With only 30 days to find the real killer…
Rick and girlfriend Laura risk their lives tracking key suspects who had motives to kill…
Today, August 16, is the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. I’m taking a side trip here on The Zen Man site to share my story of accidentally meeting him years ago, and the impact years later of his death on my then-job.
I accidentally met Elvis in 1967 in Palm Springs, California. I was 15 years old, and I’d just finished marching in a parade as part of a “drill team” for my high school. It was terribly hot that late spring day, and my friends and I were hanging out after that, walking down a shady street. All of a sudden, one of my pals shrieked, “There’s Elvis Presley!”
I looked across the street and there he was, with two beefy guys, who I suppose were bodyguards, trying to walk into his dentist’s office. I say “trying” because a small crowd had gathered (and was rapidly growing) around him. My girlfriends and I ran across four lanes of traffic to join that crowd.
This was right before his comeback in 1968–he looked tan, healthy, trim. He was very cordial to the people in the crowd who were asking him for autographs. After a few minutes, he thanked everyone and said he needed to go inside to see his dentist, and I, being an overly excitable 15-year-old, yelled from the outskirts of the crowd, “Please, Elvis, just one more signature!”
He looked over the heads in the crowd, smiled, and said, “Okay, just one more.”
The crowd parted and let me through and I stood there, looking up at “The King of Rock ‘n Roll,” thunderstruck. He asked me what I wanted signed and I turned around and said, “Sign my back, please.”
I meant the back of my shirt, but he lifted my hair and placed the pen on the back of my neck and started writing…
“You’re too sweaty for me to sign your back,” he said.
Yep. I’ll always remember how he told me I was too sweaty.
“I meant my shirt,” I rasped, my heart pounding so hard I thought I’d pass out. ”Sign the back of my shirt.”
I could feel his writing on me…and as he wrote he spelled out, “T-h-e b-a-c-k o-f m-y s-h-i-r-t” as though that’s what he was signing.
I turned around and said, “Is that what you wrote?”
And he gave me that curled-lip grin and said, “No, honey, I wrote my name.”
And he went inside the dentist’s office.
I kept that shirt for years…sometimes I’d take it out of my closet and look at his signature. Sadly, I lost that shirt over the years…I’ve wondered if anyone ever found it and wondered why “Elvis Presley” was scrawled on the back of it in big letters.
In my early twenties I moved to Los Angeles with the dream of working in film production. By 1977, I was working for Dick Clark who was producing a TV show for ABC. The TV show Barney Miller filmed on a nearby stage, and the actors would sometimes stroll over on their breaks and chat with us.
On August 16, our phones started ringing and ringing…Elvis had died. All kinds of people were trying to contact Dick Clark, who’d made his name hosting the show “American Bandstand,” for an interview about Elvis. I looked back on that spring day when I’d accidentally met Elvis…and here I was ten years later fielding calls from reporters, TV commentators and others about his death.
Now it’s 35 years since the day he died. Cast members of Barney Miller have passed on, as has Dick Clark. I look back at that job and oddly enough, I can’t remember my job tasks that year for Dick Clark, but I vividly recall the day that Elvis died.
“The image is one thing and the human being is another. It’s very hard to live up to an image, put it that way.” -Elvis
"A fantastic read from start to finish. Reminded me a great deal of the works of Robert Crais and Robert B Parker." ~MacKenzie Brown
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