Friday, August 17, 2007

The real story of the day Elvis died

August 16, 1977 -- the day that Elvis died. And the world was shaken.

Network television cut into regular programming to alert the nation. CBS did not and dropped huge rating points.

I know this because I was a fan. And because friends of mine, Janice and Neal Gregory, wrote a book about the way the media treated his death. The book, "When Elvis Died: Media Overload and the Origins of the Elvis Cult" is available in paperback on Amazon.

The story of how they came to write the book is one of those "only-in-Washington" kind of tales. This is how I remember it.

Shortly after Elvis died, Neal and Janice were on vacation in London where they attended an auction. The front page of the London Times featuring Elvis' death was auctioned for $300.

Hmmm, thought Janice and Neal, we have three kids needing $$$ for college and we know the librarian who gets incoming newspapers for the Speaker of the House. It was August, the House was in recess, and cart-loads of newspapers from across America were going to be languishing in the little-known library. Naturally, our dynamic duo figured they could sell those front pages at other auctions and get their urchins educated.

They contacted their buddy and he agreed to let them pull off their caper and abscond with the Speaker's unread newspapers.

As Janice and Neal scanned the papers, they were struck with the differences in the way the U.S. media treated Elvis' death. Intriguing.

That week, they were at a Washington cocktail party and Janice was telling a friend the story of their discovery. "I think we have the makings of a book," she said. "If only I knew a publisher."

There was a gentle tap on her shoulder and a stranger said: "I just happen to be a book publisher." Thus, the couple wrote a book instead of auctioning front pages of newspapers. It seemed more tidy.

And -- that's how the three Gregory children went to college.

No comments:

National Politics

News on Aging

Geriatric Medicine News

Senior Health Insurance News

Social Security & Medicare News

Posts From Other Geezer Blogs