By

Elvis Friends and Fans
Their Personal Stories

 

 

 

 


Larry Geller

Larry was Elvis' Hairstylist, Spiritual Mentor, Confidant and most of all his Dear Friend

Visit Larry's Web site to check out his latest project
"Elvis & Larry, A Journey Shared"
 http://www.elvisandlarry.com/


 

 



Elvis & Larry

 

 

 


Elvis & Larry

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sandi Miller

Elvis long time personal friend and fan

 

 


In the car at RCA Studios signing autographs

 

 


Elvis & Sandi

 


 


Elvis & Charlie Hodge
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Carol & Elvis

August 21, 1970 at the International Hotel, Las Vegas, NV

Story By Larry Geller


Gone.... But Not Forgotten
 

As the years go by, our memories become like a dense forest through which we make our way along familiar, well-trodden paths.  Unnoticed smaller paths branch out, often leading to half-forgotten memories. I recently came upon such a path and began thinking about incidents with Elvis about which I've rarely spoken, incidents with a common thread: Elvis' generosity even in small matters.

 

Of course Elvis’ generosity is legendary. During his lifetime he gave away houses, cars, motorcycles, jewelry, furs, clothing and money as if it were going out of style. His generosity knew no bounds. He gave to the poor and the needy, but he didn’t discriminate against the wealthy. He once took a thirty-thousand dollar ring off his finger, and gave it to singer-comedian Sammy Davis, Jr. “Nobody thinks of giving a rich man anything,” he explained. “They’re people too. They like to think somebody thinks enough to give them something.”

Once he got the impulse to give there was no stopping Elvis. One afternoon on the Paramount lot during filming of “Easy Come, Easy Go,” we were walking towards the soundstage. A salesman rolling a large suitcase filled with an assortment of jewelry yelled out as he ran up to us, “Elvis wait up; I got something you can’t pass up. You gotta see this.”

Out of breath he exclaimed, “Just check this beauty out,” while he opened a drawer pulling out a diamond ring which he handed to Elvis. Elvis admired it, putting it on his finger, and almost immediately told Joe Esposito to give him a check. On the set Elvis proudly showed off his newest acquisition. After lunch, he was standing around, waiting for the cameras to be set up, occasionally looking at the ring and smiling.

David Winters, Elvis’ choreographer, walked over and Elvis showed him his new ring. David’s eyes lit up. “Elvis, man, that’s beautiful; I love your ring.”  Elvis pulled the ring off his finger and handed it to him. David slipped it on his finger. “It fits great.” “Try it on,” he said, “and see how it fits.” Elvis took one look at his radiant face. “It’s yours,” he said, smiling as he turned and walked away from the stunned choreographer.

The example of Elvis’ generosity that most recently came to mind was an event that occurred one late afternoon in 1965. We were in the Dodge motor home, driving through the Arizona desert on Route 66, approaching the sacred Hopi mountains.

Elvis had been at the wheel as usual, until he had a profound vision, an experience that shook him to his core. It was a spiritual jolt and a turning point in his life. After that he was too exhilarated and distracted to drive, so he asked Red West to take the wheel.

Elvis motioned for me to follow him to the bedroom in the back of the vehicle, where we sat for awhile in silence. Then as night began to fall we began talking about what had just occurred as we continued on the road towards Flagstaff.

Eventually, we both nodded off – when we were abruptly awakened several hours later by shouts of “We’re on fire! We’re on fire!” We snapped to, and Red quickly pulled over to the shoulder of the road and stopped. Jerry Schilling, Red West, Billy Smith, Elvis and I jumped out to see what was happening. The back axles and the undercarriage were aflame. All of us immediately scooped up sand and gravel from the desert with our bare hands and managed to extinguish the fire. The vehicle was a total wreck and wouldn’t start. Luckily, we were only a few miles outside of Needles, California, in the Mohave Desert. The five of us pushed the RV into town, where we checked into a motel.

“Let’s just get some vehicles, Larry, and go home,” Elvis said wearily. “Go hire some cars. Here’s my wallet.”  His wallet was crammed with an assortment of credit cards, but no cash; Elvis never carried cash. I started walking in search of a car-rental agency. It was eight or so in the morning, I hadn’t slept, and I needed a shower and shave. I must have looked pretty disreputable, an assessment confirmed by the wary look on the face of the man behind the counter.

