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Posted August 16th, 2020

I am often asked who my first interview was. I always chuckle to myself as I answer, “Col. Tom Parker.”First Interview Page 1Page One of the First Interview

Here’s the story:

Mom and Dad raised me listening to Elvis Presley. The first records I ever owned were hand-me-downs 45 rpm records from my mom that consisted of “Were My Ring Around Your Neck”, Dontcha Think It’s Time”, and “Blue Christmas”, and “It’s Christmas Time”. I have those records safely stored and will never sell them. The first movies I ever was taken to as a kid were Elvis movies but I don’t remember which ones they were. I just know that he was cool, got in fights, won, and always got the girl. Even at a pre-school age I knew that those were important accomplishments. The first albums I bought on my own were “Let’s Be Friends”, “Flaming Star”, “On Stage”, and a little later, “Aloha From Hawaii”.

Shortly after watching the “Aloha From Hawaii” broadcast on TV, I learned that Elvis was coming to town (Phoenix, Arizona).

I’ll stop right her to give you a little more context to what led to me meeting the Colonel.

My mom had my sister and I in church every time the church doors were open. My sister and I weren’t allowed to do much on Sundays because we were supposed to “keep it holy”. It was also supposed to be a day of rest.

So, with that as a backdrop, when I learned that Elvis was coming to town, I was excited beyond my teenaged ability (I was thirteen at the time) to contain myself. Then I saw when the show was taking place: April 22nd (1973).

A Sunday.First Interview Page 2.jpegPage Two of the First Interview

Not just any Sunday but . . . Easter Sunday.

I had never attended a concert before. And though my mom adored Elvis, I knew there was NO WAY my mom would allow me to attend the concert. I mean NO. FREAKING. WAY! Still, I asked, knowing what the answer was going to be. I mean, after all, what would the people at church think and say? We might even be run out of the church if she allowed me to go. But, still, I asked.

I was wrong.

She said I could go under two conditions. One, I still had to go to church Sunday morning and Sunday night (the concert was being held in the afternoon). Two, I had to by the ticket myself.

Huh? Mom said I could go?

I bought the ticket and as soon as church was over that Easter Sunday, Mom drove me to Veterans Memorial Colosseum . . . two hours before the start of the show. The photos on the right are of the incomplete report I wrote for a school project. It memorializes the events that day better than I remember them. The short version of it all is that is where I met the Colonel and asked him three short questions.

That night, I wasn’t met with derision by my fellow church goers. In fact, they acted a little envious. We didn’t get run out of church, either. In fact, the only “problem” (if you want to call it that) I encountered was my friends at school laughing at me because they didn’t think Elvis was cool.

All these years later, I still think about that momentous event. What it took for my mom to allow me to go to the show in the face of possible criticism from our small congregation. I actually got to see ELVIS! I still can’t believe it. And though I don’t know for sure if that influenced me thirty-six years later to launch Boomerocity (which I did in 2009), I kinda think it did.

What do you think?

R.I.P., Mom . . . and tell Elvis I said “Hi”.

Note: The following is a transcription of the handwritten interview that is shown in the two photos on this page. I'm also including photos of that concert that were taken by other fans at that concert. I hope you enjoy all of this and do please feel free to share!

Elvis In Concert

April 22, 1973

Veterans Memorial Coliseum

Phoenix, Arizona

IMG 0121The following is a transcript from the handwritten concert report that I wrote at the tender age of 13. These somewhat documents what I refer to as my first celebrity interview which, as you will see, was with the legendary Colonel Tom Parker – Elvis Presley’s manager. I have also included a couple of notes to fill in a gap or two. I have made a few editorial changes in hopes of helping its readability.

Here is that report:

I arrived at the Coliseum about two hours before the show began. I was lucky enough to get in line. I was in a midst of wide eyed, excited, fans talking about the time they saw him (in) Las Vegas, on a train, in a car, or other times in the far past.

Among all of that you would hear sales boys yelling “Elvis Presley Photo Album. 20 pictures for $2.00”

All of a sudden people are saying “I’ll take one!” All of a sudden, doors flung open, and lines were formed. As we entered, I saw sales stands selling photo albums $2.00; a semi-large poster for $1.00; giant poster for $2.00; small aluminum flashbacks of his concert in Hawaii for $2.00; giant size for $5.00; plastic binoculars for $2.50. After I looked around up top at the exhibits, I went to hunt for my seat. After I sat in disgust in my rotten $7.50 seat, I went to the stage to watch them set up the equipment. While I wasIMG 0136 there, I saw Colonel Parker, Elvis’ manager. I went up and asked 3 brief questions; Q1. Does Elvis spend a lot of time in Memphis? Answer: “Yes. Lots of time.” In a strange accent. Q2. “Where will he perform next?” Answer “Anaheim.” Q3 “Could you please sign the Photo Album?” Answer “We don’t sign anything till after the show.” (Randy’s Note: I distinctly recall my last question being if I could go backstage to meet Elvis as my last question. The Colonel’s answer: “No” I don’t know why – other than being embarrassed to admit being turned down – why I didn’t include that question in the original report.). Then he left to go backstage, and I went to my seat.

Then all the lights except the spotlights on the stage were off. The announcer said, “Ladies and Gentlemen the Sweet Inspirations.” The 3 female black group came out on stage and started singing melodies. After they sang for a little while a so-called comedian came out cracked some sorry jokes.

Randy’s Note #2: For the life of me, I don’t know what I ended the report there. The concert was phenomenal and to this day there are lots of things that I remember from that show. I like to think that my writing has improved somewhat since April 1973. You can be the judge.