I’m going to try it a little different this time. There will be just one item — a collection of 9 issues of The Star tabloid from the first years after Elvis’ death. I will write about the stories in each one, which you may find interesting even if you have no interest in buying them.
September 6, 1977 — Elvis What Happened
As you can see on the cover, there are four Elvis stories in this issue, and they total five pages. The first one on page 9 has the title, “Elvis: He was still pleading with ex-wife Priscilla to come back to him.” It’s a pretty favorable article for both Elvis and Priscilla. It says she flew to Memphis twice in his last year to be with him during hospitalizations. I didn’t know that.
The reason given for Priscilla falling for Elvis at such a young age was her quote, “He made me comfortable… He was very gentle. He was his own man, a very compassionate and understanding person.” That sounds like Elvis.
The writer of the article made a few errors that we fans would easily catch. There was a list of leading ladies in his films that Elvis dated, and it mistakenly included Natalie Wood and Anita Wood. I thought I knew the names of everyone Elvis ever dated, but the article mentioned Malessa Blackwood, Miss Memphis Southmen (World Football League team), and Diane Goodman, former Miss Georgia. I looked them up and the story had it right.
The biorhythm article is very interesting. If Elvis hadn’t died on August 16, He was at even greater risk with a triple critical day on August 18 when all three cycles intersected at their low points. I Googled biorhythm chart and put in my birthday. I’m in the clear for the next month. You might have fun doing it, too.
What you won’t have fun with is the article “Elvis What Happened.” It’s an excerpt from the hit-job book of the same title by Red West, Sonny West, and Dave Heebler. I read the book once, and that’s enough for me.
This issue of The Star is 48 pages long, and reading the rest of it is like a time capsule. There are articles about:
John Kennedy Jr passing a survival course at age 16
Bing Crosby and his wife Kathryn
Nick Nolte and his many girlfriends
Pet Crabs (after the Pet Rock craze)
Mick Jagger cutting up wife Bianca’s credit cards
John Travolta and Olivia Newton John — just friends, not lovers.
The Star generally doesn’t carry the outrageous stories favored by some of the other supermarket tabloids, but these two come pretty close:
“Working wives run the risk of growing beards”
UFO’s are time machines from the future”
All in all, this issue is loaded with interesting stuff about Elvis and a lot more. You would enjoy reading it.
September 20, 1977 — 8 Pages of Elvis. — Giant Full-Color Pull-Out
These eight pages are loaded with a variety of stuff about Elvis. Here is a list of the titles:
Stepbrother reveals: I gave Elvis a massage only hours before he died
Secret girlfriend says: I loved him for 5 years
The bodyguard’s tribute [Red West]
And more from the Book the World is Talking About [another excerpt from Elvis What Happened]
The Beginning, The Glory, and The End
Nurse became substitute mom to lonely idol [Marion Cocke]
Elvis and Priscilla were still legally married, her lawyer says
he bought a $35,000 ring – at 12:30am
The night Lisa Marie will never forget
$ Million ransom plot that nearly paid off [about stealing Elvis’ corpse for ransom]
Linda: He loved me to the end
Win fifty Elvis LPs [10 question quiz to enter in drawing]
Despite the cover tease, there are actually seven color photos and eight B&W photos in this section.
There were plenty of other stories compatible with the time capsule mentioned earlier:
Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti
Prince Charles and French society beauty
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
Caroline Kennedy and John Kennedy Jr’s Romances
Farrah Fawcett Leaving Charlie’s Angels
October 4, 1977 — Elvis: Fabulous Poster Offer
Even though Elvis didn’t make the cover of this issue, there is plenty for an Elvis fan to read including these titles:
Three Elvis Presley look-alikes pay tribute to the king [Yes, there were Elvis impersonators even before he died. Does anybody remember Jesse King, Alan Meyer or Bill Haley (not the one with the Comets)]
Elvis’ dad faces bitter courtroom battle over who should get the Presley millions [Vernon’s ex-wife Dee trying to get her hands on money she didn’t deserve]
This Elvis poster in color is yours for only $1.75 [and 50¢ postage]
Private Presley joins the Army – and re-discovers his passion for guns
That last article says that on one 1970 shopping spree in Beverly Hills, Elvis bought 32 handguns, one shotgun, and one rifle. It sounds like Elvis bought firearms like he did cars and jewelry. The article also mentioned some of the ridiculous questions he had to put up with. Like, would he buy blue-suede combat boots, and would he ask fans to send him Southern fried chicken.
The other celebrity stories included:
G. Gordon Liddy
Farrah Fawcett and Lee majors
Burt Reynolds and Sally Field
And, of course, lots of stuff about the cover subject, Jackie Kennedy
October 11, 1977 — Elvis: The Karate Man Who Stole His Wife
The cover story is another excerpt for “Elvis What Happened.” The three-page article has two color photographs. I don’t find Mike Stone a particularly handsome man.
That full-cover Elvis poster is back, and this time there is also a tote bag with the same image going for $3.50 plus $1 postage
In some ways, The Star paved the way for People magazine. Here are just some of the celebrities in this issue:
Greg Allman and Cher
John Mitchell and J.R. Haldeman
Tatum O’Neal and Michael Jackson — We’re in love
Cheryl Ladd joining the cast of “Charlie’s Angels [and eight large color photos of the Girls, but no Farrah Fawcett]
Behind-the-scenes look at in in-fighting and over-budget problems at Star Wars
And, in the weird category, how about a pyramid pendant that gives you bio-cosmic energy?
