That is the question that has been on the minds of many people for the better part of 1988. It also happens to be the title of a book written by Gail Brewer Giorgio, the book rose to Number Eight on the New York Times Bestseller List.
It should be pointed out, that Gail Brewer Giorgio was not the first to question the circumstances surrounding Elvis' death. In an Associated Press article, from August 13th 1978, Singer / songwriter Ronnie McDowell is quoted as saying, "Sometimes I wonder if he (Elvis) really is dead. I wonder if maybe he just wanted to be free to walk around." And then a year later, in a June 25th 1979 People Magazine Interview, country singer Merle Haggard voiced his opinion that Elvis death could have been a hoax - "It would be the first chance for freedom in his entire life, and it could have been a scheme Colonel Parker dreamed up."
You might have seen Gail Brewer Giorgio on "Larry King Live" and the "Geraldo Rivera Show". You might also have noticed that on both shows, Ms. Giorgio was interrupted, laughed at, put down, and not allowed to tell her story.
In this exclusive interview with writer Gail Brewer Giorgio, we ask the questions that people everywhere want answered - the questions Larry King and Geraldo Rivera didn't ask.
Did Elvis Presley fake his own death? Is Elvis Alive? You be the judge.
Q - The Elvis sightings in Kalamazoo, Michigan and else where, doesn't it seem rather strange that no one has followed Elvis and found out how he's getting around take down a license plate number?
A - I guess we really have to get to human nature in all of this, because my thoughts are the same as yours. I talked to one woman who had driven up to a pet store in Kalamazoo. She lives there. She noticed a blue metallic van, with a gorgeous dog sitting behind the wheel. She went in the store and asked who owned the beautiful dog out there. The man turned to her and said, "It's mine." She looked at him and he had a lot of grey in his hair. The voice is what captured her. She didn't tackle him. She doesn't carry a finger print kit. She did a double-take. And this is before all the rumors were rampant. He just got uncomfortable when she kept looking at him. He then left in the van. She said it just dawned on her who it might be. It's like anything else, I think you might begin to question yourself after that too.
Q - How about reports of a wax dummy in the coffin. What do you know about that?
A - When I was on the Larry King Show, the second time with Joe Esposito, I asked Joe about people reporting to see beads of sweat on the body in the casket. He said this on air, "Yes, that is true." He said the air-conditioning broke that day, we were all hot, everybody was sweating. Call any undertaker, or coroner you want. You'll find out dead bodies don't sweat. Your glands are completely shut off, and embalming fluid is in your body.
Q - Do you think Priscilla and Lisa Marie know Elvis is alive?
It's the story that won't go away. Did Elvis Presley fake his own death? Many people think so, including Gail Brewer Giorgio. Gail is the author of the best-selling book, Is Elvis Alive? and the newly released follow-up to that book - The Elvis Files.
The Elvis Files contains some startling revelations concerning the continuing mystery that surrounds the death of Elvis, and we asked Gail about some of those items.
Q - Is it true that when Elvis was brought into the hospital on August 16,1977, a nurse looked at him and said, "That's not Elvis Presley". Who is this nurse?
A - She has made me promise not to publicize her name for fear of losing her job. I have a letter from her. A code 5 was called and she signed a government paper swearing not to reveal what went on.
Q - You relate a story in your book, that Gloria Estefan received a phone call from someone who identified themselves as Elvis Presley, when she was in the hospital, recovering from her accident. That number would've been private and hard to get, wouldn't it?
A - I agree. I believe at first she thought it was Elvis Presley, but others talked her out of it.
Is Elvis Presley Alive? - The Presley Report Says "Yes!"
Since 1989, Gary James has provided extensive coverage surrounding the Is Elvis Alive? issue. We've interviewed people like Gail Brewer Giorgio, Detective Monte Wayne Nicholson and Jerry Schilling. With every person interviewed comes a different answer.
We now present the most fascinating interview yet, an interview with Michigan policewoman Deborah Wines, who says that Elvis Presley is indeed alive. Ms. Wines has worn a badge since 1982 and is well versed in police and investigative work.
Deborah Wines is part of something called The Presley Commission, a group that set out to gather information on the Elvis "disappearance." In August, 1994, The Presley Commission will issue The Presley Report, which promises to contain the most conclusive evidence yet that Elvis Presley faked his death, and pulled off the hoax of the century.
