These stories are collected by Rita Overhead


The King returned to his throne at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, last week. And there was no doubting he is Monarch! He was everything you could expect and more!
From the first pulsating moment he walked on stage, smiling that confident grin and touching each person with those piercing blue eyes, he had 2,000 people in the palm of his hand. Twice during his performance the crowd leaped up to give him standing ovations.
Elvis put on everything he had! He was dressed in a one-piece jumpsuit, well-fitted to his body with a low-slung, sexy, beaded-tussled belt knitted tightly to his hips.

Even the older women in the crowd were sighing and moaning as the tassel swayed back and forth across his body.
Elvis' repertoire for his second very live-appearances cabaret season in nine years was well-chosen and showed him off to the very best advantage. He repeated several of the songs from his last engagement, obviously the crowd-favorites from that month-long stand, and added new songs, mainly drawn from the South with its gutsy sounds.
It was a star-studded opening night. I saw Dean Martin and his new girl friend Gail Renshaw; MGM's President Jim Aubrey; Zsa Zsa Gabor, Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart and Juliet Prowse. Elvis' wife Priscilla and his father Vernon Presley sat ringside for his show.


Once on stage, Elvis didn't waste a minute in rousing the audience as he opened with a rollicking "All Shook Up." After each song Elvis was forced to wait as the crowd just couldn't stop clapping.
"This was my first record, ladies and gentlemen," he introduced politely, going into "That's Alright Mama." With a little imagination you could envisage him on a battered wooden stage in a shiny gold lame suit, with thousands of screaming pony-tailed teenagers at his feet. The combination of "good ole rock and roll" and a man who is so very much today is staggering. If anyone could bridge a generation gap, it would surely be this man. Every age was represented at the International that night and each was enjoying Elvis in their own way!
Opening night, however, Elvis was plagued by every singer's nemesis - Vegas throat! Therefore he kept his between-song patter to a minimum.
"My mouth's a little dry," he said after his first number "and I'm a little bit shaky ... Welcome to the International. This is my second live appearance in nine years. I'd like to do some songs for you that were recorded by other people."
Here Elvis teased in his very own style, starting "Everybody ... Loves Somebody ..." and Dean Martin laughed louder than anyone! His next number was "Proud Mary." Played and sung funky. Elvis is at his best singing songs of the South. It's like hearing a song for the very first time when the King sings it!

His outstanding backing group is the same as last time (except for a new drummer), led by lead guitarist James Burton. The Sweet Inspirations and the Imperials provide expert vocal support again, too. Excuse me while I get some water. It's kind of dry out here in Las Vegas ... this is the record I just had out. I hope you like it."


Then he went into "Don't Cry Daddy," his current chart-topper here, with a beautiful vocal harmony provided by Charlie Hodge.
"I'd like to do a couple of songs I recorded about 1929," Elvis gagged, before going into an exciting medley of "Teddy Bear," "Don't Be Cruel" and "Long Tall Sally."
Although his introductions were brief, each was touched with a bit of humor as only Elvis can put it across. After singing "Let It Be Me," Elvis bent down to one of the front tables and asked for a glass of water, and about 13 glasses were shot towards him. He reached for one and took a sip, then muttered: "If I'd get my hair out of my eyes, I could probably see better ... but I can't blow my image ... Although it's been blown before ... image ... image!"

Next he rocked into a soulful "I Can't Stop Loving You" and then a new one - Joe South's "Walk A Mile In My Shoes." From there he went directly and smoothly to "In The Ghetto."
The transitions Elvis makes in his shows, from fast, rousing numbers, to softer ballads, keep the audience alert every minute. From the ballad "In The Ghetto," Elvis switched to a comical introduction that the crowd seemed eager to hear. I'm sure many were disappointed that he didn't talk even more, for when he does, you get the feeling you are getting to know the man so much more intimately!
"Elvis In Memphis (if you've heard his last live album you know how he pronounces Memphis) ... Elvis In Memphis (he named the album title again) ... Here's a song from that album I'd like to do right now ... (pause) ... but I've forgotten the words to it! ... Excuse me for a second while I get some water."
Then he turned and walked back to his friend Charlie to get a glass of water and mumble to himself (so we could all hear) "Don't turn your back to the audience, Elvis!" and continued. "This song is called 'True Love Travels On A Gravel Road' and I hope you like it."
The music began and just as Elvis was about to begin we heard from him: "Hold It! Hold It!" ... Conference ... "excuse me for just one second." He walked back to Charlie. "Oh yeah! Now I've got it!" and he began again, this time singing the right words.


This happened a couple of times during the show, but each time Elvis stopped the orchestra and began again, as if he had to make it perfect. And it was. My impression was the the audience got a real-kick out of Elvis whenever he made a mistake, too.
It just showed us that he is human, however hard that is to believe when you're listening to him or seeing him in person!
He sang "Memories," and as he did last time during the instrumental breaks he'd walk around the stage and kiss some of the lucky girls down front. Then "Sweet Caroline," bumping and grinding to the beat, just the way we wanted him to.
"Let's go down to Louisiana," he said in his Southern accent, and we heard Elvis' version of "Polk Salad Annie."
"I've got a new record that just came out ... I hope you like it ... it's called ... What is it called? ... Oh, it's called 'Kentucky Rain'."
The new song is beautiful and falls right into the line of first-rate singles that Elvis has been turning out one after another. Following "Kentucky Rain," he did "Suspicious Minds," and ended the show as before with "Can't Help Falling In Love."


As Elvis stands with arms up-stretched and head bowed in thanks, the curtain falls. You are swept up with the excitement of the crowd which is at its peak.
In this moment of exhilaration, there comes a feeling of pain, too, for you know it's over. And then you have to rely on your mind to recall again the thrill you have just experienced. I think the key to Elvis' over-whelming magnetism is not so much his wiggling hips, his slender body generating so much sex appeal, or even his beautiful and powerful voice as much as his whole aura of simplicity and sincerity. He doesn't clutter his act with useless prepared comic material, but finds humor which is captivating. And with every song he gives the audience exactly what they have come for - chance to see and experience a living legend. In the end his appreciation is real and you can feel it from the last seat in the last row of the Showroom.

By Ann Moses, February 1970


Here are some news items from the year 1961 which are from the Elvis Monthly. Although "Are You Lonesome Tonight" was a No.1 first-smacker in Disc, El was deprived of the second record in succession to do this in the New Musical Express, Britain's No.1 Musical Weekly. Reason? Faulty pressings. Hundreds were sent back to the Record Company for replacement, thereby robbing Elvis of the necessary initial sales. But a second British Golden Disc is still a possibility, as sales are astronomical.

The name of the new army minister in U.S.A. is ELVIS J Stahr. He was nominated on 14th January by President Kennedy.

Another Gold Disc for Elvis. This time from Germany for "It's Now Or Never." A remarkable achievement. Anyway, I now make it 38 Gold Discs, and his fourth one for this one disc (Germany, Sweden, Great Britain, U.S.A.).


Decca has kindly advised me that the importation of "Tonight's Alright For Love" would be an infringement of copyright, as in the case of "It's Now Or Never." But worse is to come. Unlike "It's Now Or Never," as the song is almost identical in wording to "Tonight Is So Right For Love," it is extremely unlikely that this will ever be released in Great Britain. And I suspect that writing letters of disapproval to the Company would be of little use, so it's a case of grin and bear it. Like sob!

Elvis's new role in MGM's "Chautauqua" looks like being his first real challenge. No less than six top stars are expected to be co-starred in this, so big that U.S. fans are already demanding that the Film Company must give Elvis top-billing. Shades of crossing bridges... Definite information promises an elaborate spectacular in the mid-west, around 1921, with plenty of songs. Looks like a further spate of oldies from the golden tonsils - more blues, more Dixieland, too - will please many fans.

