This transcript records a short interview with Rock & Roll Singer Elvis Presley where he tells of his experiences after returning from war, his thought process and his future in music.
Interviewer: Ready to go?
Elvis: Ready. Ready when you are. I’m always ready.
Interviewer: Okay, we’re going to start at this not part of the questioning but did you get the Black Eyed Peas when you got home?
Elvis: I haven’t eaten anything yet.
Interviewer: You haven’t eaten anything?
Elvis: No. I’ve just been looking around more or less since I’ve been back.
Interviewer: Now to get down to the serious side of it Elvis, now that the army is part of the past can you give us in detail some of your future plans?
Elvis: Well, the first thing I have to do is to cut some records and then after that I have the television show with Frank Sinatra. And then I have the picture with Mr. Wallace and after that, I have 2 for Twentieth Century Fox. And after that heaven knows, I don’t. I suppose that will keep me busy the rest of this year. After that, I don’t know.
Interviewer: Well Elvis now you’re really home, how does it feel?
Elvis: It’s pretty hard to describe. I’ll tell you, it’s hard to get used to it. You know what I mean? I’ve been looking forward to it for two years and all of a sudden here it is. It’s not easy to adjust to it.
Interviewer: Now that you are back, as you look back on your two years in the service, what was the most important thing that happened to you during your two years, whether it was overseas or here in the States?
Elvis: While I remember things that happened, I’ve had quite a few interesting experiences; slept out in the snow, ate sea rations, you know all the regular things. But I suppose the biggest thing of all is that fact that I did make it. I mean I tried to play it straight like everybody else and I made a lot of friends that I never would have made otherwise and all in all it’s been a pretty good experience you know.
Interviewer: You still have time to serve now for Uncle Sam. Have you given any thought as to where you’re going to serve your reserve training?
Elvis: Well sir, I will be on the reserve status here in Memphis at the Reserve Center here. But they have or a clause which covers people with travelling jobs. If you have a travelling job or if you live too far away from the reserve centre they put you on standby. Whereas you don’t have to make the meetings but you are subject to being called in an emergency or in any damage.
Interviewer: Elvis, one of your future commitments as you mentioned is the Frank Sinatra show on the ABC television network. Do you have any idea of when this will be aired?
Elvis: I really don’t know the exact date. I would imagine it’s somewhere around the first of May.
Interviewer: If you forgive me I have one other part to my question.
Interviewer: We understand that speaking of Frank Sinatra, that there has been some rumour about Nancy Sinatra and yourself. Is romance in the making here?
Elvis: (03:39 – Inaudible) I only met her in Fort Dicks and she gave me a gift from Frank. It was very brief. I think she’s engaged to Tommy Sand. I don’t think he would appreciate that.
Tommy: Thank you very much.
Interviewer: Elvis you think the music has changed since you got out of the service? I mean, since you been in the service?
Elvis: Possibly yes. I can’t say really, I haven’t been here long enough to even know. The only thing I can say is that if it has changed I would be foolish not to try to change with it you know. But as of now, I have no reason to change anything.
Interviewer: After you were acting and you have stated you would like to be more serious actor and do you plan to possibly go to some school or some dramatic school?
Elvis: It wouldn’t hurt me. I need to go to school but I learn best by experience. I never was very good in schools of any kind. And it’s gonna take me a long time and a lot of experience.
Interviewer: But that is your ultimate ambition.
Elvis: As of present time, really yes. That’s what I want to do.
Interviewer: You were asked about Nancy Sinatra, how about any romance? Did you leave any hearts, shall we say in Germany?
Elvis: Not any special one. There was a girl that I was seeing quite often over there and her father was in the Air Force and actually, they only got over there about 2 months before I left. I was seeing her and she was at the train, at the airport when I left and there was some pictures made of her but it was no big romance. I mean the story came out: “The girl he left behind” and all that. It wasn’t like that. I have to be careful when I answer a question.
Interviewer: In your service life which did you find most difficult – when you went into basic training or when you got over into Germany over with the experienced soldiers? Which gave you the hardest time?
Elvis: Well, basic training wasn’t hard for me at all. It was harder afterwards and after I gotten into a regular outfit. Not the service itself but just the surroundings and I was in a strange land and the outfit I was in they had quite a bit of field duty. We stayed in the field six months out of the year. And it gets cold in Germany, it snows quite a bit and it was pretty hard to adjust to.
