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CONCERT DATE: April 30, 1975 Atlanta, GA.

Looking for - and Finding - King Elvis
by Art Harris
The Atlanta Constitution
May 1, 1975

Some women came in wheel chairs; a few hobbled on crutches, others high-stepped in satin gowns that clung to cellulite curves, hair fluffed to bouffant extremes. And when the lights went low - before he murmured, "Well, Well, Well," - they let out piercing, last gasp, "Love-Me-Tender" shrieks.

In return, Elvis gave them music, wiggles, more than a dozen sweaty blue scarves and prostrated himself on stage to give away big wet smooches. And the anointed turned around with joy and fulfillment in their eyes.

Elvis Presley, just turned 40 and fighting BAttle of the Bulge, wore a custom white silk safari suit with a high-roll collar, baby blue epaulets and rhinestone pants stripes that flickered when he shimied and sparkled when he shook. His thick black hair was slicked back by greasy kid stuff. The King was back.

his coat was pinched by a single button at the waist. And when he bent just so, you could discern the barest outline of a generous love handle. Elvis, full about the face, is giving birth to a double chin.

He still looks fantastic," said one fan before the concert, who had seen him in Las Vegas three weeks ago. "There is nothing wrong with him. You can tell he's gained a little, but he's still equally handsome."

Elvis warmed up to grinding pelvic thrusts by joking. "Maybe I need a lube job." He baritone growled through more than 20 old favorites, including "C.C. Rider," "Love Me Tender," "I Got A Woman," "Blue Suede Shoes" and " Hound Dog".

"Honey," he moaned, "you lied when you said you love me..."

"WE LOVE YOU, WE LOVE YOU, WE LOVE YOU," they yelled. And Mrs. Marylin Goodwin of Decator said, "I wouldn't waste five minutes alone with him. My husband said that he would give me permission...."

Mrs. Beverly Mickle, a cake decorator from Chamblee, brought Elvis a tiger doll hidden in plastic trash bags because "he's an 8th degree black belt and his nickname's tiger." She got a blue scarf and a big wet one.

Earlier Wednesday afternoon, a very menacing crowd about 200 people, had gathered outside Stouffers, where Elvis was sequestered. They surged into Peachtree for a better look at an upper balcony. A plump. middle-aged woman in tight red hot pants was jabbing the air with her hands, pointing skyward.

"THERE HE IS!" she yelled. "He's up there with that girl. He's wearing sunglasses."

Mrs. Shirley Ivey of Snellville had trained high-powered binoculars on the 24th floor. "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELeeeeeeeeevis!" she screamed . "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEELVIIIIIIIIIS."

"Omigodomigodomigod," moaned Vicki Spencer of Forrest Park, a suburbanite come to the city for the day.

Mrs. Ivey, a highly nervous housewife, had taken her three children to stalk Elvis Presley, following the "Fever for Elvis" fan club parade down Peachtree, to Stouffers, Elvis was not in the parade. He was in his room.

Mrs. Ivey was a typical fan. She wore black peddle pushers, sneakers to keep her footing in a faint and a baby blue Elvis t-shirt. She waved a "Happiness Is An Elvis Concert" sign. "He touched me twice," she was saying, trying to describe her blush. "Once in Knoxville and last week in Macon. Ain't never been the same since. It was like thunder, lightening. An earthquake."

She held her right hand out for inspection. "Touched it right here."

"Omigodomigodomigod," said her friend. Mrs. Spencer, who reached out to touch the hand that Elvis had touched. "I've got to get up there. I just know he's up there watchin' this parade. He knows Atlanta loves him. I'm gonna try to get up there..."

Mrs. Ivey: "You don't wanna go to jail, Vicki. You'd miss the concert!"

Ethel Regan, president of the 100-member Elvis fan club local, had organized the 30-vehicle parade that featured radio DJs Miss Georgia Universe and floats and cars symbolizing Presley movies "to welcome Elvis to Atlanta."

The fan club meets six times a year, she explained, and on special occasions like Valentine's Day and Christmas they rent old Elvis movies and show home movies and snapshots fond members have taken around the country of their hero. Mrs. Regan has a home concession that sells snapshots of "the King."

It's not necessarily a sexual thing to me," she said, trying to explain the extreme rapture of the afternoon. "He's good looking and I love his voice, but he just APPEALS to me. It's hard to explain..."

Cheryle Dennis. a clerk at Mead Packaging on a long lunch break , put it this way: "If I could just talk to him. I'd tell him how much I loved and admired him ...and if I could get my hands on him..." Barbera Mauldin, a 29-year-old housewife from Mableton, struck a cheesecake pose in a suggestive, red jumpsuit and road in a convertible that said "VIVA." The freckled, red heat was supposed to be actress Ann Margaret, who had played opposite Elvis in the movie.

And there were hula girls, actually women in their thirties, in short-shorts. They held their breath. Fat wrinkles creeped over their waistbands, cellulite edged out the cuffs."

Outside Stouffers, Mrs. Ivey was explaining that she had taken the elevator to the 24th floor in search of Elvis. "I been up there once," she said "But a policeman told me to get my uh-uhu out fast." She recalled the tale in a calm manner. Then an ant-like figures eased out onto the 24th floor balcony."

Clint, Mrs. Ivey 14-year-old son, was the first to see him. He began jumping up and down like a jack-in-the-box gone mad. "I SEE HIM, I SEE HIM, I SEE HIM."

"SOMEBODY TAKE MY GLASSES!" squealed Mrs. Ivey. Her young daughter retrieved them from the pavement as mother snatched son's binoculars."

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELVIS!" she screeched. "OH, I'M GONNNNNNNNNNNA DIE!" And they broke into a sprint, squealing and screaming through Stouffers' lobby, down an escalator, out the back where they climbed a top a small concrete rise 24 stories directly beneath Elvis.

Mrs. Ivey's face turned purple and she looked as if she needed medical attention. Doctors and nurses had poured out of Doctor's Memorial Hospital across from the hotel, but they did not offer assistance.

Clint was explaining how he had sighted Elvis: "I kept holding my glasses up. He came out with some girl and was eating something out of a can. I ran and told my mother and I kept waving and he waved back."

Next. The women plot a commando raid, via elevator. But Clint has had enough: "I've tried to get up there three times already." His mother has vanished.

In the elevator, she is shaking, chain-smoking filter tips. "What if I see him?" WHAT if I see him? she is asking. She says that she doesn't know what she will do if she sees him. The elevator lights go: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, ... 21, 22, 23, 24.

"This floor is secured," says a policeman in a gruff voice. He sticks out his hand like as traffic signal. And that is all he says. Not even a foot on Elvis' floor. The elevator lights go: 24, 23, 22, 21...3,2,1

There are about 20 women milling in the lobby. They say that they will wait as long as it takes to see him. One is a state employe and looks like Lily Tomlin. She doesn't want to give her name. She is on an "extended lunch break." The women hold up snapshots of Presley, his record producer, his band members -anyone vaguely associated with "the Pelvis" qualifies for the scrapbook.

They have tried "everything" to pass these photos to Elvis, through the guards. His personal bodyguard has a black belt in karate and runs a karate studio in Memphis.

"Everything?" a woman asks.

"almost everything" says the fan.

A hip, well-heeled account executive type is threading his way around the women in the lobby. He looks to be in a hurry for a business meeting and carries a briefcase under an arm. "Screaming hideous women," he sneers. "I have never seen so many ugly women. It's enough to get a man's ego down."

Courtesy of Linda Helms