First Presley-Film Swig For S.A. Sensors

So ran the newspaper headline announcing the news that Elvis Presley's latest film, "Flaming Star," will not be screened in South Africa. DEGBREEK,a South African paper, inquired into the matter, and through certain trustworthy contacts in Cape Town, they discovered that the South African Board of Censors have done a hush-hush ban on the movie (bless their hearts!) The reason why the film has been banned is because of the unnecessary cruelty and violence, as well as the fact that Elvis portrays the role of an Indian half-breed.

Rita Overhead


Here are two little cuttings that I recently found, the first one is a review for his first ever album and notice the difference ten years later with a review from the New Musical Express that is reviewing "Love Letters." It shows you what a difference 10 years can make where Elvis was concerned.

Rock 'n' Roll dept. Elvis Presley, I learn ends up on all fours when he performs "Hound Dog". His new long-play disc titled "Elvis Presley" (HMV), got me flat on my back ... with boredom. Twelve songs in a row is too much Presley - unless you're crazy about him.

Review of the first Elvis LP in the UK - 1956


"Love Letters"/"Come What May" (RCA)

A RUSH-RELEASE, which the shops received as quickly as me - which is why my review coincides with its chart entry. Presley's first specially recorded brand new single for ages is a revival of the Ketty Lester hit, using the same-broken beat arrangement. Backing consists of organ, drum-brush, humming girls and Floyd Cramer on piano. Beautifully handled by El.

FLIP: This double-A side is a happy-go-lucky hand-clapped, with a gutty sax. Infectious medium-paced beat, whistle able tune, and El rocking quietly rather than dynamically.

NME July 8 1966

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In May 1956 Elvis made his first UK chart appearance with "Heartbreak Hotel". Below is probably the first major article from the New Musical Express.

ELVIS PRESLEY - the new star in the popular music firmament

KEITH GOODWIN tells you all about America's latest singing idol

From out of the blue, 21-year-old Elvis Presley rocketed on to the popular music scene with all the scorching fury of a meteor flashing across the sky. Make no mistake about it, Elvis is the new teenage idol of America. His first long-playing album jumped to the top of the best-selling charts in America's "Billboard" magazine within weeks of its release.
But that's merely the beginning of the story! His "singles" - "Heartbreak Hotel" in particular have had a similar impact. "Heartbreak Hotel" leaped to the top of the American hit parade and also had the double honor of being the disc "most played in juke boxes," and "most played by disc jockeys." And now, these very same records are finding an eager, excited public in this country.

What magic does this phenomenon called Elvis Presley possess that he is able to mount the pinnacle of show business in such a small space of time? Certainly, the man who has been dubbed "the hillbilly Johnnie Ray" is already at the top - and present public reaction demands that he should stay there.
He has been acclaimed as the successor to Johnnie Ray, and this has brought forth a spate of fan letters both for and against this claim.
But no matter what the outcome of the argument, one thing is certain Elvis Presley is here to stay.
Reports in a national newspaper recently have helped back up the Presley claim to mass idolization. Quite definitely, this tall, lanky singer has already received the Johnnie Ray treatment.
He has been rescued from screaming crowds of teenagers in a police wagon; girls have written phone numbers in lipstick over his car; and in Jacksonville, Florida, admirers tore the clothes off his back! This in addition to many letters of proposal! A single note on his guitar can produce howls of admiration from a packed audience of teenagers. A song can turn them into a screaming, yelling, almost hysterical crowd!
Winning polls has become quite a common occurrence for Elvis. Last year he was voted the "most promising Country and Western artist" by C. & W. disc jockeys in America. He was also acclaimed the "best new male singer" and the "most promising country male vocalist of the year" during the same year. But remember, Presley is still gaining popularity, and the future holds even more honors.
And how do British fans feel about America's newest singing sensation? Johnnie Ray fans claim he could never replace their hero and, while some agree that "Heartbreak Hotel" is a good disc, they, nevertheless, intend to remain faithful to Johnnie.
From the other side of the fence, Presley fans are adamant that he doesn't copy Ray, and feel that he is already much better than the great "one and only." Elvis certainly has the dark, swarthy, mysterious good looks to get the fans on his side. But the fans have also fallen for the deep emotion, power - and sex appeal - in his voice.
Elvis has an interesting background. Born in Tupelo, Mississippi, on January 8, 1935, throughout his early youth he was always surrounded by folk music and blues associated with the deep South.
He soon took an active interest in music, and at the tender age of six began singing at folk gatherings, and also for his friends. During his youth Elvis worked hard, in the firm belief that one day he might reach the top.
He never had any professional instruction and his efforts at this time were the results of self tuition. With no money to buy a guitar, he practiced "picking" on a broomstick.
A little later he found money enough to buy a cheap instrument and, after more practice and hard work, was able to play tunes. He also sang on street corners to the accompaniment of his guitar.
Whilst still a young boy, he had his first taste of real success when he won a prize in his first public performance at the Tri-State Fair in his home town. And this is where the "show business bug" left its teeth-marks on young Elvis.

Elvis went to high school when his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee and, although his main interest was still with his guitar and his singing, he earned a little extra money by doing odd jobs, including lorry driving.
For the "kicks" and his own amusement, he decided one day to make a private recording - at his own expense. With just this one thought in mind, he walked into the Sun Record Company, Memphis - and, in so doing, walked into stardom!
Sam Phillips, president of Sun Records, heard him sing - and signed him to a contract on the spot. Within a few months, following advice and coaching from Sun, Elvis had his first disc - "That's All Right, Mama" - released on the Sun label. It became an overnight hit - and Elvis has never looked back.
Since then his other discs have caught on with alarming rapidity. Tunes like the aforementioned "Heartbreak Hotel," "Tutti Frutti," "Rag Mop," "I Was The One," "Blue Suede Shoes" and "I Forgot To Remember To Forget" have made him a top recording artist, and an album of words and music to "Elvis Presley Juke Box Favorites" has now been issued in the States.
After graduating from High School, Elvis began to make his first personal appearances, and at Shreveport he caused a minor sensation. He won numerous polls, and enlisted the aid of well-known popular c. and w. disc-jockey Bob Neal as his personal manager.
More coast-to-coast personal appearances followed, and as his popularity grew, America's teenagers dubbed him the "King of Western Bop."

Gold Disc
Sensation followed sensation! Teenage audiences were drawn to him like metal to a magnet. They screamed louder and louder at each performance, and just one indication of his immense popularity comes with the latest news that he has been smashing box-office records at theatres throughout the South and South-West.
In recent months, his appearances on CBS Television's "Stage Show" have brought him an amazing amount of mail.
Personal details about Elvis prove just why he has become the latest teenage "rave." Standing 6ft. 2ins. in his stockinet feet and weighing 160 pounds, he has dark wavy hair, blue eyes - and is unmarried.
He has a large appetite, and is reputed to eat a dozen eggs and either two steaks or a pound of bacon - for breakfast!
Outside of music, Elvis's main interest lies in his two Cadillac's - one in pink and black that carries him all around the country on his personal appearances, the other is canary yellow that he drives in his leisure hours. In addition, he also owns a station wagon and a motorcycle.
He spends a good deal of time buying clothes, and has recently persuaded his 39-year-old father to retire. In his spare time, he has designed some of the furniture for the home he has refurbished for his mother. And - yes, there's more - he now owns his own music-publishing company.
Elvis, 21, is one of the few artists who can claim "overnight success" in anything like the true sense of the words. He is, without doubt, one of the most astonishing personalities to break into the field of popular music for many years, and only recently was presented with a gold disc for his million-plus sales of "Heartbreak Hotel" for RCA Victor, with whom he has signed a contract involving one of the highest sums ever paid to a new artist.
British fans may get the opportunity to see and hear Elvis in this country in the near future, possibly in next year's London Palladium variety season. And, by that time, the "King of Western Bop" should have more than one gold disc to his credit!

