He was a member of The Continentals and The Mystic All Stars. He met Elvis, Fats Domino, Dean Martin and so many others. He's written a book titled Elvis Presley's Twin, Jesse Garon. His name is Stan Knight. We spoke with Stan Knight about that book and his musical career.
Q - Before I ask about this book of yours, you actually met Elvis?
A - Well, I did more than that. In '62 I was in Seattle at The World's Fair with my band. Spanky McFarlane was our manager and was good friends with (Colonel) Parker, Elvis' manager. They'd done some scams together. He got us in a movie for ten bucks a day for like two weeks. He got us in the Elvis movie It Happened At The World's Fair, towards the end of the fair. After we got started, Pat Wallis, who was Elvis' double, was doing a chase scene. He ran over a fence and cut his leg and broke his leg. So, at four o'clock in the morning Spanky calls and says, "Get your ass down to the fairgrounds. We want to see you. Right now!" I said, "It's closed. There's nothing open." He said, "Just get on the tram. They'll take you down there and somebody will meet you." They met me at the tram, took me to a trailer and poured black hair dye all over me and I did all the distant shots. At the end of the shoot, he (Elvis) had the whole fourteenth floor of The Washington Hotel. Jimmy Kingsley, God rest his soul, he and I became friends. He was one of Elvis' disciples or whatever. He said, "You think you can get a couple of girls for Elvis' wrap parties?" I said, "It'll be tough, man." I ended up with about seven or eight girls. Anyway, we got to the party and Elvis doesn't come out. So, I snuck around the hotel. I had a couple of drinks and I was trying to find him. I found him and he was on the couch with this girl, watching TV. He said, "Who the fuck are you? That's right, you're Spanky's guy." I said, "Yeah." He said, "I'm sorry. I missed Naked City and it's my favorite show. I missed it the last three weeks. I've been working. As soon as it's over I'll come out to the party." (laughs) So, that was it.
Q - Was that then the only time you'd met Elvis?
A - I'd seen him before. I knew people in the group, but I never actually sat down and talked to him. I'd seen him two or three times since then in Hollywood. He was driving around. I said "Hi" and he kind of acknowledged me, but that was about it. (laughs)
Q - What was the name of the group Spanky McFarlane was managing?
A - The Continentals. It was my band. I started it. At first it was The Mystics And The All Stars. We went different ways and I formed The Continentals.
Q - Stan, this is an interesting title for the book you've written, Elvis Presley's Twin, Jesse Garon. I'm not sure a lot of people know Elvis had a twin who died at birth.
A - It depends on your age range. I see four year old kids that see me. I just did a movie two days ago down in Angels in the fort there at San Pedro, and I played Elvis. These kids are running around, four, five and six years old, around the set and they knew who Elvis was. (laughs) The book did really well outside the country. It did fairly good here. It's now on Amazon Kindle. You can get it for $2.99. It came from a session we were having at Smith Burbank Studios. Our cover player was looking at all the pictures of people who recorded there and he saw Elvis' pictures. He said, "Hey Stan, what do you think would've happened if Elvis' twin brother had lived instead of dying at birth?" I started clicking in my head and I went to Tupelo and asked a few questions. I said, "Well, let's make it fiction and say he didn't." There was a thing that happened in the '30s that was like child marketing. They did it for the good of the town and the sheriffs, the preachers, the coroner, they all just conspired to do this. They would take the money that was given from some rich family and put it into the community. That's where I got my idea from. I just went with it from there. I was also living in Hollywood for awhile. I was living on Delong Pre Street and so I made Elvis new parents, his adopted parents, Jesse Garon's new parents, Colonel Justin Delong Pre. (laughs) So, that was one of the main guys in the book.
Q - Do you think Elvis faked his death and took on the name of Jesse?
A - No. I had letters and e-mails from all over the world that were saying, "Well, it's about time somebody had the guts to tell the truth!" I even got one of my book reviews that said that. It said, "I knew it! I just knew it!" I never said he was alive. It's fiction. The whole premise is "what if?" That's the whole premise of my book. It was 99% fiction. The only thing I did was criss-crossed their lives for forty-two years and used the twin factor. One gets hurt and the other one feels his pain, no matter where they are. I used that several times in the book. The people just say, "I knew it. God, I knew he was alive! Why did you wait so long to tell the story?" (laughs)
Q - There's a movie going to be made from your book?
A - Well, I have optioned out to Universal, Ron Kelly. I had it out to Paramount. I had it at SONY. They all love it, but I think they're just afraid to do anything. They said, "We may do it. One of these days we'll do it." I had a business plan worked out. I had a screen play called Elvis And Jesse. The thing never got going. I just don't know how else to do it. Somebody comes up, I'll give 'em 25% of it if they can come up with anything.