tense heat in Los Angeles has been causing a number of low blood sugar incidents. When one of these incidents came on yesterday, I was near a general store. I went to the candy section to grab something. I haven't eaten candy since I was in my 20's. And avoiding all sugar for 25 years of Diabetes. I knew I had to grab something and eat it fast. I saw something I have not had since I first ate them in 1963. SWEET TARTS. The memory of the special taste still lingered in me. As I bit into these small round treats, the tart flavor impacted me the same way it did some 55 years ago. It was a glorious moment as my equilibrium returned accompanied by the explosion of the bitter taste! I must carry some SWEET TARTS with me now at all times.
40 YEARS AGO on July 16, 1977, late afternoon, two friends and I had just finished bowling in the San Fernando Valley.
40 YEARS AGO on July 16, 1977, late afternoon, two friends and I had just finished bowling in the San Fernando Valley. We got into the car and radio station KLOS was put on. The station was known for playing the more sophisticated rock music of its time which today would be considered 70's classic rock. Accustomed to hearing either a song playing or a commercial, we couldn't figure out why the DJ was talking about Elvis. After all, KLOS never played Elvis music--never ever. It soon became clear that something had happened. THE KING WAS DEAD. And then switching to other stations, the same was happening all over LA radio. Before the Beatles, Elvis had been number one with Baby Boomers. Although Elvis had gained some weight in later years, he had a squeaky clean image. As information came in over the next few days, it did not deviate from this squeaky clean image. He died of a heart attack and there was nothing mysterious.
At that time, ABC network had a Hollywood gossip reporter. She came on the air and shocked the nation by saying that the coroner of Los Angeles would be releasing in the next few days, a report that says Elvis died of multiple drug abuse which caused the heart attack. The nation was furious--at ABC's reporter. She was the only one reporting this allegation. They condemned this woman for daring to say anything bad about Boy Scout Elvis. A few days later, the report came out exactly as she had said it would. The truth would soon be revealed in a number of made for TV movies and books.
My first Elvis album was "Blue Hawaii" and I played it over and over, particularly mesmerized by a song called "Can't Help Falling In Love." In later years I would have the opportunity to talk to Elvis' "Memphis Mafia" members, his new in-laws when his father remarried and to his guitarist Scotty Moore. The Los Angeles Film School where I was a professor for many years used to be RCA Records. It turns out Elvis used to come into my office and chat with a publicist in the 60's and 70's. I had an Elvis movie poster in my office. One of my biggest regrets in life: Sometime in the early 70's I had tickets to see Elvis. As that day progressed I just started feeling really ill. I took my temperature. It was 106 and would not go down. I almost went anyway, but then decided it might not be a really good idea to have a major illness episode during an Elvis concert. I gave the tickets to a big fan.