day we were talking and Mickey told me his brother was the
president of the Elvis Presley International Fan Club. I
said, "yeah, Mickey, I'm an astronaut too." But
he said, "No, really. All the fan clubs are under him
and he hangs out at Graceland all the time. He knows everybody,
talks to Elvis all the time." I told him what I wanted
got him all geeked up. I said that Elvis was into karate.
What if we had this bif karate versus wrestling match at
the [Mid-South] Coliseum? Mickey said, "I guarantee
Elvis would love that. I'll get my brother to talk to him."
I thought he was just a goof, his brother's no more president
of the fan club than I am. I said go ahead.
day, Mickey dais he'd talked to his brother and his brother
was going to talk to Elvis' uncle, Vester Presley, who was
the main guard at Graceland. At this point, when he was
still alive, Elvis was not that big a deal. (Terrible as
it sounds, dying was the best career move he ever made.)
He was looked on as a recluse in Memphis.
still, this was Elvis. Mickey told me that Elvis' dad, Vernon,
was going to call me. Now Mickey is the guy who let me set
his hand on fire just to see if it would hurt, so I'm really
waiting on the call. I was living in Hendersonville, near
Nashville, at the time. I get home one night and Kay said
that somebody had called the house looking for me and his
name was Vernon Presley. I said, "Really?" She
said he sounded like an old man with a real southern voice
and I said well, he would be an old man with a real southern
voice. She said he'd call back tomorrow.
was going to Evansville, Indiana, the next day. I had to
leave around three o'c;ock. I got back and Kay said he's
called again. He said he'd call the next morning at ten
o'clock. I'm sitting there by the phone. Sure enough, Vernon
Presley called. "Jerry..."
was in double shock. For one, here was Vernon Presley on
the phone. And that also meant Mickey's brother Eddie was
really the president of the Elvis Presley fan club. Vernon
had talked with Elvis about the idea. He said Elvis would
like to do it. But he said Elvis was not really in very
good shape. He's started to work out because he's got a
tour coming up. When he comes off the tour, Vernon ssaid
he'd call me back and we'd figure out the details. He said
it would be a lot of fun. I said cool. I bet it was three
weeks later that Elvis died.
was really big into karate; he worked out with this karate
champion called Bill Wallace who taught martial arts at
Memphis State and he co-owned the Memphis Karate Institute.
He was a wrestling fan too. A guy called Mr. Coffee who
worked at the Ellis Auditorium for forty years used to let
Elvis in to watch the wrestling from the stage. Vester Presley
came every Monday night to the Coliseum for a long time
and he used to bring Lisa Marie to the matches when she
was four or five years old.
would have been great to have set up a program with Elvis.
But by the time we were talking about it, it was too late.
By 1977, Elvis was doing so many drugs. I guess he told
Dr. Nichopoulos, give me this stuff, or I'll buy a drugstore.
Dr. Nick would give him placebos and stuff but he also prescribed
thousands of narcotic and amphetamine pills for him in 1977
alone. His license got suspended for a while.
were all these stories about Elvis just before he died.
At night he had to wear diapers. He had a long flashlight
and before he got on one of his planes to go anywhere, he'd
get on the plane with the flashlight and look around. People
who knew him said Elvis was as nice a guy as you'd want
to meet but he was still real country, as country as you
could be. And he had the most magnificent complexion. Smooth