“Yes sir, I’d like to rent two cars. I’m with Elvis Presley. He’s down the road at a motel.” Thinking it would help, I handed him the wallet. Flipping through the cards, he asked, “What are you telling me? Elvis Presley?” “Yeah,” I answered. Flinging the wallet at me, he screamed, “Get the hell outta here!”

As I retreated and headed back to the motel, it occurred to me that the easiest way to get from Needles to Los Angeles would be by cab. When I got back to the room I phoned a local taxi service, and the people there were only too happy to help. Within minutes, two cabs were at the motel, and we were ready to go.

We loaded all the luggage into one cab, then Jerry, Red, Billy, Elvis and I crawled wearily into the second. As we rode down the highway, our young driver couldn’t stop turning his head around every few minutes to stare at Elvis, or look at him in the rear view mirror. That was understandable, but when he hit a cruising speed of ninety miles an hour and still couldn’t keep his eyes off Elvis, I yelled, “Hey, man, slow down! You’re going to kill us. Yes, this is Elvis Presley. Just calm down or I’ll have to take the wheel.”

All the way back our driver was visibly nervous. When we arrived in Bel Air about four hours later, the other guys who’d lost us on the road during the drive were lined up in front of the house, waiting.

While everyone was dealing with the luggage Elvis asked me how much the fare was. I told him a hundred and sixty dollars for both cabs. He then asked how much cash I had on me. I checked my wallet. “Little over five hundred bucks.”

Elvis said, “Hey, these guys probably never even leave Needles, and they sure don’t get customers like us every day. They work hard, and could probably use a break. Just give ‘em what you have there, I’ll pay you back later.”

I may not have told this story much over the years – but I bet those two cab drivers have told it over and over to anyone who would listen.


       Larry Geller


http://www.elvisandlarry.com/

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Stories By Sandi Miller

 

REHEARSALS AT RCA:
 

we arrived early, having not run into any traffic, and he arrived late (typical). While we were waiting for the main car, the musicians began to arrive, as did other fans who gathered at the gas station across the street. Soon Joe arrived and motioned us to go to the side door were we were let in and led to a small room. Not long after that, the rest of the group, and Elvis came in. After some small talk, which included talking about the bright yellow Vette sitting outside they started "warming up." Elvis did a mock Do-Re-Mi scale purposely making himself go horribly off key!  Charlie joined in equally off key and darn if they didn't burst into the most horrible rendition of It's Now or Never that I've ever heard!!!!

I'm sure we had stupid looks on our faces at this point! When they finished they both took a bow and applauded each other and Elvis announced "Damn - we're good" At this point Jann looked at him and said "practice makes perfect" -to which Elvis announced, "well then - it's time for a coffee break -" (we'd only been there about 10 minutes!!) Most of the evening, no - ALL of the evening was spent horsing around, being rude to each other and talking about current Hollywood gossip and in a few cases they just tried to embarrass us, which isn't difficult to do.

 

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REHEARSAL

Elvis spent the better half of the evening trying really hard to get a song the way he wanted it. After about an hour, he excused himself, went down the hall, came back, sat on his stool, picked up his mike and belted out "Welllll, it's one for the money........" in a HIGH helium induced voice (I'm presuming that's what it was - sure sounded like it) It came as a big surprise to everyone and hysterical laughter followed. After he calmed down he claimed it was caused by some woman who tried to grab his crotch near the restroom. Never a dull moment.


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 REHEARSAL
 

Head over to RCA at 7 - just about the same time the station wagon pulls up. . No one else comes for an hour or so, so we just hung around inside waiting . Joe arrives, Sonny, etc. and the rest of them...then Elvis comes in saying "damn, must be 50 people out there. I told them I'd come out during break (guys groan) When it's time for break he keeps his word and heads outside. Red and Sonny go with him. Jann asks him when he returns if it ever bothers him to have to go out there. He answers that he doesn't HAVE to, he WANTS to!

The rehearsal only goes to about 10 - Elvis wasn't feeling 100% - he kept sneezing. There were no kleenex around so I gave him one of my hankies..nice little yellow one with lace around it. Elvis kinda raised an eyebrow, looked around the room and took it then made eye contact with everyone in the room and said ANYONE MAKES ANY COMMENT AND YOUR A---- ARE HISTORY.