Here then is our exclusive interview with Deborah Wines.
Q - Deborah, what prompted you as a police officer to become interested in the Is Elvis Alive? question?
A - I've always been an Elvis fan, but not a fanatic. That is a big clarification right there. But, yes I like his music and have always respected him. I've done a lot of reading in regards to Mr. Presley and learned a lot of what he did do as far as with law enforcement, and his love for law enforcement, and doing things for the country. That's why I say I'm a fan, not a fanatic. I'm not about to camp out in front of Graceland. I got involved in it because everything started happening really weird. A girlfriend came to me one time and showed me a picture that was taken in May of 1978 that appears to be Mr. Presley walking across the front grounds of Graceland. This is May of 78, some months after he 'died'. I prefer the word disappeared, because I don't feel we're investigating a situation of mysterious death, I feel we're investigating a disappearance.
Q - Why would Elvis Presley fake his death? Was it, as Det. Monte Wayne Nicholsaon said, because Elvis fingered a high level narcotics trafficker in Las Vegas?
A - That was Monte's comment on it. Our findings have shown a lot of different substance to what he did. We are all under the understanding right now, in the amount of documentation and paperwork we've looked at, that through all of this, it comes down to the very bottom line, he did what had to do. The man had no other choice.
Maria Columbus says Elvis Presley, the King of Rock Ďn Roll, faked his death and she has the evidence to prove it! A month and a half after Elvis was reported dead, Maria Columbus started receiving cards written by Elvis! And how would Maria Columbus know Elvisí handwriting? Well, Maria Columbus was the president of one of the oldest Elvis Fan Clubs in the U.S. She knew Elvis. She sent him birthday cards and holiday cards. He sent her birthday and holiday cards. She called him at Graceland. She went backstage at concerts to speak with him. Itís truly an amazing story. Arranging an interview with Maria Columbus is harder than getting an interview with the President of the United States. Maria Columbus doesnít grant very many interviews. Just for the record, Maria Columbus is not promoting a book deal, a TV deal or a movie deal.
Is Elvis alive? Maria Columbus says yes!
Q - According to Gail Brewer Giorgioís book, "The Elvis Files", you are ninety-eight percent certain that Elvis is alive.
A - Yeah.
Q - Tell me why you believe that.
A - There are a couple of things that point me in that direction. Jeanie was my best friend after I met her in 1969. She had a friend, who was a friend of Elvis, although heís not one of the guys. Heís another type of friend, not a hanger-on or a bodyguard. So, nobody would even know who he is. Iím sure. Elvis had a bunch of friends that peo≠ple didnít know about.
Major Bill LaCarn Smith reports on The King's whereabouts
Out of Ft. Worth, Texas comes a gentleman known as Major Bill LaCarn Smith. The Major is a record producer and promoter who has a long list of accomplishments;
In 1962 the Major produced Bruce Channel's song, "Hey! Baby." It went to Number One and stayed there for three weeks. The Major did it again in 1963 for Paul and Paula's song "Hey Paula." It also stayed at the Number One spot for three weeks.
The Major says he's known famous movie stars such as Clark Gable, and even done some acting himself; he was in the film Strategic Air Command. However, the most impressive thing about The Major is his close and enigmatic association with Elvis Presley.
He traces his association with Elvis back to 1956, when Elvis hit Ft. Worth. The Major greeted the King and convinced the local radio stations there to play his records.
Nowadays, the Major says that Elvis Presley is alive, and he talks to him all the time.
Here is Major Bill LaCarn Smith's story surrounding the Elvis Presley mystery and controversy.
Q - Major Bill, what is your association with Elvis Presley?
A - I manage Elvis Presley. I produce Elvis Presley. I am Elvis Presley's spokesman. Elvis says he's gonna try to come back soon. It will be with The Major and I will be handling the whole damn thing!
Q - How long have you known that Elvis is alive?
A - I've known the story since May of 1977. Dr. James Wakefield Burke, a big novelist, and the head of the press corps for Elvis in Germany (while Elvis was in the army) stopped by the mansion in May of 1977. (We all knew) in May '77 what was comin' down. I know the whole story from soup to nuts. I've written two books about it, Memphis Mystery Part I and Part II. I paid $10,000 of my own cotton pickin' money to get my book out. Elvis and I put it out. He's co-author of it.
