Kneeling at the Mosque, Richmond, VA, June 30, 1956
"We're at The Mosque Theater in Richmond, VA. The date is June 30, 1956, and it's the first of two Elvis Presley shows that Colonel Parker had booked. He basically booked the theater. What they do is, they pay a rental to the town of Richmond for the theater, because it was originally built by the Shriners, and then they went bankrupt somewhere in the 1920s, and the city took over the building. So if you wanted to have a show at The Mosque, you would book it for the day, put your person in the box office, and do your own advertising...and that's exactly what the Colonel did. He booked two shows, entitled 'The Elvis Presley Show,' and then he had 12 acts. Elvis would come on, maybe the last 15 minutes, and close the show after the other performers had done their thing. And the Colonel was good enough to get commissions on all 12 acts, including Elvis."
"So he had his first show. It started at around 5 o'clock, but [at] 7 o'clock, the show was finished. And then the next show began at 8, and it went until 10 o'clock. And then Elvis left the building. There was a change of clothing between the first show and the second show. There was a rather well-known kiss picture of mine that was taken backstage at that theater after the show began, and it was only when the kids started to chant, 'We want Elvis, we want Elvis!' that he finished his act backstage and actually got on the stage and performed. But that's where it was. It was in Richmond, VA. Now, today, they're changing the name of the theater. They're in the process of renovating and changing it to the 'Landmark Theater.' I got a call from the PR lady of the Landmark Operations saying that's probably the most famous picture that was ever photographed in their theater. I'm talking about the kiss though—not Kneeling at the Mosque."
(Copyright: 2013 Alfred Wertheimer/Courtesy TASCHEN)