Texas Hill Country is Becoming a Mecca for Movie Making

With the help of the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program (TMIIIP), the Lone Star State initiative  is designed to build the state and local economies through the moving image industry and create jobs in Texas communities.

BOERNE

Just 30-minutes northwest of San Antonio International Airport is the beautiful Texas Hill Country, Boerne, Texas, where I raised my family.

It has been discovered by Hollywood for years as the city offers a picturesque vintage backdrop featuring turn-of-the-century architecture nestled in its thriving business district filled with modern boutiques, breweries, and restaurants that are ready to serve.

Their bustling downtown, the Hill Country Mile, is a colorful canvas of quaint shops flanked by winding pedestrian paths and parks situated along the gorgeous Cibolo Creek. At its heart, Boerne is anchored by a 170-year-old traditional Main Plaza, complete with a historic gazebo and surrounded by heritage Oaks.

Boerne is one of now over 150 communities across the state in the Film Friendly Texas program, including the neighboring cities of Kerrville, Fredericksburg, Blanco, Bandera, and San Antonio.  

The Film Friendly Texas program provides ongoing training and guidance on media industry standards and best practices to help communities accommodate media production for film and TV. Film Friendly Certified Communities are trained to match local businesses with production-related needs and services while creating jobs for Texas-based crew members and residents.

Some notable productions filmed in Boerne over the years, including 1973’s The Sugarland Express starring Goldie Hawn; 1997’s The Newton Boys, starring Matthew McConaughey and Ethan Hawke; and 1999’s All the Pretty Horses, starring Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz.

Just minutes west of Boerne on Highway 46 is Enchanted Springs Ranch.

Enchanted Springs Ranch began as a Hollywood movie set in 2001 and has been a preferred filming location for over 20 years. The ranch features a large-scale Old West town that is perfect for filming movies, commercials, TV shows and music videos. The ranch is listed as an approved filming venue with the San Antonio Film Commission and works closely with the Austin Film Commission.

Texas-based TV travel programs like The Daytripper and YOLO TX have also filmed in and around Boerne.

SAN MARCOS

In the summer of 2022, San Marcos–home to Texas State University–announced the construction of a $267 million, 820,000-square-foot TV, film and virtual production studio.

City officials billed it as a studio set to bring in more than 1,400 industry jobs to the community.

“The multiuse project, located at the entrance of the La Cima master-planned community, will also feature modern lifestyle and collaborative workplace amenities, headlined by post-production facilities, a 50-seat screening theater and a full-service restaurant and coffee shop,” Hill Country Group said. “Twenty-five acres will be reserved for vendor and commercial space built to serve both the studio and surrounding community.”

MOVIES FILMED IN HILL COUNTRY

Some movies made in the Texas Hill Country region include (note movies I have appeared in are designated with “*” symbol):

Lonesome Dove

The Alamo

The Getaway

7 Days in Utopia

Boyhood

Time Trap

Miss Congeniality

Selena

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure

STRINGS*

Piranha*

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Attack on Terror: FBI vs. Klu Klux Klan*

Race With the Devil

Viva Max!

In God We Trust

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

SPORTS & MUSIC: Do You Recognize Who They Are by Their Mugshots?

Can you identify these famous sports and music celebrities by their arrested mugshots?

Answers at the bottom.

SPORTS

MUSIC

SPORTS: Tiger Woods, Tony Manziel, Jason Kidd, O.J. Simpson

MUSIC: David Cassidy, Michael Jackson, Phil Spector, Phil Spector, Justin Bieber, Jerry Lee Lewis, Glen Campbell, Hank Williams, Jr. Frank Sinatra

In God We Trust

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CLICK: PARK LANE by Rebecca Taylor

Interviewing Gentle Ben’s Owner and Ron Howard’s Brother

Or How to Tick Off My Teacher Without Really Trying…

Or Finding My Porpoise in Life

“This time find a book with porpoise, Jackie,” Ms. Nancy Lewis instructed me in 1965.

Purpose?

The previous time I checked out a book from the Harlandale School District Book Mobile, it was a brand new novel by Walt Morey entitled Gentle Ben.

Ben was a big brown bear in Alaska who befriended a boy named Mark. I imagined the boy looked similar to my fifth grade classmate, Mark Kuykendall, because he was somewhat adventurous.

