The King's son keeps flame alive in Ohio

Steve Penhollow
The Journal Gazette

Since Elvis Presley purportedly passed away in 1977, he has been seen by the faithful in Laundromats, doughnut shops and Australian discos.

Anyone still on the hunt might like to direct their attentions “down at the end of lonely street,” or dead center of sparsely populated Ohio 703 in rural Ohio.

They may find an approximation of what they are looking for, although it is up to each person to decide precisely how approximate.

Dreamland, the Elvis Presley Museum, opened in July. The man who runs it, owns the noteworthy memorabilia in it, and performs a dinner theater show at it has long claimed to be the illegitimate son of the King of Rock ’n’ Roll.

Apart from his helmet of black hair, Elvis Aron Presley Jr. looks nothing like Presley.

Some might suggest he looks a little bit more like an illegitimate Belushi.

But Presley Jr. sounds a lot like Presley Sr. when he sings.

Presley Jr., 45, claims he is the product of an illicit union between Presley Sr. and a bit player named Angelique Pettyjohn on the set of “Blue Hawaii.”

Pettyjohn is perhaps best known as one of the more memorable of the many female aliens who seduced Capt. Kirk on “Star Trek.”

Presley Jr. says Presley Sr.’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, arranged a hush-hush adoption involving two married circus performers named Anna and Jacob Stanic.

So Presley Jr. grew up learning to handle the big cats and did not learn his true parentage, he says, until his 18th birthday.


“He became the youngest animal trainer at the age of 12,” says Jim Highley, Presley Jr.’s manager. “He almost lost a leg and both arms. He was bit through his skull. He speaks seven languages.”

Highley says Presley Jr. proved in court that he is Presley Sr.’s son in the mid-’80s and won the right to use the King’s name, but he says he doesn’t know the exact circumstances.

Presley Jr. says the official Presley estate has never acknowledged him.

“If they did, then they’d have to give me half of everything,” he says.

Col. Parker admitted the truth in private, Presley Jr. says, and there is a photo hanging in the museum of Parker and Presley Jr. looking chummy.

Calls to Presley Enterprises in Memphis, Tenn., were not returned this week.

At least a dozen people have publicly claimed to be Presley Sr.’s unacknowledged offspring since his death.

There’s a man about 13 years older than Ohio’s Elvis who also allegedly got his name legally changed to Elvis Presley Jr., and there was an Elvis Presley Jr. who ran for the Nashville, Tenn., city council in 1991, making no claims of parentage. He apparently changed his name for the publicity.

Presley Jr. knows many people are going to be incredulous about his claims, and it doesn’t bother him.

All he asks is that they reserve judgment until they see him perform.

“I didn’t grow up by his side,” Presley Jr. says. “So there will always be skeptics. At my age, I am past caring. I just want people to come out and see the show.”

Toiletries allegedly owned by Elvis which are now on display at Dreamland
Highley says a dozen Presley fan club members from Cincinnati came out to see Presley Jr.’s show not too long ago, and they were not prepared for their reaction. “The fan club president came up to me afterward and said, ‘We came here to mock and criticize. But the minute he spoke and started to sing, we knew he was – in fact – the son of Elvis,’” Highley says.

Presley says he had a conversation early in his career with Frank Sinatra Jr., a conversation that proved prophetic.

“I went to visit him before his show and he said, ‘Everyone who is here is not here because of me. They’re here because of my father. You will deal with that the rest of your life.’ And he was right.”

Presley Jr. says he can’t really call himself a fan of Presley Sr.’s music.

“I do his music. I listen to it so I can learn it. But I am not a fan. You would not see any of this stuff in my home.

“I’m a nature person. I enjoy mountains and lakes. You will not see me dressed up like this out of this place,” Presley Jr. says.

“But you do enjoy it?” Highley asks.

“I enjoy doing the show because I have to,” Presley Jr. says.

“But you enjoy meeting the people,” Highley says.

“Yes, I enjoy meeting the people,” Presley says.

Presley Jr. owns several of Presley Sr.’s flashier outfits, but he would never wear such garb when he performs.

Presley Jr. prefers to dress all in black.

“People come out here expecting to see someone in a jumpsuit and instead they get Wayne Newton,” Presley Jr. says. “I can’t be my father. I’ve got to be myself.”

Comment on this article


DVD: Colonel Parker
Film: Elvis Killed My Brother
CD: Elvis A Legendary Performer Vol. 7
DVD: A Tribute To The King (Scotty Moore)
Book/CD: Memphis Recording Service
Book: Elvis and the Memphis Mafia
CD: All Shook Up (reggae tribute)
Book: The King's Ransom
Book: The King (graphic novel)
'Elvis On Tour Outtakes' DVD review
'Hitstory' CD EIN in depth review
CD: Hitstory (USA edition)
FTD: Summer Festival
DVD: Born To Rock
Book: Elvis Aaron Presley: A Candle In The Wind
FTD: Too Much Monkey Business
Book: Desert Storm
Book: Elvis On Stamps
FTD: Elvis Today
Book: Behind The Image Vol. 2
Book: Elvis on Screen
DVD: Elvis & Me
FTD: All Shook Up
FTD: Tickle Me
CD: Elvis by the Presleys
Book: Warman's Elvis Field Guide
DVD: Why Elvis?
Book: Dewey and Elvis
CD: Black & White Elvis
CD: All Shook Up
Book: Rough Guide to Elvis
FTD: Rockin' Across Texas
FTD: Elvis Is Back
TV Special: "Elvis by the Presleys"
Book: Elvis by the Presleys
CD: Tom Green
CD: A Legendary Performer Vol. 5
FTD: Big Boss Man
FTD: Flashback
FTD: Paradise, Hawaiian Style
CD: I Remember His First Love Song
FTD: Polk Salad Annie
DVD review: Aloha From Hawaii
CD: Elvis At Sun
DVD: Comeback Special
FTD: Elvis Recorded Live In Memphis
FTD: Spinout
Book: Elvis Fashion
Did you miss?
CD review: The Greensboro Concert
FTD review: Girl Happy
Article: Political correctnesss and intolerance in the Elvis world
Article: All you ever wanted to know about Graceland
Interview: Larry Geller
FTD review: Viva Las Vegas
CD review: Close-Up
Debate: Is Elvis Alive?
Article: The pitfalls of re-mixing The King