Everybody laughs at me and jokes, calls me a fool and an idiot. Let the idiots think what they want to think. I'm the only man in the world who knows anything at all about Elvis Presley, period! I know everything about Elvis. Everybody has a big story on Elvis Presley and the only person who's told the cotton pickin' truth for 16 years is Major Bill Smith! Elvis told me I was the only man in the world he trusted.
Is Elvis Alive? Sheriff Monte Wayne Nicholson Wonders
The most convincing book to be published on the whole Is- Elvis-Alive? phenomenon has to be Monte Wayne Nicholson's The Presley Arrangement. It's a novel, based on extensive research by the author, that demonstrates how the king of rock 'n roll might have faked his own death. The word fascinating doesn't even come close to describing The Presley Arrangement - it's that good. With close to two decades of Southern California police work under his belt, Sheriff Nicholson takes us through The Presley Arrangement and wonders if Elvis is, in fact - dead, or alive.
Q - I'm still unclear as to how you get people to keep their mouths shut, if Elvis hoaxed his own death. You'd have ambulance attendants and hospital workers involved. How do you keep them quiet?
A - Originally, when I wrote the book, I thought that, too. But I don't think as many people are involved, if this was carried off as we think. I don't think the ambulance attendants would necessarily know who it was they were carrying out. How many times had ambulance attendants seen Elvis up close? Let alone, how much different a person looks when they're dead. In my book, I alluded they had an impersonator there who was dying of a terminal illness, and died in Elvis' place. In my estimation, if I was going to do this and carry it off in a way that it would work, that would be the best possible solution. I thought about the wax dummy in the coffin, and I don't buy that. I believe there was a body (in the coffin) but I don't necessarily believe it was Elvis, but I don't necessarily believe it was not Elvis. I'm just saying there were some real funny things surrounding what his actions were before he supposedly died.
Q - If it isn't Elvis, who is buried at Graceland then, who is in the grave?
A - My theory is, if it's not Elvis, then it's someone who impersonated him and did die and was living at the Graceland Mansion at the time, and was being seen by the public as a fat, bloated person. This person was either on some kind of medication or had some type of ailment that caused him to be that way, and he was dying of it. I have a bodyguard friend of mine who said he worked for Elvis the last couple years of his life. He said Elvis was putting on a little weight, but was not bloated, like in some of the pictures that have come out since he died. He also said there were people in suits, that were rumored to be from the government, and they were around him and with him backstage during those last concerts.
"There's all kinds of conspiratorial theories floating around on everything. Elvis Presley is rumored to be alive and well someplace." President George Bush, Canberra, Australia Press Conference, January 1992.
"I have to tell you, I've been dreaming of this moment since I was a kid growing up in Tennessee, that one day, I'd have the chance to come home to Madison Square Garden, and be the warm-up act for Elvis." - Senator Al Gore's (Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate for 1992) opening remark at the Democratic Convention, July 1992.
August 16th, 1992 will mark the fifteenth anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.
Does anyone really know what happened to Elvis on that day?
Monte Wayne Nicholson, a detective on the Los Angeles Sheriff's Dept. has been investigating the Elvis case for fifteen years, since 1977.
Monte is the author of the previously published book "The Presley Arrangement" and the soon-to-be published book, "Elvis Calling". Monte was a guest on The Elvis Files," and "The Elvis Conspiracy", both nationally syndicated TV programs. Recently, Monte has turned down 30 radio interview requests, as well as several TV interviews. Monte did agree to talk to Gary James.
What follows is a disturbing and unsettling account of the whole Is Elvis Alive? issue.
Q - Monte, you've been investigating this Is Elvis Alive? phenomenon for some time now. What are you leaning towards, that Elvis is alive, or Elvis is dead?
