LOANNE PARKER INTERVIEW
THE FOLLOWING WAS A PHONE INTERVIEW WITH LUANNE PARKER APRIL 2 2007
THE FOLLOWING WAS A PHONE INTERVIEW WITH LUANNE PARKER APRIL 2 2007
JOE KREIN: DO YOU LIKE TALKING TO ELVIS FANS?
LUANNE PARKER: OH YES YOU KNOW WE ALL SPEAK THE SAME LANGUAGE. WE ALL KNOW THAT ELVIS ONE OF THE MOST FANTASTIC TALENTS THAT HAS EVER LIVED. HE WAS A MAN BUT HE WAS,NT PERFECT, BUT WE DO NOT DWELL ON HIS IMPERFECTIONS. LIKE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT ELVIS FANS SEEM TO LIKE TO DO . ITS A REAL SAD COMMENTARY ON OUR SOCIETY TODAY THAT PEOPLE ENJOY TEARING PEOPLE APART .
JOE KREIN:IT HAS TO BE VERY HARD ON YOU , BECAUSE IT ALWAYS SEEMS THAT THEY BLAME THE COLONEL.
LUANNE PARKER: I KNOW , ELVIS WORE THE WHITE HAT THE COLONEL WORE THE BLACK HAT . I THINK THAT'S PARTLY BECAUSE THERE IS A TENDENCY THAT SOME OF THE FANS TO WANT TO MAKE ELVIS PERFECT . HE WOULD HAVE BEEN THE LAST PERSON TO WANT THAT .
WHEN DID YOU FIRST START WORKING AT THE INTERNATIONAL HOTEL?
I WORKED FOR THE INTERNATIONAL BEFORE IT WAS EVEN OPENED. KIRK KOREAN BOUGHT THE FLAMINGO HOTEL SO THAT HE COULD TRAIN THE PERSONAL THAT WOULD BE WORKING AT THE INTERNATIONAL . THE HOTEL IN VEGAS WOULD BRING IN THE PERSONAL WEEKS BEFORE THEY OPENED THE DOORS. WE WORKED IN THE OFFICES BEFORE THE AIR CONDITIONING WAS INSTALLED . HERE WE WERE WORKING IN VEGAS IN LATE JUNE. EVERY DAY IT GOT HOTTER.
WHAT WAS YOUR POSITION?
WHEN I FIRST STARTED I WAS A SECRETARY , BEFORE I BECAME AM ASSISTANT . I WORKED IN ADVERTISING , WHAT WOULD BE CALLED MARKETING NOW. THE HOTEL OPENED IN JULY AND THEN IN AUGUST I TRANSFERRED TO WORK FOR THE PRESIDENT OF THE HOTEL .
DID YOU KNOW THAT ELVIS WAS COMING TO THE INTERNATIONAL? WHERE YOU A FAN OF HIS MUSIC?
NO , I WASN'T A FAN . I CAN'T SAY I DISLIKED HIS MUSIC. I JUST HAD NOT THOUGHT ABOUT IT VERY MUCH. I DID NOT GO TO SEE HIS MOVIES . I WAS REALLY SURPRISED WHEN I FOUND OUT HE WAS GOING TO BE THERE . HE'S BEEN DOING MOVIES , BUT HE HAS NOT MADE ANY PUBLIC APPEARANCES , WHAT ARE THEY DOING?
BUT KIRK WHO OWNED THE HOTEL INTERNATIONAL , HAD HIRED BILL MILLER WHO WAS VERY WELL KNOWN ON THE EAST COAST . HE WAS THE ENTERTAINMENT DIRECTOR AND IT WAS THROUGH BILL MILLER THAT THEY CONTACTED BARBARA STREISAND FOR HER ENGAGEMENT AND CONTACTED COLONEL PARKER . BILL MILLER HAD A EXCELLENT TRACK RECORD , HE KNEW ENTERTAINMENT . WHEN HE SAID ELVIS PRESLEY , WE JUST EXCEPTED THAT IT WAS GOING TO BE GREAT . BUT I DON'T THINK WE COULD HAVE IMAGINED HOW GREAT . WELL ELVIS WAS JUST AWESOME!
HOW SOON WAS IT THAT YOU MET COLONEL PARKER?
I MET HIM IN MAY OF 1969.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON WAS HE?