New Musical Express - 11 May 1956


This is an article from the New Musical Express, Friday, 28 July 1961.

NM Exclusive from Hollywood correspondent BOB DAY

interview with

Curt remark about Sinatra

ELVIS has definitely changed. He's much more mature. He must be - he no longer calls me "sir." As I hadn't talked with the affable and personable Mr. Presley for some time I was prepared for a change in the man when I went to meet him again recently.
I was greeted at the door of Elvis' movie lot dressing room by the portly, popular Colonel Parker. In the outer reception room, lolling around in easy chairs, were Elvis' several Memphis pals who also serve as the bodyguards. They eyed my suspiciously, I thought. But maybe I was just scared that one of them might try some of their much publicised judo on me!
In the inner sanctum Elvis was as charming, frank and polite as ever. And, as I noted earlier, he no longer punctuates all his answers with "sir."
My immediate reaction was that he still has the same ingratiating humility and friendliness, yet he is even more self-assured.
Elvis didn't have to spell out for me the fact that he doesn't like Frank Sinatra personally - possibly because of his reported quarrel with Frank over the affections of dancer Juliet Prowse.
"Let's just say that I admire Frank Sinatra's success," he said curtly and pointedly. He wouldn't tell me his favourite singers this time "I might offend someone," he explained.

"Actually, I think I have every kind of record, from Caruso to hillbilly, he informed me. "Spirituals seem to interest me most. I like Mahalia Jackson and spiritual quartets especially. I was raised up around this sort of thing. Every morning, when I get up, I sing spirituals." ("And how I hate to get up in the morning!" he added, as an aside.)
"While we're on the subject then, what other weaknesses do you have Elvis?" I questioned. "Well, when I have a lot on my mind, I bite my nails."
"Also, I'm always afraid of water. I swim very little. When I water-ski, I have three or four life jackets on." What are Elvis's outside interests?
"At first, I just wanted to be a truck driver. Really, though, if I wasn't in show business, I'd like to be a football player.
"All I do at weekends is watch football games on TV. And, you know, every year, in the autumn I have a desire to go back to school to play football.
"I'm a 'nut on movies too. I always see most of the movies that come out. I hire them to show at my home. I think that 'Psycho' was my favourite in the last year.
"I study films for the acting, too. I am always particularly impressed with James Dean - remember 'Rebel Without Cause" - and Spencer Tracy."

I queried Elvis about his study of Karate, a form of judo.
Yes, I'm very keen on it," he agreed. "I took private lessons in Germany, while I was in the army. Later I studied with some Japanese masters in Paris."
What did Elvis think of Paris? "I can't imagine any man not liking Paris," he replied. And how about the Lido night club? "That's what I mean" he countered, with a smile.
Which led us, naturally, to the subject of girls. Elvis' name has been linked, most recently, with a girl disc jockey from his home town of Memphis, a Los Angeles secretary and the wardrobe girl at 20th Century-Fox film studios, but he made no comment. Elvis suffers terribly from a complete lack of privacy on his dates. Fans won't let him alone, specially when he's with a girl. But he doesn't resent this in the slightest. "Anytime I want privacy I can always get out of the business and go back to driving a truck," he grinned philosophically.

With me,at this interview with Elvis, was an attractive young lady who had dated both Frankie Avalon and Paul Anka. Her impression, in the romantic vein, of the new Elvis: "He's just as pretty, but now more of a man." Elvis didn't agree that he was forsaking his out-and-out rock style, so beloved by teen fans. "I'll always be loyal to the younger people," he insisted. "But I do want to earn the respect, too, of older people. I doubt if I'll ever work in night clubs though. I just don't like 'em." An amusing sidelight happened when Elvis drove up in his Rolls Royce to call on his neighbour Pat Boone. Pat's 6-year-old daughter Cherry thought he was Fabian! After meeting Boone's four daughters, Elvis turned to Pat's wife, Shirley, and said:"You know, I've got to get married and get me some kids!" Maybe his visit to the Boones will have far reaching effects!
New Musical Express, Friday, 28 July 1961



Dear Friend:

Because each one of the past Elvis years has had its own special highlights and surprises the same can be promised for 1968, and here's why.

RCA Victor Records has started it off by bringing out a bright new Elvis birthday single, GUITAR MAN/HI-HEEL SNEAKERS. You already know the excitement that it has created. Then along comes MGM Studios with their springtime release of a comedy western, STAY AWAY JOE, with such great stars as Joan Blondell, Thomas Gomez, Katy Jurado and Burgess Meredith along with Elvis. With a combination like that you know something has got to happen. RCA Victor has its own special springtime surprise that will have to wait until it is announced.

Then on into early summer when MGM releases SPEEDWAY which stars Nancy Sinatra and Elvis, and things really do happen in this film. In the meantime Elvis swings into 1968 to meet the challenge of the new year and what lies ahead. Two pictures for MGM Studios, one for National General Corporation, and a number of RCA Victor records along with a multitude of other activities. The Elvis family of fans is going to be sharing in what we expect will be a year of fun, excitement, and Elvis at his best.

It is timely to mention that the avalanche of mail of the past month has been so great that we have been unable to keep up with it and we hope you will understand the difficulty of making replies to every letter, though we keep trying.

Year end polls in this country and abroad have again placed Elvis among the front runners and this is due to each and every one of you joining together to make it possible. Special note should be made of the recent birthday party presented by the International Elvis Appreciation Society in London, England. This has become an annual event and this year's birthday party attracted the largest gathering ever from England and Europe. It is an inspiring example of the great bond of friendship and affection that exists between Elvis fans everywhere, and a bond which Elvis himself is honored to be included in. Each year the Elvis family grows larger and closer together. Nothing can make life more rewarding than dedicated friends and we hope that your life will continue to be so enriched throughout the coming year of 1968.


Col. Parker's Office Rita

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Here is an article from 1968 on the set of "Charro."