A - You know, that is the most difficult question of all for me to answer, because in my mind, I can look at both sides and almost prove that theory, he's alive or dead, if I don't look at all the evidence. I would say, at this point, I would be afraid to say he's dead, because sure as the world, somebody's gonna come up with him. I'd be afraid to say that he's alive, because they'll exhume his body, and prove that he's dead. I would say that I can't say. I am convinced that the only thing that's gonna solve this is to exhume the body and prove scientifically, physically, with physical evidence, once and for all, that that is him in the grave. Fifteen years ago, we started this circle, and it's still a circle, and we're still walking in it and nothing has been proven. I would say that based on the evidence that's been shown that he's alive, that nothing conclusive has been presented. A wise person would have to say I'm leaning towards that he's dead. But, there may be a greater conspiracy involved, not that he's alive, but I'm convinced that something is not being told. What that something is, I'm not sure of. Could it be that he was murdered? Could it be that he was so involved with the government that they want to keep things quiet? Could it be drug related? Could it be a jealous girlfriend? I don't know. These are all just questions in my mind. But, I am convinced that something is not being told about the circumstances surrounding his death. Is he dead? Probably. But, is there a conspiracy? Undoubtedly. I think there's as much conspiracy in this as there is Marilyn Monroe or JFK. Every bit as much. I would like the answers. But now, for me to get those answers, it takes a higher authority or a local authority to make that step. I don't have the authority legally to do what needs to be done, to prove this once and for all. And I don't think the people that stand to gain want it proven, anyway. I think the people that stand to gain from this want the conspiracy to continue.
Q - "The Elvis Files" left viewers to conclude that Elvis was alive. "The Elvis Conspiracy" left viewers to conclude that Elvis was dead. Both shows produced handwriting and voice analysts to support their conclusion. How can experts on both shows be right?
A - OK, and you know, that just goes back to what I said, the evidence that's been presented so far proves nothing. You can get any two experts on a subject and depending on who's paying them, you can get 'em to say what you want. And, I'm not saying that any of these experts were lying. Experts are a funny breed. They are making money, and somehow in their conscious minds, they can rule out things that they noticed that they just decide not to talk about when they're getting paid. They convince themselves that what they're saying is true. So, I don't think that they're lying, consciously. We have court witnesses, expert testimony given by doctors who always testify for the defense, no matter whether they're right or wrong, they always testify for the defense. Others testify for the prosecution, always, no matter what. So, we don't really know what those experts believe. We only know the court accepts them as experts, and allows them to testify.
An Interview With Elvis' Stepbrother, David Stanley
David Stanley was just 4 years old when he moved into Graceland after his mother Dee married Elvis' father, Vernon. David stayed with Elvis at Graceland for 17 years, and traveled with him until the end, August 16,1977.
David is the author of a new book titled, The Evis Encyclopedia, which bills itself as The Complete and Definitive Reference book on The King of Rock and Roll.
We talked with David Stanley about his book and Elvis Presley.
Q - At his last concert in Indianapolis in 1977, Elvis made what many consider to be a rather strange remark. He said in Spanish, "We will meet again."
A - Yeah, he did.
Q - What did he mean by that?
A - I believe Elvis knew he was going on stage for the last time. I don't know if you've read about me, but I've been very candid about Elvis' death. I think Elvis pre-meditated his death, and planned it, and that's all there is to it. Elvis Presley knew he was leaving us. He said something else that night before he walked on that stage that night - "I may not look good tonight on stage, but I'll look good in my casket." Two days before he died, he said "David, I love you," stood up, and hugged me. He hadn't hugged me like that since 17 years before, when he welcomed me into his family. "You'll never see me again David. I'll see you in a different place." Of course, you know Elvis was into the mystic books and all this stuff. But, I think that Elvis was unhappy towards the end of his life. He was grossly overweight. He had a very, very serious drug problem. He loved Ginger Alden only out of choice, not heartfelt. It's like you wake up one day after you're a wild ass rock'n1 roller, and you say I want to settle down, and you've got problems in your life, and it's not as easy as you thought. I think those problems caught up with Presley, and the drug addiction that set in towards the end of his life, cost him his life.
Q - You appeared on the CNN show, Larry King Live, with Dennis Miller, the substitute host. You constantly referred to Elvis in the present tense. Deborah Wines of the Presley Commission tells me you were ordered by higher-ups to stop promoting your book, and to shut your mouth after that appearance. Is that true?