HE WAS VERY IMPRESSIVE , COLONEL HAD AN ORE ABOUT HIM THAT JUST RADIATED POWER. HE WAS A MAN THAT WAS VERY COMFORTABLE WITH HIMSELF . HE NEW WHAT HE COULD DO . HE JUST DID IT . IF HE HAD A GOAL , HE DID NOT DEVIATE UNTIL HE REACHED IT . WHICH WAS THE KIND OF THING THAT ELVIS NEEDED. ELVIS WAS CREATIVE , HE WAS EXTREMELY TALENTED . WE KNOW THAT AND HE WAS A WONDERFUL PERSON . BUT BUSINESS WAS NOT SOMETHING THAT INTERESTED HIM . THEY HAD A REALLY GOOD TEAM . COLONEL DID NOT TELL ELVIS WHAT TO SING , COLONEL DISCUSSED EVERY BUSINESS DEAL WITH ELVIS , AND ELVIS HAD TO IMPROVE IT . ELVIS WAS FINE SAYING YES AND NO , AND HAVE COLONEL TAKE CARE OF ALL THE HANDLING OF THE BUSINESS.
WHAT KIND OF MAN WAS THE COLONEL WHEN YOU FIRST MET HIM ?
WHEN HE FIRST CAME IN HE WALKED IN WITH HIS STAFF AND HE HAD WITH HIM A PERSON FROM RCA RECORDS. HE CAME IN WITH A HUGE STUFFED TOY. THE PRESIDENT THERE HAD JUST BECOME A FATHER SO THE COLONEL HAD BROUGHT HIM THIS HUGE TOY FOR THE BABY . THE COLONEL LOVED CHILDREN . WE WOULD CARRY TOYS IN THE TRUCK OF THE CAR , AND IF THERE WAS A FUSSY CHILD IN A RESTAURANT OR IN THE GROCERY STORE. THE COLONEL WOULD SAY TO ME . GO TO THE TRUCK OF THE CAR . I WOULD GO OUT AND GRAB A STUFFED TOY .HE HAD STORIES HE WOULD TELL THE KIDS , HE WOULD SIT AND TALK TO THEM FOR HOURS TELLING THEM STORIES. HE COULD RELATE TO CHILDREN VERY WELL
WELL THAT'S NOT SOMETHING I HAVE HEARD ABOUT THE COLONEL.
WELL YOU KNOW HE WAS A VERY PRIVATE PERSON , TODAY IF SOMEONE DOESN'T KNOW THE ANSWER ABOUT THE COLONEL THEY FICTIONALIZE IT. IF YOU ASK ME A QUESTION AND I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER . I'M GOING TO TELL YOU SORRY JOE . I DON'T KNOW. SO WHAT I TELL YOU I KNOW TO BE TRUE. THE COLONEL IQ WAS NEVER MEASURED BUT I AM SURE IT HAD TO BE AT THE TOP.
HOW ABOUT ELVIS? WAS ELVIS SMART?
YES ,THEY WERE BOTH INTUITIVE PEOPLE . WHICH AT THE TIME AND EVEN NOW , INTUITION WASN'T RECOGNIZED LIKE IT IS TODAY . I THINK BOTH OF THEM HAD THE ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE A PERSONS PERSONALITY WHEN THEY FIRST MET THEM .
DID THE COLONEL TALK TO YOU A LOT ABOUT ELVIS IN THE EARLY DAY?
OH YES. VERY MUCH IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS OF HIS LIFE . JOE HIS HEALTH WAS NOT THE BEST . SO WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TOGETHER AT HOME. I ENCOURAGED HIM TO TALK ABOUT THOSE TIME , WHICH HE DID. I WASN'T THERE IN THE EARLY DAY . I CAN'T TELL YOU HOW MANY TIMES i tried to get him to speak on tape, but he would freeze up . he had like stage fright .
so when elvis was getting to the end of his life , did the colonel say that he was worried about him?
he was so concerned , if anyone has ever had to deal with some one that had an addiction. you know that sad truth is the only person that can make a change is by the one with the addiction . everyone around elvis tried to help him , but until he could admit the problem , we couldn't help him. one time the colonel left elvis , he told elvis , i wont work with you anymore. the colonel had talked to Elvis's father and the colonel said we have to take some drastic measures. we have to , maybe this will help him to change . it didn't help , that was in December 1973 .
was that the story when the colonel said to elvis you owe me this much money , and elvis could not pay it? or is this another time?
no this is the same story , there was a show at the las vegas hilton . where elvis had made some very derogatory remarks about some hilton executives. it was a special 3 am show that elvis did . this was december 3. i was sitting in a booth next to the colonel when elvis made these remarks, the colonel was very upset . he said i wish i could just disappear , i don't know how I'm going to be able to face these people. i have to work along side them . so he had a discussion with elvis about it , elvis was upset because he thought he was right . so the colonel came back to the room , he then got a telephone call saying elvis wanted to see him . the colonel was furious about the whole thing and he said to me , i just can't work with him anymore. i just can't , he's totally out of control .this is it i'm finished ,so he went upstairs and they had a very heated argument . elvis said your fired and the colonel said i quit! so the colonel came downstairs and this was very early in the morning . the colonel awoke me and said i have some dictation for you to do. i dressed and went into the office and he dictated a letter ending there association. what he asked for was the activities that he booked for elvis already , he said we are finished but these are the commitments that you have to do . he wanted his share of those commitments. that's what he asked for.
