On A Rare Trip To Memphis : as told to me by Sandi Miller

By: Megan M. Murphy
Source: Elvis Australia
October 7, 2006

Elvis at The Memphian
Elvis at The Memphian
On one of my rare trips to Memphis, we were invited to attend some of the movie parties Elvis used to have. We found our way to the Memphian. There was a small group of fans waiting outside. A few were also inside, having already been let in by some of the guys. We were also let in. As soon as Elvis arrived the entire atmosphere changed. He spent a few minutes talking to everyone in the lobby then headed into the theater. He and his group sat a couple of rows from the front. They were not a quiet bunch! Finally the lights went down, the movie started. I don't remember the name of the first movie-probably because it was only on for about ten minutes and apparently did not grab Elvis' attention. The next thing I knew it was no longer on.

Next the movie Blow Up came on. If I remember correctly it had something to do with a photographer's photograph being the key to solving a murder. Face it, I was not paying much attention to the movie. I was trying to hear what Elvis was saying. This movie seemed to hold his attention for the most part.

Somewhere in the course of the movie, an order of hamburgers came in. There were several of those small square boxes of them. Shortly after that someone behind us threw popcorn that hit Elvis right in the back of the head. You can pretty much guess what happened next! Within minutes everyone was running out to the lobby, getting popcorn, and nailing everyone in sight.

So much for the movie! Since we did not have any popcorn we were basically just watching and ducking. That is until Elvis strolled up the aisle with boxes of popcorn in his hand, stopped next to our seat and proclaimed', What you need is some ammunition' - we figured he was going to be a nice guy and hand us the boxes of popcorn. WRONG! He dumped them on us. This was WAR! (If you can't beat them, join them!)

Ticket : The Memphian

One thing I thought was rather interesting (?) everytime Elvis got up to use the restroom, someone always went with him. I don't know why I bring that up; it just kind of sticks in my mind. We were in the lobby getting a drink and Elvis came out of the theater and literally ran into the women's restroom (yes, women's).GG was right behind him but not close enough to see that he had not gone into the men's room. GG went in and came out perplexed. He glanced around the lobby, walked over to the glass double doors leading outside and looked around. He looked at us but we just shrugged. About this time we noticed Elvis at the cracked door of the women's room-grinning from ear to ear. GG now heads back into the movie thinking he has lost Elvis. A few minutes later GG comes back up the aisle again and goes into the men's room again. Elvis takes this opportunity to come out and head over to the candy counter and casually lean against it as if he had been there all along. Now GG comes out, sees Elvis, calls him a few names. Elvis informs him he needs glasses and is getting senile. The verbal barbs start. GG looks at us and informs us we'll be walking to our hotel room for giving him heart failure. How that episode turned out to be our fault I will never know. But this was typical.

In the course of the evening two more movies were played but not finished. I think Elvis was more in the mood to horse around than he was to sit and watch any movies. That was OK with me! Unfortunately, at about 5 am playtime was over. We assumed we would be dropped off at our hotel so imagine our shock when the car pulled up to the Graceland gates. we figured, 'Ok we get to spend some time in the gatehouse ' But the car kept going up the driveway and the next thing we knew, we were inside Graceland. After a small tour we were in the room that is now the pool room. It was not as fancy as it is now.

Elvis came down after about ten minutes and showed us even more of the house.

Then we all settled down and spent the next couple of hours talking and listening to records. The only people in the room were Red, Charlie, Elvis, my friend and I. Elvis talked about gifts he received for Christmas and said most of the teddy bears he received were distributed to hospitals etc, for kids. He talked about what was lined up for him when he returned to LA. He also asked what we thought of Memphis. I was just a little bit embarrassed to have to admit that all we had seen of his town was the Hickory Log and his gates! That was taken care of the next day when Vernon took us on a very nice tour of Memphis. We had met Vernon before as he would go to Ca. once in a while to visit Elvis. During the week we were in Memphis, we attended several more movie parties. And ended the week by being invited to the New Year's Eve party.

This was held at the Thunderbird Lounge downtown. There were well over a hundred people there and a live band. I have read in several magazines that Elvis did not dance. Well, he danced that night! They even got a line dance going (The Stroll). He was right there joining in and looking fanastic. At one point he grabbed Charlie and they did a few steps, which cracked them both up. Elvis brought us our drinks which we mostly just held and walked around with. Then we dumped them in some plant.

Next thing we knew he brings us more drinks...gee! Needless to say it was a memorable week. We hated that we had to leave. But Elvis would be back in Ca. soon enough.

In closing, I have to say that the atmosphere in Memphis is different from the atmosphere in LA. Even though Elvis went to Palm Springs to relax on weekends. His mood in Memphis was 'Different'. Nothing I can really put my finger on but you could just tell it was 'HOME'. It showed. Even his southern drawl became more pronounced. He had a different air about him.

Memphis was definitely his turf and he loved it there!

Also by Megan Murphy - Interview with Lance LeGault

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