Have You Heard The News  (International)

Elvis - Inside Scoop

Today marks 30 years to the day since Elvis Presley flew into Madison for the last time, a visit that was less remarkable for the concert he gave at the Dane County Coliseum than for what happened when Elvis was en route to his hotel from the airport. Much has been written about Presley's last Madison stop -- he died just two months later -- but in the three decades since, one close witness has not gone on the record, until now.

Eric Schumacher, 52, today works at the Pyle Centre for University of Wisconsin-Extension. Thirty years ago, Schumacher drove the limousine that carried Presley from the Four Lakes Aviation terminal to the Sheraton Hotel near the Coliseum. He also picked up Presley at the Coliseum after the show. Schumacher is a Madison native and a 1972 graduate of Madison Memorial High School. In June 1977 he was working for Checker Cab, which owned one limousine.

"It was a 1964 Cadillac," Schumacher was recalling this week.

Checker Cab was in a sense a forerunner of today's Union Cab. In 1978, many Checker drivers walked off the job in a dispute with management. Checker shut down in January 1979, and a short time later the former drivers formed Union Cab. Schumacher was 22 and a night dispatcher for Checker when he learned the company had been contacted to transport Presley, who would be coming to Madison after a June 23 concert in Des Moines, Iowa. Originally, Schumacher says, the Checker manager assigned himself to drive Presley from the airport and to and from his performance. As it turned out, the manager could handle only one of those duties -- he drove the singer from the Sheraton to the Coliseum. A couple of days before Presley's visit, the manager told Schumacher that he -- Schumacher -- would be picking up Elvis at the airport and also after the concert. Schumacher was excited on receiving the news: "I thought it was really cool."

On the night he was to pick up Presley, Schumacher brought along and put under the seat several Presley singles in hopes the "King" might sign the picture sleeves. With Schumacher in the limousine was Madison police detective Thomas J. McCarthy, who was off duty but had been hired by Madison promoter Herb Frank to provide security for Presley.

Schumacher recalls the plane being late. "I had the limo right out on the tarmac," he said. A large crowd of Elvis fans had gathered behind a fence next to the runway. The plane landed around midnight. Schumacher said he stayed in the limo and watched as several people got out of the plane. Then there was a shriek from the crowd as Presley appeared.

"He was carrying a tumbler and appeared a bit unsteady," Schumacher said.

Schumacher recalled Elvis and several other people getting into the back of the limo. McCarthy sat up front. Schumacher said one of the others in the back of the limo was Elvis' father, Vernon Presley. (In an interview a few years ago, McCarthy told me the same, adding that Elvis' girlfriend, Elvis' father's girlfriend and another security guard also were in the car.)

"Nobody was talking much," Schumacher said. "I was driving along Highway 51, and several cars followed us from the airport. They were trying to get a look inside the limo, which you can't do."

Schumacher stopped for a red light where Highway 51 -- Stoughton Road -- intersects East Washington Avenue. It would become a famous stop, because while people can't see in a limo, the passengers can see out, and Elvis had spotted what he thought was an altercation at the Skylane Standard Station at 1506 N. Stoughton Road.

"It looked like the attendant was trying to get a reading on the meter to close the station," Schumacher said. "Another guy, who I think wanted to buy gas, was arguing with him." (The attendant was La Follette High School junior Keith Lowry, whose father owned the station.)

McCarthy recalled that there were two men arguing with the attendant. "They started shoving," Schumacher said. Suddenly Elvis declared: "I can't let that happen."

"You're not getting out of the car," McCarthy told Elvis.

"That isn't right," Elvis replied.

The stoplight turned green, and McCarthy turned to Schumacher and ordered, "Drive!" Schumacher started off, but he recalls Presley saying, "Hold up there, boy!" What do you do when the King of Rock and Roll gives you an order? Schumacher stopped the limo. Presley hopped out, with his security in pursuit. Schumacher stayed in the car, and recalls the scene as a bit surreal. "I remember wondering why he was getting involved."

As one might guess, Presley's appearance broke up the altercation. The gas station episode passed into legend when a young State Journal reporter named Tom Still got tipped and reported it on the front page. Back in the limousine, Elvis laughed and said, "Did you see the looks on their faces?"

Schumacher dropped off the singer and his entourage at a side entrance to the Sheraton. He never did get his record sleeves signed. Less than 24 hours later, Schumacher and his Checker limo were waiting at the Coliseum when Presley's concert ended. It was a quick ride to the Sheraton.

"He was wiping his face with a white hand towel that he left on the seat," Schumacher said. "I kept it for a few years, but I don't know what happened to it."

Thirty years later, does the driver remember anything else about his brush with a legend? "He didn't tip."

Source: Doug Moe, The Capital News

Posted: 24th. June. 2007 

HomeArchive (International)

Tomtop| Online shop| Online Einkaufen

QR code scanner| inventory management system| labelling| Kiosk| warehouse management|

banner| Backdrop| Bannershop| Ebanner| Eprint| foamboard| hk print| hong kong printing| Printing| Digital Printing|| backdrop| print100

DecorCollection European design furniture| sofa hk| sofas| beds| coffee tables| dining tables| dining chairs| sideboards| furniture hk| Cattelan Italia| Koinor

Addmotor Electric Bike| Electric bike shop / electric bicycle shop Electric bike review| Electric trike| Fat tire electric bike| Best electric bike| Electric bicycle/E bike| Electric bikes for sale| Folding electric bike| Electric mountain bike| Electric tricycle Mid drive electric bike| Juiced Bikes Pedego Rad-Power

地產代理/物業投資| 租辦公室/租寫字樓| 地產新聞| 甲級寫字樓/頂手| Grade A Office| Commercial Building / Office building| Hong Kong Office Rental| Rent Office| Office for lease / office leasing| Office for sale| Office relocation

Hong Kong Grade A Office Rental

Jardine House| Admiralty Centre| One Island East| One Kowloon| The Center| World Wide House| United Centre| Exchange Square| Ocean Centre| Lippo Centre

Wycombe Abbey| private school hong kong| English primary school Hong Kong| Wycombe Abbey School International schools hong kong|

edm| Mailchimp| Hubspot| Sendinblue| ActiveCampaign| SMS| 邮件营销| 電郵推廣| 邮件群发软件| Email Marketing| 搜尋引擎優化 SEO