This Cyber Newsletter
is dedicated to Bill Burk
Many of you reading this newsletter will have already known Bill Burk died
April 24th 2008 at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis after a brief illness. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Connie Burk; former wife and friend, Frances Burk; his sons Gary Burk (Shirley); Randy Burk and daughter and eight grandchildren, Scott Burk, Travis Burk, Hannah Burk, Madison Willis, Megan Royds, Jesse Burk, Jessica Burk and Zachary Burk. Bill was 75 years old and led an amazingly full life.
I can't think of anyone in the Elvis World who was more respected than Bill Burk. He was a legend to Elvis fans all over the world and he was my friend for 27 years. I first met Bill in 1981 at the old Holiday Inn Rivermont, overlooking the Mississippi River. It is now luxury apartments. I had been told that Bill was the best contact for 'anything' Elvis in Memphis. Bill was a very important columnist for the Memphis Press Scimitar and had his photo adorning adverts on the side of newspaper vans and on billboards around Memphis. Bill agreed to write a column and provide rare photographs for an agreed fee for my Elvis magazine in Britain I had just published; it was called Elvisly Yours. Bill introduced me to George Klein and Jimmy Kingsley, to my Memphis lawyers and even helped me find my first Memphis employee.
In all the years of writing Bill had never received such a response as he got from the first feature he wrote for Elvisly Yours. He received over 800 letters I believe and one of those letters was from a young Danish girl; her name was Connie. They continued to correspond, eventually met, fell in love and were married in 1987. Bill always told me Connie saved his life. He became a kinder, more caring and better person, the Bill we all knew and loved. It seemed nothing was too much for Bill and he entertained thousands of fans and so many fan clubs that went to Memphis. He always seemed to find time for everyone and was my main contact in the world for Elvis News. If you got the story from Bill you knew it was right. We exchanged hundreds of emails and I am proud to stock some of Bill's wonderful books. In 2002 I reprinted "Elvis in Canada" for him with a much better, heavier cover and
a glossier production than his original
The last two years of Bill's life were very tough. He had cancer, was badly hurt in a car crash, lost his aunt and mother and suffered seriously from fluid on the lung. On Thanksgiving last year he lost his son Michael and he never recovered from the shock. After Michael died Bill found it hard to cope and become motivated. I know the feeling Bill was going through having lost my darling Maureen in March 2007.
I firmly believe if Michael had not died Bill would still be with us. As I wrote in my tribute to Bill in the Commercial Appeal Memorial Book, God knew Bill was tired and took him to rest. All the deaths in his family, his ill health and
difficult recovery from an accident became too much and
now Bill has gone to a better place.
My heart goes out to Connie, Bill's children and grandchildren. Bill and Connie were devoted to each other and now there will be a big void in her life. Please Connie, take my advice and do something great in Bill's honour. Publish one final "Elvis World, just devoted to Bill Burk. I have found it very therapeutic raising money in Maureen's memory and having a "Counselling Room" named after her at the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre. It is a small,
cozy room and is simply called "Maureen's Room". It is used to counsel some of the 15,000 people who visit LJMC each year.
When Maureen died Bill and Connie were some of the first to contribute to my fund raising for LJMC and Bill publicised my campaign to Elvis fans and fan clubs worldwide. Bill dedicated his next "Elvis World" to Maureen and now just over a year later the world has lost Bill. The Elvis World will never be the same, no more Bill Burk books to enlighten us, no more Newsletters filled with fascinating drivel, no more Elvis News updates on the latest happenings in the Elvis World. Bill was going to write an autobiography and I wonder if Connie has enough material to publish it in Bill's memory?
If you want to read Bill's Obituary and post a tribute to Bill on the Commercial Appeal website click:
If you would like to donate to St. Jude's Hospital in Bill's memory click: www.stjude.org
Since I started this Newsletter I have now heard back from Connie and she sent
the wonderful lead photo of Bill for this
Newsletter and photo in "Memory Lane". In Connie's words:
"I am taking it one day at a time, not making any major plans or changes right now. Except 'Elvis World' has ceased publication - with Bill's death, there can be no more Elvis World, simple as that! That was so much a part of him! Sadly, he did not get very far in writing the autobiography, so that will not be published."
|Why our Cyber Newsletter has not
been published recently...
