Tag Archives: Dick Clark

Sharing an Elvis Fan’s Sentiments 40 Years Later

Newspaper Headline of Elvis' Death

This is the front page of the Memphis Commercial Appeal on the day after Elvis died. Just about every newspaper in the country had something similar. There were also many articles in their inner pages that featured the heart-felt sentiments from Elvis fans. Reporters sought them out.

But one journalist wrote her own personal story — Linda Deutsch, a 33-year-old Associated Press reporter who had loved Elvis since she was twelve.

Young Linda Deutsch

Linda’s story went out on the AP newswire to all the papers and was printed by many. I couldn’t find a photo of it on Google, but the original transmission paper showed up at last year’s Elvis Week Auction at Graceland.

I Was an Elvis Presley Fan - Linda Deutsch

 

Here is the incredibly moving personal story told by Linda Deutsch:

August 17, 1977

I was an Elvis fan. Not just an admirer who casually bought records, but a fanatic.

One of my clearest memories is the day in 1956 when I, a pre-teenager, first heard “Heartbreak Hotel” on the radio.

Soon, all the girls in penny loafers and poodle skirts were talking about this “dreamy guy,” Presley.

My junior high school girlfriends in Bradley Beach, N.J., selected me president of our own Elvis Presley Fan Club. We had nine members and held meetings in my basement.

Our local record store, stocked with Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra, placated us by ordering some 45 records by this southerner with the strange name – Elvis.

We collected his pictures, listened to his music, and danced because Elvis just made you feel like dancing.

Then, something miraculous happened. We wrote to a Memphis address found in a movie magazine. And – fantastic – we received in the mail pink membership cards signed by “The King” himself.

Ours was now an “authorized” Presley fan club in a list circulated by the singer’s manager. The mail began to pour in. We had Presley pen-pals as far away as England, Germany, and New Zealand.

Elvis had given us an identity. No matter our age, we were now “teen-agers.” Better yet, we were rebels.

Our teachers hated Elvis. Our parents didn’t understand. They looked on in befuddlement as “the fan club” screamed at the TV screen while Elvis sang on the Ed Sullivan Show. The tears when my parents forbid me to travel in a snowstorm to see soldier Elvis arrive at Ft. Dix.

Once, a friend’s mother, yielding to cries that we would “just die” if we didn’t see Elvis in person, rode a bus to Philadelphia with three giggling 13-year olds to attend an Elvis Presley concert.

We climbed to the top of the bleachers of an arena holding 28,000 frenzied kids. Flashbulbs exploded, the building shook with screams. Way down on the stage, all we could see was a tiny wiggling speck. We couldn’t hear him, but we knew it was Elvis.

“He looked at me,” shouted my trembling girlfriend.

We screamed. Kids fainted. Doctors and nurses rushed around reviving them. Our mother-chaperone was terrified. We loved every minute of it.

I never stopped loving Elvis’ music. But times changed. My best friend in high school carried a picture of Van Cliburn and wanted to be a nuclear physicist. She “tolerated” my Elvis passion.

Years later when I came to California as a journalist and covered the music industry, I had fleeting thoughts of trying to interview the “King.” I never did: perhaps I didn’t want to.

Then he died on Tuesday. It was like losing an old friend who had shared my youth and my dreams.

I realized I could still sing all the words to “Hound Dog,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Love Me Tender.”

For the first time in my life, I felt old.

 

Do you have a lump in your throat after reading that?  Does it to me every time.

I absolutely love the lines:

“It was like losing an old friend who had shared my youth and my dreams.  

For the first time in my life, I felt old.”

 

I felt exactly the same way, and I’m sure many of you readers did too.

 

Linda Deutsch Elvis Presley Fan Club Membership Card

This is a membership card for a fan club Linda Deutsch joined in addition to the one she and her friends started. Please note the mailing address. Madison, Tennessee is where Col. Tom Parker had his office. It shows Linda was on board right from the very start when Elvis became a national phenomenon. You can almost envision Parker’s secretary putting this card in an envelope and sending it off to Linda.

 

Linda Deutsch and Dick Clark

This is Linda at age 15 with Dick Clark on American Bandstand January 8, 1959. The way she got in this memorable photo is a wonderful story of a dedicated fan’s unceasing effort to support Elvis. By now she was the president of an Elvis fan club with over 300 members, while he was in the Army and not likely to be home for another year. So, Linda started on a project and worked constantly to get it done in three weeks.

It’s hard to believe, but she got 3,500 signatures on a petition urging Dick Clark to play nothing but Elvis records for the entire program on his 24th birthday. Linda and a friend went to Philadelphia and somehow managed to get in to see Dick Clark just the day before that show. He listened to her plea, and when she rolled out the 16 foot long petition, he was convinced.

