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the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:49 am

I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:20 pm

Sonny West. She allegedly said "son, what are you on?"

Don't know year. There appears to be some corroboration for an unnamed "actress" asking Vernon questions. (Rose Clayton's oral history) I have to go get the book, but Elvis was this sweet, nice young man until he went into a room with a doctor, and emerged tiger-like. When I read Sonny's account, I figured it was her.

She was apparently there in 1970. She had problems with Desi, Jr., and was an anti-drug firebrand due to that. And she had a big mouth.

Thanks for asking! I want to hear what others think, but was afraid to ask.

rjm

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:08 pm

Lucille Ball would know about someone with addiction problems due to personal experiences she had in her own family:
Desi Jr. on drugs
Desi Sr. an alcoholic
She herself an alcoholic
she should talk ! !......... :wtf:

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:21 pm

Mister Mike wrote:I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?

Seems a little far fetched for August/Sept 1970... if that is in fact when it reportedly occurred.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:41 pm

maybe she was a guest at the show that we have on "vegas variety volume 5". now that is a weird elvis, even though it was just 1970.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:02 pm

Lucy certainly had the guts and nerve to say such a thing and maybe noticed some similarities between Elvis and her son who had some drug issues. Shy, she was not. She called it as she saw it all the time.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:25 pm

I remember reading this in Sonny West's book.

I don't recall Sonny giving a specific date or year just telling the story.

I would guess that it happened after 1972.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:33 pm

Mister Mike wrote:I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?




Well done lucy ! if elvis had more people that was around him saying these things maybe he would have thought about what he was doing to himself !!!

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:06 am

rocknroller wrote:
Mister Mike wrote:I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?




Well done lucy ! if elvis had more people that was around him saying these things maybe he would have thought about what he was doing to himself !!!


Elvis showed Lucille Ball the door rather quickly.

He didn't sit and ponder what she was saying.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:09 am

brian wrote:
rocknroller wrote:
Mister Mike wrote:I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?




Well done lucy ! if elvis had more people that was around him saying these things maybe he would have thought about what he was doing to himself !!!


Elvis showed Lucille Ball the door rather quickly.

He didn't sit and ponder what she was saying.



Unfortunately our man was a bit of a knob at times !!!

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:36 am

Mister Mike wrote:I remember reading somewhere that Lucille Ball had been invited to Elvis' suite in Vegas after one of his performances and that she hadn't been shy in expressing her opinion that Elvis seemed "in trouble" (with drugs). Apparently Elvis got wind of this, got mad and made it known that she should never be invited back ever again. Is that pretty much the story? What year did this happen?


You likely read about it back in 2007, in Sonny West's Elvis: Still Taking Care Of Business. Memphis Mafia pal Marty Lacker was asked about the story back then, on the alt.elvis.king discussion board:

> Marty, In Sonny West's new book, he says that even Lucille Ball
> confronted Elvis about his drug use and she was summarily shown the
> door. Were you there when this happened? If so, how did this go down?

No, I wasn't there but that's the way she was. She was pretty brassy and said what was on her mind, she felt she was around showbiz long enough to allow her to do that.

It doesn't surprise me that she was shown the door but I'm sure it was done in a nice way. The door that is. Elvis didn't care who you were if you confronted him that way, he would be nice to your face but he'd tell one of us to get rid of the person.

alt.elvis.king › Marty, Lucille Ball calls Elvis out about his drug use?
https://groups.google.com



An acquaintance told me of seeing Elvis with his mom and dad on the last weekend of the summer 1970 engagement at the International Hotel, and there in the line to be seated in the showroom was TV legend Lucille Ball with husband Gary Morton. This would be Friday, September 5 or Saturday, September 6, possibly the dinner show on Saturday night.

Ignoring some of the uncouth comments made about Lucy on this topic, it is a fact that Ball was a straight shooter. Besides her incredible success as a TV comedienne, Ball was also the first female head of a major TV production studio (Desilu) that churned out many hit programs; she was not afraid to be forthright, especially if there was a genuine concern.

