October 28 1957 - Pan Pacific Auditorium,
Los Angeles, California
Elvis Presleys recent appearance at the Pan Pacific
Auditorium in Los Angeles has our Associate Editor,
Dolores Diamond, scurrying over there with pen
and camera for this backstage interview and exclusive
pictures of Elvis, on and off the stage.
Elvis Presley, calm and collected, despite nine
thousand screaming girls awaiting him out front,
strolled in backstage, propped himself on the
table, his legs dangling and swinging freely.
Attired in a red jacket, a black shirt and pants,
a yellow tie, and black shoes with a cool silver
belt studded with rhinestones, he made a rather
colourful figure. And a frank one, as you will
Dolores : Elvis, exactly how do you feel about
all these interviews?
Elvis : The press makes entertainers, and the
deejays, too. If the press didn't write, no one
would know what you're doing. Everyone needs the
Dolores : As the reputed King of Rock 'n Roll,
how do you feel about the comments Frank Sinatra
made railing Rock 'n Roll enthusiasts nothing
but a bunch of 'cretinous goons' and the music
itself as 'the martial music of every side-burned
delinquent on the face of the earth'
Elvis : He has a right to his opinion, but I
can't see him knocking it for no good reason.
I wouldn't knock Frank Sinatra. I like him very
If I remember correctly, he was also part of a
trend, just like Rock "n Roll. I think it's
the greatest music ever natcherly 'cause it's
the only thing I can do! If I were a pop singer,
I'd prefer pop
Dolores : What pop singers do you dig most ?
Elvis : I like Pat Boone, the Four Aces, the
Ames Brothers, Dean Martin, Tommy Sands, and Ricky
Nelson real well. (Ricky, incidentally, was in
the audience opening night, left in the middle
of one of Elvis' numbers.) I like classical music,
Dolores : Do you dislike anything?
Elvis : Who am I to sit here and knock someone
else? If someone has strived for something, then
it's OK. I don't dig in and question it.
I never knock anyone who's successful
Dolores : Is that your criterion? Anything which
is successful is automatically good?
Elvis : Yes, I guess so
Dolores : Some critics have openly accuscd you
of inciting juvenile delinquency. How do you feel
Elvis : I don't understand it. Delinquency to
me means robbing, knife fighting, and things like
that. I've done nothing to cause that and I'd
never set up a pattern like that for others to
Dolores : Do you think a lot about your fans?
Elvis : I sure do, I always try to conduct my
personal life to set a good example for them.
I think about this all the time
Dolores : Elvis, is it true that you don't smoke
Elvis : Yes
Dolores : Being in the public eye constantly
must be quite a strain, especially dating. What
are some of the limitations?
Elvis : Well, I can't roam around like I used
to. Can't go to football games or other public
Dolores : What do you do on a date?
Elvis : Well, usually we just ride around. I
get mobbed if I go anyplace. Sometimes the girl
comes up to my apartment and we have dinner there.
Sometimes we go to a drive-in for a hamburger,
or we go to a real late movie
Dolores : What do you do in Memphis?
Elvis : Well, most of my friends are in Memphis.
That's why I established a home there. We've been
kicked out of the same places, you know, it's
easier to be yourself there
Dolores : You've invited many girls to visit
you in Memphis, Elvis. What happens when they
Elvis (grinning) : Oh, we go motorcycle riding
and to the movies. Nothing much
Dolores : Are you planning on taking any more
gals to Memphis?
Elvis : File your application at the door, honey
Dolores : How many have gone so far?
Elvis : Five (He named off Venctia Stevenson,
Naialie Wood, and several others I'd never heard
Dolores : What about Yvonne Lime?
Elvis : Yeah, I forgot Yvonne. That makes six
Dolores : Who pays their fare?
Elvis : I pay all the expenses
Dolores : Do you still date any of these girls?
Elvis : I still see Venetia once in a while.
I own three horses, take her riding
Dolores : (handing him comment in 'Modern Teen'
listing Anita Wood as his "number one girlfriend")
Would you care to comment on this caption?
Elvis : (reading it very seriously) Yes, I would.
There's no truth in it. What happened was Anita
was seeing me off at the station. A reporter approached,
a photographer told me to kiss her and I did.