Well, I supposed Ms. Lewis was upset about my book choices because she obviously didn’t think my Gentle Ben skit—performed in front of her fifth grade class in lieu of a book report— was as brilliant as the class did.

“GET MY PADDLE”

The week before, I had seen Ms. Lewis use her “discipline paddle” on Kenneth Andrews. Ken was upset because the recess bell rang– meaning we were to get back to class. It went off just as he had stepped up to bat during an exciting softball game.

I was playing second base when pitcher David Cardenas took the ball and walked back towards the second wing of Gillette Elementary School in south San Antonio that day.

The words that red-headed Kenneth screamed in anger, for not having the ball pitched to him, was dialect unfitting to a 5th grader, Ms. Lewis determined.

“Jackie, go get my paddle,” she directed me.

Why me? Kenneth is my friend. I don’t want to see his butt blistered by her spanking paddle.

I ran to our classroom and obediently brought out the paddle.

“What porpoise does that serve to cuss like that?” she asked Kenneth before the WHACK! WHACK! WHACK!

His buttocks were seared. All I knew was I wanted to make certain I had a good porpoise for anything I did around Ms. Lewis.

The next time the Book Mobile came to our school I made sure my book had porpoises in it.

I wasn’t certain what she had against bears, but as long as I never was on the receiving end of the teacher’s paddle, I would learn as much about porpoises as required.

CLINT HOWARD

A couple of years later, Gentle Ben became a TV series and the boy in that show didn’t look anything like the adventurous Mark Kuykendall at all.

The actor was Clint Howard, younger brother of Ron Howard, “Opie Taylor” of Mayberry and Andy Griffith fame at the time.

It was an okay show, but as long as Ms. Lewis wasn’t my teacher anymore it was all right by me.

Fast forward forty years later. It’s 2006, and I finally know the difference between Ms. Lewis’ pronunciation “porpoise” and the word “purpose.” That year I had the pleasure of meeting Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, Gene Krantz, and other space related notables at the St. Anthony Hotel in downtown San Antonio.

Among some of the “celebrities” I talked with were movie and television stars James Drury (The Virginian, Disney’s Toby Tyler), Lana Wood (The Searchers, Peyton Place, Diamonds Are Forever), comedian Bill Dana (Jose Jiminez), Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet) and more.

It was certainly an unexpected eye opener to spend some time with the one and only Clint Howard. Although known to Baby Boomers for his role in Gentle Ben, he was at the Space conference for his part in the Ron Howard movie, Apollo 13.

The real life Apollo Mission control commander, Gene Krantz was nearby and in passing, called out to Howard: “Afternoon Sy!”

Clint Howard grinned and explained his role in Apollo 13 was the part of Sy Liebergot, a key member of the Mission Control crew under Krantz.

Howard loved the role acting with Ed Harris who played Krantz:

Sy LiebergotFlight… I recommend we shut down reactant valves to the fuel cells.

Gene Kranz: What the hell good is that gonna do?

Sy Liebergot: If that’s where the leak is, we can isolate it. We can save what’s left in the tanks and we can run on the good cell.

Gene Kranz: You close ’em, you can’t open ’em again! You can’t land on the moon with one healthy fuel cell!

Sy Liebergot: Gene, the Odyssey is “dying”. From my chair here, this is the last option.

INTERVIEW

Howard was kind enough to place his signature on a photo alongside his brother Ron Howard’s autograph and was willing to be interviewed for a few quick questions. Ready go:

Biggest influence?

My dad, Rance Howard is definitely my biggest influence. He has taught both Ron and I attributes of being a good man of the earth type solid human beings. We’ve learned to apply this to our work, the entertainment business.

The work can be hard enough in the morning but it is especially grueling by the end of a very long day on the  set. Through Dad, we learned to remain focused because all time counts.

I’m sure you’ve been asked this often, but I would never forgive myself if I didn’t ask, how was it working with Gentle Ben?

Yeah, that’s a good question. I’ve never really heard of that question before (He winked and grinned).

Gentle Ben was really Bruno the Bear and he actually was a gentle bear. I remember he smelled bad and enjoyed drinking Coca-Cola and eating candy, especially lemon drops and sometimes Tootsie Roll.

I was already accustomed to acting and wasn’t starstruck at that age, but co-starring with a bear was cool. My dad was always on set with me down on a ranch in the Everglades, so I was away from my mom for a bit. When we would come back for Christmas break, our house was decorated to the max for the holidays. Good memories.

