Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)
Rufus Thomas, Jr.
Born March 26, 1917, in Cayce, Mississippi, this legendary entertainer known worldwide, began his career in the 1930s with the Rabbit Foot Minstrel Shows. He was the organizer and master of ceremonies of the amateur shows in the 1940s and 1950s at the Palace Theatre, which stood at this site. From these shows began the careers of many great performers, including B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland.
He had the first hit records for both the Sun and Stax labels. As a popular personality on WDIA, he was the first disc jockey to play Elvis Presley records on a Black radio station. He was the creator of two of the biggest dance crazes of the 1960s--"The Dog" and "The Funky Chicken."
Erected by Tennessee Historical Commission. (Marker Number 4E 119.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Tennessee Historical Commission marker series.
Location. 35° 8.368′ N, 90° 3.03′ W. Marker is in Memphis, Tennessee, in Shelby County. Marker can be reached from Beale Street. Touch for map. Marker is located in front of the Pat O'Brien's on Beale Street. Marker is in this post office area: Memphis TN 38103, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are Nat D. Williams (a few steps from this marker); Pee Wee Saloon (within shouting distance of this marker); Ida B. Wells (within shouting distance of this marker); Beale Street Historic District (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Memphis Home of W.C. Handy (about 500 feet away); Hooks Brothers Photography (about 600 feet away); The Blues Trail From Mississippi to Memphis (about 600 feet away); Solvent Savings Bank (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Memphis.
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Entertainment • Notable Persons •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 19, 2008, by R. E. Smith of Nashville, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 1,084 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on July 19, 2008, by R. E. Smith of Nashville, Tennessee. • Christopher Busta-Peck was the editor who published this page.