i knew some of the story i guess but not all of it . but i guess some people leave some of the portion of the story out.
well yes , or they just don't know. i know this because he dictated it to me and i typed it. the colonel had been talking to vernon telling him we have to do something . so after this happened he said if this doesn't get his attention i don't know what will. this is the best thing i know to get his attention. colonel didn't care any less for elvis when he did that , his feeling for elvis was just as strong as it ever had been. but he said something has to be done , he is just going down a one way street . so they didn't see one and other for a while .
really? they make it sound like it was a one day event.
it happened in 1973 , and elvis was going through a divorce . so this was a bad time for elvis . early in 1974 sonny west called and said to the colonel elvis wants to speak to you. ELVIS SAID WHEN ARE WE GOING TO GO BACK OUT? COLONEL SAID WHEN EVER YOU WANT TO.
THAT WAS IT?
THAT WAS IT , THEY NEVER DISCUSSED THE PROBLEM. THEY JUST PUT IT BEHIND THEM .
DO YOU THINK ELVIS GOT BETTER AFTER THAT?
NO , I WISH I COULD SAY HE DID. NOW LETS GO BACK IN TIME. TODAY THERE ARE SO MANY TREATMENT CENTERS. IN 1973 THERE WASN'T ONE. THERE WAS NO BETTY FORD CLINIC , THERE WASN'T EVEN RECOGNITION OF WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE HAD THIS Problem and Elvis several times hospitalized himself to try to deal with it but eventually he would want to get out and there was no way to keep someone in a treatment if they did not want to be there.
right when he can say i want to leave it totally defeats the purpose
absolutely and please understand i am not trying to criticize elvis for this. I love my coffee and my deserts and that's how i try to understand addiction. There are so many medical advantages that exist now that were not available when elvis was alive. So people tend to judge what happened 30 years ago by today's standards. And really that's not fair.
right, well when Aloha Hawaii was happening it seemed like he lost some weight, he got a tan. He wanted to look his best right
yeah he did and the colonel was thrilled. he thought maybe this is the turnaround this is it. S we were just all thrilled with that show. He was just great he was wonderful
Yeah of course. Were you there?
you were there oh my god were you really there
Oh well i was a tour secretary i traveled on the tours. Those years when elvis was on the road i worked for rca record tours.
i want to show the fans a different side of colonel parker if i can .
the information that has been put out there by people , a bunch of it was by people that was not close to him. once something gets started , its like gossip it just gathers momentum as it keeps getting repeated. i think one of my favorite examples of that is the dancing chickens. they never existed.
never , the colonel would tell that story and watch there reaction , the stary doesn't make sense .if you put chickens on a hot plate , i mean the whole thing is just incredibly silly .
there going to jump off.
of course , he tested peoples gullibility with that story . but people began to repeat it , and repeat it . you can read it almost in every book about elvis and the colonel. sometimes its dancing turkeys. but colonel loved animals , if you could do that , he would not have.
so all these people think he's cruel because , look at what he did to those poor chickens.
i always said to my self , how did he keep them on the hot plate?
see its nonsense , total nonsense. when people believed it the colonel said look how gullible they are. it was just a test , and see its gotten out of hand.
it kinds backfired on the colonel.
there was one place that he did use animals , when he was scratching around making a living the best he could . he would promote movies for movie theaters. one was home on the range. he had a livestock display in the lobby . he had a cow , monkey some chickens but no hot plates! (laughing) it was to get peoples attention to go in and see the movies. some of the country shows , lets go way back . if the country acts had a live stock exhibit , they wouldn't have to pay a certain tax. so all the acts would carry some kind of livestock so they would not have to pay that tax. back in those days you had to scratch and do what you had to do to live.
can you tell me about the aloha event . i mean what a landmark show.
it was history , it started when the colonel was driving from palm springs to l.a , i believe george parkhill was driving . but he was at the home with Marie , he would go every weekend. they were driving back to l.a. and on the radio they were talking about richard nixion doing a satellite broadcast from the great wall of china. this was the first satellite broadcast ,the colonel said that's history! elvis is a world wide star he should be the first entertainer to do a world wide satellite show. that's where the idea was born.
