Back in 2011, ElvisBlog took a four-part look at a big scrapbook compiled by a loyal Elvis Fan. Recently, I came into possession of another Elvis scrapbook.
Like the earlier one, this scrapbook had all sorts of pictures and small newspaper clippings posted on the pages. However, it also had numerous larger newspaper articles (mostly published in the first few years after Elvis’ death) stored in the back of the book. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting elements of this scrapbook.
This is a pretty busy page, but the best thing to me is the letter to Dear Abby at the top left, which is exactly what the title says – an advertisement for a date with Elvis. Here are the key parts:
“DEAR ABBY: Please don’t think I am some kind of kook. I am an attractive 24-year-old, level-headed girl who would like to know if there is a way I can get a date with Elvis… I know there must be at least five-million other girls who would like to date him, and he has to date someone, so why not me? I honestly believe I could show him a good time.”
Hmm, it sounds like ‘date’ and ‘good time’ might be a code words for something else, but it must have cleared Dear Abby’s guidelines.
“Please print this and maybe, just maybe, Elvis will realize he might be missing the chance of a lifetime if he doesn’t meet me.”
More code words? In any event, the writer convinced Abby to assist in her effort.
“Keep my name and number, Abby, but don’t publish it. If Elvis wants it, he can get in touch with me through you.”
WAITING FOR ELVIS IN LOUSIANA
Who knew anyone sent questions about Elvis to Dear Abby. I wish the scrapbook fan had included the reply.
The “Always Elvis” in the title refers to a wine of the same name. Years ago, I picked up a point-of-sale poster for it.
Here’s the history of Always Elvis wine as explained in the article. E.J. Weiferman ran a little winery named Frontenac Vineyards in Paw Paw, Michigan. Its two main labels were Purple Plum and Bahama Mama. With this sound footing in quality wines, Weiferman decided to import a low-alcohol mix of sweet Italian Asti Summate and fruity German Moselle. He called it Blanc D’Oro, which means white gold in Italian.
It’s hard to determine whether Weiferman or the article’s writer used the strangest lines. To justify putting Elvis’ name and likeness on a wine, Weiferman said, “Have you ever seen a blue nun? There’s no reason why we can’t have an Elvis Presley.
The reporter mused, “If two star-crossed lovers share a glass, they can’t help falling in love. Then, he ratcheted down the praise with, “After polishing off a bottle, anyone will feel like a hound dog. Then, he showed his real skepticism, “Don’t worry, it won’t etch your plastic glasses or keep your gasoline from freezing.”
This is actually a paper poster that had to be folded twice to fit in the back of the scrapbook. I have no idea where it came from, but one guess is that it might have been an album insert.
These two things were on separate scrapbook pages, but it makes more sense to show them together. The ad says these dollar bills are real U.S Currency with the face of George Washington replaced with Elvis. It also says that this is completely legal. (Sure doesn’t seem like it would be.) Apparently the scrapbook fan ordered an Elvis bill for $3.99 and received one with a different Elvis face than either of those shown. It comes in a heavy duty clear-plastic cover, so you can touch it, but is well done and looks great. I’d pay $3.99 for one, too.
There are three notable points on the article. First, the AP drawing of Elvis leaves a lot to be desired. The second is about the content in the center box. On the Saturday after Elvis died, the Anderson (SC) Independent published their Elvis Presley Memorial edition. Apparently, someone (or several folks) went around collecting the papers from people’s driveways. The publisher posed an open apology for those subscribers victimized by the widespread thefts.
The third point concerns that crummy hatchet-job book Elvis: What Happened? by Red West, Sonny West and Dave Hebler. It came out fifteen days before Elvis died, and is thought by many to be a contributing factor. Originally, Ballantine Books published 400,000 copies, but within six hours of Elvis’ death, they ordered another 250,000 more. Even that was not enough, and Ballantine kept the presses going full blast, cranking out 3.5 million copies in the next week. K-Mart alone ordered 2 million copies.
The main things that sticks out on this page is the horrible picture of Elvis. It appeared in the Anderson Independent after Elvis died, and it seems the purpose was to present him in the most unflattering way. The caption underneath says FAT and Frustrated. One thought: Did Elvis ever wear his hair like that?
This article came from that dubious tabloid MIDNIGHT sometime in 1974. It starts out well, saying, “Each year, members of the Elvis Presley Flaming Star Fan Club in Seattle celebrate their hero’s birthday, complete with cake, candles and choruses of “Happy birthday, dear Elvis…”
Then it focused on one member of this fan club who spent $500 to fly with the group to Las Vegas and see Elvis perform. “That’s a lot of money, considering that she and her husband live on his monthly Social Security check,” said the article. The woman paid for it by babysitting and pawning her wedding rings. This near obsession was the result of meeting Elvis at the Seattle Center Coliseum on April 29, 1973. “He put his hands on my shoulders, bent over and kissed me gently on the cheek… it was the biggest thrill of my life. I was shaking like a leaf.”
On one hand, it was a nice story of a dedicated Elvis fan and the sacrifices she made to see him perform. On the other hand, it seems awful close to hinting that Elvis fans are a bunch of pathetic fools.
Step right up and get your very own copy of Elvis Presley’s 14 page will for just $3.00. If our scrapbook fan actually ordered from this ad, she didn’t include the will in the book.
This page is a real hodge-podge of stuff. The print may be too small for you to read the title of the article to the left of the lowest Elvis picture. It says “Ransom Planned for Elvis’ Body. This is not some junk from MIDNIGHT or National Enquirer. This is an AP story.
It’s about a 26-year old man who planned to steal Elvis’ body from the Memphis Funeral Home and demand $10 million ransom for its return. However, heavy police security prompted him to change his plan to a break-in at Elvis’ mausoleum (this was before the body was moved to the Meditation Garden at Graceland). The man was arrested for trespassing near Elvis’ crypt, and actually admitted his plot to a policeman who told AP. What was that about pathetic fools?
The scrapbook contained other article about Elvis funeral and several about the first few years of the annual August 16 celebrations in Memphis. We’ll take a look at them in a future article.
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