Having become Elvis fans rather late in his career, we missed out on any television appearances he did earlier; also any personal appearances. So we had to content ourselves with his movies and, of course, records. We, like thousands of other fans would have given our eye teeth to have been able to see him perform in person.
Well, talk about luck of the Irish, in less than a year Elvis had made 2 movies in Arizona; "Stay Away, Joe" and "Charro." Since we live in Phoenix, we were able to make several trips to both locations. We not only got to see our King, but were able to speak to him. We took some great pictures including some "knocked out" movies.
Then, as the crowning touch, Elvis made his TV Special. We wrote for tickets the minute we heard he was going to do the show. Much to our surprise, we received the tickets. We flew to California for the show and saw one of the segments being taped. It's really fabulous ... I can hardly wait for "E" day, December 3.
"Charro" was filmed in Apache Junction which is only 30 miles from our home. Guess there is no need to tell you where we spent all our time the two weeks Elvis was there. Since my mother works on a grave yard shift, we had the days free to spend on the set.
We went to the hotel (Superstition Inn) where he had the whole second floor reserved. We waited and and waited but the first day Elvis didn't come down at all. Rodd Redwing, he's in the picture, went up to Elvis' room. Rodd is a real expert with the six-gun and coached Elvis for the roll. Elvis really learned fast.
We learned that there was a 2 o'clock call for shooting the next day. So back we went and at 1:10 Elvis came down the back stairs to go out to the location in the mountains. We thought that he looked very handsome with his beard. But then he'd look good with his head in a bag. He signed a few autographs for people and signed some pictures we had taken in Sedona. He looked puzzled for a second when I handed the pictures to him. I said, "Sedona" and he smiled and said, "Oh, yeah. Oh, you're letting your hair grow. What's your name again?" I said, "Sandy." He laughed and said, "I'll be all right ... I started to write Dandy." (What a doll). He then got back into the big black Cadillac and took off like a shot (Mr. Kelly was driving). Mr. Kelly was the National General Corp. driver and drove Elvis everywhere that he went. Mom and I thought that Mr. Kelly was one of the nicest people we have ever met. We followed some of the crew to the location, but didn't get to stay that day. The next day, they started filming at Apache land Movie Ranch. This is really a cute old western town and is open to the public. Of course, they raised their prices while Elvis was there and I dare say they did quite well. We watched for several hours and saw them film three exciting scenes. This is a very tense, serious drama with a lot of fast action. It should be "out of sight."
One day at Apache land, Elvis came over to the roped off area to talk and sign autographs. He is so marvelous with his fans. Elvis has a way of making each one feel important. When he talks to you, he gives you his undivided attention, in spite of everything that is going on around him. He looks directly at you, which is just a bit disconcerting. I usually manage to forget at least half of what I wanted to say. When he got to me, I was just standing there watching all the fun. He asked, "You don't like my beard do you?" I answered, "Yes, I like it, don't you?" He said he didn't like it at all. I told him I thought his TV special was going to be great. He again looked puzzled and I explained that my mother and I had flown in to see it at the NBC studios in Burbank. He asked which day we were there and I told him Thursday, June 27. He asked what we thought of it and I told him I thought it was going to be really the greatest. He grinned and said. "Thank you." There is no way to describe the impact that Elvis has on a live audience. What a fantastic showman he is.
The last day Elvis filmed here, they were doing some scenes on location in a really wild canyon. The scene showed Elvis (whose name is Jesse Wade) roping a big, black wild stallion which he rides in the picture. He is holding the rope and the horse is bucking and rearing and dragging him around. It's very exciting. After the first take, he kept looking at his hands and rubbing them on the sides of his pants. By the time they had done the scene two more times, his hands were badly rope burned.
That evening, after dinner, as he was leaving the hotel for another location, we spoke to him again and he had band aids on his fingers and the palms of his hands. When he tried to sign some autographs, you could tell that it was an effort even to hold the pen. You know that he must have been in pain. It didn't seem to affect his sense of humor, though. I asked where he was going now, to Memphis or Hollywood. He got that slow twinkle in his eyes and said, "Why no honey, I'm going out on location now." He paused and then said, "I'm going to Los Angeles when we finish up here." Whenever you talk to Elvis, be prepared to play straight man. His great sense of humor is always there, just under the surface waiting for a good straight line. With this, he jumped into his Cadillac and was off again. This was the last time we saw him. The next day, we hoped to be able to see him leave but the time for departure kept changing and finally my mother had to leave for work.

Strictly Elvis, November 1968.

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Here is a review I found of the album "A Date With Elvis"

A Date With Elvis

Like its companion release ("For LP Fans Only"), "A Date With Elvis" has left varying impressions on different generations of Elvis Presley fans. If you were around in 1959, the first thing you probably noticed was that it was the gatefold jacket, with lots of really cool photos inside and out of Elvis Presley in uniform. Hearing this album which contained not a word about where or when the music on it was recorded - one would have been struck by just how raw and lively the music was, more exciting, in fact, than the music on his last pre-Army LP release, the "King Creole" soundtrack. As they had with "For LP Fans Only," RCA had assembled a "new" Elvis Presley album by reaching back to five of the best of his best Sun Records sides, augmented with a few songs left over from the "Love Me Tender" and "Jailhouse Rock" soundtrack EPs.

The 1954-1955 recordings of "Milkcow Blues Boogie," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Baby Let's Play House," etc., with their lean textures, frantic sound, and Scotty Moore's slashing lead guitar, were a far cry from anything heard on "King Creole." It was the height of irony that the two "new" Elvis albums of 1959 gave national audiences their first real chance to plunge into the sound of the "old" Elvis of 1954-1955, when he was known as "The Memphis Flash" and "The Hillbilly Cat." A few years later, during the mid/late1960s, when some listeners started getting serious about Elvis' music, and others, born too late to have been buying the records in 1956, started discovering his work for the first time, the word got out about "A Date With Elvis" and "For LP Fans Only" - that these were the real article, at least as worthwhile as the first two RCA albums and the easiest way to get the King's early Memphis sides.

By the second half of the 1960s, "A Date With Elvis" and its packaging had become irrelevant to 99 percent of rock listeners, but serious fans grabbed up copies - even Rolling Stone magazine recommended "A Date With Elvis" and "For LP Fans Only" (especially their mono pressings) in the course of guiding readers through the already confusing maze of his releases. By the late 1970s, when the Sun material had been gathered together in a more orderly fashion, "A Date With Elvis" fell out of favor once again, and it has seemed superfluous for most of the time since, in terms of musical scholarship. But listening to it 47 years after its release, one is still hard-put to find too many albums that are more viscerally exciting; what's more, it is a reminder of how those Sun sides were best known for the first two decades after their release, and how they first got out to most of us. It's a keeper in any form, with special regard for mono vinyl pressings .


or the 2001 Japanese CD reissue, in 24-bit digital audio


Here is a little news cutting which I found, it dates from 1958.


Elvis Presley has attracted the largest audience in ten years at the Odeon, Marble Arch - for the first week of "King Creole." The film is currently the greatest attraction in any West End cinema, and takings show no signs of decreasing.

New Musical Express, September 1958

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Here is another little news article from the British press during 1958, this time it's about the possibility of Elvis being stationed in UK.


Twice in the past few weeks rumors have reached this office about Elvis Presley's army posting. it is said that he may be drafted to the American Camp at Ruislip in Middlesex. Whoever started this story is one jump ahead of Presley, the Army and the American Embassy. We checked. "We haven't heard of it," said an Embassy spokesman, "but I can't see any reason why he shouldn't be posted here." If Ruislip does get him, they can prepare for an invasion.
Nearest station, South Ruislip, Central Line. Nearest bus route 158.


Here is another newspaper cutting from the British press in 1956.


William Rose, American songwriter and showman, yesterday condemned Rock 'n' Roll as a musical monstrosity, and trounced what he called animal posturing of Elvis (the pelvis) Presley.
He said Al Jolson, Nora Bayes and Eddie Cantor used to be the salesmen of song. But now - "Its a set of untalented twitches, and twisters,
whose appeal is largely to the zoot-suiter and the juvenile department."

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Here is a report from the British press in 1966.


Elvis Presley's leading lady in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" - 21-year-old blond British actress Suzannah Leigh - has been banned by the powerful Screenwriters' Guild of America from making a new film with Elvis.
For the film, "Easy Come, Easy Go," Susannah was cast as a yacht-owning American millionaires with Elvis as a deep-sea diver.
But the American Guild says that with so many American actresses available a British girl should not get the part.
Says Suzannah, who was the first British girl to play opposite Elvis: "The part was specially written for me. I think it's pretty rotten of them not to tell me until a few days before I was due to fly out."


This is a news item from the New Musical Express - 1958.