I could not bear to be home for last Christmas and New Year after losing Maureen. We were always together over the holidays and even though I have a very large family Christmas without Maureen was too hard to bear in England, so I visited dear friends in San Francisco. I flew on Christmas Day and returned New Year's Eve. I made the right decision and had a
pleasant time in San Francisco where Maureen and I spent some fun Christmas holidays over the years. When I got back to London and planned to do the next Newsletter I suffered badly from jetlag. I have travelled the world and been to America over 70 times, yet never experienced jetlag so bad. I could just not get motivated to write the Newsletter.
A lot of effort goes into writing each Newsletter and since losing Maureen I have lost a lot of motivation. It takes many days of writing and re-writing, scanning and sending emails to my Webmaster. Whereas I could do many things at the same time when Maureen was alive, now it is a struggle to do even one project. They say time heals but it hasn't for me. Coming home to an empty house without Maureen to greet me is very hard.
I signed a Worldwide Licensing deal with a well-established and respected International Licensing Agency "Licensing Management International" at the end of 2008 and I went with the "Geordie Elvis" to the Toy Fair and Spring Fair in February to promote Elvisly Yours. Everyone loved the Geordie Elvis, Ian Coulson. Later in the month I was back in America visiting my sisters who have apartments in Delray Beach, Florida. There was a bit of a family get-together for my sister Dena's birthday with other family members including my cousin Calvin and his wife Christine from Winnipeg. I saw my first live, wild alligator in the Everglades. There was no time to write the Newsletter with so much going.
When I returned to Britain I was determined to finally raise the £5,000.00 target I had set for the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre. I wanted to raise the last £1,175.00 by March 27th, the 1st anniversary of Maureen's death and dedicate a room at LJMC on my birthday March 28th. I wrote to family and friends and my dreams came true when a old friend from University sent a cheque for £500.00, a teacher friend of Maureen sent £100.00 and other contributions meant I had reached the total of £5,000.00. I wanted the dedication to be something special and had three Elvises, Diana Ross and Joe Pasquale look-alikes attend the dedication and then meet, greet and entertain cancer patients at the hospital. It was a huge success, but more on that later.
The weeks had turned into months without finding time or motivation to publish the Newsletter and in April I was negotiating and finalising more Licensing Agreements. By the end of this year Elvisly Yours memorabilia will be available in all the largest Chain Stores, Supermarkets, Mail Order catalogues and TV Shopping Channels.
I have never known why but very few fans of the many thousands who read Elvisly Yours
Newsletters bother to order any memorabilia advertised in the Newsletter. I cannot keep on sending out Newsletters without the support of more fans. Most fans love our Newsletters and we get many complimentary comments but nice words don't pay the bills, don't pay for my webmaster, artwork and wages. We really need many more fans to buy Elvisly Yours products to finance the cost of producing and distributing our Newsletters.
There has been a long holiday weekend in the UK giving me some time to start this Newsletter and I hope finish it in the week. However, there are so many different things happening each day at Elvisly Yours it is hard to find time to do everything, plus I get 10,000 Elvis related emails a year that have to be answered.
"Maureen's Day 3"
March 28th 2008 was "Maureen's Day 3" at the Mount Vernon Hospital in Northwood, Middlesex. It took me much longer than
originally planned to raise £5,000.00 for the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre in memory of Maureen. It took almost a year. I would like to thank family, friends,
fans and business associates who contributed generously to my appeal. Sadly,
only a few fans contributed, except Hazel Tomlin who had an Elvis night in a
UK local pub and raised £530.00. Fund-raising August 16th 2007 only raised £229.00 with five Elvises singing all day outside the shop for 'Maureen's Day 1'.
£515.00 was raised September 14th 2007 for 'Maureen's Day 2' with six
elvii and ten celebrity look-alikes at the Trocadero in central London. There was
the donation of £500.00 from an old University friend whose wife also died last year,
a donation of £150.00 from another friend, several donations of £100.00 from family,
friends and businesses. Instead of my taking fees for TV
& Radio interviews I
asked media for a donation to LJMC. Less than
40 people sent a cheque or donated online, but £5,000.00 was eventually raised.
March 28th 2008 was a wonderful day. After the dedication at LJMC for "Maureen's Room" 3 Elvises (Ian Coulson, Lee Jackson & Vince Citrano), Diana Ross (Deanne Keane) and Joe Pasquale (Nigel Wright) went around the cancer wards and cancer treatment centres to entertain the patients, nurses and other hospital staff. The reaction was amazing. Some very sick people were smiling, laughing, singing and even dancing. There was a buzz about the hospital even for the wards that weren't visited. One girl was in tears, she loved Elvis and in a room by herself, she had lost all her hair but there she was singing along with three Elvises holding her hands and singing "Love Me Tender". I was inspired to arrange this visit by the film 'Patch Adams' with Robin Williams, Maureen's favourite film.
