Rare. Never-before-seen. Wow!
That's how a newly discovered photo of Elvis Presley was described in Thursday's Herald. Reading the Associated Press article over breakfast, and seeing the 1972 image of a caped King of Rock 'n' Roll at Madison Square Garden in New York, I had to laugh.
Then I had to go check. Yep, Elvis was still in the house.
Before leaving for work, I managed to find my prized Presley picture. It was tucked in an envelope of photos of my late father-in-law, David Muhlstein.
In the late 1950s, David Muhlstein was news director for a Dallas radio station, KLIF. There's a mention of him in a book called "Gordon McLendon: The Maverick of Radio." McLendon owned KLIF, and in the early '50s had pioneered the top-40 music format at the Texas station.
All I know about my Presley photograph is second-hand information, stories from my late husband and his mom. Apparently the young Elvis dropped by the radio station one day to promote a new single -- I don't know which one. Found in boxes of my husband's stuff were several Presley 45 rpm records from the 1950s and early '60s. They're marked "not for sale," so they likely came from the radio station.
The picture has no date on it, but I know my father-in-law worked at KLIF in 1958 and 1959, when Presley would have been 23 or 24. Perhaps a publicity shot, the photo shows a dreamy Presley, with the slightest hint of a lip curl, in all his "Hound Dog" glory.
My father-in-law is on the right in the picture, and looks to be waiting for the star to sign an autograph. I don't know who the two men are on the left; both appear to be thrilled by the encounter. All the men are wearing the era's white shirts, skinny ties and big-shouldered jackets.
Whenever I look at it, I wish that photo could come to life. I'd love to hear the banter between the King and the man who died before I met his son.
The wire story touting the newly found 1972 pictures reported they were taken by George Kalinsky, Madison Square Garden's official photographer. He recently found more shots of a Presley performance than he knew he had.
With permission from Elvis Presley Enterprises, part of Presley's estate, one of the photos is now on a billboard in New York's Times Square.
Kalinsky's photos will be displayed at Graceland, the Presley mansion in Memphis, Tenn., over Memorial Day weekend.
Although never seen at Graceland, my photo was displayed for years in a hallway in my late mother-in-law's house in Arcadia, Calif., near Pasadena. It was hung, framed, alongside all the family graduation, wedding and baby pictures. I remember a few heated talks between my husband and his siblings about who'd end up with the Elvis picture. Finally, one sister had copies made for all of them.
When I went to find the picture Thursday, I was half surprised I still had it. Knowing that my 21-year-old musician son has a few kitschy Elvis items, I thought maybe the photo had become part of his collection. Ah, but it's still mine.
Reading about never-before-seen Presley pictures, I wondered if they're really all that rare. If I have Elvis in an envelope, how many others do?
1963's "It Happened at the World's Fair" was set in Seattle. Anybody out there have a Kodak Brownie snapshot of Presley being kicked in the shin by 10-year-old Kurt Russell?
There must be hundreds, even thousands of never-before-seen Presley pictures. The New York discovery is just the thing to flush them out. Seeing that young, cool Elvis, I couldn't resist. I'll go first.
Do you have a snapshot of Elvis Presley? To share it with Herald readers, contact Julie Muhlstein at 425-339-3460 or firstname.lastname@example.org
2008/04/11 By Julie Muhlstein, Herald Columnist
Posted: 12th. April 2008