Keeping The King Alive

The scene of Elvis’ spine-tingling, explosive comeback in the late ‘60s has been restored and the woman closest to him, Priscilla Presley, has spoken about his incredible career.

Priscilla spoke to guest reporter Greg Page on Seven's Sunday Night about how Elvis is being remembered with a museum of priceless memorabilia at The International Hotel, where he made his stage comeback.

"He loved Vegas, as we all know, it was the first place he went after a movie or after touring it was the first place we went to that he took me to," she said.

"This was our playground."

Elvis' close friend Jerry Schilling revealed how the star freed himself from Hollywood after nearly 10 years to make his explosive return to music.

"Elvis knew if he wanted to get back on the road he had to have hit records and he would have to prove himself."

He made his comeback at The International Hotel in Vegas where he performed more than 800 shows to adoring crowds.

Presley occupied the 5,000-square-foot top-floor International suite named after him, where we conducted our interview with Priscilla.

Elvis became the first entertainer to actually make money in a Las Vegas showroom—his ticket sales at the International hit $2 million and his original contract had him taking home $100,000 a week.

Priscilla said behind the cool exterior, Elvis was nervous.

"He was just so nervous and really didn’t want to come out. He didn’t think he could come up with the stories again that he was ad-libbing and talking about spontaneously in rehearsals."

"I think it only took maybe the first 5 minutes or so and he was right on his game."

But off-stage Elvis was facing personal demons and Schilling said it was a dark day for so many people when he died at the young age of 42.

"I was horrified. How he had looked in the few months since I’d seen him, I cried," Schilling said.

"People always say, “Why didn’t anybody do anything?”

"Everybody did what they could. Elvis was hard to help because he felt his role was to help you, he was the hero and he truly was."

Elvis’s shows not only broke records, but he became the hero to tens of thousands of impersonators.

Among the best of them is French-Canadian actor Martin Fontaine, who recently brought his show back to life at The International Hotel, which was set for demolition before being bought and restored.

"It takes two hours of make up every night. I take only lights and shadows, I use a wig and sideburns, and I transform myself from the inside out," Fontaine said.

Priscilla is a big fan of Fontaine and says his performance is uncanny.

"He just brings so much to the stage and he duplicates what Elvis had on the stage during that time period here."


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