October 18, 1956
Presley, 2 Others Arrested After Filling Station Fight
Singer, Delayed By Autograph Seekers, Swaps Blows With Manager Whos Asked Him To Move Car At Second And Gayoso
Elvis Presley blacked one man´s eye and punched another last night in a battle limited to an exchange of four blows with two Memphis service station attendants.
Dozens battling the 5 p.m. traffic rush saw the brief fisti-cuffs at the Gulf Station at Second and Gayoso.
The exchange started after the station manager ordered Elvis, who was besieged by autograph seekers, to drive away. He had driven his Continental Mark II into the station for repairs.
Police broke up the melee by arresting Memphis´ nation-ally known rock and roll singer and the attendants, Edd Hopper, 42, of 3295 Cicalla and Aubrey Brown, 21, of 262 South Pauline. Mr. Hopper got a black eye; other hurts by the combatants were minor.
Asst. Police Chief Bruns McCarroll compiled this account of the fight from four of his officers who investigated:
Presley, 21, drove into the service station because of gas fumes in his $10,000 car. Mr. Hopper came out of the station he manages and told the singer to move.
"Hopper said he didn´t care who Presley was and apparently Presley didn´t move fast enough for Hopper."
"Then Hopper reached through the window and struck Presley on his left cheek with the palm of his hand. Presley got out of the car and Mr. Hopper tried to land another blow with Presley swinging back and hitting Hopper in the eye."
Mr. Hopper was joined by Mr. Brown and he and Presley exchanged blows.
Deny Holding Man
"After Brown came out of the station Hopper pulled a small pocket knife from his pocket," Patrolman Thomas S. Yeager said, but added that he pulled Mr. Hopper from the fight.
Officers said they did not hold Mr. Hopper while Elvis struck him, as Mr. Hopper charged.
Mr. Hopper gave this account:
"I asked him three times to move, in a nice way. We didn´t know who he was. I would have asked anyone to move."
The manager and witnesses said Elvis replied, "All right, just a minute."
When Mr. Hopper came back to the car again Presley was still there.
Mr. Hopper said, "He (Presley) started to get out and I shoved him back in the car. Then he started out after me."
The station manager received a hard clout to the left cheek. His eye was black and almost closed after the scuffle.
Mr. Hopper and Mr. Brown said police held them while Elvis was swinging.
Elvis went to his home at 1034 Audubon Drive immediately after his release by police. At first he refused to see newsmen, then relented. He charged Mr. Hopper struck him first.
"He pulled a knife on me too," Presley charged. The singer said a slap on the back of his neck administered by Mr. Hopper was the only blow he received. There were no marks on his face.
The dejected singer said he expected to regret "this day as long as I live. I guess lots of folks are just waiting for this kind of thing. I wouldn´t have had it happen for anything in the world."
Two witnesses, Harvey Huff of 2687 Dunn and Jimmy Nunn of 554 South Cox, auto salesmen for Hull-Dobbs said:
"He (Mr. Hopper) hit Presley on the back of his head. Presley jumped out and hit him back."
"That´s Too Much"
Mr. Huff said he and Mr. Nunn were talking with Elvis at the time. He said a policeman also was there. Mr. Huff quoted Presley as saying, "I´ll take ridicule and slander but when a guy hits me, that´s too much."
Witnesses said Mr. Brown came to assistance of Mr. Hopper, who weighs about 175 pounds. Mr. Brown who is six four, weighs 220. Elvis weighs in at willowy 185.
Police quickly separated the men and took them to the station in separate cars. All three were booked for assault and battery and disorderly conduct. They were released after each made $52 bond.
The case will come up in City Court at 9 this morning.
Mr. Hopper and Mr. Brown said police held their arms or they would have given a better account of themselves. One witness said Mr. Hopper´s eye "looked like a traveling bag."
Elvis, who returned three days ago from picture-making chores in Hollywood, was alone in his auto when he drove into the station.
When the police began to write out a tickeet, they asked Elvis for his name.
"Well," he said, "maybe you´d better put down Carl Perkins."
(Perkins is the Jackson, Tenn., singer who wrote "Blue Suede Shoes" and recorded that best seller.)
While Elvis was at the police station his auto was moved to Hull-Dobbs to keep souvenir hunters from working it over.
Barbara Hearn, a friend of Presley, heard about the altercation on a downtown street. She ran out and flagged the first police car.
It had Mr. Hopper in it and she rode to the station with him and the police. She was in tears when she found out that Elvis had already gone home.
He went by Hull-Dubbs and picked up his car though. It was not determined what caused the gas fumes.
There were immediate repercussions from the brawl. Police Desk Sgt. Carroll Richards said he received "about 40 telephone calls" from women who wanted to pay Elvis´ bail.
Presley fans gathered at the singer´s home shortly after the incident. Policemen also were on duty there.
AFTER THE FIGHT - Police booked Aubrey Brown (left), singer Elvis Presley (right) and Edd Hopper, who declined to pose for a picture, after a fight early last night at a downtown service station. After his release from jail, Presley went home to relax and play with his new pet.
IT HAPPENED THIS WAY - Elvis Presley explained all to the crowd of teenagers that assembled in front of his home at 1034 Audubon Drive last night after the fracas in a gasoline station at Second and Gayoso.
Above: Copyright: Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 19, 1956
Below: additional known photos from October 18, 1956.