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A Night at the Movies - by Janice Fadal

One night when Elvis and Anita were visiting, Elvis said he would like to go to the theater to see a new movie called No Time For Sergeants starring his good friend Nick Adams. My Dad said he could arrange for all of them to go to the last showing of the evening. My Dad called a friend of his who managed the Waco Theater where No Time For Sergeants was playing. He explained that he would be bringing Elvis Presley over and asked his friend not to mention to anyone, not even the other employees that Elvis would be coming. Elvis could get very nervous when too many people were around. Apparently, when they hung up, the manager called all his friends and told them to come on down to the theater because Elvis Presley was going to be there.

When Elvis, Anita, my Mom and Dad and two of Elvis' men arrived it was obvious that Elvis' appearance was no longer a secret. Several people were waiting outside the theater for autographs and a photographer was on the scene. Elvis was polite and cordial as always and signed autographs and had his photo taken with many of the fans. When they went in to watch the movie they sat with Elvis' men behind them. Anita went into the row of seats first followed by Elvis, then my Dad and finally my mother who was on the aisle seat. Before long the theater started filling. Most of the people were there to watch Elvis, not the movie. The next couple of hours passed uneventfully, but near the end of the movie, Elvis asked my Dad to go start the car and pull it up very close to the back door. Elvis was getting very edgy. Several people started coming down the aisle to talk to him. My mother, sitting on the aisle seat, put her foot up on the seat in front of her to form a bit of a barrier between Elvis and the crowd that began forming. She looked at Elvis and could see from his expression he was very unhappy and nervous. Anita looked strained, too. When Elvis judged that it was time to leave, my Mom led the way running down the aisle towards the back door. Elvis's men followed behind Elvis and Anita and they were able to escape the crowd. They left before the movie was over.


People took some photos that night, when they approached Elvis asking if he would pose with them. He wore a white shirt with pink and black stripes, borrowed from my dad and a black wool cap he had brought with him.

When they left the theater and returned back to our home at 2807 Lasker, more things began to happen. As my mother and Anita got out of the car to walk to the back door, they could hear some voices. It really scared us. We didn't know what was going on. We could see a group of people walking down 29th street. Elvis and my dad had gotten out of the car by that time and so had Elvis' men. They all began walking toward the crowd. Some of the men in the crowd were wearing brass knuckles and some were carrying baseball bats. They were a rough looking bunch.

When the crowd met Elvis and his lineup of men, they stopped and said, "We heard Elvis Presley was here. We've come to see him." Elvis spoke and stepped out in front, Im Elvis." As daunting as the encounter had seemed, it was peaceful and the crowd only stayed about ten or fifteen minutes to talk to Elvis and get his autograph. Before they left, they told Elvis, "You know, there would've been trouble tonight if you'd just gone in the house and refused to see us. Since you didn't do that and came out and talked to us face to face, we knew we could respect you." I remember the talk of that the next day when I woke up and my folks were saying how scared they all were and how nervous Elvis had been all night long beginning at the theater.

Although Elvis enjoyed giving and being with his fans, he also cherished the times he could do things unnoticed like a normal person. That's why he loved to come and stay at our house. Most of the time it was very private and he could relax. My father actually added a room onto our house for Elvis. It was a little den with a nice stereo system. It had built in book shelves and cabinets painted in pink and black, Elvis' favorite colors at the time. The carpet was a black and white dense weave. It was a cool room and we have some home movies made in that room with Elvis smoking a cigar, which my father always had on hand for him. It was truly Elvis' home away from home.

It was well known that Elvis loved down-home Southern cooking. Once when he was driving from Killeen to Fort Worth to see one of his favorite groups, he stopped in at our house. He was with Anita and his mother and father. My mother had been cooking a pot of red beans on the stove since morning. When Elvis walked in, he could smell them. He asked my mother what she was cooking and when she told him he said, "Those are my favorite! Are they ready?" My mom said they were and Elvis pulled a chair up to our dinette table in the kitchen. She made up a pan full of corn bread and in a few minutes we all ate together. Elvis stayed and visited with my dad and listened to some records before heading out to Fort Worth.

As a child I loved Anita. To me she was the epitome of beauty with her beautiful blonde hair and her pretty dresses. She was also very sweet to me. I could sometimes get her to come outside on the patio with me while I showed her something or get her to come into my room and play dolls. I will never forget her.

Another example of Elvis' love of Southern cooking happened when he was visiting our home with several in his entourage. My mother had planned to broil steaks for everyone with some vegetables and a salad. When she asked Elvis how he liked his steak cooked he told her, "I don't eat steak. Do you have any bacon? I'll just have some bacon instead." She told him she had some bacon in the refrigerator but the truth was she only had a couple of slices. She grabbed her purse and slipped out the back door and walked down to our corner grocery store. She bought a pound of bacon and hurried back home to prepare it. She fried the whole pound of bacon until it was dark and crispy, just the way Elvis liked it. He sat and ate that whole pound of bacon while everyone in his entourage ate the steaks.


The Time Elvis Kissed Me...

 

 

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