I would describe you as a character actor, with a diverse set of many different roles. How do you describe your acting persona?

That’s right on. You know, my great brother Ron, five years my senior, basically played all similar roles. There is Opie (Mayberry), Ritchie (Happy Days), Chad (The Smith Family) and the character, Steve from American Graffiti, basically.

We both started very young. By the time Gentle Ben was around, I had years of experience. I’m in my fifth decade of acting and now find myself in the position in my career as a character actor with a lot of experience.

When I walk on set and I think people look towards me, somewhat for some of a bit of guidance and mentoring. Now, I don’t stick my nose somewhere where it doesn’t belong. I’m there to act, my job. Thats my thing. I’m not going to step on anybody’s toes and automatically mentor. It is not my responsibility. But I realize now that some people do look up to me, and respect my experience. So I keep that in mind when I work on any project. I will be a leader and positive influencer for the director, crew, the actors if and as needed.

Like I said, I grew up with wonderful parents. My Dad mentored and I remain grateful.

Note: At the time of this interview Rance Howard was alive. He passed away on November 25, 2017. Clint’s mother, Jean Frances Speegle Howard, died on September 2, 2000.

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

Was Natalie Wood Murdered?

“…intentional accident,” said her sister Lana.

When Hollywood legend Natalie Wood starred in the 1983 movie Brainstorm,  there was no way of knowing it would be her last.

NOTORIOUS AMERICAN CRIME CHRONICLES is a CleverJourneys ongoing series exploring American history from a perspective that burrows deep into criminal profiles, the penal system, victim’s stories, crime prevention, forensic science, law enforcement and our justice system.

The science-fiction movie, co-starring Christopher Walken,  explored the intriguing and dangerous possibilities that came with intruding into someone else’s mind. 

Natalie died before the film was finished. Despite resistance from studio executives, the director, Douglas Trumbull, creatively found a way to complete Brainstorm

Walken and Wood in BRAINSTORM

Trumball used Natalie’s younger sister, Lana Wood, for some “long shots and shaded profiles” to successfully complete the movie. Brainstorm was a hit and went on to receive a total of six award nominations.

Natalie started out successfully as a child actor and by the 1960s she was featured in Hollywood classics such as West Side StoryGypsy, and Sex and the Single Girl.

She put her acting career on hiatus in the 1970s and had a child with Robert Wagner, whom she had previously married and divorced.

🔹While on a yachting excursion with Wagner and Brainstorm co-star Walken off Santa Catalina Island on November 29, 1981, Wood’s body was mysteriously found floating about a mile away from the yacht.

🔹An autopsy revealed that she had bruises and abrasions on her body, as well as a cocktail of pain medications and alcohol in her system.

🔹Her death was ruled to be an accidental drowning and hypothermia.

🔹To this day, no one is certain how Natalie got in the water in the first place, although then-Los Angeles County coroner Thomas Noguchi suggested that she may have slipped and fell given the alcohol in her system.

🔹Wagner claimed that there was no foul play on his part, although he admitted later that the two had a big argument right before Wood disappeared.

In 2006, I had the pleasure of meeting Buzz Aldrin, Wally Schirra, Gene Krantz, and other space related notables at the St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

Among some of the “celebrities” I talked with were movie and television stars James Drury (The Virginian), Clint Howard (Gentle Ben, Apollo 13), and Warren Stevens (Forbidden Planet). However, I was especially excited to spend some time with Lana Wood.

Lana followed her sister into the movie business and as a child starred in The Searchers with John Wayne. She had a recurring role in the TV hit Peyton Place in the 1960s. My favorite role of hers was as Plenty O’Toole in the 1971 James Bond spy movie, Diamonds Are Forever with Sean Connery.

I gave her my business card and we chatted for a good while. She was very open and candid during the interview, especially when asked about the death of her sister.

My autograph from Lana Wood

“First, Natalie was absolutely terrified of the water and swimming, so I never bought into the idea she went out at 10 o’clock at night in a dingy,” she said.  Additionally, Wood’s sister asserted that Wood was terrified of water and under no circumstances would have gone in on her own accord.

“The things they (Wagner and Walken) were saying that Natalie did that night were just not credible,” Lana was certain. “Searchers found her in her nightgown about a mile away. That totally goes against her personality, her character.”