The reporter said, "Number one?" I said,
"Yeah, sure" and boarded the train.
I was half-way to California before I realized
what he meant. By then, it was in the papers that
she was my number one girlfriend.
Dolores : Is there a current number one girlfriend?
Elvis : I've felt close to falling in love a
couple of times. In fact, I almost was engaged
twice before I got into show business. But I don't
care enough for one girl to be identified with
them. Honey, I prefer to date 'em all until I
find the right one
Dolores : Do you feel that any of these girls
have dated you tor publicity or to further their
Elvis : Yes, several (He gallantly refused to
Dolores : What prevented you from getting involved
at the last minute with some of these girls?
Elvis : It's funny, but if you don't care for
the gal, it'll come out. What happened was I discovered
that I didn't care as much as I thought I did.
So now I let things ride. In a way, it's lucky
I didn't get tied up
Dolores : Can I say, on the record, that you
have no romantic interests as of this interview?
Elvis : I am not in love now. But I can't guarantee
Dolores : Any preferences in women?
Elvis : I don't favor any one type. I like girls!
Dolores : Getting back to your career, you've
undoubtedly heard that some writers have printed
that Presley is on the decline, that your popularity
is waning. Do you think it is?
Elvis : Well, about the reports that I'm through,
this is a new one. I haven't noticed any decline.
Anyway, you can't stay on top forever. Even if
I stopped singing tomorrow, I'd have no regrets.
I had a ball while I was there
Dolores : Financially, you're pretty well off,
aren't you, even if you retired tomorrow?
Elvis : I don't know exactly how much I've made.
It's over a million a year
Dolores : Gross or net?
Elvis : Gross, I believe
Dolores : Don't you have some 20-year contract,
Elvis : My RCA Victor recording contract calls
for a moderate salary over a 20-year period. Then
I have two music publishing companies, plus the
Elvis Presley Enterprises." (The latter sells
everything from Presley photos and buttons to
lipsticks, shirts, and other wearing apparel
Dolores : How many personal appearances have
Elvis : Last year I did 87, this year only 20.
(For two appearances in Los An- geles, about an
hour total on the stage, Elvis cleared $65,000!)
Dolores : How much did your films 'Loving You'
and 'Love Me Tender' gross?
Elvis : I wouldn't know. Hal Wallis didn't tell
Dolores : He doesn't have to tell you, Elvis.
You can get the figures from Variety or the trade
magazines. Don't you read them? What do you read?
Elvis : I read 'Superman' and 'Captain Marvel'
Dolores : What about news magazines or newspapers?
Elvis : I don't have time to read
Dolores : What sports do you go in for?
Elvis : Well, I don't particularly like baseball.
I like football and boxing. I played football
myself once, and I enjoy watchng the 'Peewee Leagues'.
As for fighting, I watch them on TV". My
favorites are Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano.
I know Rocky very well.
He was going to teach me how to fight, but I chickened
Dolores : Would you like a role in films as a
Elvis : You bet, a singin' fighter. Actually,
I'd like to do a straight dramatic show. I'm betting
on an acting career
Dolores : Some critics have said that Colonel
Parker, your manager, and you have a Svengali-Trilby
relationship. Is this true?
Elvis : Huh?
Dolores : Elvis, do you obey Colonel Parker?
Does he rule your private life?
Elvis : Heck, no. Colonel Parker only advises
me on business matters and that's all! I'm young,
have to do what I want. I hardly ever see him
Dolores : Elvis, you've had quite a few Gold
Records marking sales of over a million. What
is your favourite song to date?
Elvis : Dolores, I wish you'd straighten out
somethin' right here. Many magazines have printed
that I have eight Gold Records, but I believe
in giving a man credit for what he's done, and
I've had 19 Gold Records! My favorite is 'Don't
Dolores : What was the hardest song for you to
Elvis : 'Jailhouse Rock.' It's the hardest song
to sing that I've ever recorded. My tongue practically
falls out on this one.
A quarter million of my Xmas album have sold to
Dolores : Say, why did you change 'Blue Moon'
Elvis : Honey, when I recorded 'Blue Moon', I
didn't know the words to it. When I got to the
bridge, I just started yelling
Dolores : Elvis, what was the first song you
Elvis : Old Shep' was tlie first song I ever
did in iny life; I won $5 in a contest singin'
Dolores : Now what about all the gyrations you
fo through when you sing ?
