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Rare Elvis Photos Exhibit Opens June 4 at Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock


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Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
    Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
       
 
Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
Photos courtesy Govinda Gallery | Photo by Al Wertheimer
   

Photos Available: www.ArkansasMediaRoom.com; 501-682-7609

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Kerry Kraus, travel writer
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
 

The Natural State has several connections to Elvis. When he was first starting his career in the early 1950s, Arkansas provided many a location for his performances. Numerous communities across the state hosted the future King of Rock ’n’ Roll: Helena, West Memphis, Texarkana, Marianna, Augusta, Leachville, El Dorado and Dermott are just a few towns where Elvis sang. Little Rock, Camden, Hope, Pine Bluff, Newport...the list continues. Sadly, there are no monuments or markers denoting these historic appearances.

A major Arkansas tie to Elvis is Fort Chaffee where, in 1958, he received his famous GI haircut. According to ElvisPresleyMusic.com, it was at the barber shop where Elvis coined the phrase “hair today, gone tomorrow,” in a comment to the news media. Today visitors can experience this epic event at the Fort Chaffee Barbershop Museum in Fort Smith.

This summer Arkansas has another link to The King, albeit a temporary one. From June 4 to August 21, the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock hosts the acclaimed exhibit entitled “Elvis at 21.” The photos by Alfred Wertheimer comprise a new Smithsonian Traveling Exhibition which shows Elvis just on the threshold of stardom before he was “The King of Rock ’n’ Roll.”

In describing the collection of stunning black and white photography, the Smithsonian says “What is so remarkable about Wertheimer’s documentary portraits of Elvis is how fresh and contemporary the pictures still seem, utterly unlike any other portraits of this endlessly scrutinized figure.”

Forty large-format photographs depict the emergence of Elvis during 1956. One of the events Wertheimer captured is Elvis recording “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog” in New York City. Both songs became number one hits, the first and only time in history a single record achieved this distinction. Another preserved moment in time is his concert at Russwood Park in Memphis, the first time he had to have a police escort in his hometown.

Why did the Clinton Library book this particular event? According to Clinton Foundation spokesperson Rebecca Tennille, the former president’s musical background made the exhibit a natural choice. “President Clinton's love of music and the influence of Elvis Presley have been well-documented. But beyond that, Elvis is an international icon. His life and his music continue to capture our collective attention. We are thrilled to have an exhibit of this caliber come to the center.”

The display also meets one of the presidential library’s on-going goals. “The Clinton Foundation and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) staffs strive to bring new and exciting temporary exhibits to the center,” Tennille said. “Each year, we host three or four temporary exhibits. When considering a temporary exhibit, several factors have to be weighed, such as schedules, logistics, space need versus the available exhibit space allocation in the center, and subject-matter relevance. “Elvis at 21” met all criteria and is going to be a wonderful addition to the 2011 calendar, she continued.

The Clinton Presidential Center and Library is located in downtown Little Rock’s River Market District at 1200 President Clinton Avenue. There is no charge for the exhibit. Admission to the library is $7 ages 18-61, $5 ages 62 and over, $5 for college students with valid ID, $3 for ages 6-17, and free for those under age 6. Retired U.S. military are admitted for $5 with active U.S. military allowed in free. School groups with reservations are complimentary. Other groups of 20 or more that have made reservations are $5 per person.

For more information, visit www.clintonlibrary.gov/ or contact the Clinton Presidential Library by calling 501-374-4242.

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Submitted by the Arkansas Department of Parks & Tourism
One Capitol Mall, Little Rock, AR 72201, 501-682-7606
E-mail: info@arkansas.com
 
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ARKANSAS DEPARTMENT OF PARKS & TOURISM
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