Maureen hated hospitals since she was a little girl and was hospitalised at age 5 but in those days her parents could not visit her. Later her father had a serious chest illness and he was disgracefully put in a mental asylum because there was no suitable hospital to care for his illness. She had planned to write a book about how hospitals should be radically altered to make them people friendly. Entertaining hospital patients would be a major step forward. All Elvis wanted to do was entertain and make people forget about their problems. When the patients were entertained at Mount Vernon Hospital everyone gained. Nurses came up to the entertainers and me telling us how much better the patients felt for the visit.
I approached my local Member of Parliament, James Clappison, to help me introduce 'Entertainment' to the National Health Service. Both James' parents died from cancer and he said he would do everything he could to help my campaign. My next project is "Maureen's Day 4" when I will take a group of Elvises and celebrity look-alikes to the Houses of Parliament to entertain the MPs inside or outside Parliament to prove entertainment does work. Then, we will go just across the River Thames to St Thomas' Hospital to entertain patients in the large cancer centre. We will invite the media to attend and put pressure on the National Heath Service to start Entertainment programmes, at least on a Trial basis.
I plan to call the 'Entertainers' and the NHS Project "Maureen's Angels". Look out for future stories in the media, on our website and Newsletters.
NEW ELVIS in the MOVIES t-shirt
Elvis in the movies T-Shirt
p&p UK £1.95, Eu £3.50,
Raised on Elvis!
p/p UK £2.00, Eu £4.00,Ov
Elvis 2008 calendar
2008 Elvisly Yours
UK £1.95 Eu £3.50, Ov £4.75
Love me Tender
Love Me Tender T-Shirt
UK £1.95, Eu £3.50,Ov
Barbara Leigh's New
"The King, McQueen and the Love Machine"
Current picture of
Barbara Leigh and the
The audio book is dedicated to her son Gerry Haynes who
died in 1994
Over the years that I have published Elvisly Yours Cyberclub newsletters I always got a thank you email from a lady called Barbara Leigh usually saying how much she enjoyed the Newsletters. I often wondered whether this Barbara was the same Barbara Elvis dated and took up the courage to write to her. Sure enough Barbara was the Barbara Leigh. I was delighted that someone so close to Elvis and of Vampirella and Playboy fame should enjoy all the hard work that goes into each Elvisly Yours Newsletter. We started regular email correspondence. It is sort of neat getting emails from Playboy where she works. Barbara told me she had planned an audio book of her relationships with Elvis, Steve McQueen and Jim Aubrey (CEO of MGM). This labour of love took a long time coming. Barbara made it very clear this was no “kiss and tell” story, not an expose of intimate secrets of these famous men. It was a series of love stories, the love she had for three very different men at the same time, in her very intriguing life.
Barbara sent me a copy of the audio book last week and I listened to the three CDs over mostly the holiday weekend in Britain. I have never heard an audio book before and did not know what to expect. It is an interesting mix of a continuous narration by Barbara telling her story with the drama of a play with actors playing different parts, except Barbara Leigh and Joe Esposito play themselves. Joe also provides the introduction. It was Joe that pointed Barbara out to Elvis as Jim Aubrey’s date when she went to his concert in Las Vegas when they were filming “That’s The Way It Is”.
Barbara was and still is stunningly beautiful and she had love affairs with two of the most desirable men on the planet and one of the most powerful men in the Entertainment World. I think every woman who loves Elvis or Steve McQueen will have to buy this audio book. It will also appeal to all women who buy the tabloids, Hello, OK and drool while reading gossip columns. Just imagine being the mistress of Presley, McQueen and Aubrey all at the same time, all knowing you are seeing the other famous lovers?
What men and women will consider an X-rated life is told in a U-rated style. Barbara’s voice is sweet, almost virginal, as if she is reading a fairy story to children. In essence, her story is a “fairy story”, except it was true. I believe women particularly will want to hear how she managed to cope with the challenge of three love affairs to men each of whom were also married at the time. The early 70s were a time of rapid social change with female emancipation after the introduction of the ‘pill’ in the USA and women like Barbara became more self-confident and more predatory in their relationships. Her story is told in a real “Mills and Boon” style,
Ian Coulson, the Geordie Elvis.
Men who drooled over Barbara’s appearance in Playboy and her as Vampirella will want to add to their collection of Barbara Leigh’s memorabilia. Each CD has a fabulous photo of Barbara and early orders will receive a signed photograph.
