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Elvis, if you’ll pardon, has left the building. You might call this the Elvis photographs caper.
“I’m looking forward to see what you find out about the Elvis photos that are no longer on display at the Crown arena [North Carolina],” Phil Barnard was saying recently about those
large photos that once were displayed in the arena hallway and had been snapped when Elvis Presley performed on Aug. 3, 4 and 5 of 1976, in the 5,500-seat arena along U.S.
The photos were a reminder of the arena’s greatest draw – the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – and fans lined up all night for tickets. And when the first concert sold out, Elvis agreed to do a
second performance the next evening. And when tickets went like the wind for that 2nd show, Elvis agreed to stick around for a third concert.
Today, the photographs no longer are on exhibit.
“I am unaware of any Elvis Presley photos at the arena,” says Jim Grafstrom, general manager for the Crown Complex that operates under Spectra Venue Management. “They
must have been removed prior to November 2013, when we assumed management duties of the Complex.” .
Karen Long managed the complex prior to Grafstrom.
“Karen let me know that those photos were removed prior to her taking over as GM of the Crown, when Paul Beard was the GM,” Grafstrom says. “No one here seems to be aware
of where the pictures are located, if they exist.”
Oh, those photos exist. Or, once they did. Jack Shands, the arena’s first manager who spent two years luring Elvis to this city, put ‘em on the hallway wall, and Shands’ successor,
Wilson Rogers, will tell you they were there, too.
“They were there the entire time,” Rogers, 74, says of his tenure from 1981 to 1990. “It was incredible that Elvis played in that building. That was a coup for Jack.”
A coup for this community, too. Elvis belonged to us for not just one night, but three, after the former soldier learned Fayetteville was near neighboring Fort Bragg and many military
families would be turned away.
“Thus Spake Zarathustra” told the audience that Elvis was in the house on Aug. 3, 1976, as the arena lights darkened and suddenly there he was decked out in the blue jumpsuit
with sequins and being led to the stage by six body guards. Camera bulbs were flashing and women were screaming and jumping and crying and couldn’t control their emotions of
Elvis was 41, heavier no doubt, but still handsome with his long hair and that Elvis smile and that rich voice that belted out hits from “C.C. Rider” to “Jailhouse Rock” to “Dixie” to
“Love Me Tender” to “I’m Hurt” to “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”
Kendall Wall, who took over as manager for Rogers, remembers the Elvis photo exhibit.
“When I left Fayetteville the pictures of Elvis were still hanging the arena,” says Wall, who managed the arena and theater from 1990 to 2001 and now manages the Mobile
Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama. “The sun had taken its toll, but they were still a main attraction.”
And now they’re missing.
“That is completely inexcusable,” Barnard says. “To me, the old arena is sacred ground when you consider all of the legends that appeared there in years gone by. And Elvis is at
the top of that legends list.”
Originating Source: Elvis Express Radio / The Fayetteville Observer
|MISSING ELVIS PICTURES FROM '76 ARE A MYSTERY