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Elvis Presley turned a rock ‘n’ roll icon with the assistance of Memphis clothier: ‘That modified all the pieces’

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Earlier than Elvis Presley was “The King,” he was a “filth poor” usher at a movie show in Tennessee with desires of constructing it massive.

The highschool scholar, then 17, would typically admire the window of a clothes retailer referred to as “Lansky Bros.” positioned within the coronary heart of Memphis’ music district. The store was a favourite amongst musicians; B.B. King was a recognized common. Throughout one summer season in 1952, proprietor Bernard Lansky noticed this “younger, skinny child” who simply stood out on the road.

Hal Lansky said Elvis Presley would admire Lansky Bros.'s storefront before Bernard Lansky invited him in.

Hal Lansky stated Elvis Presley would admire Lansky Bros.’s storefront earlier than Bernard Lansky invited him in. (Lansky Bros.)

“Beale Road was a road for African Individuals, so should you have been White, you have been misplaced,” Lansky’s son Hal instructed Fox Information Digital. “So my dad knew that this shy child was misplaced round right here. He would simply stare and stare on the window. So someday, he invited him in. He stated, ‘Come on in, younger man!’ My father confirmed him round and Elvis might solely afford a $three shirt. He stated, ‘Mr. Lansky, these are stunning issues. I like all the pieces. I don’t don’t have any cash now, however once I get wealthy I’ll purchase you out.’ And my dad stated, ‘Don’t purchase me out, simply purchase from me.’ And that’s what began their friendship. My dad confirmed this younger child just a little respect, and it sparked a friendship for all times.”

Bernard Lansky welcomed a shy Elvis Presley into his store. That move would spark a decades-long friendship that lasted until the singer's death.

Bernard Lansky welcomed a shy Elvis Presley into his retailer. That transfer would spark a decades-long friendship that lasted till the singer’s demise. (Lansky Bros.)

Presley’s transformation from timid aspiring musician to rock ‘n’ roll icon with Lansky’s assistance is chronicled in Baz Lurhmann’s biopic titled “Elvis,” in theaters now. Hal stated he not solely noticed the movie 3 times – with a fourth screening already deliberate – however actor Austin Butler, who starred as Presley, visited him whereas he ready for the function that might skyrocket him to fame.


“It’s a wonderful film – Baz and his workforce did an unimaginable job, and we have been simply so tickled to be included within the film,” stated Hal. “We have been a part of Elvis’ life. It was a brief one, however he encountered so many individuals throughout that temporary time, and he by no means forgot them. I’m simply grateful that the Lansky connection was part of that story. And Austin did his homework. We shared a while with him and Baz. They visited the shop in September 2019. Austin actually grew up since then and my God, he did an incredible job. He’s bought an excellent profession in entrance of him.”

From left: Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler visiting Hal Lansky at Lansky Bros.

From left: Baz Luhrmann and Austin Butler visiting Hal Lansky at Lansky Bros. (Lansky Bros.)

The patriarch handed away in 2012 at age 85 in Memphis. Immediately, Hal and his daughter, Julie Lansky, are decided to maintain the household enterprise – and musical legacy – alive. Lansky and his brother Man first began their retail enterprise in 1946 with the assistance of a $125 mortgage from their father. It started as an Military surplus and uniform retailer, however by the early ‘50s, Lansky centered on high-fashion males’s clothes. Lansky and Man parted methods within the ‘80s, and the shop moved from Beale Road to the Peabody Resort a couple of blocks away.

Hal Lansky, Bernanrd Lansky's son, said Elvis Presley remained a loyal customer.

Hal Lansky, Bernanrd Lansky’s son, stated Elvis Presley remained a loyal buyer. (Lansky Bros.)

Most just lately, Hal and his daughter teamed as much as write a youngsters’s ebook titled “Come On In, Younger Man!” in hopes of sharing their father’s story with a brand new technology of Presley followers.

“That is our 76th 12 months in enterprise,” stated Hal. “We’re having enjoyable with what we’re doing. My dad at all times believed in folks. He at all times stated you meet the identical folks going up the ladder as you do happening the ladder. So deal with everybody with respect.”


Presley by no means forgot the easy sort gesture Lansky gave him. For his highschool promenade, he splurged on black pants, a pink coat with a pink-and-black cummerbund.

“Each time Elvis bought paid, he’d are available in perhaps as soon as per week and purchase a pair of pants or a jacket – one thing easy,” stated Hal. “However he simply stored coming and coming. After which someday, he stated, ‘Mr. Lansky, I’m gonna be on a nationwide TV present.’ My dad stated, ‘That’s nice Elvis! What present is that gonna be?’ Elvis replied, ‘The Ed Sullivan Present.’ My dad simply went ‘Whoa!’ Again then within the ‘50s and ‘60s, that was an enormous deal. It was just like the ‘American Idol’ of our time. My dad began exhibiting him some garments. However then Elvis checked out him and stated, ‘Mr. Lansky, I bought an issue. I don’t have any cash.’ My dad instructed him, ‘Elvis, you do have an issue, however I’ll inform you what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna offer you some credit score, however you higher pay me again.’”

Elvis Presley performing on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’.

