Why Austin Butler cries every time he sees one Elvis Presley performance. Photo courtesy of the Austin Public Library
Austin Butler, the founder of Austin Presley Productions, was sitting on a street corner watching as Elvis Presley was performing 50 years ago when Presley stopped to sign autographs for local kids.
“I was 15 years old and that was my first experience seeing him,” Butler said. “He was just the nicest, gentlest person to do that and I don’t believe he was the least famous, but he did have that incredible presence. He didn’t have a lot of formal education and he was from the heart and did it because he loved people.”
Butler was 15 years old when he watched Elvis’s first performance in San Antonio at the Alamo. This was in January 1957 and after seeing him, Butler moved to El Paso to become his manager.
“He was just incredible and I remember going out to El Paso and not having a car,” Butler said, “I had $20 in my pocket and I just made a deal with Elvis to buy me a car. I ended up paying $50 out of my pocket and I saw him in El Paso, and then I heard he was coming through the town a month later.”
Butler was told Elvis was coming through San Antonio on Sept. 1. He saw him driving by on his way to Austin, so he said he had to go see him.
He paid his way to Houston – and walked up the street at midnight to the El Paso Amphitheatre, where Elvis was playing a show. Butler walked up to the amphitheater by accident.
“I had not intended to go to the concert. I was just walking. I had been going to the theater and hearing about how they were filming the Elvis movie there in El Paso and how the lights were green and the sound was going to be the same. It was just something I was doing,” Butler said.
This was a couple of days before Elvis left town.
“I just saw him at the amphitheater and I said, ‘Oh my God, it’s really Elvis. He looks like Elvis.’”
Butler got to Austin the next day and Elvis got to Austin a few days later.
“The first night was the night