Monday, January 9, 2012

"THIS CLOSE" TO ELVIS


When I was in high school, a beginner Elvis came to town. His song, “Heartbreak Hotel” was just starting to climb the charts. He was so young that acne was still a problem for him.

At the time I was going steady with Bobby who was a Ricky Nelson clone.  He not only looked like him but he could do a pretty wicked imitation of him singing.


When Bobby suggested we go catch Elvis's performance, I was only partially enthused. I liked Elvis's song but after all, I had my very own Ricky. Still, it would have been the first live performance of a popular singer for me so I said I would love to go.

Bobby played shortstop on the baseball team and had broken his leg in the last game so he was on crutches. Somehow to my teen brain, that added to his glamor. I was proud of my Ricky look-a-like, hobbling heroically on crutches and wearing his new letter jacket. Ah the superficial teens of the 50's.

So we went to see the baby King.


Neither pictures are mine. Compliments of Google images.

Now Elvis was appearing with someone else that had a much bigger song at the time and for the life of me I can't remember who that person was. The singer that I can't remember came on first and performed for about 15 minutes. He was pretty good though not in the genre I was used to. He was kind of rock-a-billy.

Then Elvis bounced onto the stage. First he sang "Heartbreak Hotel" which brought the house down, then he calmed us down with "Blue Moon." I hadn't heard that one before and it quickly became my favorite.

That was it. Two songs, a bit of wiggly hips and all over. I was feeling bummed but I really felt worse for Bobby. He had spent a lot of money on the tickets and our total entertainment time was under half an hour.

As Bobby crutched his way out of the theater, I raved about the performance so he wouldn't feel too gypped. Of course, we really didn't have any live performances to compare to at that time, so we thought half an hour might be standard. Not fair-- but standard.

As we got to the side walk in front of the theater, a girl I knew ran up to me and shouted, “Patti come quick, Elvis is French kissing all the girls at the stage door."

At that point I had yet to be French kissed by my boy friend much less a celebrity so I was tempted and curious. I looked at Bobby and he just sadly said, “If you really want to go, I'll wait here.”

What a guy!!  Not sure if he had been offered the same deal from Brigitte Bardot that I would have been so compliant.

I actually left him there propped up on his crutches and followed my friend down the alley. It was packed with eager girls and the line inched slowly forward. Soon I could finally  see his face with his very dark  hair hanging in his eyes. My what a wicked grin he had between kisses.  This was one happy fellow.

Not certain if it was the crowd still ahead of me or thinking about poor Bobby out there leaning on his crutches but I never made it to the stage door for a taste of Elvis.

I turned around before it was my turn and went back to my banged up boy friend. I had been “this close” to swapping spit with the King. However, as the saying goes, "close" only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

Several years later when the “King” became super human, I might have regretted my decision, but not that day. The relief on Bobby's face when he saw me coming back and finding out I was kiss-less, was worth it.

Have you ever turned down a tempting offer that was hard to refuse??

40 comments :

  1. Oh yes, have turned down something really good and did the right thing. Darn! What a choice to have to make. I still see pictures of my family doing fabulously fun things while I stayed at home and went to collage after a bad divorce. Well...step dad offered to pay their way too but not mine. :( But honestly, it paid off. I have a much better life now and the people I would have shared memories with are all dead. :( So....you win some you lose some. I love your posts.

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  2. For my money, Ricky Nelson was much, much better looking than Elvis. So did Bobby get the hint and give you that French kiss himself??

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  3. What a great story! And such wisdom in one so young at the time.

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  4. I remember seeing Elvis on TV (as close as I ever got) when I was a teenager. TV in those days was B&W and snowy, but I still remember wondering about all those screaming girls. Felt I must be missing something.

    But a chance to kiss him? Wow! I loved reading this and putting myself in your shoes...

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  5. What a wonderful story, Patti....Close, but no cigar---BUT, it was certainly the better choice for the rest of the evning---And, the future with your Bobby....