Another fact is that after the first week of Presley's engagement when the MGM cameras left, and especially near the end of the month, Elvis began giving odd, sloppy shows. Fans like Rick Rennie saw extend songs way too long, him fall on stage, and get booed -- all because of what appeared to be inebriation -- and widely-read Las Vegas columnist Ralph Pearl flat-out reported seeing Elvis drunk on stage. It was an early warning sign of our hero's boredom with Las Vegas.

To Err is Human Dept.: It happened several nights ago to Elvis Presley at the International during one of his shows. The lad, who has set all kinds of fabulous attendance records, rarely drinks. But this night he did, and was pleasingly inebriated when he worked the midnight show. Suddenly a heckler began annoying Elvis, who took it for about five minutes until he snapped at the drunk, "Shut up, you Mother ------."

- Ralph Pearl, Las Vegas Sun - Sunday, September 7, 1970


So, it is not a surprise that Lucille Ball asked him about his well-being after the September 1970 show she attended. As noted, her own son had issues with drug abuse, and she was old enough to be Elvis' mom as well. She cared.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:22 am

I agree she knew what she was talking about and did care. If more people echoed what Lucille Ball said to Elvis it might have helped.

Elvis was getting bored with Vegas and working midnight shows didn't help the situation either, made it worse.

Elvis performed two shows a night -- at 8 p.m. and midnight for a month-long stretch at a time. Blackwood said he'd usually get to bed about 3 a.m. but sometimes the group would be up all night.

1970 - Elvis Presley should have been doing a world-tour instead of working at the International Hotel.

Image

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Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:45 am

EPA4368 wrote:I agree she knew what she was talking about and did care. If more people echoed what Lucille Ball said to Elvis it might have helped.

Elvis was getting bored with Vegas and working midnight shows didn't help the situation either, made it worse.

1970 - Elvis Presley should have been doing a world-tour instead of working at the International Hotel.

Image

Image



This was the problem with Elvis. If you confronted him about the drugs he just got rid of you. According to Marty, it was the real reason he fired Red and Sonny, because they (especially Red) were confronting him about the drugs. He pushed Marty away as well for the same reason. That's why I will never fault them for writing the book because it was the only way they could ever really confront him. There were only 3 people who could have helped Elvis; The Colonel, Vernon and Priscilla when she was married to him and they did very little. Cilla and Vernon are the only 2 who could have legally forced him into treatment.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:14 am

eligain wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:I agree she knew what she was talking about and did care. If more people echoed what Lucille Ball said to Elvis it might have helped.

Elvis was getting bored with Vegas and working midnight shows didn't help the situation either, made it worse.

1970 - Elvis Presley should have been doing a world-tour instead of working at the International Hotel



This was the problem with Elvis. If you confronted him about the drugs he just got rid of you. According to Marty, it was the real reason he fired Red and Sonny, because they (especially Red) were confronting him about the drugs. He pushed Marty away as well for the same reason. That's why I will never fault them for writing the book because it was the only way they could ever really confront him. There were only 3 people who could have helped Elvis; The Colonel, Vernon and Priscilla when she was married to him and they did very little. Cilla and Vernon are the only 2 who could have legally forced him into treatment.


Did Marty ever say why the entire mm didn't confront Elvis at the same time - all together?

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:30 am

EPA4368 wrote:
eligain wrote:
EPA4368 wrote:I agree she knew what she was talking about and did care. If more people echoed what Lucille Ball said to Elvis it might have helped.

Elvis was getting bored with Vegas and working midnight shows didn't help the situation either, made it worse.