A - Well, she must not have seen C.B.S. this morning. She must've missed "Inside Edition". I just got through taping "Sally". I just did Music City Tonight. I was on CNN Showbiz Today. I'm doing 30 radio shows this week. I've been in every newspaper that will listen as far as promoting my book. Obviously, she's not watching t.v.
Jerry Schilling met Elvis Presley in 1954. He was 11 years old. He went on to become one of Elvis's closest friends and a personal aide. He served as the Creative Affairs Director for the Presley Estate from 1987 to 1991. Jerry was also the personal manager of Lisa Marie Presley from 1989 to 1991.
Just recently Jerry Schilling co-wrote and produced "Elvis In Hollywood", which is the only tribute to Elvis in the movies ever sanctioned by the Presley Estate. Included are previously unreleased home movies and photos from the movie sets lost for three decades.
We spoke with Jerry Schilling about his memories of the King of Rock 'n' Roll, and "Elvis In Hollywood."
Q - Where did you first meet Elvis?
A - Well, I lived a couple of blocks from him. I went to a local playground one Sunday afternoon, and there were five older boys getting ready to play a football game, and they needed a sixth person. So, since there was nobody but this younger kid, which was me, I played with him. One of the guys was Elvis. And those football games become weekly Sunday events. But, that's how unpopular Elvis was at that time. He couldn't get enough guys to play a football game. (Laughs)
Q - Was Elvis somewhat of a local hero on the day you met him?
A - Actually, I used to listen to Dewey Phillips on the Red, Hot and Blue Radio Show. I was very much into music as a young kid. That week, he had played Elvis's record for the very first time. I was listening to the show. When we played on that Sunday, we knew there had been a little talk on the night it was played. Then Dewey played it the next night. But, nobody knew who he was. People who were really into music were calling in to request it. But, it wasn't like the city was going crazy. How I got in the football game was, my older brother had a friend named Red West. And Red knew me through my brother, and thatís when he said, "Jerry, do you want to play with us?" So I went to get in the huddle and I realized this guy was Elvis Presley, the guy I had heard on the radio. All these people went to Humes High (School), and all of my older cousins, who were in the same neighborhood, went.
An Interview with Kalamazoo Michigan resident, Louise Welling
Since his reported death on August 16,1977, Elvis Aaron Presley has been sighted in cities all across America. There is one city however that has gained a greater notoriety than others for Elvis sightings: Kalamazoo, Michigan. Is Elvis alive and residing in Kalamazoo? We can't say for sure, but resident Louise Welling seems to think so.
Here is her story...
Q - Mrs. Welling, you first saw Elvis in the back of a police car in 1979?
A - That's correct. We lived in Vicksburg, Michigan. A police officer came to our house one day and in the back seat was Elvis Presley; what I thought was Elvis Presley. At the time, I shrugged it off and said, "No, it can't be." The police officer's name was Sgt. Dwane Duffy. I tried looking for his phone number, but it's not even listed in the phone book anymore; I can't find it. [The police] said they never heard of a Sgt. Duffy, but I know that was his name. The officer I talked to said that he didn't know of him. When I tried to find out about it, it was during all the "Elvis stuff." At the time I said, "No, it can't be, it's probably an impersonator." I just shrugged it off. But, looking back on it, I really feel in my heart I was looking at him. He looked ill. I don't know if it was around the time of his father's death, or if he just wasn't feeling quite well. You know when someone doesn't feel well; you can see it in their face. Elvis was just sitting there (in the police car), I can still describe what he was wearing. He had this Navy P-coat or jacket, and a real pretty shade of blue shirt. He just looked so neat and clean. Now that I look back on it, I believe I was looking at Elvis Presley.
(At this point, Mrs. Welling talks about noticing Elvis' name in the city of Galesburg's newspaper, The Argus. This led her to believe that Elvis had relatives in Galesburg)
...I found this out from the private detective who came to my home to fix the satellite dish, Sgt. Jayco. My husband was kidding with him and said, "You know Louise believes that Elvis is alive and has relatives in Galesburg." He (the detective/satellite repairman) got sort of white-faced, and tried to get out of there in a big hurry for some reason.
Q - In September of 1987, you said you saw Elvis on a Sunday morning in a grocery store...
