Guest Blog: My Elvis Story

This guest blog is by Ann Moses, who was editor at “Tiger Beat Magazine” from 1965 – 1972 and sat on the stage for Elvis’ “’68 Comeback Special,” toured Elvis’ and Colonel Parker’s offices, observed filming for “Change of Habit” and attended Elvis’ opening show in July 1969 in Las Vegas. Here, she shares her memories of being a part of the 1970 documentary, “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is.” Hear from Ann at Elvis Week 2018 at Conversations on Elvis: Elvis Connections, on Friday, August 17 at the Graceland Soundstage. Get tickets to this event now. By Ann Moses It seems as though every person I meet has their own personal Elvis story. For some it was seeing him for the first time on TV or hearing him for the first time on the radio, for others it was the first day of a love affair with a man few of them would meet. My personal Elvis story began in 1956. I was nine years old and as was our Sunday night custom – we had dinner on TV trays in front of the family TV. Back in the day, at least in our house, my dad would be the one to choose what TV shows we would watch. Luckily, Sunday night in Anaheim, California, “The Ed Sullivan Show” was on at dinnertime, airing at 7 p.m., I think. Our menu was always the same (almost). Every other night of the week my mom made a home cooked meal and we sat at the dinner table as a family. Sunday was mom’s “day off” from cooking and we had Pink’s hamburgers (10¢), French fries, and malts. Pink’s was a pre-McDonalds hamburger stand just a mile from our house. My dad would drive and pick up the order and it was always a special treat. Every other Sunday he would pick up two take-out pizzas from a pizza place down the street. Mom would make a green salad with blue cheese dressing as a side dish. It was in this iconic ‘50s setting that my Elvis story began. On September 9, 1956, my older brother (by 18 months) and I were absolutely blown away when Elvis sang “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Love Me” and “Hound Dog.” We had heard his songs on the radio, but seeing Elvis on TV changed everything. He was like nothing we had seen...
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‘King Creole’ at 60

Fans, critics and Elvis himself all agree on one thing: “King Creole” is one of the best movies he made. Out of the 31 feature films Elvis made, he often said “King Creole” was his favorite. Both fans and critics say the movie features Elvis the actor at his best. “King Creole” opened on July 2, 1958 – 60 years ago this month – and it was a huge hit. All these years later, it remains a fan favorite. In “King Creole,” Elvis stars as Danny Fisher, a rebellious young man who is trying to support his father and sister, so he works at a night club to make ends meet. His boss, Maxie (Walter Matthau), also oversees his own local gang, and Danny becomes entangled Maxie’s web of lies, betrayal and criminal activity. Naturally, there is some romance, too – Danny woos both Ronnie (Carolyn Jones), his boss’ girlfriend, and the sweet Nellie (Dolores Hart). “King Creole” was based on the Harold Robbins novel “A Stone for Danny Fisher,” which told the story of a New York boxer. After purchasing the movie rights in 1955, producer Hal Wallis changed the main character into a New Orleans singer. The movie was filmed in the Big Easy, which proved difficult at times, as Elvis drew hundreds of fans. The entire 10th floor of the Roosevelt Hotel was reserved for the movie’s cast, complete with Pinkerton Guards guarding the halls. Security was strict, and there were orders given that the elevators could not stop on the 10th floor. One evening after filming, Elvis and his friends returned to the hotel after a long day of shooting. The elevator operator told him he couldn’t go to the 10th floor because Elvis Presley was staying there. Dolores Hart, niece of singer Mario Lanza, starred as Elvis’ leading lady for the second time; she also starred in Elvis’ second movie, “Loving You.” She later left her acting career and became a nun. Today she is Mother Superior, but she is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Pictures. Carolyn Jones is known to classic TV fans as Morticia on “The Addams Family.” She also starred in films such as “The Seven Year Itch,” “House of Wax,” “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” and “How the West was Won.” Walter Matthau showed his dark side as the cold-hearted Maxie...
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