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Entertainment // Uncle Tom's Gabbin
Tom Moffatt

Elvis Week is Bigger Than Ever

MEMPHIS – You may have heard in news reports back home that this year’s 35th anniversary Elvis Week is the biggest ever … Memphis truly has become the city of Elvis … Most of you know of my friendship with Col. Tom Parker and Elvis, tremendous fans of Hawaii. It’s a different experience on Elvis’ home turf in this annual devotional pilgrimage to commemorate the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – amazing to be a part of it …

I’m not the only “local” in attendance. I’ve met people from all over … Uruguay, Quebec, Spain, Holland, Australia … but got the biggest kick out of hearing a little voice exclaim, “Hi, Uncle Tom! I’m from Maui!”

Also from Hawaii … Brad Wallace, president and CEO of Pacific Historic Parks, which raises funds for Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial. It’s involved in the January 2013 extravaganza in Honolulu that’ll culminate in the digital recreation of Elvis’ Aloha from Hawaii concert, and there’s plenty of buzz here about it. Learn more by visiting elvis.com/aloha … On Wednesday night, Brad and I attended the candlelight vigil at Graceland together, walking along Elvis Presley Boulevard with the 75,000 other attendees. Breaking away from the throng, we found ourselves alone in the Meditation Garden, looking down on Elvis’ tombstone as thousands of candle flames slowly made their way toward us … while Lisa Marie Presley and Priscilla Presley spoke to the gathering. Chicken skin time…

Eventually I found myself with Jose Feliciano, who remembered the concert we did in Hawaii and talked about his latest release, a compilation of Elvis songs. His parting remark? “Tom, it was good seeing you again.” Jose has been blind since birth …

It’s a thrill catching up with old friends. Loanne Parker, Col. Tom’s widow, and Elvis’ buddies Joe Esposito, George Kline, Charles Stone, Jerry Schilling … and Howard Dvorin, whose father, Al Dvorin, was the voice behind “Elvis has left the building.” I’ve done interviews with Sirius-XM Radio’s 24-hour Elvis channel and bumped into Bruce “Cousin Brucie” Morrow, legendary New York DJ who famously introduced The Beatles at Shea Stadium. We chatted about mutual pal Sid Bernstein, who presented that concert …

A big mahalo to Elvis Presley Enterprises president Jack Soden, vice president of marketing Scott Williams, and especially to Jen Swearingen and Carla Tartera, who kept this whole week running smoothly and kept me on the right planes at the right time … and to the ducks of the Peabody Hotel …

This week in 1967: It’s the Beach Boys Summer Spectacular featuring the whole group – Brian, Carl, Dennis, Al, Bruce and Mike - for two nights at the Arena! Also on the bill: Bobbie Gentry and Dino, Desi and Billy. Tickets cost $5, $4, $3 … And the No. 1 record in Hawaii is Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry …

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