UNKNOWN STORIES BEHIND THE LEGEND
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STORY #46


In October 1974, Elvis sponsored a girl named Wardee Anderson in the annual bike-a-thon benefiting the Diabetes Association of California. Wardee had approached Elvis at his Bel Air home and asked him to sponsor her. Elvis got a kick out of the idea of riding a bicycle for money and agreed to pay Wardee $5 for every mile she rode. In those days, the average amount of money paid per mile was 25 or 50 cents. For someone to pay $5 per mile was unheard of. By the end of the charity event Wardee had ridden 28 miles. Elvis promptly wrote out a check in the amount of $140 and proudly presented it to the girl. Elvis' contribution and participation helped to bring in $7,000 more than the anticipated mark of $50,000.



Story #47


Although Elvis very rarely went to bars, one of the girls he dated requested that he take her to one. Not wanting to disappoint her, Elvis took her where she wanted to go. They sat at a table in the corner for some privacy. Elvis ordered sodas for himself while his date drank martinis. Elvis overheard two men making remarks about him and his date and asked the men to apologize to her. They laughed and said they would do no such thing. Elvis asked the men to step outside, and when they refused to move, he grabbed one of them and knocked some sense into him. He then grabbed the other man and did the same. When he was through, Elvis forced them to apologize to his date. He then helped her with her coat and they left the bar. They went back to his house for a little peace and quiet.



Story #48


On March 26, 1976, Elvis and his electrician went to the lighting fixture store to purchase a new chandelier for Graceland. While driving down the highway, they spotted an overturned truck. Elvis stopped his car and ran over to see what was happening. He asked the police officer at the scene if he could be of any help, and the man turned around and yelled, "Yeah!. Move your damn car out of the way!". Elvis pulled out his sheriff's badge and showed it to the cop, but the officer was not impressed. He said, "That's nice. Now move!". Offended by the policeman's arrogance and bad attitude, Elvis stormed off and drove home. The next day, the same policeman came to Graceland to attempt to apologize to Elvis. After learning about the incident, the local sheriff had forced the cop to offer an apology. When Elvis heard that the cop was at the gate, he refused to see him. The policeman was shocked by Elvis' behavior. When he got back to the station and told the sheriff what had happened, he was suspended without pay.



I was undecided about including these next stories because it addresses Elvis' drug problem. But I did include them because from Dr. Nick to Sonny, they talk about how to control Elvis' intake, but they don't mention Their intake of drugs. Am I the only one that finds that odd? What Elvis did, they All did, but no one seems to want to talk about it. Hmmm...could be a case of the guilty dog always barks first?


Story #49


As Told By..... DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS - Elvis would call other physicians and get extra drugs. I had to get full cooperation from everyone around him on trying to limit those extras he was getting. I had to make everybody realize that if we didn't control the situation it would not only effect Elvis but also their jobs. If Elvis didn't work, they didn't work. Some of them may have thought they were doing him a favor by not telling him what was going on, but they were only hurting him and themselves. There was {somewhat of} a turnaround about that time; if the pilots flew out, they'd call me; if someone had to go to the airport for Elvis, they'd call me. Sometimes they'd pick up a drug shipment and bring it by my office. But if he really wanted something, it was easy for him to procure it. He would hide drugs everywhere. During Elvis' first major illness in '73, while he was in the hospital, Joe Esposito and myself went to his room to go through everything. He had three bottles {of drugs} that had a thousand capsules each: one was Dexedrine, one was Seconal, and the other was some other sedative - a thousand capsules in each bottle!. We threw 'em all out. This was a sporadic thing. There would be times when everything was fine and he would take nothing, times he was totally drug free.

SONNY WEST - Elvis was very strong in his convictions. If he had made up his mind that he was going to get off the drugs and never take another one - if he'd really made up his mind to do it - he'd have done it and never take another one again. I mean, he could have done that just like he done other things; he just had to make up his mind.

DR. Forest Tennant Jr. (drug abuse expert) - I think that Elvis Presley, himself, had a very poor understanding of what his drugs were doing, or why he was even taking the drugs. When you get your drug problem all mixed up and you don't know why you're taking your drugs, and you don't admit to yourself internally why you're taking your drugs, that's when you get yourself into problems. That's exactly what happened to Elvis.



Story #50


As Told By..... LINDA THOMPSON - Life with Elvis wasn't all Camelot. There was a lot of heartache, and he exhibited a lot of self-destructive behavior, which was very difficult for me, you know - watching someone I loved so much destroy himself.


DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS - Elvis was always looking for shortcuts: "I oughta be able to lose weight faster!". In November of '73, I believe, he found this physician out in California who said he was giving Elvis acupuncture, but he was injecting him with syringes. He was using some local anesthetic, some Novocaine, some Demerol, and B-12, and of course Elvis felt great afterwards. This is how that illness got started. He'd had so much cortisone and Demerol in those shots he'd become addicted to Demerol and he was Cushingoid {his face and hands swollen, his body bloated} from too much cortisone. He was so sedated when he came back to Memphis, he was carried off the plane. I called an ambulance immediately. There were a number of different side effects; his ulcer was bleeding due to the cortisone, and the pain medicine was covering all this up. He was having a very difficult time breathing. He was near death. I hospitalized him and called in a couple of specialists to detoxify him. That was the first time I'd had to have him detoxified, and I've always felt this {overdose} was an accidental thing. While he was in the hospital we had to keep his chart locked up. Everyone wanted to look at his records. That particular admission, the lab technicians were selling his blood and urine. It was crazy. A lot of things we didn't put in the chart because it was difficult to keep quiet. We didn't know how much Elvis was addicted, so we treated him like a Demerol addict. We stopped the Demerol and gave decreasing doses of Methadone. After he got well, Elvis was sorry; he tried to behave himself. He promised not to do it again.


MARY ANN MOBLEY - In a way, Elvis was a victim of his fame. I think that the doctors gave him whatever they thought he wanted.


DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS - I became very conscious that Elvis was using prescribed drugs more heavily after the acupuncture incident. I felt if he could get sucked in on that so easily, he was a sitting target for anybody that wanted to play games with him. He was naive in a lot of ways about doctors. Right after he got well from the acupuncture and started working again, I'd find him going to different areas of the country wanting to get something for pain, something I didn't think he ought to have. This was about the time he'd bought his airplanes, and it was convenient for him.



Story #51


As Told By..... DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS - During one hospitalization some doctor mailed Elvis some drugs "to get well". We couldn't even identify the drugs because they were locally made. He didn't get to use them; we threw them away. Once a doctor came to visit him and gave him some medications without informing me. I called the doctor up and asked him what was going on. He said they were all placebos; not to worry, there was nothing in those pills. The bottle was sealed like from the factory. They were the real thing.


DR. FOREST TENNANT JR. - Every internal medicine specialist, every general practitioner in the United States has some patients like Elvis Presley in their practice. It's well-known to doctors; and doctors, frankly, are at their wits end in managing these cases. Doctors like myself are trying to work out what should be done with them, but it's a very frustrating thing for physicians. Elvis Presley's case is routine in some circles of medicine. National surveys show that ninety percent of drugs prescribed by a doctor are taken as prescribed. However, doctors know that we have those few patients - that five or ten percent of patients that get these substances - that simply will not take them as prescribed. They have this compulsive drive to take more and more. We seem to be powerless to take them off of the drugs or to keep them from going from one doctor to another or one emergency room to another. They just keep taking the drugs on a compulsive basis, and they refuse to go into any kind of therapy from a psychological point of view, or they have failed these treatments. There is quite a difference in having addiction that is well-controlled versus uncontrolled addiction. What we're finding out in those people who are going to compulsively take a drug to the point of addiction is that it's far better to have controlled medical addiction than uncontrolled addiction. In other words, it's the lesser of two evils.


SONNY WEST - There's times when Elvis woke up in the middle of the night and just took things. That's why he had someone watching him, so that he wouldn't take things and forget and accidentally take them again. There'd been a couple times when Elvis almost OD'd but was saved.


DR. GEORGE NICHOPOULOS - We had a confrontation and I told him that I couldn't trust him to continue taking his own medicines. I wasn't accusing him of overdosing or deliberately taking too much, but people with him would sometimes see him reach over and take something, and he'd be half asleep. He'd wake up and go to the bathroom and take a pill just to be sure he could go back to sleep...and he didn't need it. This is where we had gotten into a lot of problems earlier on the tour. I said, "Let me handle your medications. You call me if you need me". This put more demand on me as far as getting rest at night. It would have been easier to give them all to him and say, "Here, you take 'em", you know. We did real well with this for a while, then he got to the point here he'd say, "Hey, I'm an adult. I'm a grown man. Why can't I handle my own medicines?" Everybody else does. Why do you have to baby-sit with me ?" I said "We tried it the other way and you saw what happened. This is the only way I can be responsible for it". This came up every now and then, but he seemed to adjust to it.


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