you know the colonel had a lot of respect for the fans , he tried to do everything he could to help them. he was very upset at the hotels ,it was custom in las vegas that you made a reservation. then everyone stood in line and they had to materdee desk and he would look and see your name . yes i see you reservation here , and quite honestly depending on the tip that he was given the right to choose where you set . this really up set the colonel ,he would say we have fans that save all year to come to a show . it takes up a lot of there money just to get here and then to eat while they are here. they can't afford these big tips , its not right ! he fought with the hotel over it but it was custom and he couldn't stop it . but he was the first to start selling tickets with seat numbers on them . even then the materdee tried to scam the ticket holders. one night he was there and the materadee had a long line of fans waiting and the colonel came up and said . there is no need to wait folks , you have your tickets , they have your seating number on them . go in and find your seat , the materdee came unglued , the colonel looked at him and said that's the way it is!
a friend of yours and mine told me how by the time she got there and then tipped for her good seat once she found out how to do it , she had no money to eat while she was there.
yes and that really frustrated the colonel , he tried and tried to get it changed , the elvis presley show was the first show in vegas where you could by tickets in advanced and you knew you had a ticket for the show . now a days everything is prearranged seating , your ticket gives you the exact location of your seat .
plus a lot of the good seats still go to business man and disc jockeys , comp seating . so its still not perfect.
when we were on the road , colonel had an iron clad rule , the first three or four rows in the venue are for the fans. no comps , in fact he said there are no free passes to a elvis presley show. everyone buys a ticket .
elvis and Vernon , everyone that elvis had with him , they all bought a ticket . the fans get the first four rows , there the ones that make this possible! they deserve the best seats.
Sahara tahoe was a fun place , for one thing its one of the most beautiful places in the world. your surrounded by the mountains ,its just a glorious place. the room was smaller then the hilton room , you had more feeling of intimacies . during the period of elvis and Priscilla was going though there problems , most of that time it was while he was at the sahara tahoe . it was a tough time for elvis and Priscilla both . i'm not putting down Priscilla , i admire her with what she has done for the estate.
well there are fans that will never for give her.
well you see they think well what if she had stayed with him . as a woman i can give you my opinion , why the double standards? why cant the fans forgive his girlfriends when he was married? but not be able to forgive her , when she said i don't want to be a wife standing on the side while he has these woman.
did elvis ever talk to the colonel like a dad? did they ever have conversations other then business?
not really , no . i not saying they didn't talk. some people asked the colonel are you like his father ? the colonel said ,elvis has a father . apart of that i think joe is the difference in there ages. elvis was born in 1935 the colonel in 1909. so that's a twenty-six year difference. they didn't socialize a lot because the things elvis enjoyed were not the things colonel enjoyed.
can you say the colonel loved him? did he ever say it when elvis passed on?
the colonel was in shock .
but not surprised?
oh no we were all surprised. we were , looking back at the last tv special . we went in the studio to look at it . we watch the raw footage. i just sat there and cried , i couldn't stop. i said to my self . how could we not had seen this? but i don't know how to convey this . to us elvis was so special . he had a problem but we thought it was under control. at the time we were all so immerse with elvis and our lives were dedicated in taking care of his business and taking care of him. i don't mean i , he had his own group that would take care of him. i took care of the colonel , and i think he worked 24 hours a day taking care of Elvis's business. what he could do to help , there was a problem at the end when elvis wouldn't go into the studio to record anything. they brought the studio to graceland. they still had problems. getting him to do the work , the colonel thought of so many different ways to recycle what was already there. he never stopped, the colonel and i would be having diner and i realized that his mind was thinking about his job with elvis. it was his life , and when elvis died . his life just came to a roaring halt! then his next thought was how do i keep his memory alive? what can i do to help the estate? he said it would always be elvis and the colonel . i will work for him until i draw my last breath.
did you ever go to graceland?
never , the colonel had his own social scene. because of the difference in there age. he always said i believe that a manager should not live with his artist. the artist is entitled to his own private life. all he did was try to make that financially possible for elvis and he did.
can you tell me how you heard elvis had passed?
we were at the hotel in Portland waiting for the plane . colonel and some of the concert west people was in his suite . passing time until they heard that the plane was on the way and they would all get up and go . he got a call from Vernon. Vernon at that point , or maybe it was joe . to be honest I'm not certain who called him . the first call said they were taking elvis to the hospital , that he was in really bad shape. colonel came down to the room and said i just got this call , lets pray about it . then he went back to where the men were . then he got the final call , Vernon was crying and crying saying my boy is gone! my boy is gone! the colonel was worried that they would lose Vernon , because he had a bad heart . Vernon didn't know what to do , he was totally devastated. then the colonel came to the room and he said to me . he's gone. but then immediately he immersed himself into the business because there were people who was coming to see his show. the show had to be cancelled , the whole tour had to be cancelled.
