Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Elvis is in the building!

I saw this picture in my files the other day. It's me when I was about 8 or 9 years old and obviously taken in the 1970s. It was inside a room at the International Hilton Hotel in Las Vegas. Notice the pin I'm wearing. Yep, it's Elvis. My mom loves Elvis and she used to take me to Las Vegas to see his shows. I remember buying this outfit for an Elvis concert. I couldn't have been more decked out -- new dress, necklace, bracelet, ring, hair ribbon, button. I'm sure all the jewelry was a matching set because those were my favorite things to buy when we traveled to Vegas. I remember buying the stuffed kitty at the giftshop at the Hilton. Remember it clear as day, which is funny because I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday.

Elvis concerts were so amazing. I've been to lots of concerts since then, but none compare to the excitement of Elvis. I remember going into the showroom and watching my mom hand the maitre d' a hundred dollar bill. He took it and smiled and proceeded to walk us to our table. He sat us down front row center next to the stage. A hundred bucks went a long way in old Vegas. That was a wild concert. We were sitting with a large group of Japanese women and all they could do was giggle. At one point in the show, they pulled on my arms and tried to get me to get up on stage. I was shy as could be, so I fought them the whole time. Knowing what I know now, what a stupid thing to do. Elvis was awesome. Women would come up and ask for kisses and he always leaned over to give them. I saw more than once where he took enormous rings off his fingers and gave them to ladies in the crowd. What an amazing performer. His shows always started with the theme to "2001: A Space Odyssey" and ended with "I Can't Help Falling In Love", complete with the cape on his back. And yes, they always said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building" after every show. If they didn't say that and turn the lights back on, the crowd would continue to clap for encores and would never leave.

I believe Elvis stayed in the Hilton when he was performing. The top floor was restricted and I think that's where he stayed. You could take the elevator up and open the doors, but you couldn't get out. They had a guard at the door and it was blocked off with red velvet ropes. Right when the elevator doors opened, you saw a glass case with some sort of jeweled crown inside it. One of these days I'll have to research to find out what that was. We used to ride up to the top just to look when the doors opened, and then we'd ride back down. My mom was a nurse and worked crazy hours, so a lot of times we'd leave for Vegas in the evening and we'd drive all night. We'd get there in the morning, check into our hotel and sleep during the day. Then we'd go to the show at night. One time I found myself wandering around the hotel and I had no idea where I was. This was the one and only time I think I ever sleepwalked. I found myself outside and a helicopter landed on the lawn in front of me. Several people came out, including a man I am 100% positive was Elvis. I went back inside and realized I had no idea what room I was in. I had to ask at the front desk. To this day, no one ever believed I saw Elvis Presley get out of his helicopter, but I know it was him. Wonderful memories for me, that's for sure.


  1. Hi Rena! I loved reading about your Elvis adventures. I'm a big fan too. My kids like him, but my hubby isn't so crazy about him lol. I think I once told you I can only claim to have been to an Elvis concert while my mom was pregnant with me. My BIL's father was in the army with him in Germany.
    So cool about him giving rings away to women in the audience. I think he was a really generous man. I remember reading how he would give cadillacs away.

  2. Hi Erin! Yes, I remember that story about your mom being pregnant with you at a concert. How cool is that. It's also neat that your BIL's father was in the Army with him. I have great memories of these concerts. Not just because of Elvis, but also because they were something special my mom & I did together. Thanks for replying! :)

  3. Cute picture! What was up with the '70's and all those brown and orange prints?

    I was never a big Elvis fan while growing up, but now I wish I'd had the chance to see him in concert. I've heard stories like that about his generosity - so cool!

  4. LOL Adrienne -- no kidding! I don't know if I blend in with those curtains or if they blend in with me. The 1970s were filled with orange, brown, yellow and paisley. Suddenly, the theme to The Brady Bunch is drifting through my mind ... ;)

  5. Oh wow Rena, what great memories! How cool that your mom took you to see Elvis - I imagine there weren't many other 8 yr olds there!

    Love that 70's pic of you! Cute! How funny - that kitten that you're holding looks just like one that I had as a kid. Somewhere I have a picture of me and my brother sitting on our new white, plastic covered couch (lol my mom used to cover it with plastic so it wouldn't get dirty). I was holding a stuffed kitten exactly like that! If I can find the picture I'll email it to you.

    Interesting about Elvis giving away rings and kisses. Thanks for sharing your story with us :)


  6. Thanks Neen. I definitely want to see a pic of that kitty if you can find it. How funny! LOL @ the plastic couch covering. My grandparents had that in their car, of all places. Talk about hot & sticky living in SoCA! It would rip the skin off your legs when you got out in the summer. And you know, now that you mentioned it, there were NOT many little kids at the Elvis concerts. I'm sure that would be different today.

  7. Great post, Rena. I love hearing personal stories of encounters (or close encounters) with well-known people, especially with someone as big as Elvis. So cool. :)

    Lol @ plastic-covered furniture or car seats ripping the skin off of your legs! I totally remember that during my childhood, only with leather upholstery in cars. That was nearly as painful.


  8. What a fabulous post.

    I totally adore Elvis and am sooooo jealous you got to see him in concert. Oh, and getting out of his helicopter as well. ;)

  9. Thanks for stopping by, Catherine! :)

  10. So your mom took you to Elvis...a little different than say US taking our kiddos to the Wiggles? Little bit! ;D

    Totally love the dress and there seriously WAS something up with all that orange and brown! I think it was to blend in with all the carpet, furniture and wall paper!

    You were so cute! AND lucky!

  11. Wow! What cool concert experiences..ELVIS!
    My hubby and I danced to "Love Me Tender" as our first song when we got married. (it was playing when he asked me to marry him on some love song station he put on for his big question..)