Charlie wants to run thru one more song they're having trouble with and I was staring off in space so Elvis whacked me on the top of my head with his microphone and says "pay attention"....hard to do when you have brain damage Presley!

 

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REHEARSAL

Had to go up to RCA alone tonight ...J. out of town . Elvis comes into room, got a big hug, everyone stands around chatting and setting up, going thru sheet music.

Some impromptu songs with just Charlie and Elvis singing a few lines. Elvis asks where J. is..told him in Ariz. for her Grandmothers 93rd birthday. Hot damn he says and sings a line of H.B. Then he goes into a rendition of what a 93 yr. old Elvis would be like. Said "can you see me with all the young whippersnappers in their' 50's trying to tear my clothes off and I'd be grateful as hell." Then he sang a few bars of Hound Dog in a crackly old man voice and did a bump and grind in slow motion "hand me mah cane Chahlee....and don't forget mah warm milk...

Dialogue as good as I can remember it:

So Elvis - are you gonna be bald when you're 93?

Elvis: NO!

Will you still have your own teeth?

Elvis:  I'LL HAVE SOMEONE'S

Will you wear glasses?

Elvis:  SURE

Really? They will make you look distinguished. Especially if you have no hair or teeth says Charlie.

Elvis:   "I'LL BE A GUMMY , BALD,  DISTINGUISHED ROCK N ROLL ARTEEEST says Elvis.


Now Elvis asks Charlie what he's gonna look like when he's old "Because you shrink when you get old so Charlie's gonna be a midget. Also your nose and ears grow bigger. "You're gonna be one ugly SOB Charlie" Everyone was howling.

They carried on for awhile longer just getting ruder and ruder with each other. Finally Joe said to get going....time for them to work, or whatever you call it. Fink!
 

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Precious Memories by Carol (Vaughn) Jacobs


Carol was a fan who became a good friend to Elvis Presley. She shares some of  her treasured memories of the many times she spent with Elvis at his Chino  Canyon home.

 

Elvis kissed me and after he kissed me, he said to Joe Esposito who had my camera.

'Did you get that picture Joe?' Joe said, 'I didn't know you wanted me to Boss', then Elvis said, 'yes, I wanted you to, lets do it again'. I said to Elvis, ' gee I never had a audience before'. So Elvis took me into another room, kissed me again and Joe snapped this picture. Of coarse I didn't mind that at all!

But I have to say that my knees felt like they were going to buckle and I'm sure Elvis felt my heart pounding.

I still can't believe this girl from a town of 3,500, and thousands miles away from Memphis, got to meet Elvis Presley and become his friend. It was a dream come true. I know I am very, very lucky and I am very thankful.

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Regarding the 'Aloha Special'. It was originally shown in January via Satellite around the world. Then they re-ran it in the U.S. the following November. I was living in Palm Springs at the time and Elvis just happened to be at his Palm Springs Chino Canyon house during the re-run. So I was very fortunate to be at the house sitting next to him and watching it with him. There were probably 8 people at the house that night. He was telling all of the things that happened that we didn't see on TV. Elvis was very tuned in on things and he knew every spot where someone made a mistake, such as the symbols at the wrong time, etc. When it was over, we applauded and he stood up, took a bow, and said, 'Oh, it was nothing!' (only shown to over a billion people World-Wide and the first time a show had ever gone via satellite!) but I loved his sense of humor, It was one of the most becoming things about him.

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The other time was at the Palm Springs house and it was just him and me sitting on the sofa in his den. He was in a sort of blue and in rather a quiet mood and all of a sudden he just started singing, 'A Man Without Love', a cappella. It was just beautiful and very moving. I still get chills when I think about it. I also spent time with him at two of his homes in Hollywood and also in the suite in Las Vegas, but we'll save a few of those stories for another time. There are many wonderful memories.

We all know that Elvis had a beautiful voice and a beautiful face, but I want people to know that Elvis had a beautiful soul. He was very intelligent, he had the most wonderful sense of humor and he loved to have fun. But most of all, he was a gentleman. It breaks my heart to hear all of the horrible things said about him by people that were close to him and knew better. They just did it for monetary purposes because 'Good' supposedly doesn't sell. I am thankful to you for getting out the true stories of the 'REAL' Elvis. Thank you.

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Maggie Ratliff, President

ForeverElvis2008@aol.com

 
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