Get all shook up for Elvis exhibit in Fort Worth

Posted Tuesday, May. 07, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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In advance of their upcoming special photography exhibit featuring Elvis Presley that will open in late May and run through the summer, the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History is sponsoring two events during the next two weeks to preview the show.

The exhibit, titled “ Elvis at 21,” features 56 pictures taken by freelance photojournalist Alfred Wertheimer, who was hired by RCA Victor in 1956 to shoot promotional images of the recently signed 21-year-old recording artist. The photos, all black and white with many in large format, present Elvis at the very beginning of his journey to become The King of Rock ’n’ Roll. The exhibit will run from May 25 through Sept. 2 and replaces the Titanic exhibition that has been at the museum since October.

At 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Magnolia Motor Lounge bar and grill at 3005 Morton St. in Fort Worth, Elvis’ former tour manager Charles Stone will talk about his experiences working with Presley and Col. Tom Parker, the singer’s legendary manager.

Clara Ruddell, the recently retired manager of the Visitors Information Center at the Will Rogers Memorial Center and an avid researcher of Texas and Western history, will look back on the night Elvis made his way to Fort Worth to perform April 20, 1956, before 7,000 people in two concerts at the North Side Coliseum in the Stockyards.

Elvis Tribute Artist Kraig Parker and local bluesman James Hinkle also will perform. Admission is free to anyone 21 and up.

To re-create Elvis’ first Fort Worth concert, the museum also is sponsoring an Elvis Tribute Artist contest on the front steps outside what is now the Cowtown Coliseum 1-4 p.m. May 18. Admission is free.

Would-be singers (warning: it’s apparently improper etiquette in the Elvis social world to call them “impersonators”) may enter in two categories: Early Elvis and Vegas Elvis.

Two winners will be selected from each category and will perform that evening at the rodeo. Winners will be judged by the fans in attendance and will receive a $500 prize.

Each contestant will also receive two complimentary tickets to the rodeo and two tickets to the Elvis photo exhibit at the museum. In addition, any spectator at the contest can also get into the rodeo free that night if they come dressed as Elvis —presumably from any period in his life: Movie Elvis, Elvis in the Army, Elvis in Hawaii, etc.

Contestants may register at at or in person at the coliseum. Singers must provide their own tracks and/or music.

For more information, visit or call 817-255-9300.

Jim Witt is executive editor of the Star-Telegram. 817-390-7704 Twitter: @jimelvis

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