Red West passed away July 18, 2017

  • I just don’t have the words but my prayers go out to the family and loved ones.
  • To be continued…

PRESS RELEASE:

  • Courtesy of Hollywood online
  • Red West, a boyhood friend and member of Elvis Presley’s “Memphis Mafia” who appeared in many of the singer’s movies as well as in Road HouseBlack Sheep Squadron and Goodbye Solo, has died. He was 81.

West died Tuesday at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis after suffering an aortic aneurysm, his wife, Pat, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper.

West appeared as a stuntman/actor on dozens of episodes of CBS’ futuristic Western series The Wild Wild West in the 1960s and a decade later had a regular role as Sgt. Andy Micklin on another Robert Conrad-starrer, NBC’s Black Sheep Squadron.

He portrayed Red Webster, the owner of an auto parts store who gets his revenge against Ben Gazzara’s character, in the Patrick Swayze classic Road House (1989) and was Sheriff Tanner in the Walking Tall movies released in 1973 and 1975.

As a leading man, West garnered acclaim when he played an old-timer who forges a friendship with a Senegalese cab driver (Souleymane Sy Savane) in director Ramin Bahrani’s North Carolina-set drama Goodbye Solo (2008).

A native of Memphis, West played football in junior college, served in the U.S. Marines and became a Golden Gloves boxer and karate instructor. He first connected with Presley when both were students at Humes High School, he recalled in a 2008 interview.

“Elvis was always different,” he said. “We had crew cuts and wore T-shirts and blue jeans; Elvis had the long ducktail, the long sideburns, and he wore the loud clothes and naturally was a target for all the bullies. One day luckily I walked into the boys’ bathroom at Humes High School and three guys were going to cut his hair just, you know, to make themselves look big or make them feel big or whatever, and I intervened and stopped it.”

After Presley began his recording career, West served as his driver and then worked as one of his bodyguards for years. Meanwhile, he appeared alongside Presley in 18 films, including Flaming Star (1960), Blue Hawaii (1961), Girls! Girls! Girls!(1962), It Happened at the World’s Fair (1963), Viva Las Vegas (1964) and Live a Little, Love a Little(1968).

West also wrote or co-wrote such Presley songs as “Separate Ways,” “If Every Day Was Like Christmas” and “If You Talk in Your Sleep” and worked with singers Ricky Nelson, Pat Boone and Johnny Rivers as well.

One year after he was fired by Presley’s father and two weeks before Elvis’ death on Aug. 16, 1977, the tell-all book Elvis: What Happened?, co-written by West, was published and became a controversial best-seller.

West, who studied with the acclaimed acting teacher Jeff Corey, also appeared in at least two movies filmed in his hometown — Francis Ford Coppola’s The Rainmaker (1997) and Ira Sachs’ Forty Shades of Blue (2005) — and on a 2011 episode of the TNT series Memphis Beat.

His film résumé also included Two for the Seesaw(1962), The Americanization of Emily (1964), The Legend of Grizzly Adams (1990), Natural Born Killers(1994), I Still Know What You Did Last Summer(1998), Cookie’s Fortune (1999) and Glory Road(2006), and on TV he was seen on BonanzaMannixGet SmartThe Six Million Dollar ManThe Fall Guy and Nashville.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Pat — who was one of Elvis’ secretaries — and sons John and Brent.

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Rare 1972 video Elvis receiving 2 gold records

Via YouTube comes this exceptionally rare video of Elvis (1) showing off his humor while trying to tie the LARGEST tie of all time and (2) receiving two gold records from RCA for Elvis’ Madison Square Garden album and for the 45 single “words” which was written by one of the Bee Gees.

Enjoy:

Elvis Presley’s Jaycees Award & Speech 1971 (rare footage = WOW)

Elvis Presley was nominated, and won, the coveted award from the Jaycees and here are the details courtesy of usjayceefoundation.org;

The inaugural class of TOYM recipients in 1938, announced in January 1939 by Future Magazine, still ranks as one of the most famous. Included were: George Gallop, pollster; Elmer Layden, football coach; Howard Hughes, business and aviation; Douglas Corrigan, aviation; and Rudy Valee and Orson Wells, entertainers. A 1939 TOYM group was never selected but in 1940 and every year until 1973 a TOYM group was selected for a year and recognized the next year. There were no winners for 1972. In 1973, the TOYM event was revised to honor the designates for the current, rather than the previous year. Because of this change, there were no winners for 1972. Since 1973, the tradition of recognizing outstanding young people for the year in which awarded has continued.

