In Funk's Corner

The Day Elvis Came to Amarillo


Dory Funk Sr.

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April 1st, 1957

I could hear the cursing and screaming as I approached the office door. "God Damn you, you son
of a bitch (Smack!!!) I could hear the pop of an open handed slap against flesh and I knew what
was going on inside. I opened the door to the office and their was blood splattered all over the
place. "God Damn you, I better not ever catch you here or I will beat the living shit out of you."
(Smack!!) I saw the slap land on the face of the man but I couldn't tell what he looked like because
his face was a mass of blood. He took another back hand from my father. Dad turned to me with a
wild look in his eyes, "Dunk, Go tell your mother to call the police, this ass hole is going to jail.
I could hear the man say, "Please Dory, Don't hit me again." (Smack) another back hand landed
flush to the face of the man and blood splattered everywhere.

***

The office I am referring to was in the back of the basket room at the popular Gem Lake
Swimming Pool in Amarillo, Texas. My job was head life guard working for my father Dory
Funk Sr. and Les Kilgore, owners of Gem Lake Swimming Pool. That morning, I was working
the tall lifeguard stand in the center of the 150 foot long public swimming pool. The Juke box
in the concession stand was blaring out the hits of the Elvis Presley, Teddy Bear, Jail House
Rock, and All Shook up. Elvis was hot in Amarillo.  Gem Lake was a fun place to work. Frequent
visitors to the swimming pool were professional wrestlers, Tokyo Joe, Bob Geigel, Young Mark
Lewin, Eddie Graham, (aka Rip Rogers) Art Nelson, and Iron Mike Dibiase.  Famous Amarillo
athletes Ronnie Munn, (AAU Trampoline) Don Broom, (Football) Lannie McCrary, (Basketball)
Malanie McKaffee, (Diving) James Kyle, (Basketball Referee).

I was watching from the lifeguard stand as a diver stood on the threshold of the three meter
diving board. He he was prepared to dive off but just before he took his final steps, he checked
each direction to see if the girls were watching him. In the pool a married man was necking with
a young chick. I blew my whistle and said, "No more of that or you will have to leave." Kids
were doing the, "fast walk," as they passed the lifeguard stand knowing that running would get
them in trouble and possibly thrown out of the pool. On the far side was a weight training area
where just yesterday, I watched as the "Fat Lady" spent a long time contemplated lifting the
bar bell. Finally she gave it her all and raised the bar to her neck, then fell backwards, pinning
herself to the mat. I was across there in seconds to help lift the weights off of her. There was
always excitement at Gem Lake Swimming Pool. It was a beautiful day and there were at least
three hundred people in the pool.

I could see the commotion up front and asked my co-worker, Leonard Miller (Canyon High Football)
to take my place on the lifeguard stand. I went first to the concession stand where my mother,
Dorothy Funk, was working the cash register. I asked, What is going on? She answered, "Dunk,
Your father caught this guy out in the parking lot exposing himself to little children -----. I knew
dad would have gone off the wall.

Some people had come in from the parking lot and told dad what was going on. In a flash he was
out there and the man was, "caught with his pants down." Dad  jerked him out of the car and
physically dragged him into the concession area. Mother began screaming, "Dory, Don't beat
him up here, you will get blood all over the food counter and cash register. The last she had seen,
Dory was dragging him back into the private office.

***

Obeying my father's orders, I hurried back to the concession and told mother to call the police,
quick. The Amarillo Police were there in minutes and took a battered and beaten sex offender
into custody.

The case went before Potter County Judge Cliff Roberts. There were witnesses from the parking
lot at Gem Lake Swimming Pool to back up my father's story. Judge Roberts found the "Masher
Guilty of exposing himself to under aged kids and sentenced him to two weeks in the Potter County
Jail house and one year's probation. With the verdict, he brought case to a close with the bang of
the gavel, then looked at Dory Funk Sr. and said, "Mr. Funk, I am also going to fine you twenty
five dollars for using excessive force to apprehend a criminal.

In those days, my father had his own Sunday talk show on KVII Channel 7 television. He told the
story as it happened, Then told of Judge Roberts decision. Many offers came from local viewers
offering to pay his fine.

That night we were at the City Auditorium rocking with The King for a buck seventy five.
 

Read the !BANG! Newsletter
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Visit Dory Funk's Home Page
E-mail Dory Funk Jr.