by Mary Jane Cullumber
Sean Shaver © On the set of Charro
It was a warm and sultry night in Scottsdale. My energy drained from a bad day at the office, all I could think of was relaxing in front of the television for the rest of the night. Then my husband made a casual statement... "A girl at work who lives in Apache Junction announced that she had seen Elvis' car parked out in front of the Superstition Inn. " All of a sudden I was re-energized like I had just awaken from 10 hours of peaceful sleep. I began to ask every question imaginable... he couldn't answer one before I would have another asked. I was so excited I couldn't believe it. Elvis right here in Arizona to film his new movie, " Charro. "
We made plans right then and there to drive out to Apache Junction on that coming Sunday. I don't know how I made it through the rest of.the week. We drove out about noon Sunday and stayed until the sun in all its splendor set in the west. Needless to say, it was without a sign of Elvis. There were small groups of people gathered here and there swimming, diving, guitar playing, and singing. Others were strolling to and fro between their rooms and the restaurant, but no where could we see Elvis. I had never been so disappointed.. , but I wasn't going to give up. A couple of friends of mine and myself went back out that following Tuesday. We sat by the pool and everyone that came by stopped to talk to us. We met wardrobe men, stunt men, and actors as they came back from the set. Everyone was so friendly and kind.
They had nothing but nice things to say about Elvis. They each went their own way and wished us luck.
Cullumber © Scottsdale,
AZ July 1968
It got to be after 11 p. m. and still no sign of Elvis... but the word was that he was still out on the set. So we sat there jumping up everytime we heard a car, a voice, or saw a car light. Then all of a sudden, there he stood! Elvis... right in front of me. He had a beard and wore a rustic cowboy hat, red scarf, shirt sleeves rolled up twice, dirty blue jeans, a wide leather band around his left wrist, and of course cowboy boots. We asked if we could take some pictures and have his autograph. Here is where my love for him deepened. We had already found out that he had been out on the set since before ten that morning and it was after eleven thirty now.. and he says, " Sure." He is just a beautiful person. Joe Esposito was with him carrying a suitcase and when Elvis said yes to our requests, Joe sat himself down on the suitcase and patiently awaited Elvis.
Cullumber © Scottsdale,
AZ July 1968
There was a couple there with their child and they asked if Elvis would mind holding her while they took his picture. Elvis said he didn't mind, but the little girl didn't want any part of it. So they took a picture of Elvis alone. We took several pictures of him alone and then one of each of us with him. He gave us his autograph and was just so unhurried, I felt as though we could have stayed there forever and he wouldn't have minded. My one friend asked his something about Humes High School and he answered her, but you know, for the first timein my life I was in shock. I was actually speechless. We filed out of the parking lot and walked toward his rooms. Joe was first, then Elvis, one of my friends behind him, and my other friend and myself followed.
It must have looked ridiculous because Elvis started to sing " Hup two, three, four, " like he did in "G. I. Blues. " We all cracked up with laughter. We shouted our thanks to him as he climbed the stairs to his room and departed from our sight. We managed to make it to the restaurant at the Inn and collapsed inside. All the occupants knew we had completed our mission by just looking at us. We had that dazed look on our faces stating I really can't believe it... I really can't believe it. But it did happen and we had photos to prove it. It was really fantastic and we were the envy of the entire office because no one was fortunate enough to see him but us.