Novel disc for his fans

RCA-VICTOR are planning a sensational new recording project following Elvis Presley's departure for Army duties in Europe this week.
They have recorded the whole of the press conference which Elvis gave to more than a hundred reporters and cameramen in New York on Monday.
After editing it, RCA will rush it out - together with a specially recorded message from Elvis to his fans - as an EP in America and Britain.
The 40 minute conference held at the embarkation point at Brooklyn Army Terminal, was one of the most fantastic ever given by a singing star. Even the U.S. Army issued a hand-out!
In reply to reporter's questions, Elvis spoke about his plans to visit London, Paris and Rome during his tour of duty in Europe and about his wish to "look up Brigitte Bardot."
He also talked about rock 'n' roll and his ambition to become a successful actor when he returns to civilian life.
The day after the news conference, Elvis sailed in the U.S. navy transport "General Randall" for Bremer haven, Germany. He is due to disembark there on October 1. The ship will not call at Southampton.
Elvis is one of 1,300 trainees who are sailing as replacements for the 3rd Armored Division in Europe.
Also coinciding with his arrival in Europe is the long-awaited British release of his latest album "Elvis's Golden Records,"
an LP including many of his biggest hits and four titles previously unreleased in England.


This news item is from the New Musical Express - 11 November, 1960



Less than two weeks after it had been released, sales exceed three-quarters of a million and the waxing is selling in such quantity that by early next week,
demand could have boosted sales to a million!
Presley broke all records with an advanced order of more than 548,000 for the disc by its issue on October 28.
On Wednesday of this week, just twelve days later, Decca, who distribute Presley's label RCA, had received orders from dealers for 771,100 copies.
One dealer in a London suburb reported selling twelve times more copies of "It's Now Or Never" than any other disc last Saturday.
Another, in an effort to cope with the fantastic crowds thronging his shop for two hours, only admitted those who wanted the Presley disc.
The previous fastest selling disc was Harry Belafonte's "Mary's Boy Child" (another RCA issue) which between mid-October and December, 1957, sold a million copies in this country alone

60 years ago in June 1946, RCA Victor introduced the vinyl plastic phonograph record.

In the UK, "Frankie and Johnny" is being shown on ITV1 on Sunday 4 June at 1.20 pm. This is how the TV magazine reviewed the movie.

Elvis Presley plays a bad guy for a change, but this isn't nearly as impressive as Jailhouse Rock or King Creole. Elvis is a riverboat singer and gambler who's lost everything except his doting girlfriend Frankie (Donna Douglas). There are some fantastic songs, but it's ultimately forgettable.

It's nice to know that the reviewer knows that there are some fantastic songs.

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A news article from 1956


A radio station in Chicago has broadcast a 12-hour concert of records by Elvis Presley the rock 'n' roll singer - from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It reported the following results: One woman asked when there would be an interval for a long newscast. She wanted to hang out her washing, but did not want to miss any songs.
The mother of a six-month-old child said the baby usually cried all morning, but went to sleep peacefully when Presley sang.
A woman said she had not missed work in more than two years, but pretended to be sick so she could hear the program.
The station broadcast 33 Presley records over and over from 7 a.m to 7 p.m.- - Reuter

Rita’s Meeting with Elvis - Las Vegas 1972

Rod and I decided to go on the first ever British Elvis Presley Fan Club trip to America to see Elvis just thirteen weeks before they were due to depart on the 28th August 1972, but in that time we had to get everything sorted out. There was no such thing as the Internet in those days so everything had to be done by post or by telephone, well phoning was far too expensive, especially to Las Vegas, so the only alternative was by post, so that was the way we did it, we took a chance and booked for extra shows, that chance worked because after a couple weeks we got a postcard from Las Vegas confirming the dates we’d asked for. One show we did not have to book for was the Dinner Show, 4th September, as the fan club did a block-booking for that show. We were now getting really excited, and were ticking off the days to the departure.

Sunday the 27th August 1972, had finally arrived, everything was packed and ready and so we made our way down to London’s Gatwick Airport and the waiting to board the plane seemed never ending but 4 am finally arrived and we boarded the World Airways Boeing 707 that was to take us to America for the trip of a lifetime and I was also looking forward to seeing my penfriend Gitt Nyman from Sweden who was also on the trip.

During the journey we had plenty of Elvis music playing and just 45 minutes after we took off we had a champagne breakfast and the drinks were free all the way to America. What an atmosphere we had on that plane and we were still sober when we arrived in America!

Our first touch down was in Bangor, Maine for the customs check, this was our very first footsteps on American soil. Elvis was getting closer and we were getting more excited by the minute. It seemed strange to see the security men around the area were actually wearing guns, something that we never saw in England, though it is a common practice now. After the check we then boarded the plane again and headed for Nashville – the place where Elvis recorded some of his best music. When we arrived at our first destination there were coaches waiting to take us into the centre of Nashville, as we could not get into the Albert Pick Motel, where we were staying until 12 o’clock, so we decided to have a wander round Nashville and some of the sites we saw was the Grand Ole Opry, which was probably our first Elvis site, we then went to the Ernest Tubb Music Store. After finally getting into our motel and sorted things out Rod decided to switch the TV on, which I suppose is what all tourist do! After all, we British had heard so much about the American TV system NTSC (we knew it as Never Twice Same Colour) and what was on … “Sink the Bismarck!” a British movie, thousands of miles away from home and we get a British movie.

In the afternoon five of us decided to take a taxi cab to the Music Hall of Fame, which was most interesting as it had lots of Elvis goodies, for example, the recording machine which Elvis used. We were really getting excited now, how often do you see anything that Elvis has actually touched, well, especially not in England that is! We didn’t even get the Gold Cadillac, which went on tour a few years earlier! After the Music Hall of Fame the five of us took a stroll down the street to see the RCA Recording Studios, another landmark. We had not been in America a day yet and we have already seen lots of things associated with Elvis.

In the evening, WSM TV invited our party to attend their filming of the “Porter Wagoner” TV Show with guest star Dolly Parton. This was for us another thrilling event, after all we have never been to a TV filming and to see how a show is put together was most interesting; when everyone was clapping or laughing I always thought it was spontaneous, but it wasn’t, there was a guy at the front out of camera range holding up a board saying either clap or laugh. We were allowed to take photographs as long as we did not use a flash, after all the lighting at the front was sufficient enough. There was an old country singer on the programme, but I don’t recall his name, and as a tribute he sang “Hound Dog” for us, you should have heard us all cheering. After the filming I got to meet Dolly Parton, she was really nice and so friendly, a true star!

After the filming, several of us went upstairs to another area and there we were interviewed for a news programme, which was due to go out on the television that evening. We got talking to a policeman, his name was Barry Touchtone, and what a really friendly and a super guy he was, and there was also another guy on switchboard duty, can’t remember his name though. After he had finished his switchboard duty they both took us on a tour of the studio, and we even saw the news being broadcasted. The people we met all seemed to be interested in learning about England and our way of life to the American way of life. After the tour we had some fun trying to teach Barry and the other guy how to make English tea, we were in hysterics at how they were making a cup of tea - a cup of hot water with a tea bag on a bit of string, dangling in the water for about a couple of seconds, and then calling it tea. What a great time that was!

It was now getting very late so Barry and the other guy said they would drop us all of, in two cars, to our motel. It was certainly an experience being chauffeured in a police car and speeding down the highway. On the way back they showed us a few more Elvis sites before we arrived back to our motel. Upon arriving back we then all stood there having another conversation. It was a good job no one from our party saw us getting out of a police car; they would have been wondering what we’d been up to!! By now the time was 12.30 am! Well to think we did all this in just one day – and we hadn’t had any proper sleep since Saturday, 26 August but who cares! We were in America and we were lovin’ it.

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After just five hours sleep, we were up again at 6 am ready to start another day. After breakfast we boarded the coaches that were to take us to Memphis … and so we say - farewell to the Albert Pick Motel and hello Memphis.

At 9 am we were on our way along Route 40, westward bound for Memphis, home of Elvis, gee it is getting more and more exciting by the minute. The scenery was absolutely beautiful and we finally arrived at our hotel, the Sheraton-Peabody at about 2 pm. Inside the hotel there was a big fountain and on top there was a display of flowers and ducks swimming inside the fountain, then a red carpet was rolled out and the ducks got out the fountain and casually walked down the red carpet for us – what a welcome!

