Rex Martin's talks about his friends, Maria & Gladys Davies

January 2009


Read EIN's fascinating 4 part interview with Rex Martin   

Maria & Gladys turned up for ‘my very first Elvis event’ at a Pub out in the isolated Gloucestershire Countryside in North Cerney . (In 1969) I was amazed at the time that someone would come so far, to a venue miles from anywhere in a Little Village. (She had seen a letter I had published in Record Mirror about Elvis that had a small Advert about this event) This was just the first indication of their love loyalty and support for everything Elvis.

Thus our long friendship developed….

I know Tony and Winifred Innes (Because of Maria) who attended the taping of the NBC ’68 special –at the time Unique for seeing and meeting Elvis. (They retired in Blackpool , very close to my home about 6 years ago) – In the late 1960s they were very good friends with MARIA and GLADYS DAVIES.

(Sadly Gladys past away in 2007. Maria (now 81) recently moved from her long time Home ‘Casa Genova’ in Blundellsands near Liverpool to Maidenhead - she recently auctioned some of her Elvis Treasures in London – She also owned an Elvis Black Suede Fringed Jacket which she brought to many Elvis Events and gatherings in the early ‘70s ).

They went to the August 1969 +February 1970 Vegas and the Six Elvis Houston Astrodome shows March ‘70 and August 1971 Vegas seasons seeing 38 concerts in Total. (Maria typed up the very first long detailed reports of Vegas 1969 plus the second and third trips also – at the time she posted them out to Close Fans and Friends. I’m not sure how many, but probably only in the 100s. The 1969 report was also reprinted a little later in Wendy Murton’s ‘Exclusively Elvis’ a small magazine she published for a while in Leeds .

A friend ‘John Andrew’ and I used to drive up together and stay for Weekends at Maria’s home during this same period. I used to take a Reel-to-Reel Tape machine of all the latest Audience tapes and we had many long chats together about Elvis in Vegas and those early 70s concerts – till the early morning hours (We all loved her famous Milky Coffee’s!!!!!!!!!) –John and myself always enjoyed and looked forward to these trips.

At Houston they managed to see Elvis in Daylight, just down a Car Ramp part of the Astrodome Complex and took some great pictures. In 1970 it was my Portable 3” diameter Spool Mono-Tape machine she used at the Houston Astrodome (cassette machines didn’t come out until the following year) – the original tapes are good quality, it’s just that the sound acoustics in such a Gigantic Venue Echoed all over the Place and as far as the film she took goes the stage was right out in the middle of the field and because of the Rodeo part of the day show, the large inner circular area didn’t have any floor seating – Maria and Gladys had front row seats but they still needed binoculars to see him.

The 200 feet of film she took (by the way 50ft of Super 8mm film lasts for 3 minutes 20 seconds) is mostly distant, even when Elvis jumps off and walks partly around the revolving 180 degree clockwise, then 180 degree anti clockwise stage. Elvis on entering the arena is in a Red open top Jeep type vehicle (similar to after arriving in Hawaii) which drives round the outer perimeter of the Rodeo Area, with Elvis standing up next to the driver and Waving at the audience as he whizzes past before dropping him off by the Stage. Which is the closest Shot of Elvis film on the Reel? Maria allowed me to have a first generation copy from the original film. (Thanks again Maria)

She continued to attend all my Cheltenham film festivals at Easter and at other times and places through the 70s and also helped in Ticket Promotion for the several times I took my Elvis shows up to Liverpool. The last show in the late 1970s, LEN AND ROSEMARIE LEECH from New Jersey attended to retell some of their Elvis Adventures and made available a lot of close-up Elvis Concert picture sets. (While staying with me in Blackpool )

I would like to comment on Peter Guralnick “Careless Love” Elvis Book - on page 348 paperback edition the only part of Maria’s report he uses is her description of Sammy Shore and the Sweet Inspirations. I’m sure fans reading the upcoming account on EIN by Maria, would have used any of the ELVIS parts she relates in so much detail other than the only parts ‘Careless Love’ uses. Also page 370 he only partly comments on Elvis’s final night, from the long Account Maria gave and the News reports I published in my Weekly, and Sue Wiegarts book FOR THE GOOD TIMES. All three of us give far more complete details of this most important First Season for Elvis – And if you have all these reports plus Christine Hayes USA opening week show reports, and Ann Moses (Tiger Beat) they all give far more Elvis’y details that C.Love. (see the one line credits on Pages 698~699) – Although I didn’t supply any of my News Service to Guralnick, he continues through the ’70s Elvis shows, to give very one-sided – one line quotes of the Long Multi Page Reviews my Elvis Weekly Service reported on by myself and the many good fans who wrote countless long and detailed Elvis accounts.

I would like to wish Maria all the best in her new Environment and Home in Maidstone with her great Elvis Memories…

By the way a new re-print of Sue Wiegarts FOR THE GOOD TIMES BOOK (1978) is now available again from her Blue Hawaiians Fan Club magazine in West Hollywood, along with Volume 2 of her PRECIOUS MEMORIES book (1989). Both a great read with many superb memories of Elvis in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

I also have a lot of my WORLDWIDE ELVIS NEWS SERVICE WEEKLY’s Original Back Issues from 1973 to 1978 still available. (around 180 + different Numbers) E-Mail – REX.MARTIN57@YAHOO.COM (No pre issue # 101 and back though – at present)

Hope everyone enjoys reliving all of the above, sincerELy……… . R e x .

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