Just before his incredible 1961 Memphis benefit shows, Elvis met the local press.
It would be Presley's last Memphis press conference for almost ten years, but he sure had fun doing it. Below is a very good transcription from a very poor audio recording that remains from this afternoon chat.You may read about the stunning performances here:
February 1961 Charity Shows -> Mysterious!
Afternoon Press Conference
Hotel Claridge, Memphis, TN
Saturday, February 25, 1961
Listen --> Here!
(Elvis jokes) I guess you wonder why I called you here...This is a recording session if you want to ask questions.
Yes sir.I'll kick it off and apologize to you for the first question, but everybody wants to know, how's your love life?
Well, it's, uh, it hasn't progressed any. It's about like it was, nothing serious. I'll let you know if anything comes up, couldn't hide it anyway (laughs).Do you think your career may make you wind up being a bachelor at 70?
It's hard to say really, I wouldn't think so. It's just that, uh, it's just, I'm not ready for marriage yet, that's all. And until I am, I'm not gonna attempt it. But, uh, it wouldn't be because of a career. It's just that I just, I'm not ready for it and I haven't found anybody that I care that much about, really.Elvis, your personal taste in music, has it changed from rock 'n' roll to what we call a little more commercial, better music? Do you think your personal taste is changing?
(Laughs) Uh, no, I haven't changed. I've always liked all kinds of music. I mean, I don't just like rock 'n' roll, I appreciate all types of music, really, but I have to do what I can do best, you know. So, uh, I do the rock 'n' roll.Elvis, what could you tell us about the mysterious death of your cousin who died in bed?
Are you planning on going back to Hollywood soon?
Well, I got another picture starting on about the 25th of March.What type of picture is it?
It's a kind of a drama. It's called, uh, "Blue Hawaii," and that's all I know about it right now.What is your favorite record, what you think you've done best?
I think that my favorite record, of the ones I recorded, is "Now or Never." It's sold more than anything else, uh, next to "Don't Be Cruel." "Don't Be Cruel" is still, uh, my biggest seller to date.Do you know many have sold of "Now or Never"?
It's sold, "Now or Never" went, a little over 4 million, I think.How many has "Don't Be Cruel" sold?
Around 6 million. (pause) Next? (laughs)I understand that you've sold 75 million records. Has this set some sort of a record for the record business?
I wouldn't know, I wouldn't know really, uh, I think that includes everything, all the albums, all the, everything combined.Is that all for RCA Victor?
Right, all for Victor. But I don't know anything about it setting any kind of record. What type role do you enjoy playing, would you like to play some more dramatic roles? What type do you enjoy?
Well, I would like to play a dramatic role, but I don't, uh, I'm not ready for that either, really. I haven't had enough experience in acting and again, until I'm ready for it, it would be, it would be foolish to undertake something very dramatic.What about your musicals, like "Loving You"? That was one of my favorites.
Well probably so, honey. Actually, it's up to the studio, mostly. But you can rest assured that there'll be music in almost all of them. There has to be.When will "Wild in the Country" be released?
May or June, I think.Elvis, have you filled out your income tax?
Uh, I think my accountant has, Mr. Fisher. He takes care of that.Have your eating habits changed since you went into the Army ...
No ma'am, I ...... since you came back, are you eating starches and fatty foods as you did before?
I still eat pretty much the same thing. Kinda got used to it, it's hard to change over now.What record are you planning on releasing next?
I haven't made it yet, I haven't recorded yet, I couldn't tell you.How come they haven't released the soundtrack to "Flaming Star" on EP or a single?
I don't know, I think they felt that it wasn't quite commercial enough to release (laughs). I don't know really, it's left up to RCA Victor.Elvis, are you going to move to Hollywood eventually or are you going to stay here?
No sir, I'll stay here. (applause) I've got a house leased out there, but it's just, it'd be back and forth really. But I'll always keep my home here, as long as I can.Elvis, uh, are there any new enthusiasms? The last time we talked, you told me you were very excited about karate.
I still practice quite a bit.Any other?
No sir, nothing new has come along, nothing. I don't have much time, really.You think that your own personal pleasures have changed at all in the last few years, are you still skating and doing that sort of thing as much, or are you slowing down a little bit on that type of thing?