“I knew her all of our life and she was always concerned about how she looked and where she was going,” Lana continued. “Our mother, was an aggressive stage mom, especially with Natalie. It was drilled in her head to be dressed right, day or night, here or there.”

“Do you think her death was an accident?” I asked point blank.

“No, if it was an accident, it was intentional because of their fight on the yacht,” she responded. “I believe her death was intentional and the man who killed my sister was not Christopher Walken. It has been over 20 years now and it continues to haunt me.”

🔹In 1983, the coroner officially ruled Natalie Wood’s death as an accident.

🔹Her death certificate reads, a “probable drowning in the ocean.”

🔹In 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened the investigation into the mysterious death.

Since the night of her death, more information has come to light:

🔹The yacht captain and Christopher Walken both heard Wood and Wagner fighting that night, per Vanity Fair.

🔹Questions about why no one called for emergency assistance when Wagner discovered his wife missing have never been answered. It wasn’t until a few hours later when the incident was reported.

🔹Over time, new witnesses, including people who were in their own boats at that time, came forward indicating they heard arguing and a woman shouting for help on that night.

🔹Natalie’s death certificate was amended in 2012 to change the cause of her death from “Drowning” to “Drowning and other undetermined factors”.

Finally, during the last week of May 2022, the LA County Sheriff’s Dept. announced they cleared Robert Wagner, 92, in its investigation into the death of Natalie Wood.

“All leads have been exhausted and the case remains open,” they said. “If additional leads surface which have not already been investigated, the case will be reassigned for investigation.”

WOOD’S AUTOPSY

🔹When Natalie Wood’s death investigation was reopened, her cause of death was changed to “undetermined.”

🔹Her body was found dressed in a plaid, flannel nightgown, argyle socks, and a red down jacket.

🔹Wood’s blood alcohol content was 0.14%, which was higher than the legal driving limit.

🔹Pain and motion sickness medications were found in her bloodstream.

🔹Bruises were found on several parts of her body, such as the ankles, knees, and wrists.

🔹In the 1981 report, the bruises were attributed to hitting her body on the side of the yacht, as she struggled to get back up after falling over.

🔹However, the new coroner’s report, after the reinvestigation, states that the bruises occurred before Wood even fell into the water.

“The location of the bruises, the multiplicity of the bruises, lack of head trauma, or facial bruising support bruising having occurred prior to entry in the water.”

🔹The yacht’s captain, Dennis Davern, revealed in an interview that he lied during his police interrogation. When asked whether he thought Wagner was responsible, he answered, “Yes, I would say so. Yes.”

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

The Dress Code to Enter Johnny Cash’s Bar & BBQ

John and June Carter Cash

Now this is a place for good ol’ red blooded Americans and patriotic country music lovers from around the world to enjoy.

The Johnny Cash Bar and BBQ is located at 121 Third Avenue South, right next door to the Johnny Cash Museum in Nasville, Tennessee.

The food, drink and decor is impressive. We especially like posted dress code and house rules.

DRESS CODE & HOUSE RULES

  • No extra long t-shirts or hoodies that hang below pockets.
  • No excessively low or baggy pants/shorts such that a person’s undergarments or buttocks are exposed. 
  • No athletic style pants/shorts (sweats, nylons, joggers, etc.)
  • No sleeveless shirts to be worn by men after 8PM.
  • No large chains. 
  • No clothing that management considers vulgar, offensive or otherwise likely to cause a disturbance.
  • No motorcycle club or gang affiliation displays of any kind. 
  • Sandals and flip flops are permitted, but not recommended.
  • Footwear must be worn at all times. 
  • No outside food or beverages. 
  • No large bags, backpacks, suitcases or gym bags after 6PM. 

*Management reserves the right to deny admission to anyone suspected to be intoxicated or deemed likely to cause a disturbance or for any other reason at its sole discretion. 

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
Click For Johnny Cash

You May Be Cool, But You’ll Never Be Johnny Cash Cool

The Wit, Wisdom and Mistakes of the Legendary American Performer

In 1964, when his recording of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about the tragic end suffered by a Native American hero of World War II) received an initially lukewarm reception at radio, Cash took out a full-page ad in Billboard demanding of programmers, “Where are your guts?”