After we found our rooms and sorted things out Tony Prince (DJ from Radio Luxembourg who made sure everyone was having a great time) herded us all onto public buses to Highway 51 (South) to Graceland. The other passengers on the bus we were on were amused at our antics, as we kept stopping the bus every time we came to an Elvis site to take photographs. I think the driver was really enjoying all this as he kept laughing and he took it all in good fun. Finally, we arrived at our destination and there in front of us was the famous gates and high wall … and this is it Graceland, home of Elvis! Elvis had the gates opened up for his British fans so that we could all wander round the grounds and do what we wanted to do. At first, we started walking up the long drive … we got so far but nobody could wait so we all made a run for it … can you imagine us all running up to the front of Graceland, that really was a sight to see, just like a race, seeing who could get there first!

How wonderful it was of Elvis to let us all come up to his house, take photos, sit on the steps, stand at his doorway having photos taken, it was great. We even had photos taken with Uncle Vester, our very first Presley! Vester was a wonderful person and really great to talk to. He was only too pleased to answer all the fans questions; it was really lovely to meet him. He was so down to earth, he even made calls for cabs for those fans that wanted them, but we decided to take the bus back to the hotel.

After dinner there was a party organised in the Sheraton with a singsong and dancing for the fans that were interested but we decided to do some more sightseeing. Sightseeing at night-time in Memphis at that time was something we were advised against but being British we did the opposite and decided to take a walk down Beale Street, all was pleasant until we came across a group of black youths lounging on the pavement and then all of a sudden a can was kicked in our direction and then a car pulled up near us and a guy got out of the car and walked in front of us and dropped his car keys, he was literally built like an army tank, he blamed us for him dropping his keys, so we just said “sorry” and quickly walked away and eventually found ourselves in Handy Park. I remember seeing a statue of W C Handy (he wrote the song St Louis Blues), the park was that dark so we made a quick exit out and headed back to our hotel where we joined the party and finished the night in the hotel. When we went back to our room we decided to put the TV on and showing was an old British Frankenstein Hammer movie. I can’t believe this, each time we put the TV on it was a British movie! We were so exhausted we fell asleep only to wake up with a black and white “I Love Lucy” programme being shown, which we had seen back home!


Today, we are having another one of the highlights of our holiday and another Elvis landmark. Being only a few hours away from Memphis we were going to see Elvis’ birthplace, I was getting really excited yet again!

We departed at 8.30 am in our air conditioned coaches; our cavalcade of coaches drove through Tennessee and into the State of Mississippi, when we reached the Tupelo City limits we were met by a second cavalcade – this time it was a police escort, waiting to give us a royal welcome. It is something I will remember all my life. Motorcyclists flanked our coaches with police cars at the front and rear of the coaches as we made our way through the town and on to the Elvis Presley Park and Elvis’ birthplace. It must have been a sight for the locals seeing coaches being escorted by police, I sometimes wonder if they knew it was Elvis fans heading for that little shack.

When we arrived at Elvis’ birthplace we received a civic reception from Mayor Ballard, It sure was great to have priority treatment like we did. It’s such a strange feeling seeing the little shack where our Elvis was born, sort of reminded me of American tourists going to see Shakespeare’s Cottage in Stratford-Upon-Avon. The countryside in Tupelo was absolutely beautiful, little old shacks scattered everywhere, and we even saw houses like those in the movie “Gone With The Wind.” When we got to the birthplace our party lined up to sign the visitors book and go inside, we took photos of about every inch possible inside and outside, in fact, we could make a blue print from the photos and build our own little shack! Inside the shack are just two rooms and on the walls are photos of Elvis including one of him when he was young and another one of him with his parents that was used for the “Elvis Country” album.

The Elvis Presley Center was quite quaint with a little stagecoach and spring horses which like little kids we played on, naturally! It wasn’t exactly the theme parks which we know of today but still quite nice. The people in Tupelo were really friendly and they even came out their houses to invite the fans in for cookies and coffee.

Later on we were treated to a guided tour of all the local Elvis sights; his first school, the Church he had attended – The First Assembly of God, the Alabama State Fair, the park where Elvis performed in September 1946 and even a former school buddy of Elvis’ was pointed out to us.

I was really surprised at the Southern hospitality we received from the locals.
To think in just a couple of days we have seen Graceland and now Elvis’ birthplace.

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After a very good meal, Southern style, we left for Memphis and again the police was escorting us. During our journey back we stopped and had a little look at the Natchez Trace Parkway and a look at the cotton fields. Unfortunately, the police did not go all the way to Memphis with us.

Back in Memphis that evening some of us went down the Mississippi on an original Mississippi Paddle Steamer, a touch of the old “Frankie and Johnny” here, I wouldn’t even have been surprised if one of the fans weren’t singing “Everybody Come Aboard The Showboat Tonight.” We were then taken to Mud Island where something like search lights from the riverboat lit up the island for us where we were able to embark and have a walk round, it was really fascinating and very unusual. What a great ending to a great day!


Thursday, 31 August, and we were on our way to the Memphis airport. A two and a half hour flight on International Airways and we were getting nearer to Elvis and a thirty-two year wait for me is now nearing its end and I am on my way to see Elvis in Concert. I can’t wait!

For the duration of our stay in the USA the temperature around Nashville, Memphis and Tupelo had averaged around 80-90°F. We were bound for LAS VEGAS, and here it can get as hot as 120°F. As soon as we stepped off the plane, the heat hit you and boy it was hot, so we quickly boarded our coaches, which were to take us to our hotel. On every approach road to the city were giant billboards picturing Elvis in his Burning Love red jumpsuit – what a wonderful greeting – we were now so near to Elvis and all of us on our coach were getting really excited, but a problem arose, we should have been stopping at the Circus–Circus but due to that hotel overbooking, alternative arrangements had to be made so we just had to sit in our coaches for quite some time while the problem got sorted out. We ended up staying at the Westward Ho which was more or less next to the Circus–Circus but who was bothered when Elvis was just a few minutes walk from our hotel, I certainly wasn’t.

We were told later that Colonel Parker went to the Las Vegas Airport to meet our flight and welcome us all to Las Vegas but we arrived a little bit too early and our paths did not cross on that occasion.

When we got into our hotel, Rod switched on the TV and on the news was “200 fans from England arrived today in Las Vegas to see Elvis Presley in Concert.” Boy what a greeting, I’m just wondering why he has to keep turning on the television! What was he expecting an Elvis movie!

By arriving on Thursday we had the opportunity of seeing extra Elvis shows. Our first show was supposed to have been on the Friday but we could not wait that long, so we quickly left our room and headed for the Hilton Hotel which was quite close to where we were stopping. That walk up to the Hilton was an experience in itself and it was a strange feeling, the nearer we got to the hotel the faster our walking became until in the end we nearly ran there, to think that Elvis was in that building, what a strange feeling that was. When we finally got there we confirmed our bookings, which were ok and we also managed to book for today’s Midnight Show and the 3 am show on 3 September. I found it is so amazing that you could book for Elvis shows so easily and after all it was Labor Day Weekend and he was the biggest attraction in Vegas.

The wait for the Midnight Show seemed to really drag, we must have queued up for hours but it was worth it. When we eventually started to move into the showroom, I thought to myself - this is it; boy what a feeling I got my heartbeat was really racing. We were shown by a waiter to quite a decent table, the trick to get ringside tables was to give the waiter a tip, the dollars would be wrapped up in the palm of your hand and then passed over to the waiter without anyone seeing the transaction. At the midnight show you got three free drinks of your choice. The show starts with The Sweet Inspirations and then Jackie Kahane, his act seemed to go on forever, I was getting more worked up by the minute and I kept thinking to myself - c’mon hurry up! How much longer have we got to wait and then when he eventually finished we knew that was it.