Interviewer: One thing further on that, do you have any advice for the boys your age who are now going to have to put in a certain amount of duty in the service?
Elvis: The only thing I can say is to play it straight and do your best because you can’t fight them. They never lost yet and you can’t fight them. So you can make it easier or you can make it hard on yourself. I mean if you play it straight and get the people on your side, let them know you’re trying. As the army would say “you got it made.” And if you don’t try to be an individual or try to be different you’re going to go through two years and misery.
Interviewer: Elvis, when do you think you will record again? And when you do, do you think you’ll lean toward the ballad type music or the more upbeat sounds?
Elvis: Well, as far as when I’ll record I really don’t know. Possible this week or next week and what I’ll record I don’t know yet. I’ve got quite a few songs to choose from I’ve collected over the two years and I don’t know exactly what type or what instruments I’ll use, will it be Firestone Orchestra or Money honey or what. I really don’t know yet. Shoot.
Interviewer: You said that at the train that you wanted to get back to what you were doing and of course that is singing and entertaining. And I take it from that that you really enjoy what you’re doing or what you were doing before you went into service.
Elvis: Oh yes I do. In fact, that was the hardest part of the entire military service; is being away from the fans and just being away from show business all year. That was the hardest part of all. It wasn’t the Army, it wasn’t the other men, it was that. It stayed on my mind I kept thinking about the past all the time, contemplating the future and that was the hardest part.
Interviewer: We know your family status has changed since you went into service. Are you going to keep Graceland? Do you have plans of moving away from Memphis or what?
Elvis: No sir, I have no plans for leaving Memphis.
Interviewer: Are you going to keep Graceland?
Elvis: I’m going to keep Graceland as long as I possibly can.
Interviewer: Was this Christmas Tree a surprise?
Elvis: Well since it’s March I suppose. That’s the tree we used in 1957.
Interviewer: We can leave the Christmas tree long enough but about your tonsils and the tonsillectomy that you were contemplating while you were in the service did you deliberately asked that it be held off until you could get to the United States at the local doctor? How did they improve that much?
Elvis: No sir I didn’t ask that. They don’t like to perform surgeries of any kind in Europe. They don’t like to if it’s an emergency they will. But I took penicillin and ‘wonder drugs’ or whatever they call it.
Interviewer: And they are required, sir?
Elvis: I had I had two attacks of tonsillitis when I was there.
Interviewer: Tell us did you like the food over there outside of the army when you would go out you know; did you like that kind of food?
Elvis: I never went out so.
Interviewer: You never eat out at the restaurant?
Elvis: I never ate in a restaurant the entire time I was in Germany. It’s funny. I either at in the mass hall or at home. In fact, I never went anywhere while I was in Europe except to Paris. I went to Paris and I was on leave and it was all.
Interviewer: Now, how did the fans respond to you over there here as compared to here in the States?
Elvis: Well, it’s a pretty difficult question to answer because anything I’ll say it might sound a little like I’m bragging you know. But it was pretty much the same, pretty much the same there as here.
Interviewer: They had seen a lot of your movies?
Elvis: And the records and so forth. I’d like to go back on a tour there someday, all of Europe, all of Europe because the only thing they know about me is what they’ve read, the records and the movies and so forth.
Interviewer: Elvis this is not in the form of a question but I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome you home for everybody in Memphis in the South.
Elvis: Well, thank you. You’ll never know how happy I am to be here. Somebody asked me this morning what did I miss about Memphis and I said everything.
Interviewer: I asked that question on the train this morning and we used it several times and you said that anything you mentioned about Memphis that I missed I missed that much.
Elvis: I’ve been here for quite a while, about fourteen or fifteen years now. I pretty well know Memphis. I thought I did till I drove home.
Interviewer: You get any more and I’ll have to start charging you. How does it feel to come all the way to your destination on the train?
Elvis: I couldn’t believe it. Oh, I know what you’re talking about now. Escape and evasion they call it in the army. But I don’t know. I was hoping there would be some people there at the station and I knew there’d be a lot of my friends there, you know personal friends and I wanted to come into the station. I wouldn’t have gotten off anywhere else you know. I mean this time it’s different.
Interviewer: If we’d only known that yesterday.
Interviewer: How long do you think you will be back in Memphis recuperating or getting adjusted back to civilian life?
Elvis: I would say a couple weeks.
Interviewer: That’s about it thank you. Okay, is that all?