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Home > Newspaper Articles > 1974 > June 28, 1974 (8:30 pm). Milwaukee, WI.
CONCERT DATE: June 28, 1974 (8:30 pm). Milwaukee, WI.
20 Years Later, Elvis Still A Superstar
By Gerald Kloss
June 28, 1974
On April 25, a Thursday, The journal ran a four paragraph story on page 15 of the first section under the headline, "Elvis To Be Here June 28." A one column head shot of Elvis Presley ran with the story, which said that tickets for his appearance, selling at $10, $7.50 and $5, could be obtained by mail order from the Arena box office, 500 W. Kilbourn Ave.
That was the only announcement. No printed ads. No TV commercials.
Well, 900 letters arrived at the Arena box office th enext day, and 1,600 the day after, and another 1,600 or so the following Monday. The average number of ticket requests per letter was three.
Altogether, 4,500 letters were recieved, of which 1,400 had to be turned down. The 11,800 seat house was sold out two months in advance, on the basis of a four paragraph story on an inside page of a weekday newspaper.
Which is some indicatino of the superstar status of the 39 year old former truck driver who started out his singing career 20 years ago under the name of Hillbilly Cat.
And tonight he's here at the Arena to stomp, shout and croon before an adoring audience that has followed every move of his twitching legs and rolling pelvis since "Heartbreak Hotel" and "Hound Dog" broke into the national consciousness in the mid-1950s.
The audience, in fact, ought to be an interesting as the fabled performer on the stage. A good many of them may have caught their first sight of Elvis on the old Ed Sullivan show and the Jackie Gleason series, when the network censors cut him off at his writhing hips to prevent the wholesale destruction of morals in America's living rooms.
Still Their Hero
Those high school youngsters of the Eisenhower era practiced the Elvis leer in the bathroom mirror and slapped lanolin on their scalps with abandon in emulation of their hero with the smoldering eyes and curling lip.
And now they're respectable young parents and home makers - traffic managers, bank tellers, car salesmen, morticians - but Elvis is still their guy. Not even Crosby or Sinatra or the Beatles have magnetized so many for so long a time.
It was actor Richard Burton, not exactly a minor luminary himself, who summed it up best a number of years ago. He got out of a limousine in some public place and immediately was surrounded by a horde of celebrity seekers.
"My God," said Burton, "I feel like Elvis Presley!"
The way the tickets are scaled for tonight's performance - 75% of the seats at $10, 15% at $7.50 and 10% at $5 - the box office gross should be well above $100,000. When Elvis made his first appearance at the Arena two years ago, his manager, Col. Tom Parker, insisted on paying a flat rental rate for the house instead of the alternative 10% of the gross.
With good reason. Although the flat rate was higher than usual for the occasion, it was still considerably less than 10% of the gross for the two night, which came out to around $190,000 (Milwaukee was the only city on that tour that didn't completely sell out, although we came very close to it.)
There are expenses, of course. Elvis moves around in style and his tour management is a model of efficiency. Last time he was here, his party took over a floor of the Pfister Hotel Tower, and the security was so tight that even authorized personnel had trouble getting through the lines.
What it all comes down to, however, is Elvis himself, the man who, more than any other, made rock music part of American life (Can you think of any TV commercial theme that doesn't have at least a touch of the rock beat?)
When the social history of the United States in the mid 30th century is written, Elvis and rock will certainly deserve a chapter.
Courtesy of Francesc Lopez