A - We lived in Vicksburg then. I think it's kind of strange, the more I look back on it. I walked into the grocery store with my grandson, I had gotten my things and as I walked up to the grocery line, I looked at what I thought was an Elvis impersonator. Then I thought: "that could have been Elvis." He acted very nervous and jumpy as I approached him. He kind of calmed down when I didn't do anything. I just kept quiet and smiled a little bit, and he smiled at my grandson. He had a motorcycle helmet with him... By the time I went out (to the parking lot), they were gone. They really scooted off quite hurriedly. I didn't see anybody in the parking lot.
What would it have been like to travel on the road with Elvis Presley in 1956? Can you even begin to imagine such an experience?
Eddie Fadal doesn't have to imagine, he was there when Presleymania was at its peak.
Eddie spoke with us about the life of Elvis Presley.
Q - Eddie, how did you come to know Elvis?
A - First, back in Dallas, Texas, when I was a disc jockey in 1956. I had already been a great admirer of his records. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time, when he came up to the studio, promoting some records. We met and I was getting off duty that day and he asked if I would like to finish out the Texas tour with him. I said "Sure." He said "What about your job here?" I said "That's no problem. I was looking for one when I found this one and I'll look for another one." And that's what I did. I went in and resigned immediately and went on tour with him.
Q - What was Elvis to you?
A - He was a friend. He was a true friend. He would do anything that I would want him to do or ask him to do or get me anything that I would want. But, I never asked him for anything. That's what made our relationship unique in that I never asked him for anything. He tried many times, but I wouldn't accept anything from him.
Dennis Wise made page-one news in papers across the country back in 1978 when he underwent six hours of cosmetic surgery to reconstruct his face to resemble that of Elvis Presley.
Now, fourteen years later, Dennis Wise travels the world with his Elvis Tribute Show.
What makes a man go to such elaborate lengths to emulate "The King"?
We'll let Dennis Wise explain.
Q - You say "When I'm on the stage, when the energy gets going, I kind of know what he went through and what he felt like." Do you know then what he felt when he came off stage?
A - Absolutely, but again on a very small scale. When he went out there, you could feel the warmness that people were giving him, just from the Elvis fans that come to my show. These are not my fans. I could feel that. You can see that. It's a great, warm feeling. That's what I mean by feeling what he felt. People giving you a standing ovation. Clapping their hands. Screaming and hollering. That sort of thing. Elvis Presley got his high from being on the stage, just like I do. It's a high that you can't get from a prescription drug, or from any drug that you can find on the street. That is something that you can't bottle or put in a capsule. But, his tour also was a very strenuous tour, 15 days, different cities every night. It does get tiresome.
Q - Dennis, there are some people who say that Elvis schedule was so strenuous, and he was so sick, that he couldn't have possibly have made all those shows. There's talk of a double being used on the nights that Elvis couldn't perform.
A - I've heard that too. I've got a new book coming out. It's not a book of Elvis. It has nothing to do with his life. It's called "King For A Knight", like Elvis was the King and I'm just one of his knights, if you can kind of grasp that idea. In that particular book, I talk about these twins that always came to see me. They always said that Elvis their father and that he always used a double. I've heard that story before. These things are always kind of interesting. (laughs)
Born in Port Arthur, Texas, Sammy Stone started singing gospel music in church. But, it was Elvis Presley who changed Sammy's life forever. Sammy now travels the country singing and playing Elvis' songs in his own unique country style.
Q - Sammy, why do you suppose that people are still interested in Elvis Presley after all these years? There are so many other rock singers out there.
A - People are still fascinated with Elvis because no one can take his place. No one ever again will come along with that type of charisma, talent, good humor and just overwhelming magnetism.
Q - Sammy, what separates you from all of the other Elvis impersonators?
A - My singing voice is really close to his voice and the appearance is close. With other impersonators, the two never go together. From what I have seen over the years, the other impersonators can't match up the two needs, the look and the voice. I phrase myself as an Elvis singer or an Elvis representative. An impersonator is too common, and the fans might think well, it's probably another American Eagle jumpsuit clone who wishes he could do Elvis. I don't want them getting that image before they see or hear me.
Major Bill Smith says Elvis is very mich alive. Charles Thompson says Elvis is dead. After talking with both of them, interviewer Gary James says each is convincing in his own way. Read on and see what you think.
