Fifty-two years ago – on April 6, 1956 – Elvis Presley played his first public California concert at the San Diego Arena on Eighth and Harbor Drive (a.k.a. Glacier Garden).
“I introduced him [to the stage],” says longtime local DJ Happy Hare Martin, “and he rushed out and sang the first chorus of ‘Hound Dog,’ which I could not hear above their primal screams. Then…he began wiggling and rotating his pelvis. This
is when half the girls lost control of their bladders.”
Martin had been with Elvis backstage in the hours leading up to the show.
“Elvis was a blond,” he says. “I kept his secret for many years, until I learned that he had been outed.… When I entered the dressing room, I was flustered to see that the King had no clothes. He was pacing buck naked in the dressing room.… Seeing me, he grabbed his gold lamé suit and covered himself. Too late. I had caught him.
“In contrast to his black head of hair was a golden wheat—colored tuft [down below]. Yep, he was a natural blond, all right. ‘You ain’t gonna tell nobody, are ya?’ he asked, almost pleading. I nodded a firm no, and that was that. I later learned that Tony Curtis was his idol. He regarded Tony as the ultimate babe magnet, so he dyed his hair raven black, just like Tony’s.”
Can Martin characterize the size of the King’s equipment?
“I averted my eyes, and time has eroded the memory of that one element. Was he an undressed elephant? That’s irrelephant.”
– Jay Allen Sanford