After a little lull the 2001 Theme started pounding out and your heart starts beating faster and faster and then the introduction to “See See Rider” and from the right-hand side of the stage out comes Elvis and the crowd goes berserk and so did I. I just cannot believe that after all those years of waiting Elvis was there in front of me. He looked so handsome and that smile, it was enough to melt anybody’s heart. He moves to the left side of the stage and back to Charlie Hodge who hands Elvis his guitar and then goes straight into “See See Rider.” Afterwards Elvis sings “Johnny B Goode” he then removed his guitar and he sang “Until It’s Time For You To Go” which really showed how great Elvis’ voice was, it is much more powerful than on his records. Elvis then said thank you to the applause at the close of the song and then stands with his back to the audience facing Charlie Hodge with his right-hand out, twisting it sideways and then swings round for the start of “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.” During the show Elvis seemed to drink a lot of water and all of a sudden he would throw a glass full over some unsuspecting member of the band.

Some of the highlights from the other shows, which we saw, were for instance, when he sang “Polk Salad Annie,” which was really fantastic and a real showstopper. This was Elvis at his best and at the end of the song he went down into a karate pose which is so unbelievable and the reaction from the audience was so enthusiastic and you cannot help but get hysterical yourself, I didn’t care Elvis was there! The pounding of the music made it even more exciting by second. After the exciting ending of “Polk Salad Annie” he then said to the audience … “I’m gonna get serious now, “ I could see Elvis laughing, then he said “No, I’m not serious enough yet” and the orchestra starts the intro again … “Ok I’m ready” and then he went into “What Now My Love” which was really beautiful and Elvis sang it so powerfully and he put a lot into the song. Another outstanding song was “Fever” this was another real show stopper and another unbelievable performance.

The lighting was very unusual for this one as Elvis stood in front of a circle of red light that that fell on the stage behind him, Elvis stood with is legs apart and near the middle of the drum beats his legs started a circle motion out and round the back of him, first one leg then the other, he repeated it again more quickly, the audience got really excited and naturally there was a lot of screaming. Next came a medley of his old songs “Heartbreak Hotel,” “All Shook Up” and several others. During “Love Me Tender” Elvis throws out scarf’s and collects kisses. When it came to “Hound Dog” Elvis bends right down and said “In 1956 I did a song on the Ed Sullivan’s Show … I have to stand like this because in those days my voice was much higher and if I stood up straight, I’ll strip my gears” and he then goes into the slow version of “Hound Dog”, but instead of singing “You ain’t nothing but a hound dog,” he sings “you don’t know what I’m gonna do, no you don’t” and the audience shouts for “Hound Dog” and Elvis replied “You ain’t nothing but a bear-cat! Woolly Bulllie! And several more weird phrases and then into Hound Dog and during this song he throw out three stuffed hound dogs to the audience.

Elvis then said this was his favourite song, which was “I’ll Remember You”, and the backing was much richer and fuller; again the lighting started off with all blue lights and was really lovely when the pinks and mauves were added. Another highlight of the show was “Suspicious Minds” which was really mind blowing, at one part Elvis went down on one knee saying to the audience ‘oh this floor is hard’ and reverses round to face the left on the other knee and up again.

After his introduction of the Sweet Inspirations, The Stamps and Joe Guercio Orchestra he then sang “My Way” which showed again how powerful Elvis’ voice really was, absolutely fantastic! Next was “You Gave Me A Mountain” and some fans in the front seats said that Elvis had tears in his eyes at the end. According to some fans I was talking to said that on Tuesday, 29th August, Lisa and Priscilla were at the show, apparently Elvis requested that they came. He introduced Lisa but not Priscilla. He also cut his show short that night and that after the show in his dressing room Elvis really broke up and cried terribly.

Over the monumental applause Elvis said, “Thank you, you’re a very wonderful audience.” Charlie Hodge then fixed a cape onto his shoulders and Elvis sang “Can’t Help Falling In Love” during the song he puts a lot of feeling into it and then throws out more scarf’s and the crowd all rushed to the stage and at the end the curtains start coming down and Elvis throws his arms in the air displaying his cape, as the curtains started to fall to the floor Elvis went down on one knee with his arms raised out still displaying his cape and then he stands up for us to have one last look at him and then he was gone. The long wait was over and was it worth the wait, YES, it certainly was. Disappointed – NEVER!

On the way out of the Hilton I was walking back to the Westward Ho in a DREAM!! At 4 am in the morning I still had not got to sleep! All I kept thinking about was the show.

Taking photos in the showroom was a major problem. At the dinner show on the following Saturday, we were seated with some people from Texas, they were really nice and we had some great fun with them. This particular show Rod was using the camera to take some photos of Elvis, and when the flash went off the security guards were rushing around everywhere trying to find out where the flash came from; he quickly dropped the camera onto the floor to hide it and then one of the guards came up to our table and asked us if we were taking photos, one of the guys said “No, not us” and sent the security guard in another direction. We really found that funny as you can imagine! The best time to take photos was when the show was finishing because all the females were rushing to the stage and it was really chaotic.

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Saturday night was the night something really special happened and it was so unexpected, we did the same thing as we did on Friday, we queued up, we waited and we saw two shows, but this time it was different, there was the 3 am show for Sunday morning, 3rd September. After we came out from the midnight show Rod decided to have a wander around the Casino to stretch his legs so I waited near the manager’s office for him to return. Whilst I was waiting I was joined by another fan from our party. In the meantime, the door of the manager's office opened and sitting inside was Colonel Parker who was chewing on a long cigar, we asked him if he was
the Colonel because he looked much younger than we imagined him to be and he said "Yes," so we got talking to him, then my Rod came back and joined us

We had a nice little conversation with the Colonel and he told us all about the forthcoming Hawaii Show in January 1973. He was very enthusiastic about this project, and so were we, as he told us that it was going to be screened worldwide by satellite. The Colonel asked us how old we thought he was but we kept quiet about this and he just smiled at us and proceeded to tell us how old he was. We were then introduced to the RCA Executive, George Parkhill and the Colonel signed his autograph for us, which I have been told was very rare. About this time, another two fans joined us as. Then all of a sudden the phone rang and we were going to depart but the Colonel told us to wait, when he had finished his phone conversation he asked us how many of us there was, I replied, "there are five of us," and he told us to follow him along with George Parkhill. We all followed them into the Showroom and we thought we were going to be taken to some special seating but we were taken through a No Exit door and along a corridor with all security guards along the way and we then all realized where we were being taken, down to see Elvis. We entered a large room where we noticed The Stamps, The Sweet Inspirations and Kathy Westmoreland, all sitting down watching TV (this was the room in “Elvis That’s The Way” where Elvis is reading all the telegrams). We were shown into a small room where Elvis must have rested in between the shows, as there was a bed in there with a white telephone on it, so I sat on the bed, and near the door was a cabinet and on the top was a large red Japanese doll (I noticed the doll because my penfriend in Japan sent me a miniature version).