Elvis Presley acting on ‘The Ed Sullivan Present’. (Picture by Steve Oroz/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Photos)

Presley agreed and thanked Lansky profusely. Hal stated his father tuned in to look at Presley carry out in his new flashy threads – and was shocked by what he witnessed.

“My dad had by no means seen or heard Elvis carry out,” Hal chuckled. “He knew Elvis was destined for stardom. And we wish to take credit score for the black and pink look he wore. Again then, younger males didn’t put on pink. In the event that they did, they have been regarded as being too female. And naturally, all people wished to beat Elvis up as a result of he seemed just a little bit female for that point, and he was taking everybody’s girlfriends away! However Elvis was decided to face out. He knew what he was doing. And he was assured in his look. That modified all the pieces.”


In accordance with Hal, Presley remained a loyal buyer even after attaining stardom. Lansky was not chargeable for the sequined jumpsuits that Presley adopted throughout his Las Vegas years, however the demand was nonetheless there.

Elvis Prelsey would shop after-hours at Lansky Bros. to avoid crowds.

Elvis Prelsey would store after-hours at Lansky Bros. to keep away from crowds. (Lansky Bros.)

“Elvis turned so well-known that he couldn’t come to our retailer with out getting mobbed,” Hal recalled. “We needed to open the shop at evening simply so he might keep away from the crowds and store. However we additionally delivered him garments to Graceland. I turned often known as the supply boy to the King. I’d carry all the garments he ordered. And let me inform you, Elvis cherished to buy, so I used to be making deliveries fairly a bit. I keep in mind I had a station wagon simply full of garments. I’d ring his doorbell, and it was simply magical. I noticed Elvis on the high of the steps, and he got here down every step simply so regal. He would have his hand in his pocket the place he carried just a little white revolver – Elvis cherished weapons. It freaked me out a bit, however Elvis was simply so comfortable. I don’t assume he was essentially comfortable to see me, however he was comfortable to see his garments.”

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley in the biopic 'Elvis'.

Austin Butler as Elvis Presley within the biopic ‘Elvis’. (Warner Bros.)

“I remembered he ordered all of those lengthy leather-based coats with fur to match the hat and collars,” Hal continued. “He walked into the eating room, swung open the doorways and simply confirmed off his garments. He was so happy with his new outfits. That was fairly thrilling for me to see. I don’t know the way lengthy I used to be there, however it appeared like an eternity. It was all in gradual movement. However I remembered Elvis was so cool. He seemed good in something. And I feel he knew it.”

Hal stated that his favourite story his father cherished telling was the time when Presley first offered 1,000,000 information.


Elvis Presley with a young Hal Lansky (right).

Elvis Presley with a younger Hal Lansky (proper). (Lansky Bros.)

“They gave Elvis a Messerschmitt, this three-wheeled German automobile,” stated Hal. “Elvis introduced over the automobile to the store to indicate my dad. He stated ‘Mr. Lansky, take a look at this automobile!’ Elvis was simply so happy with himself that he lastly made it. Nicely, my dad stated, ‘Elvis, while you’re completed with that automobile, I would like it.’ A few months later, Elvis traded in that automobile for a two-and-a-half-hour procuring spree in our retailer. He remained loyal to the top.”

It was 1977 when Hal stated he and his father have been at a espresso store in Dallas, Texas. Somebody rushed in exclaiming, “Guess what? Elvis died!”

Presley was discovered unconscious in his Graceland mansion. He was rushed to the hospital, the place he was pronounced useless at age 42.

Elvis Presley, seen here in 1956 as he prepared for an appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’, would be dressed by Bernard Lansky one final time for his burial.

Elvis Presley, seen right here in 1956 as he ready for an look on ‘The Ed Sullivan Present’, could be dressed by Bernard Lansky one last time for his burial. (Picture by CBS Picture Archive/Getty Photos)

“We have been simply devastated,” Hal admitted. “We took the subsequent airplane out to Memphis. You at all times keep in mind the place you have been while you heard Elvis died… And once we noticed the physique within the casket, we simply couldn’t imagine what we have been seeing.”


It was Lansky who selected the white swimsuit and blue tie Presley wore to his grave. The patriarch later stated, “I put him in his first swimsuit, and I put him in his final swimsuit.”

Hal stated that through the years, his father cherished sharing his recollections of Presley with whoever would cease by his retailer. Immediately, they nonetheless obtain loads of letters and guests from world wide. He additionally famous that his household has remained in contact with Presley’s.

Hal Lansky (left) and Bernard Lansky in 2001. The patriarch passed away in 2012.

Hal Lansky (left) and Bernard Lansky in 2001. The patriarch handed away in 2012. (Picture by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Assortment by way of Getty Photos)

“Elvis was an honest man,” stated Hal. “He didn’t have a foul bone in his physique. He was a sensible joker, a Southern gentleman. And he was so beneficiant. He used to put in writing checks anonymously to charities as a result of he genuinely cared, not as a result of he wanted the publicity. His story was a outstanding one – a tragic one – however there are such a lot of elements to it.”

Hal Lansky today at Lansky Bros.

Hal Lansky immediately at Lansky Bros. (Lansky Bros.)

For Hal, Presley by no means actually left the constructing.


“I’m glad this film is out to indicate the youthful technology the impression Elvis had not solely on Memphis and even music however on the world,” he stated. “It’s superb how a lot energy Elvis nonetheless has immediately.”

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