    The whole entire show was a Half Hour??? THAT was a real gyp! And for Elvis to just sing two songs---I was working Nightclubs at that time---there is no way you could only sing two songs and ever be hired again...! But I think it was already a different ball-game when it came to Elvis and Rock & Roll, in general.....

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  6. I hung on every word of your entry. What an exciting moment for you. You did do, however, what I would have done. No other guys kiss is worth hurting your loves heart, especially your very own Ricky...sweet entry.
    BlessYourHeart

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  7. Was it Carl Perkins that performed before Elvis?

    Well Elvis has gone down slightly in my estimations now, but I suppose french kissing is pretty tame when you think what the stars do with girls that wait back stage nowadays!

    I saw Ricky Nelson in concert, and he kept his good looks right up until his death. :)

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  8. Never have I turned one down this good. hahahaha Wow what a story. One I will think about all day today.
    My cousin turned down one with the King like you. When he was stationed in Fort Hood she worked at the local diner and one of Elvis's army buddies had a date with my cousins co-worker. He ask her if she would like to go he had a date for her. Of course he did not tell her it was Elvis and she turned it down.
    The next day Elvis came in with this guy and introduced himself as the one that got turned down. My cousin almost fainted and never got over it. She still has the glass he drank out of the straw and something else wrapped up and won't let anyone touch it to this day. hahaha
    You both have quite the memory of Elvis. I only got to see him once in Houston and still to this day love that memory.
    You though got to see the Elvis before Hollywood and his crazy agent got a hold of him.
    Love love this story. I wanted to write about him yesterday too since it was his birthday but can you believe I chose wallpaper instead. Sorry Elvis
    Love ya
    Maggie

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  9. Oh, what a story! I love it and wonder, of course, if Bobby made it up to you with one long kiss that night?

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  10. I just love that you turned down an opportunity to kiss Elvis. I was never a big fan of his, so that would have been easy for me. But if it had been George Harrison handing out kisses, I'm not sure I would have made your very loyal choice.

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  11. Oh my heck, I love your good girl story. Swapping spit with the King was within your lips.....hmmmm I think ya did good. Particularly with this Patti style post that made me smile. Oma Linda

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  12. Remind me to tell you the story of the boy I knew named Al Broadway who looked like Fabian. That's the 1950s Fabian not the guy on all the paperbacks these days.

    I never liked Elvis, but if you did I am sure you were thrilled to get so close to him. Hopefully, you weren't one of those girls who tossed her underpants on the stage. Dianne

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  13. I reread this and no I won't tell you if I ever turned down an offer that was almost tooo good to believe. I would have gone back to Ricky too, you did the right thing. Dianne

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  14. Hahaa ... loved this and glad to see you back posting.

    I was never around when a kiss was offered! but Duane Eddy stepped on my toe once and said scuse me... ;)

    AND Frank Gifford asked me to leave a party in Dallas to fly with him to New York for the weekend --- and I said no... I was having too good of a time where I was and didn't really even know who he was... my friends were screaming --- are you kidding me??? you just turned down Frank Gifford!!!

    And was told who he was. I said... well, I like the Cowboys..

    HAhaaaa... listen why leave a good party (like your Bobby) for a - who knows what would happen kinda thing --

    Ahhhh youth--- when we had choices

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  15. What a fun read this post was. I loved your story. You did the right thing. I wonder how many colds were exchanged that day.

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  16. Well looks like Elvis was just using the moment! Glad you went back to your guy! I was not that fond of all those events even the dating thing until a girl friend of mine set me up with a guy from college . We hung out for 8 months and then I got stood up for prom night. It took 3 years before I dated again, partly 'cause of my decision to get to Uni and work part time and look after mom and sibs 'cause dad was dead.

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  17. I don't think I've ever had such an opportunity. Fun story though.

