Early Elvis Presley in Texas – a self-guided tour

September 5, 2007

Every Texas road traces history.

Elvis signs autographs for fans in Dallas, Texas, 1955 - photo from Stanley Oberst's collection

Some routes and sites are better known than others — few really know about Elvis Presley’s tours in Texas. Stanley Oberst knows, and he has shared it in a book. The Dallas Morning News featured a story on Oberst, listing some of the main sites one could visit to see where Elvis and Texas met. (Photo of Elvis signing autographs in Dallas, 1955, from Stanley Oberst’s collection)

You drive about 20 miles north of Tyler, along gently rolling U.S. Highway 271. A few hundred yards over the Gladewater town line, past a liquor store and a fireworks stand, you come to a rock-strewn patch rimmed by pine trees.

And that’s where you’ll find it: the spot where the Mint Club once stood, where a raw-boned 19-year-old rocker named Elvis Presley played in what many argue was his first concert in Texas.

It’s a far cry from Graceland. But for Stanley Oberst, a retired Plano teacher headed to Memphis for today’s 30th anniversary of Elvis’ death, this is sacred ground. Here, Elvis began his yearlong tour of Texas in late 1954, honing his chops and whipping up a whirlwind that would thrust him to stardom.

Stanley, 60, a lifelong fan, would like to see Elvis’ tour in Texas memorialized – perhaps as the “Hound Dog Highway” or “Pink Cadillac Trail,” after the custom-painted car that transported him around Texas. It must have looked like a spaceship speeding past farmers on tractors before landing in Gladewater.

For now, Stanley has written a book, Elvis Presley: Rockin’ Across Texas. And as he drives to Memphis to sign copies, he winds through East Texas, pausing at places where Elvis left his mark.

Oberst’s tour, on his way to Memphis and the anniversary commemoration of Elvis’ death, includes several stops.

See the 3-minute video: Elvis author Stanley Oberst on a nostalgic East Texas road trip. (Dallas Morning News Video: Randy Eli Grothe/Editing: David Leeson II)

Don’t confuse this book with the CD set “Rockin’ Across Texas,” which covers a 1970s-era tour.


Stanley Oberst’s Elvis Tour of Texas, The Pink Cadillac Tour along Hound Dog Highway: Stops listed below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Quote of the moment: Alfred North Whitehead on ideas

September 5, 2007

The vitality of thought is in adventure.  Ideas won’t keep.  Something must be done about them.  When the idea is new, its custodians have fervor, live for it, and, if need be, die for it.

 — Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947); chapter 12 of Dialogues;  written April 28, 1938

You can’t parody this: Jonathan Wells on “Darwinism Top 10”

September 5, 2007

Anti-science and anti-evolution groups’ desperation erupts in odd ways. When scientists get together and discussion turns to the political movement known as intelligent design (ID), they express frustration at the sheer volume of supercilious ideas and claims that surge out of ID advocates. At its heart, this frustration has an almost-humorous puzzle: Scientists cannot tell what is a real claim from ID advocates, or what is a parody of those claims.

Neither can anyone else.

I stumbled into a mackerel-in-the-moonlight* example to show the problem: Jonathan Wells, a minister in the Unification Church of Rev. Sun Myung Moon, wrote a slap-dash screed against evolution published by right-wing cudgel publishing house Regnery, called The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design.

Amazon.com invites authors to set up blogs, and Jonathan Wells has one. The only post there is reproduced in full below the fold — a list of . . . um, well . . . a top ten list of something (Wells just calls it a “top ten list”). It consists of amazing flights of fancy surrounding the issue of teaching science in public schools. I promise, I am not making any of this up — when I quote Wells, it will be his words entirely, completely, in context, uncut and unedited. If I didn’t tell you this was not parody, and if you have half your wits, you’d think either I was making it up, or somebody at Amazon was.

Point by point criticism, in brief, below the fold. I promise, I am not making this up.


* John Randolph is reputed to have said of Henry Clay: “Like a rotten mackerel by moonlight, he shines and stinks.” Read the rest of this entry »

D. James Kennedy, 76

September 5, 2007

From the Washington Post:


The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 5, 2007; 11:12 AM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Rev. D. James Kennedy, a pioneering megachurch pastor who became one of the nation’s most prominent Christian broadcasters and a key figure in the rise of the religious right, died Wednesday, a church spokesman said. He was 76.

We wish his family comfort and well.

Kennedy announced his retirement about a month ago. Coral Ridge Ministries, the church he founded in Florida, will continue. One might hope that, with regard to notorious programs he promoted with voodoo history on the founding of the U.S. and voodoo science against biology, some of the his projects will be allowed to expire with him.

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