Well, we still skate a little, break boards (laughs).How about ice-skating, have you ever tried ice-skating?
No ma'am, I never tried ice-skating. But I still do, still do pretty much the same thing. I don't do it as much, because since I've been out of the Army I haven't had much time, you know, I've been pretty busy. Been going from picture to picture.You been to the place on the lake that your father has, you planning to spend any time there?
Well, I'd like to, uh, we're thinking about either building a little cabin out there or getting a house trailer. One of the two. I'm not sure which one yet.Which one of your movies do you think you did the best job of acting in?
"King Creole," I think.What?
"King Creole."Elvis, why aren't you on TV more?
Well, because of the movie contracts that I have, uh, I'm pretty well tied up in movies right now and, uh, too much television kinda hurts movies a little bit.Do you like personal appearances, movies, or TV best?
Well, I like personal appearances best, although I don't know about today, because I haven't been on stage in a little over three years and I've almost forgotten a lot of the words to the songs I used to do.Have you ...
And I haven't had much of a chance to rehearse with the band.You go from here out to Hawaii in March to do the picture and also a benefit of some sort?
Right, we're doing a benefit for the battleship Arizona.You haven't been on stage in three years, are you a little bit nervous?
Yes sir, I don't mind admitting I am. But when I did the Frank Sinatra show in Florida, I wasn't nervous, I was petrified! I was scared stiff. (laughter)When you released your first record, did you think you would have such a successful career as you've had?
No, I don't think anybody did, did we, Mr. Phillips? (laughs) I don't think so. Nobody had any idea, really.Did the Frank Sinatra, get back to that, did those people on Frank Sinatra Productions, did they give you an ample opportunity to perform that evening?
Oh yeah, sure, but the moving and the shaking I did on that show wasn't from music, it was from being scared. But they gave me plenty of time, you know, yes sir, it was very nice.You don't think you needed more than six minutes in an hour show?
Well, it would have been all right with me if I had just walked out and walked off. (pause) Is there anything else I can't answer?What about your cheeseburgers?
I don't eat many cheeseburgers any more.Elvis do you smoke yet, regular or menthol?
I smoke a cigar every once in a while.How about, do you drink?
No. (pause) No. That is, when the Colonel gives me a cigar, and it's very unusual.How long will you be in Memphis?
We'll be leaving sometime around the 18th of March, Mr. Johnson, as far as I know.How many gold records have you received in all?
I've got, uh, 34, 34 gold records.You've got, does it make you happy that you've got more gold records than anybody else?
Yeah, it makes me and the government very happy. (laughs)Elvis, since I've been following your career since its inception, I wondered do you have in your mind some enthusiasm for a particular type of song, or kind of music that you haven't yet recorded, that you have a lot of enthusiasm and ambition to do?
Well, uh ...Is there something special in your mind that you want to do yet, with everything you've done?
Well, it definitely is, but I don't like to press my luck too far, I don't like to, uh, I don't like to take chances, you know. As long as I'm doing okay now I don't want to, I mean why change it, you know, until I got reason to change it? If what I'm doing now, if nobody, it doesn't go over any more, then I'll have to change and do something. But, uh ...Are you hard to please, in making the selection of your wardrobe?
Uh, not especially, uh, not especially because I don't know that much about clothes. It doesn't make any difference really.Now Elvis, you have become a little bit more conservative.
Well, you get a little older, you know? (laughter) That's like the sideburns, they were okay for a while, but you outgrow 'em.Miss 'em?
The sideburns? Not especially, no. The army took care of those.What about (inaudible)?
If I answered that, I'd lose a lot of fans. (laughter)How about the rumor about Nancy Sharp?
Need an answer right away? (laughter) No, I don't know, it was just one of those deals, you know, I just dated her for a few times. It's kind of funny, you go out with a girl and, uh, a couple of times and it's a "big romance," you know. They had me married a couple of times. I was down on, uh, I was down on Wilshire Boulevard one night and I was in the lobby of a theater, some people said, "I thought you were in Mexico City on your honeymoon." And come to find out there was, in a Mexican paper, that I was eloped and was coming there to get married. And they even had a hotel suite reserved and all that stuff. And I didn't even know the girl I was supposed to be married to. Things like that happen.Elvis, most show people have superstitions, do you have any particular superstitions?