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  18. I had a huge crush on both Elvis and Ricky back in the day! I'm sfraid that I would have been the one to leave my boyfriend to get in line and stay there! But then on the other hand, if said BF looked like Ricky, maybe not! Good choice, Patti! You were a wise young teen. What became of Bobby?

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  19. We may have had to laminate your lips! What a great story. I wonder what Bobby looks like now?

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  20. I never did--& probably never would have--turned down something as good as that. One day we were playnig golf right behind Jack Nicholson & he left a club next to the green. I returned it to him & he touched my hand & smiled as he thanked me. He was much sexier in person--I melted!

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  21. One of my best friends is a rock star groupie (she actually ended up marrying one!).

    Anyway, one night she scored tickets to Aerosmith. Concert was great and while I was driving home, one of the roadies called my cell phone and asked me to the after concert party. It seems my buddy was there and gave him my number. It was late and I was tired and I had to work in the morning, but I thought about it for a little while.....

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  22. Rita,
    Thank you, so glad you do. And it seems you made the wise choice for the long run if not necessarily the most fun one. We just can't see into the future.

    Olga,
    I totally agree with you. We did end up at the beach rather early since the show didn't last long which meant a longer necking time for him.

    RV Vagabonds,
    Thanks. Not sure if it was maturity or a real dislike of standing in line.

    Djan,
    I always thought it funny that they only showed him on TV from the waist up. Hip wiggles were a no no.

    OOLOH,
    The R & R reviews that came along later usually had about ten or more headliners. They would only sing a couple of songs each but with 10 at least it was an evening.

    Dar,
    Thank you so much. I totally agree with you. Bobby was a really sweet guy and the first to propose to me. I'm glad I made that decision.

    LLCool Joe,
    How did you do that? I wouldn't want to bet the life of a family member on it but I think you are absolutely right that it was Carl Perkins. Nice work.

    Grandma Yellow hair,
    Oh no. Your poor cousin. Now that would have hurt. A blind date with Elvis. She could have beaten Priscilla to the punch. At least she kept his DNA on the straw.

    Inger,
    Thank you and yes, he got more than normal since our evening ended so soon. That meant more time parking at the beach.

    robin,
    I agree with you. I always thought George was the best looking Beatle, not Paul that every one else liked best.

    Linda in NM
    So glad you enjoyed. It was fun to revisit.

    Dianne,
    Ha, nope, my undies came home with me. Yes I remember Fabian,he was gorgeous.

    islandwonder,
    Thanks, so glad you enjoyed.

    Carolyn,
    Wow, Frank was a great looking guy. Not sure I would have gone to NY with him but would have thought about it.

    Retired English Teacher,
    Now that is funny. I never thought about that. The invulnerability of youth I guess.

    KleinsteMotte
    Goodness what a jerk he was. Guess you were lucky you didn't end up with him.

    Linda,
    At least you were spared a decision.
    Thank you.

    Cheryl,
    His looks did play a big part. After posting this, I got curious and looked him up. He is still in the same town in a retirement village.

    Barb,
    Like I told Cheryl, I did look him up as I was curious also. May check some more. He was the first to ask me to marry him.

    Fishducky,
    Lucky you. I have seen him at tournaments and he does have a great smile.

    RMW,
    Those things do tempt and make us wonder especially as time separates the offer. When ever you see them perform, you look at them a bit differently.

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  23. What a wonderful story...an amazing memory to share ...I thought Ricky Nelson was cute but I really loved Elvis ...even when I watched his last performance on TV ...when he was ill and bloated ...there was some thing about him ...couldn't take my eyes off him ...yet they were overflowing with tears. When he died I just thought what a waste of a talent and a life ...and shed more tears.

    There are the odd things I have turned down and regreted ...but nothing like your experience.xx

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  24. Great post Patti!

    I have a running joke with two mail art/blogging friends in Australia...that Elvis is alive and well and lives in my basement! He even sends them Christmas cards! I actually named my oldest son after Ricky Nelson, but Ricky(45) now goes by Rick!