An Interview with TV producer Charles C. Thompson
In a recent interview with author Gail Brewer Giorgio (The Elvis Files), we presented the idea that Elvis Presley may still be alive, that he faked his death. "Not so", says Charles C. Thompson II. And he should know. He's spent over 10 years tracking down the truth of what really happened at Graceland and to Elvis on that day in August 1977. Mr. Thompson was a founding producer for ABC-TV's news program 20/20 and is currently a producer for CBS-TV's 60 Minutes. Mr. Thompson, along with Memphis journalist James P. Cole, has authored a book titled The Death of Elvis, What Realiy Happened (Delacorte Press). Asked if the book doesn't raise new questions, Thompson responded. "It may raise new questions, but certainly not new questions about him being alive. If you go through the complete autopsy and you chop somebody to pieces, you're not alive at the end of that process." One of the new questions surrounds the strange actions of step-brother David Stanley at Graceland shortly before Elvis' death. According to the book, Stanley was in a hurry to get out of Graceland because he was trying to smuggle out a friend who shouldn't have been there. No names are mentioned.
Charles Thompson: - It was a girl. We know who she was and had talked to her. There just wasn't any point in naming her.
Gary James: - And why shouldn't she have been there?
Charles Thompson: - They were security conscious. They just didn't want anybody in there who wasn't cleared by Elvis. David was supposed to be on duty and he was late and fooling around. It's a fairly simple story.
Gary James: - What about all the "Is Elvis Alive?" talk and the sightings of Elvis?
Charles Thompson: - Most fans accept the idea that Elvis is dead. But they really don't want to discuss how he died. And others have convinced themselves that Elvis is alive. So, no matter what type of evidence is presented to the contrary, they still cling to that idea.
Gary James: - What of Gail Brewer Giorgio's claim that when Elvis was brought into the hospital on August 16, 1977, a nurse looked at him and said. "That's not Elvis," and she was made to sign a G-5 form, swearing not to reveal what went on in the hospital that day.
Charles Thompson: - I've never heard of that form. There were no federal people there. The people I talked to, the doctors and nurses, were very open and willing to talk about what happened. Elvis was well known by the hospital staff because he was treated there just two weeks prior to his death.
Thompson maintains what's lacking from all of the "Is Elvis Alive?" proponents is "documentation." No pictures, no audio or video tapes exist that can prove beyond a doubt that Elvis is alive. In fact, Thompson states that some of the documents being used to prove Elvis is alive are "bad documents" because they have been altered.
Gary James: - Is it true that a million dollars is missing and has never been accounted for from Elvis' checking account?
Charles Thompson: - They're meticulous at that estate. Priscilla and Jack Soden, the fella who's running it for her, are great business people. They're not missing a nickel. Colonel Parker took 50 percent off the top. Elvis' father got taken on a lot of swindles. And Elvis, as you well know, liked to give away a lot of expensive gifts. They weren't making a whole lot of money and they didn't have a whole lot of cash at that time. They were just going from concert to concert.
An Interview with record producer Major Bill Smith
Major Bill Smith of Ft. Worth, Texas says Elvis Presley is alive and says he talks to Elvis on the phone all the time.
Who is Major Bill Smith? He is 69 years old (at the time of this interview), and he traces his association to Elvis to 1956, when Elvis came to Ft. Worth. Smith, a promoter and record producer, met Elvis and got airplay for him on key radio stations in the area.
How long has the Major known about Elvis faking his death?
Major Bill Smith: -
I've known the story since May 1977. Dr. James Wakefield Burke, a novelist and the head of the press in Germany stopped by the mansion in May 1977. Vernon Presley told Dr. Burke in May 1977 what was coming down. Vernon was in on the whole thing with him. I know the whole story from soup to nuts.
Gary James: - How about the sightings of Elvis Presley across the country?
Major Bill Smith: - All the Kalamazoo (Michigan) stuff was true. I never know where my friend is. Well, I do know a lot of times where he is. He calls me. I've got the only two pictures of Elvis after 1977. Everybody laughs at me and and jokes, calls me a fool and an idiot. Let the idiots think what they want to think. Elvis says he's gonna try to come back soon. It will be with the Major and I will be handling the whole damn thing.