1970 - Elvis Presley should have been doing a world-tour instead of working at the International Hotel



This was the problem with Elvis. If you confronted him about the drugs he just got rid of you. According to Marty, it was the real reason he fired Red and Sonny, because they (especially Red) were confronting him about the drugs. He pushed Marty away as well for the same reason. That's why I will never fault them for writing the book because it was the only way they could ever really confront him. There were only 3 people who could have helped Elvis; The Colonel, Vernon and Priscilla when she was married to him and they did very little. Cilla and Vernon are the only 2 who could have legally forced him into treatment.


Did Marty ever say why the entire mm didn't confront Elvis at the same time - all together?


Marty has said that Elvis pretty much got rid of or pushed away all the original guys and the ones that were left and the new guys were more "yes" men that had no interest in confronting him and possibly losing their position on the gravy train. The only one that was still there that it seems he let confront him and he still kept him there was Billy

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:23 am

eligain wrote:This was the problem with Elvis. If you confronted him about the drugs he just got rid of you. According to Marty, it was the real reason he fired Red and Sonny, because they (especially Red) were confronting him about the drugs. He pushed Marty away as well for the same reason. That's why I will never fault them for writing the book because it was the only way they could ever really confront him. There were only 3 people who could have helped Elvis; The Colonel, Vernon and Priscilla when she was married to him and they did very little. Cilla and Vernon are the only 2 who could have legally forced him into treatment.

It quickly became obvious to all that confronting Elvis about his "medications" was off limits. His reaction to Lucille Ball's comments was a perfect example. If you wanted to stick around, you didn't go there. Being in denial, the subject angered him and Elvis in a foul mood was the last thing the guys around him wanted to suffer through (because, by all accounts, he was not a pleasant person when in a bad mood. It reached a piont, towards the end, that the first thing one wanted to know was what kind of mood he was in.)

My thanks to all who provided details on the "Lucille Ball incident". Much appreciated. :smt023

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:12 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:An acquaintance told me of seeing Elvis with his mom and dad on the last weekend of the summer 1970 engagement at the International Hotel, and there in the line to be seated in the showroom was TV legend Lucille Ball with husband Gary Morton. This would be Friday, September 5 or Saturday, September 6, possibly the dinner show on Saturday night.

-----

Another fact is that after the first week of Presley's engagement when the MGM cameras left, and especially near the end of the month, Elvis began giving odd, sloppy shows. Fans like Rick Rennie saw extend songs way too long, him fall on stage, and get booed -- all because of what appeared to be inebriation -- and widely-read Las Vegas columnist Ralph Pearl flat-out reported seeing Elvis drunk on stage. It was an early warning sign of our hero's boredom with Las Vegas.



I know I used the "thank" button, but really: thanks for this information.

I'm not sure he was exactly "drunk," though -- I doubt it was alcohol. Not that he didn't drink, or mix it with drugs, which he undoubtedly did - a little.


drjohncarpenter wrote:Ignoring some of the uncouth comments made about Lucy on this topic, it is a fact that Ball was a straight shooter. Besides her incredible success as a TV comedienne, Ball was also the first female head of a major TV production studio (Desilu) that churned out many hit programs; she was not afraid to be forthright, especially if there was a genuine concern.


When I said she had a "big mouth," I meant it as a compliment. His own mother would have said the same thing. And then some.

(But she went through some really serious stuff with Desi, Jr. I remember her on morning TV in the early 1980s, talking about it, angered. If she ever drank, it did not compare to what she went through with her husband and son - and her son did drugs, and was in the music biz. Which is, I guess, what she saw happening with Elvis. Lucille Ball was older than either of Elvis's parents, so to her, he was just a kid. And she saw trouble that maybe Vernon didn't quite see as she would, as she was in show business, and Vernon really wasn't. In that other book, the Rose Clayton oral history, the "actress" is said to have spoken to Vernon about her observations. And, as I recall, it was in the suite. {I'll get the cite and quote soon as possible.})

rjm
Last edited by rjm on Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:45 pm

rjm wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:An acquaintance told me of seeing Elvis with his mom and dad on the last weekend of the summer 1970 engagement at the International Hotel, and there in the line to be seated in the showroom was TV legend Lucille Ball with husband Gary Morton. This would be Friday, September 5 or Saturday, September 6, possibly the dinner show on Saturday night.