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  25. I have never been an Elvis fan...my daughter and hubby think I am nuts. There are several singer I prefer to hear over him and a lot of singers I think are better looking too. He is a good singer I guess but just not my type. I would have gone to hear Ricky Nelson before I would have Elvis. I enjoyed this post sweet Patti. If I had a fellow that looked like Ricky Nelson I would have preferred to stay with him and not go see Elvis at all. :) Hugs

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  26. Hi Patti, SO--you missed out on that kiss???? Oh Well---it's a good story to tell. I was never a huge Elvis fan ---but he really was talented...

    Glad you pleased your boyfriend that night... Bet you got a nice kiss from him!!!!

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  27. I knew I liked you! Way to go...I'm sure Bobby was a much better kisser anyway.
    Sandy

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  28. I had a friend with tickets to see Elvis ont Louisiana Hayride when it came to my hometown. My parent would not let me go. Next week one of his hits, I think Blue Suede Shoes hit #1, it might have been Heartbreak Hotel.

    I really felt deprived. that's as close as I got to see in in real life. The rest was movies and TV.

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  29. I only saw Elvis in his later career. He came here to do a concert but was so intoxicated that he fell getting on stage. My husband was a police officer and actually helped get him on stage and back to his hotel. It was sad to see him in that condition.

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  30. Oh, Patti, how could you have held this one back for so long? It's a gem!

    MUCH better than being close at horseshoes!

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  31. Nah...never got close to anyone, but Willie Nelson once. I just waved and he waved back.

    This is a sweet post and shows much about your character. It was fully formed by the time this happened and you have turned out well.

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  32. Ohh Patti- I'm jealous! I always thought Ricky Nelson was dreamy, but Elvis Presley was a much better singer- especially his gospel music. Can't believe you walked away from a lip- smack with ELVIS, but I would have done the same thing!!

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  33. Angie,
    It really was so hard to see the man deteriorate right before our eyes. Just a shame.

    Wanda,
    Ha, you have both my fellows covered. Elvis isn't really in your basement is he?? :))

    Mumsy,
    Thank you so much. I liked Ricky's looks better also.

    Betsy,
    Actually, I never appreciated Elvis till much later. I thought he was just OK in the early years.

    Nitwit,
    Aww, I am sorry you didn't make it. I'll bet you would have gone to the stage door.

    Olkhdan
    His last years were just painful to watch. He was so out of control. Quite an experience for your hubby though.

    marylee,
    I just remembered it when someone mentioned his birthday. Thanks, glad you liked it.

    Amber Star,
    My goodness, Willie Nelson. That man just keeps going year after year. Glad he waved back. That was neat.

    Southwest Arkie,
    Ricky was really cute but his early singing style of singing without having any facial expression was odd.

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  34. I suppose kissing the King would have been a feather in any young girl's bonnet but so glad you made the right decision and returned to Bobby.

    I remember waiting outside a stage door in Norfolk VA for Old Blue eyes after a concert when he was still an unknown. I think I was 14. He wasn't offering kisses, though.

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  35. What a story, Patti! Good for you to leave the kisses of Elvis and went back to Bobby! He must have been a nice guy!
    I didn' t like Elvis very much. Never listened to his records or saw his movies. And all those screaming girls... Silly! I was a real snob at the time. ;)

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  36. Fun post! I remember hearing Mary Tyler Moore talking about her past and she said she was the only leading lady in the Elvis movies who did NOT sleep with the King, and she paused briefly and said 'what was I thinking?! It's fun to look back on those kind of things and wonder what you'd do differently now...

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  37. I think Google is one of the best things going. I often watch TV with my laptop on hand...

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  38. Wow! What a story, Patti! You've just showed us the sort of wonderful character you have in thinking about Bobby with Elvis there almost within reach. Thank you for sharing this fun memory with us so beautifully.

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  39. Kay
    Thank you, it really was fun to revisit.

    I Wonder Wye,
    Now that is funny. And you are so right, years add demension to our decisions.

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