When I started Elvisblog two years ago, I knew sooner or later I would write about the late night flight Elvis took to Denver just to satisfy his craving for a special sandwich. This is one of the most classic of all the stories in Elvis lore, a prime example of why I like writing about him so much. Elvis was one unique guy.
Recently, I stumbled on to a link to the website for Maxim magazine, which I had never heard of. Now I know it’s a men’s magazine featuring “hot girls, sex, sports, games, technology, and everything cool.” I guess the last category is where they would put the article I linked to: “Dumbest Rock Star Extravagances.”
Guess what was #1? Just ahead of Mick Fleetwood spending $8 million on cocaine and Elton John spending over $410,000 on flowers, is Elvis Presley flies to Colorado to pick up sandwiches. Here are the details of the story.
After a mid-seventies concert in Denver, Elvis visited a restaurant called the Colorado Gold Mine Company. He ordered the house specialty, a sandwich named Fool’s Gold (because of it's outrageous price of $49.95). It was large enough to cut up and feed six or eight people, but legend has it that Elvis ate the whole thing – and loved it.
On the evening of February 1, 1976, Elvis was entertaining two lawmen from Denver in the Graceland Jungle Room. That’s not as surprising as it sounds, because Elvis went through a period of extreme interest in law enforcement. (Remember the collection of police and sheriff badges on display at Graceland?) Anyway, the subject of the Fool’s Gold sandwich came up. One of the men remarked, “Boy, I wish I had me one of them now.”
That was all Elvis needed to hear. He replied, “Let’s go get ‘em.” Elvis made a couple of phone calls. He placed an order with the restaurant owner for 22 of the special sandwiches, and he instructed his pilots to get his personal jet Lisa Marie ready to go.
At Midnight, Elvis, the two lawmen, and two Memphis Mafia buddies took off for Denver. Although the Lisa Marie was always stocked with a variety of food and drink, Elvis had nothing but a Pepsi. He was saving room for the mouthwatering treat. At 1:40 AM the plane landed at Stapleton Airport and taxied to a private hangar. The restaurateur and his wife were waiting with the 22 Fool’s Gold sandwiches (served on silver trays), a case of champagne, a case of Perrier, and a chest of cracked ice.
After everyone gorged themselves, the group flew back to Memphis. The tab for the feast came to $3,387, but total expenses including the round trip flight came to over $16,000.
So what is a Fool’s Gold sandwich? A large loaf of Italian white bread is slathered with butter and baked at 350º for about 15 minutes until well browned. The loaf is sliced lengthwise and part of the interior is scooped out to make room for the filling. This consists of one jar of Skippy creamy peanut butter, one jar of Smucker’s grape jelly, and one pound of lean bacon fried crisp. The calorie content of this monster sandwich is estimated at 42,000.
Do you think Maxim magazine got it right? Was this the dumbest rock star extravagance ever? I don’t think so, but it is a great example of what made Elvis special. You don’t do things small when you are the King of Rock and Roll.
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