San Antonio, TX

On January 13, 1968, Cash recorded his masterly live album At Folsom Prison, from which came a new #1 hit version of “Folsom Prison Blues.” This album and the follow-up 1969 live recording At San Quentin pushed his career to new heights. Taken from the San Quentin album, “A Boy Named Sue” (#1 country, #2 pop) became his biggest-selling single and the Country Music Association Single of the Year (1969). Cash was also voted the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year for 1969.

From 1969 through 1971, Cash hosted a prime time network television variety show that showcased his status as a national icon while featuring an eclectic mix of guest performers. A live cut from this show, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson), was a #1 country hit. Increasingly, Cash recorded and featured on his television show the work of new songwriters drawn to country from folk and rock music backgrounds.

Cash died in 2003. Two years later his life became the subject of a biographical film, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon both won Academy Awards for their performances. American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010), further strengthened Cash’s reputation as a cultural hero.

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JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

Lisa Marie Presley Tells Thoughts on Elvis Biopic Movie

“Channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully”

The day before the May 15 release of Lisa Marie Presley’s album,  Storm & Grace, the daughter of the most famous entertainer in history sent a social media message to the world regarding the upcoming Elvis movie.

This release, her first album in seven years, is also her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut. Presley is managed by Simon Fuller, CEO and Founder of XIX Entertainment. The album was produced by 12-time GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and recorded at The Village in Los Angeles.

“When Lisa Marie’s songs arrived, I was curious,” Burnett said. “I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say. What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected, and soulful. I thought her father would be proud of her.”

“The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be,” he continued. “Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value.”

Since 2019, Lisa Marie has met several times with director Baz Luhrmann about the Elvis movie. She told Us Weekly, “I have been involved with Baz. He has come to my home and he has been emailing me… In fact, we’re going to be having another lunch at my home. He’s keeping me on top of everything. It’s been wonderful. He is a genius. I’m not getting involved with any kind of telling him what to do or how to do it or suggestions. No, no. I think this will be very stylized, very different.”

The movie follows a young Elvis, played by Austin Butler, as well as his dealings with his wife, Priscilla (played by Olivia DeJonge) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks.)

When prompted about what she thought of the Colonel Parker role, Lisa Marie said, “Tom Hanks can pretty much capture anybody as far as his acting ability and how professional he is and how deep and deeply involved he gets with the character…I’m extremely pleased. I think that it’ll be very good.”

During filming, Tom spoke about a conversation he had with Priscilla, who revealed she had great affection for Colonel Tom, which is a different perception to that which many have.

He told late night host Stephen Colbert: “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years.”

On her post, Lisa Marie revealed she has seen Luhrman’s movie twice. Her thoughts?

“It is nothing short of spectacular,” she said. “Absolutely exquisite.”

“Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully.”

“In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”

“You can feel and witness Baz’s pure love, care and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever.

“Elvis” will be released in theaters June 24, 2022.

Favorite Fan Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

10 Rare Elvis Presley Photos in the 1950s

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.
Visit Graceland

Top Songs Elvis Presley Fans Wished He Would Have Recorded

Over 3,400 Elvis Fans Around the World Polled

Elvis Presley was flat out the world’s greatest singer. The King of Rock and Roll has been gone longer than the number of years he lived, but the truth of his legacy keeps marching on.

Even now, the recorded voice of Elvis has been heard by more people on earth than any other human being in history.

With his amazing versatility, he mastered and broke records (no pun intended) across music barriers.

Jack Dennis polled Elvis fans across the world from August 1-December 1, 2017 and again for CleverJourneys from January 3-May 1, 2022 to find out which songs they believe or wished he should have recorded. Over 3,400 fans (3,421 to be exact) responded.

Note: Jack Dennis (Texasjackson) was the president of the Texas Chapter of the Official Elvis Presley Graceland Fan Club in the late 1970s and at the time of Presley’s death in August 1977. He continues to maintain friendships with Elvis’ friends, family and fans globally.

Here are the top 50 songs Elvis fans wished he would have recorded.

I Will Always Love You 

Originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973, “I Will Always Love You” is the number one song Elvis fans wished he would have recorded. The song won an Emmy for Best Recording of the Year by Whitney Houston in 1992 (from the movie “Body Guard”). Other notable covers were by Kenny Rogers in 1983 and Connie Talbot in 2007.

