When Elvis Presley and Vance Lauderdale Appeared Together on the Same Memphis Bus

photo by Melissa Brazell Geralds

It's not too often that the King of Rock-and-Roll and Vance Lauderdale share the same billing — it certainly doesn't happen enough, that's for sure — but just look at the interesting line-up on this old bus route sign that showed up recently on eBay. Not just one, but three lines that say "LAUDERDALE / ELVIS PRESLEY." My, I feel special. Plus, I got first billing.

Modern-day MATA buses have a digital read0ut above the windshield, telling riders waiting at the stops which bus is going where (well, in theory, anyway). But in Ye Olden Days — and in this particular case, I'm talking all the way back to 1982 — the various route numbers and designations were printed in white letters on a long roll of rubberized fabric. The driver had to manually operate the roll with a hand crank, making sure that the correct route appeared in the slot above his window.

This is just one image of the sign that sold on eBay last week. It lists routes all over town — this bus really got a workout — and even includes places like the Mid-South Coliseum and Fairgrounds. Towards the end of the roll, it also has a special area marked OUT OF SERVICE — just like so many of the destinations where it once carried passengers.

Thanks to Melissa Brazell Geralds for providing the photo.

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Famed Memphis trivia expert Vance Lauderdale answers reader questions weekly here on his blog!

About This Blog

Ask Vance is the blog of Vance Lauderdale, the award-winning columnist of Memphis magazine and Inside Memphis Business.  Vance is the author of three books: Ask Vance: The Best Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History and Trivia Expert (2003), as well as Ask Vance: More Questions and Answers from Memphis Magazine's History Expert (2011) and Vance Lauderdale's Lost Memphis (2013). He is also the recipient of quite a few nice awards, the creator of several eye-catching wall calendars, and the only person we know with a vintage shock-treatment machine in his den. 

You can find him from time to time in the pages of the Memphis Flyer and MBQ, on WKNO television, and on Facebook. When he is not exploring the highways and byways of Memphis, he spends his time sleeping, napping, and dozing.

Got a question for Vance?  Email him here.

Find Vance's old blog posts (pre-April 2011) and comments here.

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