Overton Shell Re-opens As Levitt Shell

The renovation of the ‘Overton Park Shell’ in Memphis is just finished and the location re-opened last week as the ‘Levitt Shell’. The opening concerts attracted 1000 people each night, way more than the 600 people the organization expected. Until October 5, each Thursday till Sunday will have a free concert. The season will re-start in May 2009.

The Overton Park Shell was the first place Elvis gave an announced concert. During the last decade, the site was abandoned and at some point, the city planned to tear down the whole place. Thanks to the necessary funds, they were able to restore the location and it is now safe for the future. The name ‘Levitt Shell’ is given by clothier Mortimer Levitt who started a foundation in the early 60s in New York to promote free concerts in open air theaters. Across the USA, you’ll find many of those ‘Levitt Theaters’ nowadays.
Source: ElvisMatters / Updated: Sep 9, 2008 
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I am Buffalo-Horn! (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 11, 2008report abuse
It was previously also called the Raoul Wallenberg Shell; if my memory serves me right he was another person who saved Jews from the Nazis during the war, similar to "Schindler's List". You always used to meet some interesting characters looking after the Shell. Joel, who I knew well & who entertained the fans there for several years, was sadly killed crossing Poplar Ave. The Shell has had a chequered history: at one time the city wanted to extend the I-40, which runs from Little Rock to Nashville, right thru Overton park & the Shell. The association with Elvis saved the Shell, & the road went round the city South on the I-240!
MrB (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 11, 2008report abuse
Can someone clear up something I can't work out from my memory bank? Was Overton tiered concrete seating before the renovation rather than the grass hill shown in this photo or is it my memory playing tricks??
Ruthie (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 10, 2008report abuse
What a wonderful project & a great way for music to reach the masses. We need more of these outdoor venues in this country.
Shaky (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 10, 2008report abuse
I'll shall miss the name and the rainbow colours, but I'm glad it's not been demolished like many, many Elvis landmarks in the City!

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