Currently, candidates must be United States citizens, age 18 through 40, who exemplify the best attributes of the nation’s young people, the Jaycee Creed and dedication to a better nation. Thousands of nomination forms have been distributed each year before judging panels reduce the field to 20 candidates and then select the final 10. Currently the awards program is conducted each year in March at the United States Jaycees National Meeting.

To understand the magnitude of the award in the eyes of those who have received it consider this story: Elvis Presley TOYM 1970

Accepting the Jaycee Honor “Terrified Presley” read the headline in the Memphis Press-Scimitar. The “King” was shakin’ backstage, but no tin the manner that most people would have thought, as excerpts from the newspaper story show:

“Elvis Presley stood in the wings at the Auditorium in memphis on January 18, 1971, and admitted he was ‘terrified.'”

“He was perspiring profusely and his head was hanging low as he awaited his turn on stage as one of the United States jaycees 10 Outstanding Young Men of America for 1970.”

“‘I’m scared to death.’ he told Frank C. Taylor, chairman of the Outstanding Young Men (sic), who reminded the superstar that he had appeared hundreds of times before much larger crowds. ‘Yeah but not like this,’ Elvis replied.

“‘It was a different plateau for him,’ Taylor said. ‘For the first time, he was being paced on the level with achievers in realms other than entertainment, and for the first time Elvis felt he was being accepted like a true professional. He like the association of being given such an honor along with those nine other guys, and he was impressed by their tremendous abilities. And none of the others singled Elvis out for adulation more than any other, and he liked that too.”

When Elvis’ turn came, he took his place at the podium and looked back at the other winners seated on stage. With a sweeping gesture, he said: ‘These men may be the Kingdom of God.'”

“The famous voice cracked, he could not go on.”Elvis at podium

“‘He was the only one to have genuine tears in his eyes and to break up,’ Taylor said.

“Elvis stopped, stepped back for a second, regrouped himself and spoke again.”

“‘Without a song, the day would never end, without a song, a man ain’t got a friend,’ the famous singer said, quoting a classic song.”

“Then he ended with difficulty, saying humbly: ‘So I’ll just keep on singing my song.'”

Elvis always consider the Jaycee Awards as his most valued achievement. The honor was so important to Elvis, he was there to receive it in person labored weeks over his now famous speech. The Jaycee Award was one of the few trophies that Elvis received during his lifetime that held a special place. It represented Elvis initiation into the mainstream, acceptance by his peers for his contributions as a humanitarian and entertainer. His Ten Outstanding Young Men trophy, as well as the tuxedo he wore to the ceremony that night, have been kept on display at his Memphis home, Graceland and is seen by thousands of visitors every day.

Courtesy of YouTube comes part of the video pertaining to Elvis receiving this award that Elvis not only was humbled by but actually opted to appear in person, with Priscilla and members of his family and Memphis Mafia, to accept the award and give one of his most iconic and heartfelt speeches.

NO DOUBT! Elvis Presley (part 1 of 3)

2017 All Rights Reserved authored by Jeffery Schremfs with permission

1956 Elvis in car Graceland front side shot rareOver the years I have been asked (literally) thousands of questions about Elvis Presley by quality websites such as; by participants of Quora, Wiki, and others. When I am able I answer them and provide facts that are not commonly known. When I get positive comments, upvotes, responses, emails, etc. I am appreciative as I have never monetized my collection, knowledge, etc. of Elvis Presley. I am a routine fan who has studied Elvis, onstage and off, for (approximately) six decades now.

This is in addition to this blog, http://www.ElvisCollector.info (no ads, no solicitations, no pop-ups, just 100% interesting/rare/unique/cool, http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org (100% free Elvis Presley fan forum), and many other blog/sites I interact with.

I take great pride in these works and they have, individually and collectively, been positive distractions from my battles with cancer, PIDD, and I’ve been recently diagnosed with kidney failure aka acute renal insufficiency. Additionally I have hospitalization(s) scheduled for, including but not limited to, mapping of my, swollen – painful – and asymmetrical, lymph nodes and surrounding tissue.

