In the wonderful world of Elvis Presley fandom, there's always more.
Unflagging interest in all things Elvis means that even 30 years after Presley's death, there are more stories to hear and more images to see. In that sense, the King is definitely not dead.
Two weeks ago, after reading an Associated Press story about newly discovered 1972 Presley concert photos, I shared a picture I have. It shows Presley in the 1950s, when he apparently visited the Dallas radio station KLIF. My late father-in-law David Muhlstein, a radio news director there, is standing right next to Elvis.
Seeing that was all it took to coax a few Herald readers into sharing their personal Presley pictures. I also heard from far-flung Elvis fanatics, who sent theories about my photo. A Danish gentleman, Brian Petersen, is such an Elvis aficionado he believes he can precisely pinpoint the date of my picture -- Aug. 10, 1956. Another e-mail directed me to a message board where Elvis fans guessed at the timing of my photo based on Presley's sideburns.
My goal was to find other candid shots.
Diane Woodall's snapshot may be the fuzziest of the bunch, but the Everett woman has a good story to go with it. Her mother, Arlene Dinsmore, worked at the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. She was there while Presley was filming "It Happened at the World's Fair."
Along with the picture her mother took -- Presley flanked by police officers -- Woodall sent a statement her mom wrote about the scene.
Dinsmore wrote that during the time Presley was at the fair, "September Fourth to the 17th, 1962," he was walking to the Seattle Monorail one day with two police officers. "I rushed up to him and grabbed his arm and told him I had two daughters who would like his autograph. He very kindly signed two World's Fair postcards for me," she wrote.
In 1999, Woodall's mother went so far as to have her statement, with the Presley picture attached, signed and stamped by a notary public.
The story behind it may be a riddle, but the photo Mark Hibbert sent looks to be a sharp-looking Elvis posed with a hotel maid -- to me, that maid looks pretty nervous. Hibbert of Marysville said the picture was taken by his late grandmother, Wynn Barry, who was a beautician at Seattle's posh Olympic Hotel.
Describing Barry as quite a character, Hibbert said she lived an elegant life in San Francisco before divorcing and moving here. At the Olympic, she once styled the hair of opera star Maria Callas, among other famous clients. During the Seattle filming of "Cinderella Liberty," Hibbert said, his grandmother landed his brother, Scott, a role as an extra in the 1973 James Caan movie.
About the Presley photo, though, Hibbert is short on details. Searching the Internet, where Elvis Web sites trace an almost day-by-day history of Presley's life, I could find no mention of him being in Seattle in 1966 -- the year marked on the photo's border. Along with his 1962 World's Fair visit, Presley sang at the old Sicks Stadium and in Tacoma on Sept. 1, 1957. HistoryLink.org, an online encyclopedia of Washington state, puts Presley in Vancouver, B.C., and in Spokane on Aug. 31, 1957.
Perhaps Elvis made an unreported Seattle visit, or Hibbert's grandmother photographed him on her travels elsewhere. "If my grandmother saw Elvis, she would have pinned him down," said Hibbert, who runs a Marysville music studio, Whiskey Ridge Recording.
In the mid-1960s, Hibbert played bass guitar in a successful local band, Axis Drive. The band was a regular at Seattle's Warehouse Tavern, and once backed up Bobby Sherman. It was hardly Elvis fever, but Hibbert recalls girls throwing jelly beans at the band.
Retired KJR disc jockey Danny Holiday, who lives near Stanwood, sent me a picture of Presley taken with Holiday's mentor and close friend, Red Robinson.
Taken at Vancouver's Empire Stadium on Aug. 31, 1957, the day before Presley played Seattle, it shows a 22-year-old Elvis with Robinson, then 20. Robinson, who emceed the Vancouver concert and is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is still heard on Vancouver's CLEAR-FM, 104.9, every Saturday night.
A half-century ago, Holiday said he went with his parents to Vancouver to see Elvis. "The Vancouver show only lasted 20 minutes because the crowd rushed the stage," Holiday said.
In the summer of '57, Presley's "Teddy Bear" had been a No. 1 hit. With the smoldering look of a star at his peak, Presley posed with the fresh-faced Robinson while holding a cute prop, a plush toy bear.
"Red still has the bear wrapped in plastic," Holiday said.
By Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist
Posted: 28th. April 2008