Well, I'm pretty superstitious about certain, are you talking about black cats and things like that?I was just wondering if you had any particular ones, beliefs.
No, just little things, like breaking mirrors, and, uh, photographers. (laughter) Who said that? That's your line!Elvis, do you still consider Anita Wood "just a friend"?
Well, yeah. I mean, uh, I see her quite a bit, but it's nothing really, really serious. I see a lot of people quite a bit. (pause) The photographers are taking pictures of each other now. (laughter)Elvis, do you do much thinking ahead ...
Quite a bit ...... or do you let things take their course? What do you see as your place in the entertainment world ten years from now?
Well, uh, I'll tell you Mr. Johnson, I wouldn't say, because the entertainment world is so unpredictable and people change and times change, it would be hard to say really. I wouldn't try to answer that, because, the only thing I can say is that, uh, I'm trying to make it in acting, you know? And it takes a long time, a lot of work, a lot of experience, but I'm trying to make it that way, and if I can get established that way, I'm okay. But I don't know how long the music, the music end of it will last, I don't know how long I'll last, I've got no idea, really.Well, you only have two personal appearances, concerts planned. Do you plan to go barnstorming again in the future?
Well, the Colonel could probably answer that better than I, there's nothing planned right now, I know that eventually we've got to do a European tour, to all these countries like, that presented these awards and things, you know, but I don't know exactly, are we going to be doing any ...Tom Parker:
We're waiting for offers.
He said that. I didn't say that.What's your weight now, Elvis?
180.What were you when you came out of the army?
175, when I came out. I've gained about 5 pounds.Elvis, you lead such a hectic life, I imagine. Do you ever wish you could just take your money and get away from it all?
The devil won't let me take my money. No, I enjoy it, uh, anytime I want to be alone, I can be, you know.Well I know it must be pretty hectic.
But these are the type things that you take advantage of while they last. You know, you take advantage of it because you might not have it later, and you'll miss it, you know, you miss the people, you miss all the razzle-dazzle and so forth, but I have a pretty good time. And so forth.Always feel like home when you get back to Memphis?
Yes sir, it does. (laughs) It sure does. That's one of the reasons that I keep a home here because, I mean, I like California, I like to work there. When a picture's over it's, I look forward to getting out of there and coming back home. And also I'm right near Tupelo and I know a lot of people down there, the same old crowd that I was raised up with still live there in the same houses. I was down there about three weeks ago and the wind had blown the sign down, they got, where that youth center is being built, they got a big sign up, and the wind had blown it down and we tried to put it back up and it fell on us. There was three of us trying to lift it back up and the sign fell on us.When do you anticipate the youth center being built?
I couldn't tell you, it's going to take a lot of money. But it will be, eventually, I couldn't say when.We know, uh, the population at Graceland is increasing.
(laughs) Well, we got a couple of little mules.How about the dog?
He's still there.Is that the bassett hound that you appeared on TV with?
No, uh, that was Frank Sinatra's dog. He's givin' me answers. No.How many cars you got, Elvis?
I have four. Two of 'em are, uh, two of 'em are new, two of 'em are, one of 'em, the pink car was the one that uh, my mother liked, you know, above all, so that's why I kept it and another one, Is that a Cadillac?
Yes sir, it's the first one I ever owned.Elvis, do you still like sports cars?
No sir, not especially. I had one in Germany and they can get you in a lot of trouble, especially if you're in the army. (pause) You run out of tape?How many songs you going to sing this afternoon?
I believe around twenty, yes. I just do the, uh, biggest ones, you know, the older ones, if I can remember the words to 'em. (laughs)What's been your greatest thrill in show business, Elvis?
Well, it's hard to say, uh, I've had quite a few things happen, but I can't name any one instance that, uh, stands out really. I guess, I would imagine, when I got the first gold record, because that's something I never thought would ever happen.What was it?
"Heartbreak Hotel," yes. (Photographers invited to come up for photos, press conference ends)
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Last edited by drjohncarpenter on Sun Mar 24, 2013 12:56 am, edited 1 time in total.