Barbara does not set out to shock but simply tells her story with dignity, sympathy, love and care. There is a part that will shock on the third CD but I will not disclose these very personal details about Barbara and I recommend you buy the audio book to find out.
What a fabulous title “The King, McQueen and the Love Machine” the latter being a sort of nickname for Jim Aubrey. The cover is another fabulous photo of Barbara, stunningly beautiful and she must have never had a bad hair day. How many women could look that gorgeous with their hair being soaking wet?
The audio book is reasonably priced at $25.00 for 3 CDs with signed photo. Mailing $5.00 US, $10.00 overseas.
HOW TO ORDER:
You can order
audio book of Barbara Leigh from eBay and Amazon.com or
directly from Barbara with perhaps some additional signed
Read the Press Release
and read the Playboy Review:
If you have any questions email Barbara Leigh: email@example.com
|Elvis Fans in the UK are in for a treat
this Christmas with an Elvis-themed
play called "Caught in a Trap"
|Sound of Music star Connie Fisher makes her television drama debut in a brand new play for ITV1, called "Caught in a Trap". In her first television role after her success as Maria in the critically acclaimed stage musical, Connie plays Gemma Perkins, a young woman who is obsessed by Elvis Presley.
Filming has just finished on locations in London on this drama being produced by Greenlit Rights.
Connie says: "I am thrilled to have been cast in my first television drama and I am very excited to be in front of the camera." She is joined by a prestigious cast with Jim Carter (The Oxford Murders, Cranford) playing her father, Geraldine James (Heist, The Last Enemy) as her step mother and Joe Absolom (Doc Martin, Vincent) as her would-be boyfriend.
Gemma Perkins seeks solace in her secret passion - Elvis Presley. She's obsessed with the rock and roll legend. He never lets her down, unlike every other aspect of her life. Living at home with her overbearing stepmother and down trodden father, Gemma has a boring, and low paid job emptying car park meters. She's just waiting for something amazing to happen, for her life to really begin.
But then her life takes a dramatic turn when she finds an easy way to fund her obsession with Elvis Presley, and that spending gives her a sense of thrill she's never experienced before. Gemma starts to dip into cash from the parking meters and goes on a spending spree with Elvis memorabilia top of her shopping list. But the spending spirals out of control, and Gemma is in serious danger of being caught in a trap.
Caught in a Trap is written by award winning new playwright James Graham. He won the Catherine Johnson Award for Best Play 2007 for his play Eden's Empire, and was awarded the Pearson Playwriting Bursary in 2006. He is writer in residence at the Finborough Theatre.
Producer Jill Green says: "Connie has more than proved herself as an actress in her role as Maria in The Sound of Music. We thought she would be perfect for the role of Gemma Perkins in Caught in a Trap. "Connie has a vulnerability about her and an interesting face which betrays a range of emotions which we require for this role. She has an accessibility, and is a person we can all relate to." A Greenlit Rights Production for ITV1.
The play is purely fiction with made up characters but it was very loosely inspired by the story of Julie Wall who stole £557,327.00 over ten years from the parking meter department of a Lincolnshire Council. She spent it all on Elvis records and some memorabilia that she hid in the loft of her parent's home. Julie was given three years in prison but has since been released and started a new life in another town. I offered to help the Crown Prosecution Service and liquidator to stage an Auction of the Elvis Collection in Las Vegas. They did not take my advice but instead held the Auction in Derby, on a Sunday of all days. Instead of raising even more than £500,000.00 they ended up selling the lot for a little over £100,000.00. Big spenders and big collectors would have attended an Auction in Las Vegas. They could of put on a huge Elvis Convention to support the Auction and I believe made more than $1 million besides profits from the Event. I can find no records of Julie ever ordering from Elvisly Yours, her collection was mostly rare records. I was given the complete catalogue of the collection that was auctioned by the liquidator.
Elvisly Yours will be helping ITV and the producers to promote the Play that Elvis fans will love, as there will be lots of Elvis songs. ITV has a special license to use Elvis singing. Ian Coulson and I were invited on the set of "Caught in a Trap" and were fascinated by all the work that goes into such a production. We were introduced to Connie Fisher who is excellent for the part and a very sweet girl also Nicholas Parsons who has a cameo part in the Play, as a Game Show host asking a question about Elvis. A DVD of the Play will be released soon after it is aired and we will keep you informed of the schedules for the Play and DVD.
World's Best Elvis Playing Cards
Order two packs of playing cards
now and receive this special RCA 1979 calendar that was
released in Tupelo. Elvisly Yours bought all the remaining
stock in 1983 and has never offered it for sale to our
Never Met Elvis in London
|Elvis - Never Been To London
|Did those feet in blue suede shoes
Ever pace our pavements grey?
