The Shadier Side of Memphis with Neil Cameron

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In this episode of Memphis Type History: The Podcast, Caitlin connects with Neil Cameron of Strickly Elvis UK to talk about Elvis… no not actually… instead more of the shadier side of Memphis that has nothing to do with Elvis. Hear Caitlin and Neil from distant lands talk about a few crime stories that you may or may not know about.

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So how did Memphis Type History and Strickly Elvis UK collide? We try to remember ourselves. While it may have been Facebook that brought us together, it was Sun Studios that gave us a meeting place. And while it’s good to catch up a little, we went straight to the gritty stories that Neil has learned over time of this city he loves and visits so much.

First up… Jerry McGill.

Photo by Randall Lyon via The Paris Review

McGill was a lesser known Memphis musician turned criminal who boasted of having over 97 arrests in Memphis over the course of his life. Here are his songs for your listening pleasure:

Next up is one of the biggest entertainment scandals of all time. If you’re a true Memphis Type History fan, then you’ll recall us writing a little bit about a controversial 1972 film called Deep Throat in the Lamar Theater chapter of our book. Neil gives us a more “in depth” look into this porno chic movement and the man at the center of a national trial that all started because at that “skin flick” showing at the Lamar Theatre. Harry Reems is even quoted talking about how despite all the good memories he has of his career in porn… Memphis is where it went downhill for him. Sorry, that’s all you get here… listen to the podcast for the salacious details.

Harry Reems

And then there’s Machine Gun Kelly who you may be familiar with as the rapper, however we’re talking about the prohibition era gangster. What you may not know is that he did hard time at Central High School in Memphis. Despite the protests of some youth, its wasn’t anything like his time in Alcatraz, as far as we can tell. 

Machine Gun Kelly being led by United States Marshals to prison following his conviction. Via alcatrazhistory.com

We end with a bang… a history on Sputnik Monroe. Yes, he was a big time Memphis wrestler known for his on stage theatrics. But what you may not know, is that he was a pioneer in fighting segregation. He worked hard to gain the trust and support of the African American community and even ended up going to court because he was handing out flyers at a black cafe. So what happened in the end? Listen and find out!

Sputnik Monroe via onlineworldofwrestling.com

Links Mentioned:

The Paris Review article

Very Extremely Dangerous

When Ozzy Osbourne Got Arrested in Memphis

Inside Deep Throat

Harry Reems Talks About Memphis

Machine Gun Kelly

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Caitlin L. Horton

Author of Memphis Type History & Brand Strategist at Caitlin L. Horton Brand Strategy
Partner-in-crime for entrepreneurs and community builders getting their message out with thoughtful design and marketing.

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