-----

Another fact is that after the first week of Presley's engagement when the MGM cameras left, and especially near the end of the month, Elvis began giving odd, sloppy shows. Fans like Rick Rennie saw extend songs way too long, him fall on stage, and get booed -- all because of what appeared to be inebriation -- and widely-read Las Vegas columnist Ralph Pearl flat-out reported seeing Elvis drunk on stage. It was an early warning sign of our hero's boredom with Las Vegas.



I know I used the "thank" button, but really: thanks for this information.

I'm not sure he was exactly "drunk," though -- I doubt it was alcohol. Not that he didn't drink, or mix it with drugs, which he undoubtedly did - a little. Sure would like to see what Ralph Pearl wrote.


drjohncarpenter wrote:Ignoring some of the uncouth comments made about Lucy on this topic, it is a fact that Ball was a straight shooter. Besides her incredible success as a TV comedienne, Ball was also the first female head of a major TV production studio (Desilu) that churned out many hit programs; she was not afraid to be forthright, especially if there was a genuine concern.


When I said she had a "big mouth," I meant it as a compliment. His own mother would have said the same thing. And then some.

(But she went through some really serious stuff with Desi, Jr. I remember her on morning TV in the early 1980s, talking about it, angered. If she ever drank, it did not compare to what she went through with her husband and son - and her son did drugs, and was in the music biz. Which is, I guess, what she saw happening with Elvis. Lucille Ball was older than either of Elvis's parents, so to her, he was just a kid. And she saw trouble that maybe Vernon didn't quite see as she would, as she was in show business, and Vernon really wasn't. In that other book, the Rose Clayton oral history, the "actress" is said to have spoken to Vernon about her observations. And, as I recall, it was in the suite. {I'll get the cite and quote soon as possible.})

rjm


There's that scene in TTWII right before he goes on stage and he's sipping a tall glass of water. He says that it's pure vodka. I always thought he was joking but maybe he wasn't?

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:45 pm

Mister Mike wrote:My thanks to all who provided details on the "Lucille Ball incident". Much appreciated. :smt023


Any time.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:47 pm

rjm wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote:An acquaintance told me of seeing Elvis with his mom and dad on the last weekend of the summer 1970 engagement at the International Hotel, and there in the line to be seated in the showroom was TV legend Lucille Ball with husband Gary Morton. This would be Friday, September 5 or Saturday, September 6, possibly the dinner show on Saturday night.

-----

Another fact is that after the first week of Presley's engagement when the MGM cameras left, and especially near the end of the month, Elvis began giving odd, sloppy shows. Fans like Rick Rennie saw extend songs way too long, him fall on stage, and get booed -- all because of what appeared to be inebriation -- and widely-read Las Vegas columnist Ralph Pearl flat-out reported seeing Elvis drunk on stage. It was an early warning sign of our hero's boredom with Las Vegas.



I know I used the "thank" button, but really: thanks for this information.

I'm not sure he was exactly "drunk," though -- I doubt it was alcohol. Not that he didn't drink, or mix it with drugs, which he undoubtedly did - a little. Sure would like to see what Ralph Pearl wrote.


Las Vegas Sun columnist Ralph Pearl's report is quoted in my post.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:47 pm

eligain wrote:There's that scene in TTWII right before he goes on stage and he's sipping a tall glass of water. He says that it's pure vodka. I always thought he was joking but maybe he wasn't?


He's joking. It's water.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:51 pm

eligain wrote:
There's that scene in TTWII right before he goes on stage and he's sipping a tall glass of water. He says that it's pure vodka. I always thought he was joking but maybe he wasn't?



Elvis had many problems ! but i don't think alcohol was one of them !!!