I am very blessed to have good doctors, hospitals, friends, relatives, and other support systems. I have my own beliefs, and faith, in God which has sustained me and man are/were there times when the weight of all these medical/mental/emotional/etc, issues decimated my every breath.

I am also thankful to you. Those who want to know more about Elvis Presley. Those who are just curious, Those who came across this blog by happenstance. Thankful to all of the search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.

You see Elvis’ life, beginning with the death of his identical twin brother who was born first but was “stillborn” (i.e. born dead) and his beloved mother (Gladys) and Father (Vernon) tasked with coming up with a name for their newborn son as they never expected twins, is unique and interesting to say the least. Elvis life was, at various stages, complicated yet simple. If you want to see dirt poor people in the South without means in the 1930s Elvis meets that criteria. If you want to see someone with riches, fancy cars, custom jewerly, his own fleet of cars and a few airplanes to boot Elvis is your man. I can, and will in the future, go on and on.

As a boy (in the 1960’s – man its been a….W  H   I   L   E) I started collecting Elvis memorabilia and everyone from my best friends, relatives, minister, neighbors, teachers, etc. knew

I not only collected Elvis related things but was also knowledgeable about the life of Elvis onstage and off. I never believed Elvis was perfect nor did I believe anything other than Elvis was multi talented, worked hard, provided jobs/income for his friends/family, was loyal, and had a world famous temper. I never put him on a pedestal and I had an emphasis on the truth (i.e. from direct sources I had the honor of knowing/speaking with/etc) and context. My Grandfather, who has long passed and I miss very much, gave me many fundamentals/life lessons to adhere to. An example is he used to tell me “the only thing worse than a lie is a half truth”. I was young then but a few years later I learned firsthand just how wise he was and how this saying was spot on. You see when someone lies there are countless ways to cross reference it. But, when someone tells a “half truth” it carries more weight, and thus is harder to disprove because part of it is true and can be corroborated.

Back to Elvis.

Elvis, in context, was a good man who loved the Lord/Jesus/God and not only sang about it but did not back off when asked about his faith. He helped so many in need. He gave of his time. His heart. His talents. His works. His money. He cared and people were drawn to him.

Publicly Elvis did not judge others nor did he disparage other celebrities. An interesting response he gave, to a question (I am summarizing here and from two interviews around the time of his 1972 Madison Square Garden concert in New York, of “do you think other entertainers should speak their minds then “do you belief other entertainers should avoid military service”? Elvis’ response was all Elvis. He said “I’m just an entertainer and I’d rather keep my own views to myself so I’d rather not say”.

It has been a long time since Elvis walked this earth. It was a joy to watch him share his talents. Everything from his hair, to his style, to his clothes, to his laugh, to his biting humor, to his wit, to his photographic memory, to his upbringing of politeness using verbiage such as “yes mam, no mam, yes sir, no sir” etc.

He owned a luxury home in Hollywood but he called Memphis (Tennessee) his home with his house named “Graceland’. At the time he purchased this home, in the 1950’s it was off the beaten path. It was a southern style mansion with acreage to ride horses. To have pets. To have privacy from the world and always being thankful to the fans who lined up outside the stone wall, and the infamous gates, of Graceland.

He was a “one of a kind” man who left us three decades of excellent works (i.e. movies, songs, albums, videos, dvds, writings, interesting stories, served honorably in the United States Army, and received many achievements throughout his life.

… to be continued

Elvis Presley was, is, and forever will be the MAN

Like the headline? Well it took me all of 1/10000000000th of a second to come up with it. Finding my car keys? I’m lost. Elvis? I can recall.

Lets compare Elvis FOUR to FIVE to SIX DECADES AGO to “celebrities” of today shall we?

Homes: Elvis had homes in Memphis Tennessee and in California at the same time. Elvis home is an official American LANDMARK

TV’s: Elvis had 3 set into the wall of his “man cave”. They were all color (and that was a rarity in that day/time) which he copied after President Johnson so Elvis could watch all 3 football games at the same time. Yeah we all have access to screens 24/7 how but who wouldn’t want to sit and watch football games with Elvis?