First of all, the Colonel introduced us to Vernon Presley. He was just wonderful and I received a kiss from him and Rod shook his hand. Red West appeared in the room for a couple of seconds, I suppose to check if everything was alright, he did not speak and quickly left. Vernon asked us where we had been and so we told him that we had been to Graceland and Tupelo, also that we had met Uncle Vester. He was pleased that we had been able to meet Vester. When Vernon left the room the Colonel came back eating a sandwich, so he asked us if we’d like some sandwiches, we said “No, thank you,” after all who could think of eating at a time like that! So we were asked if we would like a drink, so we all settled for a drink. The Colonel went out to get the drinks for us and whilst he was in the other room, Rod heard the Colonel say "Elvis can you come and see some fans from England." After a few minutes the Colonel and George Parkhill came back with our drinks. Then all of a sudden Elvis appeared in the doorway. He was dressed all in black with an open neck black shirt wearing a claw medallion, and another thing I noticed was that he had a number of rings on his fingers. His hair was combed straight back. He was wearing some gorgeous aftershave. He looked absolutely amazing; his photos just did not do him justice. He was so tall and really handsome, he looked so young too. I just could not take my eyes of him. The two guys shook his hand and I received a kiss, I made sure I wasn't dreaming all of this so I kissed him again; he gave me a wonderful smile and obviously found it funny. He asked us if we had a good journey to America and he asked quite a few other things, but you have to listen carefully because he talks very soft and I was still in a dream! He signed autographs for us all and the only thing I had with me was a menu from the dinner show earlier. He asked me my name and would you credit it, I could not remember it. He gave me wonderful smile and said “You must have a name”, and then I just said “Oh … Rita” and Elvis replied with a laugh in his voice and said “Rita, are you sure,” to which I said “Yes” so then he signed my menu “With Love Rita, Elvis Presley”.

After a while the Colonel came back and said, “Well, we’ll have to go back up now as I’ve got to sell Hound Dogs out front.” Elvis shook hands again with the guys and I held his hand and I received another kiss, Elvis then said goodbye to us and started to make his way into a small room, which must have been where he got ready for his shows, as inside on the wall was a large mirror. Just before he went into the room, one of the other girls said to him “Elvis, you’ll always be the King in England,” then Elvis replied “Thank you, I’ll be coming to England one day.” He then went into the room and we returned to the room we first entered and there we met The Sweet Inspirations and Kathy Westmoreland. The Colonel asked us to follow him and we went back up by lift as the Colonel mentioned it’s better to go this way as he’d had a bit of trouble with his back. We came out at the back of the stage; this is the part where you see Elvis walking down with his group towards the stage in “That’s The Way It Is.” It was a great feeling when we got back into the showroom, those already seated were looking at us, and they obviously knew where we had been! The Colonel then had a few words with the Maitre' D, who then had a word with one of the waiters and we were shown to the best seats near the Colonel to enjoy the 3 am show. This show did not cost us anything it was like a present from the Colonel.

On this show Elvis wore a light blue jumpsuit. During the show Elvis introduced Shirley Maclaine and several other American stars and Tom Jones who sat about three tables away from us. When Elvis was performing “ Suspicious Minds” Tom got up and left the showroom and went to Elvis’ suite. Elvis said that he had had some requests to do a karate demonstration and this is something you had to see to believe it,
it was so unbelievable and just fantastic!!

Elvis gave a really fantastic performance on this show and I did hear later that it was the best show of the season. This really was the most exciting time of our holiday, which we will never ever forget.

On Monday, 4th September, in the morning 200 of us went to the Colonel’s suite in the Hilton in parties of 30. When we got to the 4th floor there were pictures of Elvis and toy Hound Dogs all along the corridor. The Colonel made up special packages for us of Elvis goodies for $5.00 in an “Elvis Now” carrier bag, which contained posters, badges, Hound Dog,
Elvis Summer Festival Hat and a record album (mine was “ Elvis, That’s The Way It Is” and Rod got “On Stage”).
When we entered the room Rod heard Colonel Parker say to George Parkhill “Where is she” and George said “Over there, here she comes”, and everyone was looking at me, boy if only they knew why! When we saw The Colonel and George Parkhill they both remembered us and the Colonel asked if we were alright, I replied “Yes,” and I thanked him again for letting us meet Elvis for which he replied “You’re welcome but I cannot do this very often” so later when we saw the other three that went down with us to meet Elvis we agreed to keep it a secret until we left Vegas.

The fan club were presented with a 7-foot Hound Dog, two lovely purple elephants and two smaller Hound Dogs,
these were from Elvis and The Colonel.

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In the evening the 8 pm show was the fans show - the fan club block-booking - we all had to form a line together at a certain time. Our party entered the showroom through the Colonel’s invited guests section. Whilst we were being shown to our tables we were being filmed, with those bright lights shining on us we could hardly see where we were going. Even when we were having our meal we were being filmed, it was really funny because everyone was looking at us, wondering what was happening. This was the night when Todd Slaughter and his party went to meet Elvis and presented him with some sort of trophy, my pen friend Gitt Nyman also went with them to meet Elvis and she presented him with a small replica cannon.

Before the show Tony Prince stood on the stage and explained to the audience about us and then Tony lead the fans into the chant “Give me an E” and we replied “E” right the way through ELVIS and Tony asked who the King was in England and we all yelled “ELVIS.”
What a fantastic time we had!

We sure let Elvis know we were all there when he walked out on the stage and all through the show we had Elvis’ attention, he kept looking at our tables, which were the best seats. Elvis also told the audience “I’d like to acknowledge a fan club from England, ladies and gentleman. There are about 200 of ‘em here. Thanks for coming, hope you enjoy the show.” We felt real proud and we all gave a great cheer! That was also a show to remember because it seems the show was especially for our fan club.

The Midnight Show was the last time we ever saw Elvis in concert and as usual he gave a fantastic performance. During the concert Elvis hardly got through a song without a laugh. He was really funny. He also introduced Bobby Darin and Elvis said that “I think Bobby opens here tomorrow (5th) but it’s only what I’ve heard, they don’t tell me anything, I only works here”.
Actually Bobby Darin did open the following night with Shirley Bassey.

It was very sad because at the end of “Can’t Help Falling In Love” and the curtains lowered for the last time and we knew we would never see Elvis again but we have really wonderful memories that we will always treasure!


For the rest of the week we went to Hollywood and enjoyed being just tourists, we did the usual things what tourists usually do like going to Disneyland, Santa Barbara, shopping and the usual site seeing, some fans even went to Mexico and San Francisco. In Hollywood we stayed at the Roosevelt Hotel, and on the day we arrived we were in our hotel room and we heard some sirens, we looked out of our window but could not see anything but we did hear later that a hot dog stand was held up near our hotel, what a welcome! We were told that we were going to have a special preview showing of “Standing Room Only” (Elvis on Tour) but unfortunately due to the movie not being finished in time, this event had to be cancelled, which was a big disappointment for us all, as we had been looking forward to seeing it and after seeing Elvis it would have been just perfect.

On Friday, 8th the last evening of our fourteen day United States holiday went off with the biggest bang. All “on the Colonel,” a leading band was hired, loads of food and drink, as well as lots of surprises, even John Wilkinson was there and he told us stories which I thought was really interesting and typical of Elvis. He mentioned the recordings being made only minutes after first hearing a song, he said that “Burning Love” was done in Hollywood and after playing the demo in the studio, Elvis had never heard the song before and they had no music to play from and everything was picked up from the demo disc. John also told us a story about when his mother went into hospital, he said there was nothing seriously wrong with her but somehow Elvis got to know about her and it wasn’t until a few weeks after she went in that it was discovered that Elvis paid her bills for the hospital and sent her a large bouquet of flowers also. He also told us that they were not poor or anything like that, but it’s just the sort of thing Elvis did, he’s very thoughtful and loves to do things for people. Then he mentioned that Elvis really loves his fans and that he always thinks of them. John was a really nice guy and he was only too pleased to sign autographs and let us take photos of him.

This was a great ending to a holiday of a lifetime and plenty of surprises for me! Not only seeing Elvis ten times in Concert but also meeting him, which I never dreamt would happen. Was I disappointed with Elvis and America … No NEVER!

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