business didn't stop
you couldn't stop it . that was a luxury they could not afford themselves. then we flew to Memphis , i think that night was one of the worst nights ( crying ) I'm sorry joe . it still upsets me after 30 years
we are all sorry , we had to eat diner at the hotel . colonel said we are going down to the coffee shop . we are going to have diner. i don't want any display of emotion. he said elvis is going to be proud of us. (crying) we sat there , played with our food . it was horrible , and every fan . not mattering where they were . they all had a equally bad night. that's what binds us all together.
i know i did. i was only sixteen years old and i thought my world ended.
that's right , unless you loved elvis and unless you were a fan . you can't imagine what we all went through. when i say all i mean the fans as well. i it was hard for all of us. i don't think anyone could had predicted it was going to happen. not then . we all thought some day , but not now.
not at 42
i think that's why some people still can't believe that he died , they want him so to be alive. that they say he's not dead. that it was a faked death that he did'nt really die . but he did!
i didn't realize how young 42 was until i turned 42.
can you tell me why the colonel wore what he did to the funeral?
yes ,ON THE PLANE FROM FORT WORTH TO MEMPHIS . WE TOOK OUR SMALL PLANE , WE FLEW TO MEMPHIS FOR THE FUNERAL . I SAID TO THE COLONEL WHEN WE GET TO MEMPHIS I NEED TO GO SHOPPING . HE SAID WHAT DO YOU MEAN? I DON'T HAVE ANYTHING THAT I CONSIDER APPROPRIATE TO WEAR FOR A FUNERAL. I HAVE WORK CLOTHS , ON THE ROAD YOU PACK SOMETHING THAT'S COMFORTABLE. YOU TRY TO LOOK NICE AND NEAT BUT YOU DON'T WEAR SOMETHING THAT YOU COULD WEAR TO A FUNERAL. HE SAID TO ME , LOANNE IF THOSE CLOTHS WERE GOOD ENOUGH TO WORK FOR HIM . THERE GOOD ENOUGH TO SAY GOODBYE TO HIM. HE SAID ITS NOT THE CLOTHS THAT ARE IMPORTANT , ITS HOW WE FEEL INSIDE. THERE'S NO TIME TO GO SHOPPING .HE SAID HE SAW US ON THE ROAD , HE KNOWS HOW WE LOOK , THAT'S ENOUGH FOR HIM. SO HE WORE JUST WHAT HE DID ON THE ROAD , HE WORE A PAIR OF SLACKS AND A SHIRT . HE DIDN'T RIDE A MOTORCYCLE , I DON'T KNOW HOW THAT STORY STARTED . (LAUGHING)
THEY SAID HE ROAD A MOTORCYCLE?
YES ONE OF THE NEWSPAPER REPORTS SAID THE COLONEL WAS RIDING A MOTORCYCLE IN THE FUNERAL PROCESSION.
ANOTHER THING PEOPLE SAY IS HE WAS DOING BUSINESS DURING THE FUNERAL? BUT I GUESS THEY NEEDED TO BE SIGNED , BUSINESS NEVER STOPPED.
EXACTLY YOU HAD TO HAVE SOMEONE WHO HAD THE AUTHORITY TO CONTINUE TO THE BUSINESS. OR THE BUSINESS WOULD HAVE BEEN TAKING AWAY!
THE BOOTLEGGERS WERE ALREADY THERE WITH SHIRTS AND OTHER THINGS WERE THEY NOT?
ABSOLUTELY ! THERE WAS ONE FALLACY THAT I WOULD LIKE TO CLEAN UP. IT WAS SAID THAT THE COLONEL THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL OR THE DAY AFTER , THE COLONEL DID NOT GO TO NEW YORK AND CONTACT WILLIAM AND MORRIS AGENCY . THEY WERE ELVIS'S AGENTS. HE SAID TO THEM THAT THIS MERCHANDIZING WILL BE TO MUCH FOR MY STAFF TO HANDLE. WE HAVE TO GET SOMEONE WHO IS KNOWABLE IN MERCHANDIZING. THEY PUT HIM IN TOUCH WITH A HARRY GIEZLER , THEY HAD ME AND ALL THE ATTORNEYS THERE SO IT WAS ALL VERY LEGAL. BUT THEY PREDATED THE CONTRACT BEFORE ELVIS'S DEATH. BECAUSE HAD THEY NOT DONE ,THERE WOULD BE NO ADVERTISING RIGHTS DURING THAT PERIOD. IT SAVED THE ESTATE A LOT OF MONEY .
SO HAS THAT CAUSED TROUBLE?