Old Rugged Cross

“The Old Rugged Cross” is the number two choice of Elvis fans. It is a popular hymn written in 1912, the year Elvis’ mother Gladys was born, by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard.

In order of Elvis fan choices here are the other 48 songs they wished he would have recorded:

3. Hallelujah

4. He Stopped Loving Her Today

5. I Fall to Pieces

🔹Need You Now


🔹Today I Started Loving You Again

🔹The Most Beautiful Girl


🔹I Love a Rainy Night


🔹Save the Last Dance For Me


🔹Fire & Rain


🔹Brown Eyed Girl


🔹All Summer Long


🔹When a Man Loves a Woman


🔹Autumn Leaves


🔹The Prayer


🔹One Pair of Hands


🔹The Lighthouse


🔹Tears From Heaven


🔹Don’t Pull Your Love


🔹Puddle of tears


🔹Crazy Little Thing Called Love


🔹Rock n Roll is King


🔹Miss Ann


🔹Shake a Hand


🔹Send Me Some Lovin


🔹I Told You SO


🔹Don’t Close Your Eyes


🔹Let It Be

🔹Me and Bobby McGee

🔹Fire


🔹Only the Lonely


🔹Piece of My Heart


🔹Delilah


🔹Only You


🔹Bohemian Rhapsody


🔹Ain’t No Mountain High Enough

🔹To Love Somebody


🔹Candle in the Wind


🔹Annies Song


🔹Oh Holy Night


🔹Sleigh Ride


🔹You Lift Me Up


🔹Behind Closed Doors


🔹The Keeper of the Stars

🔹In the Still of the Night


🔹There Goes My Baby


🔹Kansas City

🔹Sittin on the Dock of the Bay


🔹I’m a Honky Tonk Man

Favorite Fan Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2021/07/04/elvis-presley-the-rockin-motorcycle-king-in-photos/embed/#?secret=PiyyBRSf3r#?secret=bmFIRMFK45

More Rare or Unseen Elvis Presley Pictures From the 60s

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2021/06/10/more-rare-or-unseen-elvis-presley-pictures-from-the-60s/embed/#?secret=uTktdtSy6l#?secret=M1T0AJRS5z

25 MORE Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the Army

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/09/16/25-more-rare-photos-of-elvis-presley-in-the-army/embed/#?secret=UOyeJk5X5D#?secret=on4xtc033j

20 Rare Photos of Elvis Presley in the U.S. Army

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/20/20-rate-photos-of-elvis-presley-in-the-u-s-army/embed/#?secret=IgHEGbNvxs#?secret=SKZZ5wdVuD

20 Elvis Presley Photos You May Have Never Seen From The 1960s

https://cleverjourneys.wordpress.com/2020/05/22/20-elvis-presley-photos-you-may-have-never-seen-from-the-1960s/embed/#?secret=GgcHR62Mnp#?secret=fpAp549wBW

Elvis Presley: Rare Shots From the 1970s

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Elvis Presley Movies Ranked

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10 Rare Elvis Presley Photos in the 1950s

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The Greatest Love Note Ever Was From Johnny Cash

In 1968, many years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, legendary singer Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on stage during a performance in front of an audience of 7,000 in London, Ontario. June urged him to keep singing, but Johnny refused to continue the show until he received an answer.

June said yes and the couple married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky.

Through thick and thin, they were married until June’s death in 2003. Johnny dedicated his final live performance to her, and passed away within four months after her.

The results of a British poll designated a note, written to June by Johnny, as the “Greatest Love Letter of All Time.”

Here is the letter in its entirety:

Happy Birthday Princess,We get old and get use to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

 But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me.You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess.

 John

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Elvis Presley’s Texas Home During Basic Training in 1958 Still Visited by Fans

In 2020, defying lockdowns and wearing masks, we took a 32 day roadtrip from the Texas Hill Country to Washington DC and back.

Our first stop was near Fort Hood in a central Killeen Texas neighborhood. If the walls of the circa 1950 ranch-style house at 605 Oakhill Drive could talk, they’d sing!

Photo by Loralyn ‘Dodie’ Dennis

It’s a nice house but doesn’t have any visual features that dramatically set it apart from the other homes in the area not far from Conder Park. It’s a one-story, brick home with a rather large mailbox out front.

As big Elvis Presley fans, we thought there might be a landmark sign designating it as the house the most famous entertainer in history lived while going through Army training.

