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A date with Elvis

Sun Jun 30, 2013 10:38 am

This account of a double date which went wrong was written by Elvis’s cousin Gene Smith for the sequel to his book "Elvis’s Man Friday" (Light Of Day Books).

Elvis and I were 16 years old. Elvis was driving Uncle Vernon’s 1941 Lincoln Cosmoppolitan. Elvis and I had a date with two black girls who lived close to the Courts, Debra and Joyce. They were first cousins. Joyce was visiting from Chicago. We picked up Debra and Joyce one evening and drove to a deserted industrial area. We did not drive there because it was a make-out spot, but just to be left alone and so I could entertain with my impersonations of radio celebrities.

On the way back, Elvis was laughting so hard at my animal imitations, he went off the road and the Lincoln got mired in mut. He tried to drive it out and we tried to throw wood and rags under the wheels but just went deeper into the ditch.

All of a sudden, a Memphis police department prowl car pulled up and Elvis and I piled back into the Lincoln. Two big white cops put a spotlight on us and the officer on the driver’s side asked, ‘What the f**k are you doing out here?’ Elvis said, ‘Just riding around after choir practice, sir.’ They got out of the squad car and one of the cops said, ‘What are you doing riding around with them in your car?’ Elvis said, ‘We were just practicing gospel together, sir. We are not bothering anybody.’

I kept quiet as one of the officers put the beam of his flashlight in my face, then on Joyce, who was in the back with me, squeezing my hand so hard I thought she would mash it into mush. She and Debra were both crying quietly; they had heard all the horror stories. Elvis and I thought we were going to get beat up real bad.

The tallest cop thrust his face toward Elvis and said, ‘I do not want to ask for your driver’s license. And I do not ever want to see your pimply face around here boy – because If I do – your mama won’t recognise you.’ Then his partner said, ‘Your boys better get them gals outta here.’ Elvis said that was what we were trying to do but our back wheel was stuck. The taller cop took a length of heavy duty chain from the trunk and stood there staring at us.

I thought we were going to the beaten with chains and killed. To our relief, he made a show of tying one end to our front bumper and the other to the rear of the prowl car. The cops told Elvis to pull his car out of gear and then they pulled us out of the clitch. Then they unfastened the chain and drove away. Joyce whispered, ‘Thank you Jesus.’ Elvis said, ‘Amen.’

First published in the book "The Rough Guide To Elvis".

Re: A date with Elvis

Sun Jun 30, 2013 12:34 pm

Winston wrote:This account of a double date which went wrong was written by Elvis’s cousin Gene Smith for the sequel to his book "Elvis’s Man Friday" (Light Of Day Books).

Elvis and I were 16 years old. Elvis was driving Uncle Vernon’s 1941 Lincoln Cosmoppolitan. Elvis and I had a date with two black girls who lived close to the Courts, Debra and Joyce. They were first cousins. Joyce was visiting from Chicago. We picked up Debra and Joyce one evening and drove to a deserted industrial area. We did not drive there because it was a make-out spot, but just to be left alone and so I could entertain with my impersonations of radio celebrities.

On the way back, Elvis was laughting so hard at my animal imitations, he went off the road and the Lincoln got mired in mut. He tried to drive it out and we tried to throw wood and rags under the wheels but just went deeper into the ditch.

All of a sudden, a Memphis police department prowl car pulled up and Elvis and I piled back into the Lincoln. Two big white cops put a spotlight on us and the officer on the driver’s side asked, ‘What the f**k are you doing out here?’ Elvis said, ‘Just riding around after choir practice, sir.’ They got out of the squad car and one of the cops said, ‘What are you doing riding around with them in your car?’ Elvis said, ‘We were just practicing gospel together, sir. We are not bothering anybody.’

I kept quiet as one of the officers put the beam of his flashlight in my face, then on Joyce, who was in the back with me, squeezing my hand so hard I thought she would mash it into mush. She and Debra were both crying quietly; they had heard all the horror stories. Elvis and I thought we were going to get beat up real bad.