Linda Deutsch's Petition to Dick Clark

The following day, Dick Clark announced at the start of the show that he had talked to Col. Parker, and Elvis’ manager had agreed to the special program. The Colonel must have jumped at a chance for this wonderful publicity.

I applaud Linda Deutsch for being an extraordinary Elvis fan. She has achieved many other successes in her life.

As part of her duties as an Elvis fan club president, she published The Elvis Times, a newsletter that was distributed to 300 fans around the world. She wrote, typed, mimeographed it, and licked the stamps to mail it. It was her first foray into writing for a mass audience, and it stuck, giving her a life-long love for journalism. She followed her dream with stops as a reporter for the Perth Amboy (N.J.) News, the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press and the San Bernardino (Ca.) Sun, before joining the Associated Press in Los Angeles.

Linda once aspired to be an entertainment journalist, but wound up covering many celebrities in a very different venue – the courtroom.

In nearly a half century with the Associated Press, Linda Deutsch has been ranked among the foremost American courtroom journalists of modern times. She is best known for her detailed, objective reporting on some of the most sensational, newsworthy and influential trials — O.J. Simpson, Michael Jackson, Phil Spector, Sirhan Sirhan, Charles Manson, Patty Hearst, Angela Davis, Robert Blake, and the Menendez Brothers.

 

Linda Deutsch in front of Graceland Gates - 25 Anniversary of Elvis' Death

This is a photo of Linda in front of the Graceland gates in 2002, her first visit. It was part of an article about her in an official Graceland collectible magazine, ELVIS Then & Now.

ELVIS Then & Now

This is my favorite quote from the article:

“People like Linda come to Graceland because Elvis injected energy into their lives when they needed it most — during their teenage years. You could say that Elvis provided the soundtrack to their adolescence.”

 

Linda has been back to Graceland numerous times since. And she gets to spend time with important people in Elvis world, too.

Linda Deutsch and Priscilla Presley

Linda Deutsch and Al Wertheimer

Linda Deutsch and Al Wertheimer

Linda Deutsch With Elvis Statue Feb 28, 2010

 

 

You can see that Linda Deutsch has remained an Elvis fan all her life. Like the rest of us, she will remember him this Wednesday, August 16, the 40th anniversary of his death. And along with those of us whose connection with Elvis goes way back to the beginning, we will think of him as old friend who shared our youth and our dreams.

And we will feel young.

 

Check out Linda’s website  and Facebook page to learn more about this extraordinary Elvis fan.

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

The Dick Clark / Elvis Phone Calls

When Dick Clark died two weeks ago, one fact revealed was that he never had Elvis on American Bandstand.  This actually is not too surprising.  Until August 1957, Bandstand had been just a local show on a Philadelphia TV station.  When ABC picked it up and broadcast it nationally as American Bandstand, Elvis was already in a situation where Col. Parker refused to let Elvis appear on TV.  Parker’s reasoning was that the fans should not get free looks at Elvis on television.  If they wanted to see him, they had to go to his concerts or watch his movies.

However, Elvis was soon drafted into the Army.  Once he got shipped off to Germany, Dick Clark used his well documented business savvy and set up phone calls to Elvis.  The audio from these calls were rebroadcast on American Bandstand, and they were a good PR move for both the show and Elvis.  Here are the transcripts, with a few minor sentences deleted.

Phone Call # 1 — from Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany – February 1959

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello, Dick, How are you?

Clark: Fine, thank you.  Where on earth are you at this minute?
Elvis: The town I’m in is Freidberg, Germany; however, I live in a place called Bad Nauheim, just north of Freidberg.

Clark: Tell me a little bit about your activities.  What did you do, say, today?
Elvis: Mostly classroom work.

Clark: What are you studying?
Elvis: Map reading and then how to grease my Jeep.  Just the regular things.

Clark; Do you have time for music anymore?
Elvis: Only at night.  You see, I get off work at five o’clock in the afternoon, and I have a guitar up here in the room… I don’t want to get out of practice, if I can help it.

Clark: I should hope not.  Let me tell you some good news.  In the annual American Bandstand Popularity Poll you walked away with a couple of honors this year.  The Favorite Male Vocalist Award and the Favorite Record of 1958 Award.  The kids voted you top man all around.
Elvis: Well that’s sure tremendous, Dick.  It’s really great, boy.

Clark: Do you have any idea when you’ll be travelling back home?
Elvis: No, I don’t, Dick.  I wish I really did know.