* You can hear what Major Bill Smith says is a taped conversation with Elvis by clicking HERE *
An Interview with Elvis impersonator Russ Howe
He calls his show Reflections of the King. Russ Howe is an Elvis look-and-sound-alike and I talked with Russ about his tribute to the one and only Elvis Presley.
Gary James: - Is this what you do full-time?
Russ Howe: - Most of the time. For about ten years I've been in the electrical business doing security alarms, and I really enjoy that. I think I need that to keep myself sane to be honest with you. The Elvis stuff is really at night time, and if I take off 2-3 weeks or whatever, that's basically how it works.
Gary James: - You say you keep the electrical work going to keep your sanity. Can you get caught up in the whole Elvis mystique?
Russ Howe: - You know it is pretty scary when you see sometimes the reaction of the people, because they're out to have fun, and sometimes they get lost a little bit. They just go crazy for that hour, if they want to think that's Elvis up there, that's great. But never forget who I am. I've met quite a few people who do the Elvis show and they're 24 hours Eivis. So, a lot of people who meet me are very happy that they realize I'm myself also, which is a totally different person.
Gary James: - All this talk about Elvis being alive, does that help or hurt ticket sales?
Russ Howe: - Actually, I don't know. It's stirring a lot of people's minds. I personally don't believe it. I know a few people who were with him the night before he passed away. With all the stories I've been told and the people I've met, I don't believe it. Just to show you, two years ago when the "Elvis was alive" was a really big thing, I went to visit my parents in upstate New York. I went fishing. Here I am in the middle of the lake, I'm fishing, a car goes by and the screech of the tires went on and I heard a lady screaming "Elvis". I got home about a week later and I went to the candy store and picked up the new issue of The Star. The latest spot for an Elvis sighting was upstate New York, fishing. (Laughs.) So people I think, see what they want to see. I would love him to be alive, but personally I don't think so.
An Interview with Elvis impersonator Danny Vann
Danny Vann has been imitating Elvis since he was three years old. His professional debut occurred in 1968, when he was 15 years old. Danny Vann is regarded as one of the best Elvis tribute acts in the country. We asked him what it all means.
Gary James: - 1968 had to be a rather strange year to be debuting an Elvis show. The Doors, Hendrix and Janis Joplin were ridin' high on the charts. Why did you decide on Elvis?
Danny Vann: - 1968 was a bizarre time to be doing Elvis. But, I started imitating Elvis many years before that. In fact, I was trying to do Elvis before my voice changed. I got my first guitar in 1968, so I could finally start performing on my own.
Gary James: - You work full-time for Michigan Bell as a computer analyst, and perform your shows, I assume, on the weekend. If you wanted to, couldn't you go full-time with your show?
Danny Vann: - I was a full-time entertainer after high school when I met my wife, and literally sang 5 to 8 hours a day, 6 days a week, for nearly a year. Just me and my guitar at different clubs. I got married to my one and still only wife when we were both 19 years oid. About a year after we were married, I suffered a severe bout of exhaustion. At the time, I didn't work for Bell and had no medical insurance. I laid flat on my back on our apartment for three weeks. Thank God my wife had a full-time job. I came from a broken home and didn't have much of a childhood. I had three weeks to think about no medical, no paid sickness days, no retirement and worst of all, no security. What kind of life would an entertaining career be for my future family? I got my start with Michigan Bell within six months of my recovery. I have had offers since then, but I know I made the right decision. My 14-year-old son, Troy and 11-year-old daughter, Shannon, have a secure life. We have the best of both worlds as they frequently travel with the show and help out.
Gary James: - What do you get out of doing an Eivis Tribute Show? How does it make you feel?
Danny Vann: - I started singing because of Elvis. My first performances were mostly Elvis songs. His music is very beautiful and fun to do. I have written and recorded several original songs, but even when I do my own music or other people's hits, the audiences have called for the Elvis songs.
Gary James: - Do you believe Elvis faked his death?
Danny Vann: - If anyone could have pulled it off, it was Elvis and maybe the F.B.I. But, I feel Elvis has given more than any human being should be asked to, and if he went into hiding, leave him alone. He deserves his privacy.