The tallest cop thrust his face toward Elvis and said, ‘I do not want to ask for your driver’s license. And I do not ever want to see your pimply face around here boy – because If I do – your mama won’t recognise you.’ Then his partner said, ‘Your boys better get them gals outta here.’ Elvis said that was what we were trying to do but our back wheel was stuck. The taller cop took a length of heavy duty chain from the trunk and stood there staring at us.

I thought we were going to the beaten with chains and killed. To our relief, he made a show of tying one end to our front bumper and the other to the rear of the prowl car. The cops told Elvis to pull his car out of gear and then they pulled us out of the clitch. Then they unfastened the chain and drove away. Joyce whispered, ‘Thank you Jesus.’ Elvis said, ‘Amen.’

First published in the book "The Rough Guide To Elvis".


Unfortunately, it's very unlikely Elvis went on an interracial date in 1951, and even less likely an interracial double-date with his cousin Gene, escorting the other girl.

Re: A date with Elvis

Sun Jun 30, 2013 9:08 pm

drjohncarpenter wrote: ... it's very unlikely Elvis went on an interracial date in 1951 ...

Yes, that is true but the cousins of Elvis must also live.

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 2:22 am

Winston wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote: ... it's very unlikely Elvis went on an interracial date in 1951 ...

Yes, that is true but the cousins of Elvis must also live.


Not sure what you mean here?

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:21 am

Winston wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote: ... it's very unlikely Elvis went on an interracial date in 1951 ...

Yes, that is true but the cousins of Elvis must also live.


Pardon? Could you please rephrase that. Don't understand.

----------

As to the story, well, I don't recall Gene being mentioned, but a member here (no idea who) a couple years ago told a very similar story he said he saw related on television in the 1980s. Told, apparently, by a cop!

In what this person said he saw on TV, it was much as described, but across the Mississippi border (which I thought very odd, considering).

A double-date, flashlights, cops. 2 white boys, two black girls. But I think he said Elvis was somewhat older.

He said he saw it on TV, not in a book. And that he didn't tape it. This the only similar story I have since heard.

I wish I could find the post. It was a good while back.

If that member, who saw this on TV, is still here, please come forward! I do not remember your username. A search would be very difficult.

rjm

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Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:58 am

This is what you are remembering rjm:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55222&hilit=police#p975156
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55222&hilit=police&start=25#p975251

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:08 am

TJ wrote:This is what you are remembering rjm:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55222&hilit=police#p975156
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=55222&hilit=police&start=25#p975251


Thanks for the links.

They help to confirm my suggestion the story is false, as this member is well-known for flights of fancy when it comes to Elvis history.

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 7:33 am

No prob.


Does all seem pretty flimsy.

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 8:06 am

drjohncarpenter wrote: ... Not sure what you mean here ...

rjm wrote: ... Don't understand ...

I mean that there are many stories around that could be doubted. Members of Elvis's milieu think they must tell a story and get paid for. Nobody knows exactly if is true or not. That is the same with all the "Friend"-Books. What could I believe and what not. Hard thing IMO.

@TJ, thanks for the links.

Re: A date with Elvis

Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:08 pm

Winston wrote:
drjohncarpenter wrote: ... Not sure what you mean here ...

rjm wrote: ... Don't understand ...

I mean that there are many stories around that could be doubted. Members of Elvis's milieu think they must tell a story and get paid for. Nobody knows exactly if is true or not. That is the same with all the "Friend"-Books. What could I believe and what not. Hard thing IMO.


It's not that hard. The more you read, the better you are able to separate fact from fiction. It also helps to have a solid basis in the general history of the time period. Sometimes memories can be fallible, but a keen historian knows when to accept, reject or reinterpret what is written.

In your example, very few white southern teenagers went on double-dates with African-American teenagers in 1951. It simply wasn't done. And knowing the generally narrow views held by many members of the Presley and Smith families adds even more doubt to the anecdote. Finally, this event is certainly something Elvis would have recalled and shared with others, and yet not a single person has ever mentioned it.

So, there you go.