October 25, 1977 — Elvis family Album
The promised album contains four color photos of Elvis and Lisa Marie, plus one more of Priscilla, Elvis, and Lisa Marie. But that wasn’t all of the Elvis pages. There was also:
Inside story of the Elvis body-snatching by ex-Marine who tipped off the police
High school concert that launched Elvis Presley on the road to stardom
Elvis fans remember him in prayers
The celebrities with photos and articles included:
Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson in the Hardy Boys TV show
TV violence [Telly Savalas, Angie Dickinson]
One thing that made me smile was this title, “Billy Graham predicts his death within 10 years.” Fortunately he called that wrong.
Also, there is a short piece about a group of psychics who declared President Jimmer Carter to be “The Warrior President.” I guess they changed their opinion after his handling of the Iranian Embassy terrorism.
November 15, 1977 — $12 Million Elvis Rip-Off
The $12 million swindle is some pretty interesting reading. It seems to be for real because it had two quotes from the FBI and references a message sent to Elvis’ bank, the National Bank of Commerce in Memphis. The scam was to buy Elvis’ Convair 880 known as the Lisa Marie, do massive upgrades, and lease it back to him. I did not know that Elvis owned five planes over his life. There was also a Jetstar (Hound Dog Two), a Jetstream, a Falcon, and a Gulfstream.
Another article was titled, “Ann-Margret: I’m still stunned by his death.” I did not know that she attended Elvis’ funeral.
There was also a piece on the contest mentioned earlier [50 Elvis albums as prize].
The last Elvis story in this issue was, “Elvis Presley planned a private war against drug pushers.” It’s pretty bizarre and strains credibility. The first part is the familiar story of Elvis getting a federal narcotics badge when he visited President Nixon in the White House. Next is an episode where Elvis suspected a new guy on the payroll of stealing two rings. The guy tried to leave town, and Elvis learned about the flight he would be getting on to escape. Supposedly, Elvis and the boys rushed to the airport, where he went right out on the runway and flashed that federal badge in front of the taxiing plane. I’ve never heard about this before. Pretty strange.
And here’s a taste of the celebrities covered in this issue:
August 15, 1978 — Special Elvis Tribute – One year Later
The Star obviously wanted to do something special to commemorate the first anniversary of Elvis’ death, and they did a good job on a 12-page pullout section. Check out this lineup:
A year after his death, millions still mourn
Memphis expects a stampede [50,000 expected visitors, 9,000 hotel/motel rooms] [ABC planning a three-hour TV special, with Priscilla, Charlie Hodge, and the Jordanaires]
The Elvis nobody knew – 11 rare photos [all common now]
The Elvis Industry [small potatoes compared to now]
A year later, Elvis’ bodyguards are still torn by the death of The King
[This is basically an attempt by Red West, Sonny West, and Dave Heebler to cool off the backlash caused by their crummy book.]
Inside Graceland – first pictures [Seven nice color photos, one I’ve never seen before]
Win 60 Elvis LPs [new contest, bigger prize]
Elvis – More popular dead than alive [analysis by two psychiatrists]
Psychics say: We have been in touch with Elvis’ spirit [I’d be more impressed if they had predicted how popular Elvis would be 42 years later]
In addition to the inside Graceland photos, there were 25 more color and B&W ones throughout this special section. Plus, a color montage of four Elvis drawings by artist Brian Clinton fills up the last page. I’ve never come across it before, so here it is for you:
Have you ever seen it before?
Here’s a sample of the other celebrities with articles and pictures in the magazine: Marie Osmond, Jane Fonda, Margaux Hemmingway, Ted Kennedy, Patricia Nral, George Hamilton, and Charlton Heston.
November 28, 1978 — Elvis family Secrets
The two-page, five-photo article about Dee Stanley Presley is the only Elvis content in this issue. Basically, she tries to polish up her image.
Of course, there were dozens of stories about a wide array of celebrities, but you get the idea without me naming them.
April 10, 1979 — Elvis Family Photo Album
I never heard of photographer Sean Shaver, but I did find him in one of my reference books. Supposedly, he took 80,000 photos of Elvis, and here we see six small B&W ones and nine larger color ones, two of which are new to me.
Elvis Goodies from the Fuzzy Room – Part 7
OK, here’s the deal. I am selling this nine-issue collection for $30 delivered (and I’m covering probably $10 postage to mail them). They are not mint copies protected for the last 40 plus years in plastic sleeves, but they are mostly in pretty good shape.
I checked out most of the issues on eBay, and prices ranged from $7.00 to $13.50 delivered, so $30 delivered for nine issues is a deal. You will have hours of reading about Elvis if you get this collection. You will probably also read many of the stories about other celebrities, like I did. That’s the reason I’m late posting this blog.
So, if you want to purchase my collection of The Star tabloids featuring Elvis, let me know by email at email@example.com. Do not put your message in Comments. As usual, first in gets it.
The price is for delivery to US destinations. Postage to Canada would be $15 to $20 more. Indicate if you can do payment by PayPal, and I’ll send you an invoice. If not, I’ll hold off mailing the magazines until your check arrives.
Somebody is going to be very happy they jumped on this deal. But if you come in late, don’t worry. You can try again when I offer my collections of National Enquire and Midnight Globe magazines with Elvis content.
Thanks very much for your support.