At the height of his early fame, the Army drafted Elvis in 1958, and at the Memphis induction center, he received his shots, his buzz cut, and his orders. On March 28, he and others were sent by military bus to Fort Hood, the Second Armored Division, General George S. Patton’s “Hell on Wheels” wild bunch.

Enroute the new troops stopped for a restaurant lunch break in Hillsboro causing “a small riot” when teenage customers recognized him. 

Elvis didn’t want any special treatment offered. His desire was to be just another G.I. His fellow soldiers saw that in him and Elvis became one of the guys.

Private Simon Vega recalled, “I thought he was gonna get special treatment but he did KP, guard duty, everything, just like us.” 

When basic training was completed, the Army allowed soldiers to live off base as long as they had dependents living in the area. It was not long before Elvis’ parents, grandmother, and a friend traveled to Killeen where they found a three-bedroom home to rent from Chester Crawford, an attorney who charged an outrageous $700 a month.

Soon crowds began showing up on Oakhill Drive to catch a glimpse of Elvis. It was common for him to stand outside and talk to fans for hours. Occasionally, he detoured through neighbors’ backyards to avoid the crowds, and according to neighbor Janie Sullivan, the clothesline in their yard once caught Elvis and the dog bit him. 

Elvis with friend Red West (far right)

Not everyone was thrilled by Elvis’ presence in the neighborhood. Some Oak Hill residents called the police to complain about the clouds of dust stirred up by the cars and the carnival-like atmosphere.

While completing an additional ten weeks of advanced tank training, Elvis had to take emergency leave to fly to Memphis to be with his mother, Gladys, who had returned home to be hospitalized. She died two days later on August 14.

After his mother’s funeral, Elvis returned and put in long days at Fort Hood learning to be a tanker. During his final days at Fort Hood, large crowds gathered outside his house, and some nights a hundred people kept vigil. The last night, on September 19, 1958, Elvis and his gang gathered at the home to make the drive to the troop train that would take him and 1,360 other G.I.s to Brooklyn to sail for Germany.


Biographers and friends reported that Elvis’ time at Fort Hood and in the Army was among the happiest of his life. For a time, he was almost “just another soldier.” Everyone agreed that Elvis was a good soldier, one of the best in the company.

His longtime girlfriend, Anita Wood, said, “he had finally found himself.”

Elvis said later, “I learned a lot about people in the Army. I never lived with other people before and had a chance to find out how they think.” 

In 1958, longtime Killeen resident Edith Carlile lived four doors down from the house Pvt. Elvis Presley lived in with his parents, Vernon and Gladys. Presley rented the home for seven months from a local lawyer when he was stationed at Fort Hood.

“The street was extremely crowded with cars going by,” said Carlile, who lived next door to the house Presley lived in before she passed away a few years ago. “People were standing in the yard, wanting to touch him, kiss him.”

Carlile was a mother of four at the time, and wasn’t really into the rock ’n’ roll music that Presley is famous for.

“I’m not a fan of music of that age,” Carlile told a local news reporter, adding she was more into the tunes of the big band era.

Her children did get autographs from Presley, but Carlile said she threw the signed pieces of paper away years later.

She said the rock ’n’ roll king dated a few of the local girls when he was here, and his presence made a big impact, especially in the Oakhill Drive neighborhood, which in 1958 was home to lawyers, business owners and other upper-middle class families.

More than 64 years later, the house is still standing, and although it’s aged, the outside doesn’t look dramatically different from when Presley lived there.

Surprisingly, more recent owners of the Presley’s rental house indicated they didn’t even know the house had once been lived in by Presley when they bought it some years ago.

To this day Elvis fans regularly pop by the house to take a video, some puctures or inquire about the former home of the King.

On display at Graceland complex in Memphis, Tennessee

Some drive hundreds of miles to do so. Others want to peep inside or look at the backyard.

Although there has been updated renovations (exterior windows and roof) owners are reluctant to offer details.

In November 2006, the 2,400-square-foot house was placed for purchase on eBay.

The owner at the time, Myka Allen-Johnson, a sales representative for CenTex Homes, said she wanted to sell the home to someone who would understand the historical significance.

“I didn’t buy the house with the intention of selling it on eBay,” Allen-Johnson told the Killeen Daily Herald in 2006. “I just don’t want people to forget that he lived here in Killeen.”