Large Screen Movie: Elvis had the largest, most technologically advanced, TV screen (projector) to watch movies at this home (in the Jungle room FYI). Also Elvis was the FIRST American to own a VHS from Sony.

Jewelry: Elvis had his own Jeweler. He owned MILLIONS, over his lifetime, of dollars of jewelry. From rings the size of golf balls, to lions head necklaces, to “crazy” engraved solid gold bracelets, etc. in every shape – design – etc.

Cars:  No contest. Elvis OWNED (not rented) the baddest cars on the planet. BMW 507 check. Mercedes Benz limo black on black check. Stutz blackhawk CHECK. Custom painted purple luxury cars check. Pink caddy for his mother than never had a drivers license and never knew how to drive check. Iconic Lincoln with suicide doors check. In Americana the 1950s are defined as the best in advances and style and Elvis OWNED (literally) the best of the best every decades of his life.

Toys:  Motorcycles. The King had them in spades. Three wheelers too. All custom and bad TO the bone.

Horses: Elvis loved horses. He kept them at Graceland throughout his life and during the 1960’s bought an entire ranch called the “Circle G ranch” complete with trailers to live in (for everyone), stables, horses, and anything else one would need.

Planes: Yes please. Elvis not only bought a million dollar plane but he SPENT an additional (estimated) million dollars on renovations. Then he named it after his beloved daughter Lisa Marie. Hugh Hefner did it first, and Elvis borrowed Hef’s plane at one time, but Elvis did it best.

Style: CHECKMATE. Elvis hair. Winner. Elvis look. Winner. Elvis clothes. Winner. Elvis custom capes. Winner. Elvis designed the first “karate style Vegas suit” Winner. Elvis even, before he died, had a custom jumpsuit to be used with LASERS. Yes I said LASERS and that was 1977.

Well folks I’m exhausted from Elvis winning but thanks for visiting. Tell others about us. Checkout http://www.ElvisCollector.info. And take care.

Jeff Schrembs

1977 Elvis live Unchained Melody

In 1977 I had been an Elvis Presley fan for (approximately) two decades. When I learned, through the “must have” tv viewing essential guide called TV guide which let you know in advance what programs were playing on each tv station time and date, that Elvis’ concert entitled “Elvis in Concert” (i.e. this concert footage was taken on June 19 and June 21 1977) was airing on October 3, 1977 it was a bittersweet reality that this would be the last (known) footage of Elvis onstage…forever.

I, and the nation and much of the world, was still in shock about Elvis dying on August 16, 1977 even though we knew Elvis had been enduring great, and in some cases debilitating, health issues (i.e. mental, physcial, and emotional).

Watching, on a now unthinkably small tv screen that was approximately 24 x 24, Elvis perform on “Elvis in concert” I was shocked to see the adverse effects his medial issues were having. But, I was amazed at his vocal abilities.

If you listened, as I did, to every song on the “Elvis in Concert” album you would be left with the impression that this was a man with incredible vocal range – inflections – feelings – and who was (wholly) unique. Man, he could sing.

Watching “Elvis in concert” it was clear that Elvis gave his heart and soul to his audience as he always had. I believed, and do to this day, that instead of performing (and I knew the incredible financial pressures he was under along with other personal/professional pressures) he should have been under the care of the world’s greatest doctors/hospitals with the never ending mantra from those he loved/trusted being “no amount of money is worth your health Elvis so please please stay committed to these treatments” (note: there is no doubt that many tried, time and again, but Elvis had the desire and ability to obtain medical care and medications…or not. A man cannot be kept from himself and decisions, whether made under duress of not, have consequences). Also, unlike today there were no state of the art treatment facilities where stars and/or those with means could recover without any adverse effect on their careers. The stigma of being labeled “a drug addict” was (in most cases) a kiss of death for one’s career and though I know that Elvis did not consider himself one AND I greatly dislike this connotation associated with Elvis his dependency on medications for very real medical diagnoses were something Elvis dealt with 24/7 and 1977 it had gotten..worse.

Bravely Elvis went before his audience knowing the cameras would be capturing Elvis in ill health but in spite of these hardships he went forth, as he had for decades, and gave the best performance possible.