PEOPLE ARE SAYING THAT THE COLONEL WAS SO COLD THAT HE WAS DOING BUSINESS BEFORE ELVIS WAS EVEN LAID TO REST . THEY JUST PORTRAYED HIM AS A TOTALLY COLD PERSON THAT THOUGHT OF NOTHING BUT MONEY. THAT HE WASN'T UPSET OVER ELVIS'S DEATH. IF HE WAS HE WOULD NOT HAD BEEN DOING BUSINESS. I THINK THAT ANY BUSINESS THAT HE DID HAD TO BE DONE. TOURS HAD TO BE CANCELED , BUSINESS HAD TO BE DONE. THAT'S PROBABLY WHAT SAVED THE COLONELS SANITY. THERE ARE TIMES THAT YOU DO SOMETHING ELSE JUST TO BE ABLE TO COPE , NOT TO THINK ABOUT WHAT'S BOTHERING YOU. PLUS HE WAS ALWAYS WORKING FOR ELVIS. THERE WERE MANY ENTERTAINERS THAT CONTACTED HIM , HE VERY KINDLY AND VERY NICELY SAID NO . HE SAID TO ME JOE , WHEN YOU HAD THE BEST NOTHING ELSE WOULD DO AND THERE WILL NEVER BE ANYONE ELSE LIKE ELVIS.
I KNOW THAT RICKY NELSON AND THE BEATLES ASKED.
YES THE BEATLES DID ASK AFTER BRYAN EPSTEIN DIED. ELVIS WAS IT FOR HIM . IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT MOST MANAGERS HAD SEVERAL STARS. COLONEL ALWAYS SAID IF YOU HAD TIME TO MANAGE TO ARTISTS THEN YOUR NOT GIVING ENOUGH TIME TO THE ONE ARTIST. MY TIME IS ALL ELVIS.
WHAT ABOUT THE 50 50 SPLIT?
THE 50 50 SPLIT EVEN THOU IT WAS A CONTRACT AND THAT IT WAS ON PAPER . THE COLONEL NEVER TOOK 50 PERCENT . EXCEPT FOR A DEAL THAT HE PERSONALLY PUT TOGETHER THAT DID NOT REQUIRE ANY NAME BUT ELVIS LIKENESS. IN OTHER WORDS ,IF THERE WAS A MERCHANDIZING PRODUCT , COLONEL CAME UP WITH THE IDEA AND MADE IT HAPPEN . ELVIS HAD NO PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT EXCEPT TO SAY OK . THEN IT WAS 50 50 , BECAUSE IF THE COLONEL DID NOT HAVE THE IDEA THEN NOTHING WOULD NOT HAVE EXISTED ALONG THOSE LINES . WHEN IT CAME TO THE SHOWS AND THE REGULAR MANAGEMENT FEES. HE NEVER 50 PERCENT, THERE WAS A CONTRACT SIGNED SAYING HE COULD , . JANUARY 22 1976 WAS WHEN THE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENT WAS SIGNED , I TYPED IT UP. VERNON CAME TO THE COLONEL ONE DAY , HE SAID WE ARE HAVING SOME MONEY PROBLEMS. COULD YOU NOT TAKE YOUR REGULAR 3RD FOR A WHILE? FINE VERNON , AND IN FACT AND THE COLONEL NEVER DID GET 50 PERCENT. HE TOOK HIS REGULAR 3RDS AND THAT WAS IT. THE PARTNERSHIP CONTRACT WAS SIGNED BECAUSE THE COLONEL WAS VERY CONCERNED ABOUT ELVIS'S ABILITY TO MAKE A DECISION. THIS MEANT IF ELVIS REACHED POINT , THEN THE COLONEL COULD TAKE OVER FOR THE OTHER PARTNER. THAT NEVER HAPPENED. ELVIS WAS ABLE TO MAKE DECISIONS RIGHT UP TO THE END. THIS WAS JUST A INSURANCE.
WHY DId ELVIS NOT TOUR OUTSIDE OF THE U.S.A?