Clark: How about it, do you miss home?
Elvis: Oh, boy, I can’t hardly talk… I mean, I’m glad that I could come in the Army and do my part, but you’ll never know how happy I’ll be, boy, when I can return to the entertainment world, because once you get a taste of show business, there’s nothing like it.

Clark: You know it.  Elvis, thank you ever so much for talking to us.  We look forward to your return.
Elvis: Well thank you very much.  I’d just like to tell all those wonderful kids that they’ll never know how happy they made me, and I’m longing for the time I can come back out and entertain them again, travel around and make movies, records, and things like that.

Phone Call # 2 — from Elvis in Germany to Dick Clark – August 1959 (2nd Anniversary of American Bandstand)

 

One of Dick Clark’s questions below makes it sound like Elvis called him, but that seems improbable.  Surely, Elvis didn’t just happen to call on the 2nd anniversary of American Bandstand, so Clark’s staff probably set it up.  Plus, why would Elvis’ gold record for “A Big Hunk of Love” be in Clark’s hands before Col. Parker’s?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello Dick, how are you.

Clark: I would imagine they’ve got you kind of busy these days, don’t they?
Elvis: Oh yeah, well we’re getting’ ready for a big inspection.  A new inspection, so we’ve been workin’ pretty hard for that.

Clark: Elvis, so many of us here are interested in your activities and I think probably the big question on most people’s minds these days are when and if everything goes right, you’re out in February, what will be your plans?
Elvis: Well, as you know, I have a contract with ABC… for some television.  I don’t know what Colonel Parker has arranged… And then I have the three pictures to make; one for Mr (Hal) Wallis, and then the other two for Twentieth Century-Fox

Clark: Elvis, I’ve got some good news.  I imagine by now they’ve passed the word along to you.  With the latest RCA Victor recording out, “A Big Hunk of Love” and “My Wish Came True,” you got yourself another Gold Record to add to the collection.
Elvis: That’s great, Dick.  That sure is nice.  I was surprised to hear it, really.

Clark: I’ll tell you what.  We’re gonna show it to the folks here on American Bandstand, and then I’ll forward it down to Colonel Parker, and he can save it for you when you come back.
Elvis: Okay, that’ll be fine.

Clark: Elvis, do you have any idea of how many Gold Records you have now in your collection?
Elvis: To my knowledge, Dick…this one will make thirty-one, I think.

Clark; Boy, that is a fantastic record.  There’s no getting away from it.
Elvis: I’ll ask my daddy to go down and (laughs) and count them.

Clark: Elvis, one more quick question that might interest the gals in this country.  I know probably you don’t have much time to yourself but when you go out amongst the German people, what is the thing that strikes you as most interesting?  Are they very different than the people back home?
Elvis: The main difference is naturally the language barrier.  It’s kinda hard to talk to most of ‘em, especially older ones because a lot of ‘em don’t speak English at all and I don’t speak any German.

Clark: How do you find the reaction of young people toward you, mainly the girls,,, [Do] they go crazy for you?  Do you get along well with them?
Elvis: Yeah, I get along real well. Every day when I finish work and come in, well there’s always a crowd at the gate from all over Germany… And they bring their families.  Especially on weekends, I have a lot of visitors here from all over Germany, all over Europe in fact.  They come here and bring pictures and take pictures and everything.

Clark: You’re kind of a man torn between two careers, both of which are very, very important.  Elvis, I did want to thank you very much for calling this day.  As you probably know, this is our special anniversary day.
Elvis: Oh, well, congratulations.

Clark: And many, many thanks and we all look forward to your return.
Elvis: Thank you very much… Bye-bye, Dick

Call # 3 – From Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany, January 8, 1960 (Elvis’ 25th birthday)

As the year 1960 began, there was much speculation in the press that Elvis would soon return to the United States.  Dick Clark certainly realized that if he wanted one more phone conversation with Elvis, he’d better hurry up.  What better time than on Elvis’ birthday?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello.

Clark: Hi.  We had no idea we could catch a-hold of you today.
Elvis: Oh, yeah, well I just came in the door, Dick.

Clark: What were you doing?
Elvis: Well, I just came in from the day’s work.  It’s about five-thirty here.

Clark: You know, Elvis, I called Colonel Tom and had words with his assistant and say, gee, do you suppose there’s any chance we could talk to Elvis on his birthday, and they seemed to think you ought to be off on maneuvers.  Have you been pretty busy?
Elvis: Yeah, we’ve been pretty busy.  I don’t go on maneuvers until the twenty-second.

Clark: Oh, I see.  What is the situation regarding your release from the army?  Do you have any word on it?
Elvis: The only thing definite, Dick, as far as the way it stands now, I leave Germany somewhere between the twentieth of February and the second of March.