Ft. Hood front gate 1958

Penny Love was 3 or 4 years old and lived around the corner in 1958. She recalls her family seeing Presley sneak through her backyard to avoid the crowd that waited out front. She said she would sometimes sit on Presley’s father, Vernon’s lap on the front porch.

The community has missed out on any significant tourism and marketing opportunities over the years. In August 1958, Presley fans petitioned the Killeen City Council to change the name of Oakhill Drive to Presley Drive, bringing nationwide publicity to the area. Today, however, Oakhill is still the name of the street.

The owner said she allows Presley fans to take a quick picture of the front of the house. But those who try to pry closer are not totally welcome.

The backyard has a steep incline, she said, which can be dangerous, and a German shepherd patrols back there, too.

Favorite Fan Photos

Elvis Presley, The Rockin’ Motorcycle King in Photos

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10 Rare Elvis Presley Photos in the 1950s

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The Night Johnny Cash Set 500-Acres of Forest on Fire

Cash

Johnny Cash started a massive ring of fire on June 27th of 1965. It was in California’s Los Padres National Forest.

According to Cash’s FBI file acquired via the Freedom of Information Act, the music icon said his camper shot sparks out of its faulty exhaust system after getting stuck along the side of the road. Cash tried to gun the engine and accidentally lit the forest ablaze.

Cash’s nephew, Damon Fielder, was on the fishing trip with Cash when the fire started. According to his story, Uncle John was just drunk and allowed their campfire to get out of control. The blaze burned 508 acres of forest, spread across three mountains, and 49 of the area’s 53 California condors disappeared.

Ring of Fire

After feigning illness to avoid a court date, the “Ring of Fire” singer eventually paid a fine of $82,001 in damages.

🔹Throughout his career, Cash would often perform in prisons and recorded two live albums during those performances — Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968 and Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969.

🔹Cash was actually arrested seven times total for charges including reckless driving, drug use and public drunkenness, though he never spent more than a few nights in jail.

🔹One of his arrests was for picking flowers in Starkville, Mississippi, when he drunkenly took flowers from someone’s yard at 2 a.m. At the Starkville jail, he kicked the door so hard he broke his toe and later recorded a song about the experience.


🔹In 1981, Cash was attacked by his pet ostrich, Waldo. The big bird left him with five broken ribs and internal bleeding. The attack happened on the grounds of the exotic animal park Cash had established behind the House of Cash offices in Tennessee.

🔹In his book Cash: The Autobiograph, the musician wrote that Waldo was “not happy” to see him one day and that he swiped at the animal with a stick to show him who was boss.

“I missed,” Cash wrote. “He wasn’t there. He was in the air, and a split second later he was on his way down again, with that big toe of his, larger than my size-thirteen shoe, extended toward my stomach. He made contact — I’m sure there was never any question he wouldn’t — and frankly, I got off lightly. All he did was break my two lower ribs and rip my stomach open down to my belt, If the belt hadn’t been good and strong, with a solid belt buckle, he’d have spilled my guts exactly the way he meant to. As it was, he knocked me over onto my back and I broke three more ribs on a rock — but I had sense enough to keep swinging the stick, so he didn’t get to finish me. I scored a good hit on one of his legs, and he ran off.”

In the history of music, Johnny Cash definitely is one of the best-known names in the industry.

Cash

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JOHNNY CASH MUSEUM

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Barbara Eden to Appear at Graceland for Elvis Week 2022

Barbara Eden will make her first-ever appearance at Elvis Week 2022 on August 15 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee as a special guest at Conversations on Elvis. In memory of the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing, she will share some of her favorite memories of co-starring alongside Elvis in the 1960 film “Flaming Star.”

Throughout her illustrious career, Barbara Eden has starred in over 25 feature films, five network TV series, and 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies. Her iconic “I Dream of Jeannie” NBC Television series, launched in 1965, became an instant hit.

Flaming Star

In addition, Barbara is a New York Times bestselling author with her memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle. She most recently released her debut children’s book, Barbara And The Djinn.

Barbara also guest starred on Nickelodeon’s #1 animated Pre-School series Shimmer & Shine lending her voice, for the first time, as Empress Caliana.  Barbara keeps busy acting, making personal appearances, touring, participating in numerous charity events and home life, all of which are a part of her regular agenda.

Tickets for Elvis Week 2022 are on sale now. Click here for more information.

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