Did you know that Elvis had his own little private trailer village tucked away in the far reaches of his 163 acre Circle G Ranch in Mississippi? His foray into cowboy communal living is an interesting story, especially because spring 1967 may well have been the happiest period of his life.
I received an e-mail from a member of The Circle G Foundation who asked if I could write a story on ElvisBlog about their efforts to get the ranch purchased and save it from slow destruction. It sounded like something I could do, and it might help, so I said sure. Then, I realized I knew almost nothing about Elvis’ Circle G Ranch in Mississippi.
After two weeks of research, I now know enough to write a three-part ElvisBlog series. I’ve found so much information on the web and in books I own, and Lesley Pilling of the Circle G Foundation has been very helpful.
But I need time to get it all together. So, this week, all you get is that first paragraph tease. Instead, we are going back in the archives again to find old stories that would improve the most with photos added. Here is one from 2007 that really improved.
The Women Who Loved Elvis
That enticing title graced the cover of the August 2007 issue of the Ladies Home Journal. As soon as I read the first line of the subtitle, “Very Private Confessions,” I knew this was prime material for an Elvisblog article.
A good many Elvisblog readers probably missed the Ladies Home Journal article by leading Elvis writer Alanna Nash. It featured seven lovely ladies associated with Elvis in a variety of ways.
The subtitle “Very Private Confessions” turned out to be quite a stretch. I looked specifically for them and have listed below my best guess at each woman’s “Confession.”
June Jaunico: Elvis’ girlfriend for over a year in 1955/56.
“We got so wrapped up in kissing on our very first date – nothing too sloppy, it was marvelous – a little pecking here and there, a little nibble here and there, then a serious bite.” (This one is a very sweet confession, but wouldn’t a real confession have been about what she and Elvis did on date number five or six, not on the first one?)
Wanda Jackson: sang in concerts on tour with Elvis and was his girlfriend in 1955/56.
“In the early part of ’56, he gave me one of his rings… We stood by his car and he asked me to be his girl… I had a crush on him, and being able to know him and know his heart made me admire him a lot. So, I said I’d be his girl.” (Good move, Wanda)
Raquel Welch: had a bit part in the 1964 movie Roustabout.
“One of his guys came over and said, “Elvis is having a little party at the house, and if you’d like to come up…” I had a very strict upbringing, and I didn’t like the setup, so I didn’t go.” (Big mistake. Bet you wish you had that one to do over again, Raquel.)
Mary Ann Mobley: appeared in Girl Happy and Harum Scarum
“Elvis and I felt a common bond, coming from Mississippi. He thought I understood him… This is an odd thing to say about Elvis Presley, but it was like I was working with my brother. We never dated.” (Sorry, but there is nothing else remotely approaching a confession in Mary Ann’s section.)
Jo Smith: wife of Elvis’ very close cousin Billy Smith
“He loved you to talk babytalk to him, and we had to take care of him and cater to him like a small child… He liked to be put in bed and be told good night.” (You have to assume this took place in the time after Priscilla and before Linda Thompson. Can’t see Jo Smith tucking Elvis in bed when either of them was around.)
Linda Thompson: Elvis’ girlfriend from 1972-76.
“But I think it’s wonderful if you can be all things to each other. And he and I were. He called me ‘Mommy.’ And he was like my father at times. And we were like brother and sister at times, and we were like lovers at times. (Looks like they played ‘cowboys and Indians’ at times, too.)
Kathy Westmoreland: recorded and toured with Elvis in the 70s.
“My last in-depth conversation with Elvis was just a few weeks before he died. I remember he said, ‘Kathy, what’s it all about?’ And I said, “I think that is for you to find out for yourself.’” (Kathy’s section in the article was very short and mostly about sad topics. This is about the most upbeat thing she said.)
Here is a selection of other interesting quotes by some of the ladies.
June Jaunico didn’t hear from Elvis for a while after that first date. “It turned out he was calling and my older brother wasn’t bothering to tell me. Finally, he said, ‘Some guy with a hillbilly accent called.’”
Wanda Jackson and her dad were backstage on the first stop of a tour with Elvis in 1955. “All of a sudden my dad and I started hearing screaming. My daddy said, ‘I wonder if there’s a fire or something. Let me go look.’ I started getting my things, and he came back and said, ‘No, relax. But you’ve got to see this for yourself.’ He took me to the wings, and there was Elvis singing and moving and gyrating, and all these girls standing at the foot of the stage, screaming and reaching for him.”
Raquel Welch had a revelation about how sexy a guy could be when she saw Elvis in concert for the first time. “Like many adolescents of the 50s, I had been completely gaga over Elvis. I saw him live in San Diego in one of his early shows. It was my first rock ‘n’ roll concert ever.”
A Linda Thompson quote seems to dispute reports that Elvis knew he would die young. “I think it’s terrible for people to say they couldn’t imagine Elvis growing old. Everybody has that right, even if they are a sex symbol. He wanted to live to be an old man.”
And, we sure wish he had.
Remember, lots of good stuff coming up the next three week on the Circle G Ranch.