Via YouTube is the very moving rendition of “Unchained Melody” a song that was previously a national hit for the Everly Brothers among others.

Take care and may God bless you.

 

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

Elvis Presley & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 2017

68 special in white odd angle.jpg

The upcoming weeks mark the well deserved federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. “day”. In my opinion Dr. King, Jr. was an incredible leader who put his own well being in jeopardy standing up for not only what was right but to obtain justice for the masses.

I have, on several occasions, read the writings of Dr. King, Jr. and those he wrote while he was in jail (like so many of his writings) were powerful and stirred my emotions. What an incredible leader.

Decades ago I was honored, by marriage, to have stayed in the suite in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel. This was the same suite that Dr. King, Jr. wrote his “I have a dream speech”. Though the wedding took every moment the significance of Dr. King, Jr. being in the same suite was very…humbling. I have great memories of that time, and that love, I (in far too many ways) I took for granted. But, this post is about the connection(s) between Elvis and Dr. King, Jr.

Elvis grew up poor. Elvis never saw one’s color nor did he tolerate those who treated others with anything but respect.

Elvis grew up in the church moved by preachings, the choir, and the church filled. Elvis grew up a southerner and endured everything that being a southern man, at the period in history, entails. Elvis loved the church and was a deeply spiritual man. The same can be said of Dr. King, Jr.

Several firsthand accounts confirm that Elvis had respect, and admiration, for Dr. King, Jr. and his non-violent approach.

On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered by a coward. And he was murdered in Elvis’ beloved city of Memphis in Tennessee which upset Elvis greatly. One would think that living in the 1960’s, which I did and all the turmoil and the decade had earlier brought the murder of America’s President John F. Kennedy and months after Dr. Kings’ death came the murder of Robert Kennedy, that “nothing would be shocking” as the country was “numb” by back to back killings bringing anger and uncertainty. But, when it came to the death of Dr. King, Jr. millions of people then and now mourn and that includes this writer.

During the 1960’s Elvis was locked into movie contracts which played out to be approximately three per year. Not many people know that Elvis had to star in movies regardless of the quality, or lack of, the scripts. Elvis had no say over the movies he starred in and the 1960’s were, in many instances, frustrating for Elvis.

Elvis was presented with an opportunity to have a TV special that would air around the Christmas season in 1968. I have written about aspects concerning this special in great detail so what I will say now is that Elvis, with the guidance of the talented producer/director, realized that this was the chance for him to return to a live audience (which he was kept from for approximately 8 years) as well as showcase his first love in entertainment and that was singing/performing.

When the time came, after great momentum, for Elvis to decide how to end the TV Special, which would be sponsored by the Singer sewing company and titled “Elvis”, Elvis wanted to express his feelings. His pulse. His sensitivity. His release from years of pent up anger/frustration. Elvis shared this with Walter Earl Brown, a great song writer, and together they used direct quotes of Dr. Kings, they came up with one of the greatest songs in the world…”if I can dream”.

Not only was the song beautiful but Elvis poured his heart and soul into the song. There are two versions of this song from the 68 special and one was Elvis in front of the audience in black leather and he never looked, or sounded, better. The other was Elvis, dressed in a white 1960’s fashionable suit, singing in front of large red lit letters that spelled out “E L V I S”. The version of Elvis in white is my personal favorite version of this song. I encourage everyone to watch Elvis performing this song and affirm that, with every pore and vocal inflection, Elvis shared a soulful message with the viewing audience all the while paying respect and love to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The TV ratings were a success and catapulted Elvis back into superstardom as a singer/performer. Out of the thousands of songs Elvis knew, and he had a photographic memory, he could not of picked a better song than “if I can dream”. I believe it is one of Elvis’ greatest performances and certainly was a meaningful song for him as a man and as an entertainer.

It is hard, at times, for me to believe that it has been 49 years since Dr. King, Jr. took breath upon this earth. And it has been, as of August 16th of this year (i.e. 2017), 40 years since Elvis took his last breath. Both of these men had failures, shortcomings, and regrets but they were both wholly unique and they rose to infamy for what they stood for – what they believed – and how they chose to live their lives. I miss them both and my prayers are always with the family, and loved ones, of these great men.

Take care and God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

http://www.ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org