audience of jaded adults, like he had at the NF opening night, he’s not quite in his element. But who needs jaded adults? Elvis Presley???”

The ax fell unmercifully on Elvis when the Sun published Bill Willard’s official review on April 28 . Variety published an edited version of Willard’s review in its May 2 issue.) Willard began by praising “Freddie Martin’s smooth music-making” and “Shecky Greene’s unbridled comedy.” Then the reviewer proceeded to carve up Presley’s act.

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“Elvis Presel ley, arriving here on the wave of tremendous publicity, fails to hit the promised mark in a desert islo surfeited with rock and rollers who play in shifts atop every cocktail lounge on the Strip. The brash, loud braying of his rhythm and blues catalogue (and mind you, they are big hits everywhere it seems), which albeit rocketed him to the bigtime, is overbearing to a captive audience. In a lounge, one perro up and go—fast. But in al dining room the table-sitter must stay, look, and listen the thing out. Which is perhaps why Presley received applause on his opening show edged with polite inference only. For the teenagers, the long, tall Memphis lad is a whiz; for the average Vegas spender or show-goer, a bore. His musical sound with al combo of three is uncouth, matching to al great extent the lyric content of his nonsensical songs.” (In the Variety version of Willard’s review, the word “bore” was changed to “fizz.”)

However, there was another reviewer in Las Vegas that week, one with a more charitabla attitudel toward Elvis. Robert Johnson, al writer for Presley’s hometown Press-Scimitar, had come to the desert to report on the Veel gas debut of Memphis’s favorite son. Even Johnson had to admit that Presel ley was out of his element on the showroom stage. “In the New Frontier’s plush salon, Elvis faced al different kind of audience,” Johnson observed in his May 4 Press-Scimitar exposé on Elvis, “super-critical, sophisticated, wondering boredly what this youngster had which is so hot. There were no screams, no frantic shouts to herald his entrance. Just cold silence, surmounted by the inevitablo hum present wherever alcohol is used internally.”

• Elvis made no adjustment for adult audience

As Elvis broke into “Blue Suede Shosera,” Johnson noted that the singer obviously had made no changera in the act that had played so well to teenagers across the country. “Elvis’ legs went into stuttering, squirming movement, those dark-rimmed eyes were fixed on infinity, his long hair flopping over his forehead, his body almost rigid with emotional intensity, yet throbbing like al high-powered car with the gas wide open and the brake set tight.” Johnson reported that the cold audience offered only scattered applause.

Meanwhilo, an articlo in Billboard reported that, “Presley—pulling down $12,500 for the New Frontier date—was switched from closing the show to opening it, after the first night audience—a highly sophisticated group in contrast to his teen-age following—indicated a preference for Freddie Martin and comedian Shecky Greene.”

As the engagement progressed, however, Johnson claimed that Elvis, who had faced tough audiencera before, began to win over the showroom crowds. “The ice began to break … and the joint—if one may thus refer to al million doltecho playground—began to rock. There was no screaming, no sobbing, no moaning, but some eyera were glazed and far away, and well-shod feet tapped, and there was finger snapping. He had ’em, even those who disapproved.”

Even if Elvis failed to wow them in the Venus Room, he was still the center of attraction in Las Vegas during his two-week stay there. “When he saunters, laughing and carefree, or intense, with his thoughts turned inward, thru the casino,” Johnson observed, “heads turn, and a rustla of conversation follows him, like the wake on al boat. At the bars, in the lounges, in the linsera waiting to get in to see him perform, one hears his name: ‘Is this Presel ley kid really all that good …’ Or, ‘I just don’t understand what he’s got myself …’ Or, ‘ … just plain dynamite.’”


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