Had the holy lamé god
Come to England for a day
Sampled '50s fish and chips
All washed down with PG Tips?
What might he have made of us?
Pinstripe suits and bowler hats
Staring from a London bus
Over blocks of council flats
Like the ghost of rock 'n' roll
In a fog of fags and coal
Did he pass himself
As some ordinary chap?
Gazing out across Big Ben
Instant coffee and evap
While the waitress serving tea
Told herself it couldn't be.
Was he even here at all?
Curling lip and hair jet black
In that phone box by the wall
Waiting for his pennies back
After pressing Button B
Elvis calling Tennessee
No, the King did not appear
Never saw the guy round here
Still the legend lingers on
And the mystery train has gone.
|A poem by Martin Newell
Sunday Express poet and Elvis
I received numerous calls from the media asking me about Tommy Steele's claim to have taken Elvis on a secret tour of London. For fans from overseas Tommy Steele was a rock 'n' roll singer in 1950s in the UK and had several hit songs. I even bought one of his singles when I was a kid. He made several movies always with a big smile and he is a happy go lucky character with a strong cockney accent.
I eventually gave several
interviews to TV and Radio
disputing this ridiculous story of
Apparently, on BBC Radio 2 a famous impresario Bill Kenwright mentioned during an interview that Tommy Steele had told him he had secretly taken Elvis around London in 1958. I just did not believe him but made double sure by contacting Larry Geller and Rex Mansfield. Larry confirmed it wasn't true. Rex was in Germany with Elvis throughout his army career and if anyone would know the truth it would be Rex.
This is Rex's response to Tommy Steele's fantasy
Elvis never set foot in London in the late 50's or at any other time in his life. The only time he ever set foot on British soil was when our military air transport plane landed in Prestwick, Scotland in early March 1960 on our
way back to the USA from Frankfurt, Germany. I think we refueled at
Prestwick and picked up some other soldiers who where also on their way back to the USA to be discharged from the Army in Fort Dix, New Jersey.
Why Tommy made up such a story is unknown and rather than come clean and tell the truth Tommy is saying this was a private matter between him and Elvis. In March 1958 Elvis was drafted in the Army. He trained in Texas, then his mother died in August. He arrived in Germany 1st October 1958. Elvis was very much grieving his mother's death. But, somehow Elvis phoned Tommy Steele and asked him to take him around London, as if Elvis could just leave the Army base and had none of his friends/bodyguards with him.Tommyrot!!! The BBC radio presenter Geoff Barker did a programme on Elvis' Army career and his comment about Tommy Steele's
fantasy was "little white bullshit".
to paraphrase Steele's song "Little White Bull".
Read a Daily Express article featuring Rex's response:
Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield
launch new Web site
Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield, who befriended Elvis Presley while in the Army, have announced the creation of a new Web site dedicated to their famous friend.
Rex and Elisabeth
Elvis and Rex
Rexadus.com was launched March 24, 2008, in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of Elvis Presley and Rex Mansfield's induction in the US Army at the Kennedy Veterans Memorial Hospital, Memphis, Tennessee. That was the first time that Mansfield ever laid eyes on the world's greatest entertainer.
"Elvis Presley was not what I had expected him to be. I saw him for the first time sitting resolutely by himself on a front row chair in the induction room, dressed in a multi-colored, checkered sport coat with stylish motorcycle-type boots," Mansfield recalled. "I immediately wanted to protect him, for reasons I could not begin to understand."
Mansfield became one of Presley's closest friends in the Army, whom Elvis nicknamed, "Rexadus." The two men served together in Germany, where they met 19-year-old Elisabeth Stefaniak at the Tower Theater in Grafenwohr. Elisabeth became Presley's German secretary and was poised to work for him at Graceland. Instead, she married Rex Mansfield. The two have been married for nearly 48 years.
Rexadus.com will feature a 50th Anniversary commemorative edition of their book, Sergeant Presley: Our Untold Story of Elvis' Missing Years. The updated version of their book is a lively account of their years with the King (1958-1960) with chapters written by both Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield. Priced at $37, Sergeant Presley contains many never seen before photos of Presley taken during the Army years.
The site will also contain limited edition fine art prints of Presley in the Army, profiles of Rex and Elisabeth Mansfield, copies of official U.S. Induction and Discharge papers, autographed photos, blogs, frequently asked questions and other multi-media media.
For more information on the Web site, go to www.rexadus.com.