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:10 am

drjohncarpenter wrote:
To Err is Human Dept.: It happened several nights ago to Elvis Presley at the International during one of his shows. The lad, who has set all kinds of fabulous attendance records, rarely drinks. But this night he did, and was pleasingly inebriated when he worked the midnight show. Suddenly a heckler began annoying Elvis, who took it for about five minutes until he snapped at the drunk, "Shut up, you Mother ------."

- Ralph Pearl, Las Vegas Sun - Sunday, September 7, 1970




My apologies, Doc. You had the direct quote and citation right there. I guess I rearranged your original response - for convenience, and missed the direct quote. (I couldn't see it later that night, on the little Kindle screen that I use late at night.) One shouldn't mess with the quote function so liberally. And now, I remember, very well, reading it the first time! :oops: :sosorry: {That is one sad looking smiley!}

-----
While I think it was drugs, not alcohol, (unless the columnist actually smelled it, or saw it, which I doubt), Elvis's conduct during this time is very disturbing, because for one thing, it almost makes the film seem like a kind of "lie." They were deliberately attempting to "recreate" what it had been like just a year earlier, and apparently Elvis just could not wait, for whatever reason, to throw it away. Throw the whole Comeback away. That is really getting to me - I've loved that film since I first saw it on TV. (I believe it was '75.) It will be hard to watch it now, for a while, anyway.

Being that it was still early September, I just can't work it out in my mind what was going on with him. Drug abuse usually doesn't escalate so quickly, and by all the other evidence, it did not. It was a process going from 1971 to 1973, and while it's clear that there were problems in late '70, this is just a lot to take in. It really is. Because something made him "go off," and engage in this terrible conduct. (Because he did get himself together after this, surely, for the time being.)

I know, of course, about the paternity suit, and the death threat, but I still don't think that can account for this.

I kept thinking about it, and I felt like it perhaps wasn't really as bad as it appeared, but perhaps he was trying to shout to those closest to him: "STOP ME!" Before, that is, it got so bad, it couldn't be stopped. I just don't know.

rjm

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:45 am

My view is that Elvis' strange behavior after the film was shot was down to the death threat and paternaty suit. To me these were the inital triggers that started his slow decline over the next seven years. Did he take more pills because of these things, likely that's the case. Meaning that they were an easy crutch to go to in a time of stress.

I do think that Elvis could have gone the other way and kept up his healthy ways of mid 1968 to mid 1970 had Vegas not become such a pattern. Had he not been feeling somewhat trapped already, if he had a fullfilling marriage, a caring manager, less people with their hand out, maybe he could have used these situations to make himself stronger. After all he always had done so before.

He did seem to rally for the 1970 tours, but when the process server got to him on 11-14, it obviously effected him. He still did a killer job and seemed straight, but you can tell how sensitive he was to it. It was part of his makeup to have a temper, but there was a real sense of hurt there. By bragging the way he was, I feel it was like he was trying to convince himself that he was OK. If the auidence clapped maybe he could fool himself into thinking life was going his way. The 1974 monologs act the same way. Obviously his problems were far deeper by then, his behavior less controled, but they serve the same purpose. If he could get the auidence on his side, maybe it helped him lie to himself about his illness, as addiction is an illness.

It could have gone up or down from 1970, it was a crossroads. If the Ball incident did happen then, its pretty clear that he was still together enough to have won the battle against chemicals had that been his choice. By the time he was in real trouble after Aloha, it was probably too late.

Re: the Lucille Ball incident

Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:02 pm

RJM I wouldn't let the decline rob you of enjoying Elvis' best later work. Just because he had problems doesn't mean he wasn't a hell of an entertainer in the early seventies After 1972 things were spotty, but he had moments like "Promised Land" without any sense of impending doom to them. This doesn't apply so much to the the last 18 months when the end is in clear sight, but even then I can enjoy a show like 12-31-76 or a record like "Way Down" with no problem. Going all the way back to 1970, he still had so much to offer.