Elvis : I wasn't aware of what I was doin' until
people told me. I Just sing like they do back
home. When I was younger, I always liked spiritual
quartets and they sing like that
Dolores : It is commonly stated that 'The Singin'
Idol' which Tommy Sands did on TV and now is doing
for films is a thinly veiled biography of you.
Is it really?
Elvis : I didn t see it on TV. From what I hear,
the only similarity between it and me is that
we both were singers. My grandfather isn't dead
I just heard from him last week.
And that character's manager was nuthin' like
the Colonel! (The audience started screaming and
applauding for an act which preceded Elvis. He
Jumped to his feet, ran over to see who was on)
(Laughing) I can t have any of that, applauding
for someone else!
Dolores : How do you feel when the girls scream
Elvis : Well, I figure it doesn't last, so I
might as well enjoy it while I can
Dolores : Are you nervous at this moment?
Elvis : I'm a little shaky. I go on stage and
then I relax, after I start singin'
Dolores : Do you ever forget your lyrics?
Elvis : Sometimes, but no one knows it. They
can t tell what I in singin'. anyway.
I never rehearse; the band travels with me and
knows all my numbers. Of course, I have to rehearse
for TV shows and for movies
Dolores : What goes on ahead of you?
Elvis : I have no idea. I haven't seen the other
acts. I get out there and sing for about 50 minutes,
do about 17 numbers, all of the favourites
Dolores : Would you say you prefer this type
of personal appearance, say to a nightclub appearance
in Las Vegas?
Elvis : Ouch! Two years ago, I laid the biggest
egg of my life in Vegas. The older groups just
don't go for Rock 'n Roll.
My ego went through the floor with that one! There
were good crowds, but no response like in a teenage
I felt like I was pulling a booboo
Dolores : Do you have lines in this act?
Elvis : No, I ad lib strictly. When I come off
that stage, I look like I've been through a meat
Dolores : Elvis, do you read music?
Elvis : No. And I can't play the guitar, either
Dolores : What do you do with it if you don't
Elvis (laughing) : I use it as a brace
Dolores : Well, your name is listed on the credits
of several hit tunes as the author. How do you
write music if you don't read it?
Elvis : It's all a big hoax, honey. I never wrote
a song in my life. I get one-third of the credit
for recording it. It makes me look smarter than
I've never even had an idea for a song. Just once,
Dolores : When?
Elvis : I went to bed one night, had quite a
dream, and woke up all shook up. I phoned a pal
and told him about it. By morning, he had a new
song -'All Shook Up'
Dolores : How do you leave a show without causing
Elvis : Everything is pre-arranged. I'm just
like a robot getting in and out. I just follow
along, that's all.
I leave before the audience knows I'm out of the
building. They tell me to be at a certain door
by 10:10 and I am! No bows, no curtain calls.
I finish the last number, and away I go
Dolores : Do you study the day's rushes when
you make a movie?''
Elvis : I sure do. I always critiiize myself
in films. When I attend a movie theatre, I'll
get up and leave during the numbers I don't like.
Then I come back in after they're over
Dolores : Do you have a teenage audience when
you re singing in a movie?
Elvis : In 'Loving You' I did, but in Jailhouse
Rock' I had to sing without a live audience, and
it was a lot harder
Dolores : What did they finally do with your
Elvis : They covered them with make-up, I'm keeping
them as long as I can, that is, until they draft
Dolores : Elvis, do you think you'll ever return
to school and further your education?
Elvis : No, I see know point in studying. I don't
think I need it, do you? But there is one thing,
I'd like to be a good actor.
I'm always striving to be natural in front of
the camera. That takes studying, of a sort
It was time for the show, so we terminated the
interview. Elvis Presley is quiet, courteous,
and freer with his quips than expected.
He's shrewd, so don't under estimate him. He'll
be around for a long, long time.
Incidently, he is quite tall, much-better looking
than his photographs with a clear complexion and
dark blue eyes.
He changed into his gold lame jacket with sparkling
lapels and went out to mesmerise the audience,
all 9,000 of them
(Source : 'Dig' Magazine - June 1958 - Thanks
to Richard Otis)