Clark: When you come back, I understand you’ve got a television show with Frank Sinatra and a few movies to make.  How are you gonna squeeze ‘em all in?
Elvis: Well (laughs), I’m told Colonel Parker will have everything arranged.  I know the first picture is for Mr. Wallis.  It’s called G.I. Blues, I think.  The other two’s at Twentieth Century-Fox, and I don’t know exactly when the television show will be.  In fact, I don’t even know what’s gonna happen, really.

Clark: Elvis, what is your general feeling about doing your first television show upon your return with Frank Sinatra?  You two fellows have sort of different musical stylings.  Do you have any thoughts on that?
Elvis: Well, I really do.  I consider it an honor, really, Dick, because this man…he’s really proven himself.

Clark: He’s somewhat of a legend, I guess.
Elvis: He is, and I admire him very much, and I really am honored.

Clark: Let me ask you about your Christmas and New Year’s.  How did you celebrate the holidays?
Elvis: We had a Christmas party here.  I had a lot guys from all over the post.  I had as many of the boys here as possible at my house…try to make ‘em feel at home around Christmastime.  Then on New year’s night we had another little party.  This one was pretty nice, but it was better last year.

Clark: Elvis, I want to thank you very, very much for taking the time out from your busy schedule, to reassure you once again that we’re all awaiting your arrival back home, and on this day to wish you a happy birthday.
Elvis: Thank you very much, Dick, and I’m kinda lookin’ forward to it.  Yeah, there’s still a lot of stuff in print about my getting out early and all that stuff.

Clark: It’s not true, as far as you know, uh?
Elvis: Well it’s been in print and I had a lot of people ask me about it.  The only time I heard about it is when I read it.

Clark: Elvis, all the best.  We’ll see you on your return.
Elvis: Okay, thanks a lot, Dick, and tell everybody hello from me.

 

 

Elvis’ service in Germany officially ended on March 2, 1960.  He resumed his recording and movie careers, and never did appear on American Bandstand.  The photos above are stock images, not the actual shots taken during the Elvis/Dick Clark phone interviews for American Bandstand.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

My American Bandstand Story

Elvis Presley never appeared on American Bandstand.  In fact, Dick Clark has said that anybody who was significant in the first two decades of Rock and Roll appeared on American Bandstand, except Elvis, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.  So this story is not about Elvis.

Dick Clark died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 82.  There have been wall-to-wall retrospectives of his career, and it certainly was a significant one.  Younger readers will remember him best for his Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.  Perhaps you remember his bloopers shows or the $25,000 Pyramid game show.  Old timers like me remember Dick Clark best for American Bandstand.

 

Dick Clark on American Bandstand 1961

 

You may know that the show started out as Bandstand, a local afternoon dance show in Philadelphia.  Each weekday afternoon, teenagers from Philly would race from school to the studio to make sure they got there early enough to get in

Philadelphia Kids Waiting to Get In and Dance on Bandstand

 

Bandstand was all about dancing.  I lived in a Philly suburb and watched most afternoons.  It was how we learned the latest dance steps.

 

Teenagers Dancing on Bandstand

 

Dick Clark replaced the original host of Bandstand in July 1956.  The format didn’t change, but Dick Clark’s personality added a new appeal to the show.  In less than a year, he attracted the attention of network TV executives, and in August 1957, ABC picked up the show and renamed it American Bandstand.

 

Kids Dancing a Few Years Later on American Bandstand

 

In 1960, when I headed off to college, American Bandstand was a huge national hit.  I spent my freshman year at one of Penn State’s commonwealth campuses in the little town of Mont Alto.  By chance, I ended up with a roommate also named Phil.  He was from Philadelphia, right down in the city, not out in the burbs like me. 

Within walking distance of our campus was a state park with a picnic area featuring a large wooden pavilion.  Every Saturday night, they held dances there, and lots of local girls showed up.  Phil and I both loved to dance, so we never missed a Saturday night dance at the pavilion.

Large Pavilion Used for Dancing

 

I remember the first night overhearing Phil talking to a pretty girl.  He told her his name and said he was from Philadelphia.  Immediately, the girl’s eyes widened and she said, “Oh, have you been on American Bandstand?”  Phil replied, “Oh, yeah.  Lots of times.”  That did it.  Phil had hooked his girl for the night.

When I got the chance, I asked him if he had really been on Bandstand.  He winked and said, “Nah, but it worked, didn’t it?”

Later, I tried to get something going with a cute little blond.  When I told her I was from Philadelphia, she reacted just like the other girl, “Have you been on American Bandstand?”

You can guess what my answer was.

 
So, thank you, Dick Clark, for your part in making my first social experience in college a success.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.