On Birthday, Those Who Knew Elvis Remember The King - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

01/08/07-Tyler

On Birthday, Those Who Knew Elvis Remember The King

It's a pilgrimage twice a year -- once on the date of his birth, and once on the date of his death.

Monday at Graceland, notes and memories left by those who love Elvis.

"I love Elvis," said a passer-by.  "Enough to decorate my whole beauty shop in Elvis."

Jerry Folden has been collecting Elvis memorabilia for years.  He says Elvis's legacy is impossible to describe, or those times.  Though many youth of today respond with blank stares.

"A lot of people don't even know you know who he is, or what he was." Folden says.

Radio man Tom Perryman and his wife Billie welcomed the young Elvis into their home, as the performer traveled from Dallas to Shreveport.   Those were the days of the Louisiana Hayride.

"He was a very shy young man when we first met him," Billie remembers.

"I was just honored and privileged to be here at the time, and be associated with him," says Tom, who organized several appearances in East Texas in 1954 and 1955. 

On a shoestring budget, Presley and the other players played Tyler, Gilmer, Gladewater and more.   Before the legend was made, and the stories of a wild Elvis emerged.

"Elvis was never anything but a gentleman in our home and on the stage," Billie recalls.

At 104.1 "The Ranch" radio station, Tom marked this day on the air with the King -- his music. And says that no matter the era, when one looks at the superstars that defined the generation or even the 20th century.

"They will be talking and comparing Elvis for centuries, for now, and as long as music will be played.  But it was a phenomenon."

Reported by Morgan Palmer.

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