Sunday, March 12, 2006

Nicko's Stories

Today was an interesting breakfast at Nicko's. I was taken off of probation from the bathroom incident and allowed to remove my ankle bracelet.

We got to discussing the fact that someone had commented on the blog they had a basement. I was invited to tour it.

I was taken into the garden room, (the room with the ATM and one booth), blindfolded and turned around 4 times. I was led into an elevator, that was behind a hidden panel. After a 5 minute rapid descent, I was led out into the basement. Covered under dust cloths was a a casino with all the trappings including baccarat table, a disco with a rotating glass ball, a 4 bedroom suite with a full wet bar, a hot tub and mini swimming pool and a 15 foor tall theatre.

Okay, so my imagination got away from me there.

Actually I was not blindfolded and just walked down some steps in the back of the kitchen storage area. The basement extends the entire width and breadth of the restaurant and is used for storage and machinery space. Who would have thought a basement existed there. Fascinating.

Then a few more stories were brought out. If you read the menu, you know that Elvis ate there. As you enter, turn left and it is the 2nd booth. Apparently there is going to be an Elvis festival coming up and the festival is going to feature Nickos.

Elvis Presley was just 20 years old when he took the stage at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on May 8, 1955

The St. Pete Times did a story a few years ago on a Elvis Presley festival and from that article few facts were posted.

Elvis Presley passed through Tampa more than once, most notably at the beginning of his career and near the end. Here are some highlights:

- Col. Tom Parker, the former carnival barker who helped guide Presley to stardom, became the singer's manager in 1955. But before he became a promoter, Parker was the dogcatcher in Tampa. During that time he started the Humane Society Cemetery, the pet graveyard.

- Elvis first came to Tampa when he was 21, a month before he made musical history with his appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. He performed at Fort Homer Hesterly Armory on Aug. 5, 1956, and the Florida Theater in St. Petersburg two days later.

Here's what the Times wrote about his Aug. 5 Tampa appearance: "He was greeted with deafening screams from the audience . . . which oddly enough was sprinkled liberally with adults. . . . He rocked 'n' rolled his way through seven numbers, laughing, winking, pointing and wriggling. . . . Asked later what he will do when this rock 'n' roll "fad' passes, he said, "I'll probably sit back and think about what I once had - with no regrets.' "

- In 1961, Presley visited Weeki Wachee Springs during a break from filming the movie Follow that Dream, which was shot in Citrus and Levy counties.

- In 1977 Presley was back, performing at Tampa's Curtis Hixon Hall and St. Petersburg's Bayfront Center. He died a few months later.

Then I learned that Montel Williams ate there recently. I think he ate at the second booth on the right.

When Cop and 1/2 was filmed in Tampa, Henry Winkler filmed a scene there. Unfortunately, that scene ended on the cutting room floor. Apparently he was a real nice guy.

Parent Trap II was filmed there and that scene was left in.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

elvis also stayed at the hotel floridan downtown