Elvis & Cronkite Airport Event

Event details

  • June 10, 2017
  • 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Runway Café Downtown Airport, Greenville SC
  • 864.244.1499

 View Map  Cost: Free

Walter Cronkite interviews Elvis – It’s the 1950’s all over again

ElvisArmyOilCheckCry in your sodas girls – Elvis is in the army now. Join us back in 1958 at the Greenville Downtown Airport as Walter Cronkite interviews Elvis prior to his induction into the US army.

In a lucky coincidence, both Walter Cronkite and Elvis are in Greenville – Cronkite for the “Chautauqua History Alive Festival” (June 16 – 25) and Elvis for Centre Stage’s production of “Million Dollar Quartet” (July 20 – Aug 12.)

And of course, our Downtown Airport  will feature aircraft and vintage cars.

So break out your bobby socks, poodle skirts and hula hoops and get ready to flashback to 1958.

The Military History Center of the Carolinas will have on display a 1950s M38A1 jeep. For nine months of his tour in Germany, Pvt. Presley drove his Scout Platoon leader in an M38A1 Willy’s Jeep named HQ 31. More . . .


TJ Jones copyTJ Jones (Elvis Presley)

TJ will perform as Elvis in Centre Stage’s production of The Million Dollar Quartet (July 20 – August 2.) Million Dollar Quartet is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical inspired by the true story of the famed recording session where Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” brought together icons Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley for one unforgettable night.  centrestage.org

TJ is a Classic Blues musician who can be seen performing around town in various musical venues like Smiley’s Accoustic Cafe and O-Cha Tea Bar.


larry-bounds-headshotLarry Bounds (Walter Cronkite)

With over thirty years as a professional educator and even more as a professional magician, Larry Bounds brings his skills together from the classroom and the stage to recreate historical characters for the Chautauqua audience.  His earned a BA in Theatre and a Masters in Education from The Univ. of Tennessee, and has performed in Chautauqua programs presenting Einstein, Churchill, Houdini, Disney, and others since 2002.  He is a teacher of Advanced Placement and Honors English for Greenville County Schools at Wade Hampton High and has taught classes in broadcast journalism. Larry has performed since the 1970s as a professional magician appearing for eight years with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and has taught courses in magic for two universities.

We’ve just begun to plan all the fun 1950’s events. Yes, Elvis will perform – and get us to Shake, Rattle and Roll.

Yes, Cronkite will get the back story about Elvis being drafted and serving in the US Army.  Elvis was proud of serving his country – “I’m kind of proud of it. It’s a duty I’ve got to fill and going to do it.”

Yes. There will be 1950’s vintage cars and motorcycles, hula hoops, and 1950’s kids games. Pin up your pony tail and polish your blue suede shoes for a 1950’s Costume Contest. Prizes: Tickets to Centre Stage’s “Million Dollar Quartet”

Elvis never visited Greenville or flew in or out of our Downtown Airport. Elvis did appear in Greenville in 1958 – or at least his movie “King Creole” did. It played at the air-conditioned Carolina Theater, the last of the Greenville downtown movie houses. Tickets: 25 – 65 cents.

Elvis did perform live in Spartanburg – but he didn’t fly in. In 1956 just as “Heartbreak Hotel” zoomed to the top of the charts, Elvis toured the South towing a little trailer cart for the instruments that Elvis’ father, Vernon, had made up and painted pink. He appeared with Opry acts that included Mother Maybelle and the Carter sisters with June Carter, The Louvin Brothers, Justin Tubb, and Benny Martin though now Elvis was the headliner.

During this Southern tour Elvis would go back to New York to perform on The Dorsey Brothers Stage Show television series – produced by CBS – thus the Walter Cronkite connection. Again a bit of historical fantasy – Cronkite neither appeared in South Carolina nor interviewed Elvis at this time.

On Thursday February 9th Elvis Presley did perform four shows at the Carolina Theater in Spartanburg. Note: That’s four shows in one day. Then back to NY to perform Saturday on the Dorsey TV show.

In March 1958 Elvis was inducted into the US Army becoming  a $78 a month Army rookie and leaving behind four Cadillacs, a Lincoln and a fabulous career.

More about Elvis shows in Spartanburg . . .

SPBG Billboard


Feb 9,1956 Spartanburg, SC – Elvis, a Fan and Red West (High School friend and bodyguard)


Feb 9, 1956 Spartanburg, SC – Justin Tubb and Elvis









Centre StageCentre Stage

Centre Stage is a year-round, 285-seat regional theater offering a wide range of entertainment within easy walking distance of historic Falls Park and the many shops and restaurants that line downtown Greenville’s Main Street corridor. Augmenting its subscription season of music, comedy and drama, the theater also hosts art exhibitions, chamber music concerts, independent film screenings, guest lectures, galas and other special events inside a state-of-the-art performance facility noted for its unique configuration, comfort and intimacy.

Million Dollar


Million Dollar Quartet is the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical inspired by the true story of the famed recording session where Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” brought together icons Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley for one unforgettable night. TJ Jones stars as Elvis Presley. Catch him live this Airport Event. Show dates: July 20 – Aug 12, 2017

Learn more . . .

GMU-angle-LT-2colorGreenville Downtown Airport

Not only is the Greenville Downtown Airport the busiest general aviation airport in the state, it is so much more. Enjoy a meal or drinks at the Runway Café and watch the planes take off and land. Bring the kids to Runway Park and have fun outdoors amid aviation history.

Schedule a tour or school field trip. Check out all the aviation businesses housed here. Or take to the skies yourself and learn to fly at one of GMU’s flight schools

The New Military History Museum just opened up.And check back often – there are numerous special events coming up. Or just come out and see what’s happening.

Learn more . . .

FEST logoChautauqua History Alive Festival –
The Power of Words – all FREE

A ten-day – two-weekend festival of non-stop live history and fun for the whole family. A different show outdoors each night and more indoors during the day. Five different Free shows performed by nationally acclaimed historical interpreters. You’ll laugh – you’ll cry – you’ll have lots of questions. And they’ll be answered. Bring your stories. Share your experiences. Get inspired. Because it’s not just history – it’s personal.

Listen in as ABE LINCOLN redefines American democracy
Rise up and sing with poet MAYA ANGELOU
March and protest with CESAR CHAVEZ
Step inside the revolutionary book “Silent Spring,” with RACHEL CARSON;
And once again as the nightly news unfolds, “You Are There” with WALTER CRONKITE

More . . .