THOSE DAYS THEY DIDN'T HAVE THE VENUE'S YOU HAVE TODAY . ELVIS WOULD NOT PLAY AN OUTSIDE VENUE. HE WOULD NOT PLAY OUTDOORS! I THINK THAT STEMS BACK TO THE EARLY DAYS WHEN THE FANS ALMOST TOUR HIM APART A FEW TIMES. THEY TOUR HIS CLOTHS OFF. WHEN YOU THINK OF BEING ONE PERSON BEING SURROUNDED OUTSIDE BY ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE. IT WOULD BE TERRIFYING , I KNOW THEY DID NOT MEAN TO HURT HIM. BUT YOU GET PEOPLE GRABBING , IT HAS TO BE PAINFUL. (LAUGHING) MOST OF THE VENUES AT THAT TIME WERE OUTSIDE VENUES. THERE ARE RUMORS THAT THE COLONEL HAD THIS OFFER AND THAT OFFER, YES THERE WERE A COUPLE OF OFFERS THAT WERE EXTENDED. BUT WHEN IT CAME RIGHT DOWN SAYING DO YOU HAVE THE MONEY? THEY SAID COLONEL WE WILL GET IT , BECAUSE THE PRICES THAT THEY WERE GOING TO CHARGE . NO FAN COULD HAVE AFFORDED IT. THE COLONEL SAID NO .CHARLES STONE HAD TOLD ME THAT WHEN ELVIS DIED HE HAD PLANE TICKETS TO GO OVER SEA'S TO FIND VENUES FOR ELVIS TO PLAY. SO THE COLONEL WAS PLANNING TO DO THAT.
A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY ITS BECAUSE HE WAS AN ILLEGAL ALIEN?
THE COLONEL WAS GOOD FRIENDS WITH SEVERAL PRESIDENTS . IF HE HAD A PROBLEM GETTING BACK IN , I'M SURE THEY COULD HELP HIM .BUT JOE HOW COULD YOU LAND OVERSEAS WITH ALL THOSE GUNS AND DRUGS. A FEW OF THOSE COUNTRIES WOULD HAVE JUST GLORIED TO ARREST ELVIS PRESLEY .
YES , LOOK WHEN THEY GOT THE BEATLES
YES AND THEY GOT FRANK SINATRA IN MEXICO. ONE OF COLONELS PRIME OBJECTIVE WAS TO PROTECTIVE AT ALL COSTS. HE WOULD DO ANYTHING TO PROTECT HIM
but he couldn't protect him from himself.
no, the only one that could do that was him. its heart breaking it tears you apart to think about it. (crying) every thing was done that everyone around elvis new what to do .everything was done, but it didn't work.
can i ask you about the lawsuit? from e.pe to colonel parker the judge over the lasa marie. can you tell me about that?
February of 1980 , there was a company that wanted to do some filming. they wanted to lease some of the contents of the trophy room in graceland , colonel went to the estate and asked them is this something you would approve? the advance rent was about 4000.000 thousand dollars. they were going to pay to lease these items. because it was a very unusual transaction the co executers requested approval from the probate court . February 1980 judge evans signed a court order for a guardian lawyer for lisa marie because she was under age. in other words , the court says we are going to a point a guardian to protect her interest since she is to young to make decisions herself. this guardian was appointed in may , in june this man came to see colonel in the rca record tours office in l.a .i was in the office that day , i was not in the room with colonel and the appointed guardian . but when he left , i heard him say colonel after our conversation today i think you will be pleased with my report . in late September 1980 this man filed a probate report in shelby county Tennessee a scatting recriticism report . now this is the same man that said you are going to like my report . in the mean time , they asked colonel for a great deal of information from his files . the colonel said to me give them everything they want , get it together for them . he said I've done nothing wrong , they are going to find out that I've done nothing wrong. but the court of Tennessee said that colonel parker should be sued , now the estate said no . we do not think the colonel has done anything wrong , but the court said the estate had to bring a suit against the colonel. there were no problems with the estate , it was the court of Tennessee that had the problem , actually they never sued . this started in 1980 and it finished until june 1983 .
how was it finished? he didn't lose.
i am going to tell you exactly what happened . the colonel would not defend himself to the press , because he said to me . I've done nothing wrong! i have nothing to defend. i don't need to defend myself . defend your self is like saying I'm guilty and i am not guilty! as time went on and it got worse and worse. you know the colonel really suffered over this. he had done the best that he could all of Elvis's career. suddenly everyone was saying you cheated him and you did this and you did that and he didn't. well finally he said i have had it , this is enough . i am not going to go through everything they tried to do with the colonel. they weren't nice and they were not pretty some of the things they did to him. he finally said i had it , i want this settled and i want it finished ! they would say they were going to have a meeting and then they would postpone it , i ma tired of it . i want to get on with my life , we are going to end this. they advised the people of Tennessee that the colonel was going to bring in the state of Nevada in las Vegas . where all of the partnership papers had been signed , that he was going to sue the people that were suing him , because they had stopped this partnership from doing business and that's illegal. they couldn't prove anything they didn't go to court , they didn't take definite legal steps to sue him . in the mean time the partnership was in limbo. when one partner cannot act in a partner ship , the partnership reverts to the surviving partner or the partner that can continue . he said if they want to go to court , they are talking about it but they are not acting on it . fine i will take it to them. i will sue them and i will end up with the whole thing! i am the surviving partner. there's nothing they can do. suddenly! suddenly they decided to pay the colonel and settled it. joe ,that's what happened. colonel was the one that was paid , so who won? (laughing)
the book that alanna nash wrote , she says that the colonel killed someone.
