MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) -
The mercury rose to 96 degrees on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 and the heat index surpassed 100, but a nattily dressed group of people in Memphis came prepared for late summer swelter.
A sea of seersucker flooded The Peabody Hotel’s lobby as one of the world’s greatest seersucker enthusiasts held court. “
I wrote this book about seersucker, I’m going to mention that a few more times,” said Bill Haltom, a Memphis attorney and
author of “Milk and Sugar: The Complete Book of Seersucker."
“There is one terrible mistake in this book and in the second edition, we’re going to take care of it. I made the comment in the book that Elvis never wore seersucker. I have been given pictures from all of these people,” Haltom said of images of the King of Rock and Roll turned out in smart seersucker attire.
Haltom thanked haberdasher Hal Lansky, the son of Bernard Lansky, “Clothier to the King,” who may have sold Elvis a seersucker suit along with most of the rest of his famous wardrobe. Lansky Brothers now operates several stores in the Peabody Lobby which has become home base for the annual “Seersucker Flash Mob.”
Haltom honored a fellow founder of the annual August 31 event, the late Jim Eikner, who wore seersucker all summer both off the air and on WKNO- TV 10 where he served as the Memphis PBS affiliate’s Marketing Manager. With Eikner’s daughter Maury Tower front and center, Haltom led a cheer for the ebullient Eikner.
“The last thing Jim would want would be a moment of silence; we ain’t going to have no moment of silence for Jim Eikner,” said Haltom as he had the seersucker clad crowd clap one time, an Eikner trademark.
The “mob” included numerous prominent Memphis lawyers, judges, and business people who enjoy wearing the light fabric that actor Gregory Peck famously wore playing attorney Atticus Finch in the film adaptation of the book “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
After conducting a quiz on seersucker trivia, Haltom nominated, questioned and then selected “Mr. and Ms. Seersucker 2017” from the assembled
throng. Haltom’s book tells seersucker’s story, following the fabric’s origins in India to early 20th century popularity in the sweltering summers American South before the advent of air conditioning. Proceeds from the sale of Haltom’s book at the Seersucker Flash Mob event were donated to Memphis Area Legal Services and A Step Ahead Foundation, an organization that Haltom’s seersucker clad spouse, Claudia, runs.