you know alanna most have been totally desperate for something to sell her book . she shopped around for years and no publisher would touch it . that is just a lame silly thing to bring up . there we go again, to me it was just a marketing device to get a little attention. its so sad that it dosent even bear talking about. she also said in her book that i wanted to take over the estate in colonels place. well that's the most stupid thing i ever heard. (laughing) I'm not a business woman . come on . no . no
do you remember the threats on Elvis's life?
yes , we took them very seriously , there were many. on the road there were so many things that happened. i will go back to one venue . the colonel always went before the show . the colonel and his staff would fly in . they would all go to the venue to talk to the building manager . there would be a rca man with him. they would then go to the hotel and make arrangements., etc. someone would contact the radio stations. everyone had there job to do. i would stay on the plane , they would bring the notes back to me and i would type them up. but the day of the the colonel and his mean would be at the building to make sure it was ready and safe for elvis. one of Elvis's men would always travel with us. he would go into the suite where elvis would be staying , he would get everything ready for Elvis's comfort. he would make sure it was totally secure.
the local police force were hired and they would be there , well this one building the police chief came and said that there was a caller saying there was a bomb in the building . they would have to search the building. the colonel would have to pay off duty policemen to search the building . it would cost a couple of thousand dollars. the colonel asked him what did the caller say exactly? he said there was a bonb in a paper bag somewhere in the building. the colonel said your going to have to take your off duty policeman and canvas the building . myself and my staff will be outside the building. we wont enter the building until you bring me that brown paper bag. plus your going to have to get on stage and tell the crowd why. the colnel said the man looked puzzled and then said. colonel we really think that the bob threat was a hoax there is no reason to delay the show.
did that happened a lot , people trying to put one over on the colonel and his staff?
yeah a lot of things happened.
when did you switch over from working for rca to the colonels staff?
i was always working for rca records . i was never employed by the colonel or elvis. i worked for rca record tours in fact they kept me on the payroll even after elvis died , for a few years. because they were recycling the recordings and things like that . i was never on the colonels pay roll. as his wife i worked for free. (laughing)
that was incredible after elvis death , you could not keep records in the stores . how did they ever keep up with it?
believe me they just revved up day and night . they were pressing 24 hours a day . did they expect something like that would happen?
no joe , we didn't expect elvis to die when he did.
no i mean did you expect his records to sell out like they did in the stores.
no predicted that would happen , it was a big surprise , it was a huge surprise . all of us that loved elvis we were thrilled. we were just thrilled. today young people are starting to become fans. i think that is a wonderful thing. name any big artist who has been dead thirty years , and you give that name to someone who's in there early twenties and they will look at you and say who is that. but everyone knows elvis.
what do you think of his everlasting popularity?
i think its well deserved. the man had a amazing voice and he changed music. in the early days , again if i could only take everyone back to the fifties . if i could take you back and see what it was like. number one when a parent told you do something , you didn't say why and ask for a explanation you did it or you got punished. today you can tell a child to do something and they may look you right in the eye and say i am not going too. i cant tell you how rigid the social rules were back then and if you did the kind of dancing that they do today . the police would actually come into the dance area and arrest you .for being to close. elvis moving , there were ministers from the pulpit that was saying the devil is behind this ! he ruining our children! we have to him. they would have big get together where they would throw all his records into a fire . it was just horrible. i can't explain to you the difference elvis made. he brought a certain freedom to the young people that we had never had before. when the colonel negotiated his deal with rca records , remember the colonel was not his manager at this time. colonel was hired by Elvis's parents to deal with rca. bob neal was elviss manager , he shopped elvis around to every record label and was shot down . elvis parents hired the colonel to evocate a record deal with rca. until that time the a and r man at a record company chose the the material that the artist to record. an artist would walk into the recording studio and the sheet music would be there. this is what your going to record on this album . colonels contract for elvis read elvis was to choose his material . can you imagine any of the recording artists being told what they would record? no even seeing it before they were expected to record it. how many things the two of them did that just changed music. i am so grateful that they lived for us.
i thank you so much for calling me.
i always like to talk to someone that understands the dept of our feelings that we have for elvis .you cant describe that , you either feel it or you don't.
thank you very much.
it was my pleasure joe.
you take care
you too. bye
HERE WAS A QUESTION I ASKED HER WEEKS AFTER THE INTERVIEW. WE KEEP IN TOUCH ON THE PHONE. CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THE bOXCAR LABEL AND THE lp " HAVING FUN WITH ELVIS ON STAGE"?