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Old 01-14-2010, 05:30 PM
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The King, part two

Quote:
"Elvis, we're going to Washington. That's all we've got," Schilling cautions.

"You don't understand. This man's been in Vietnam," Elvis says, then heads straight to coach and gives the soldier all their cash.

While he's back there, though, Elvis bumps into George Murphy, a song-and-dance man turned U.S. senator from California. They chat for awhile, and Elvis comes back to his seat asking for stationery, which a stewardess gets him. Elvis, who has written only three letters in his life, all while stationed with the Army in Germany, sits down to write the fourth, to the president of the United States.

"Dear Mr. President, First I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley."

In five pages, Elvis explains he loves his country and wants to give something back and, not being "a member of the Establishment," believes he could reach some people the president can't if the president would only make him a federal agent at-large so he can help fight the war on drugs.

"Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help the country out. . . . I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent. . . . I would love to meet you just to say hello if you're not to [sic] busy. Respectfully, Elvis Presley."

He asks the president to give him a call at the Washington Hotel, Room 505, where he will be staying under the alias Jon Burrows (a part he played in one of his movies). He provides six private numbers that any one of his fans would have killed for, to his homes in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs and Memphis, as well as three lines for his manager, the Colonel.

The plane lands before dawn and they get in a limo Sir George had arranged before they left, which is a good thing because they have no money. Elvis wants to personally deliver the letter to the White House. "I don't think this is such a good idea," Schilling says, noting the hour.

Next scene: The limo pulls up to the northwest gate. Elvis gets out and hands his letter to a security guard, who sizes up this guy in a cape. Schilling, realizing that in the dark Elvis looks a lot like Dracula, jumps out and explains. The guard agrees to deliver the letter to the president. Elvis and Schilling retire to the Washington Hotel to wait.

Early that morning, the letter finds its way to the desk of Dwight Chapin, special assistant to the president. After a moment of head-scratching, he decides this meeting has to take place. Nixon had already tried to enlist Hollywood's help in fighting the war on drugs by approaching luminaries such as Art Linkletter; Elvis is a definite step up.

So Chapin fires off a memo to Krogh, which Krogh dismisses as a practical joke. Deciding to play along, he calls the hotel, asks for Schilling and is impressed that Chapin has found someone to impersonate an Elvis lackey.

The more they talk, however, the more Krogh realizes this is no joke. He shoots a memo to White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman, suggesting this could be a real boost for the drug war effort, which isn't going so well.

"You must be kidding," Haldeman scribbles in the margin before approving the request. The meeting is on.

Krogh, a big Elvis fan who "never went on a date without him," makes sure he's in the room. "This is history," he thinks to himself.

White House schedulers find five minutes at 11:45 a.m. for Elvis, who, on time for once, enters wearing tight purple velvet pants, the matching cape, a white pointy collared shirt unbuttoned to reveal two enormous gold chains, and a belt buckle the size of Rhode Island.

At 12:30 p.m., the president meets the king. Elvis is taken by the eagles on the ceiling, and Krogh has to give him a little steer toward Nixon.

Soon, though, Elvis is pulling out pictures of his wife and baby, along with photos of assorted police and security badges he has collected over the years. The allotted five minutes pass, and they're still going, bonding over their lowly beginnings -- poverty, challenging childhoods. They commiserate about the burdens of fame, what a hard gig Vegas is (which, weirdly, Nixon seems to know about). Elvis offers to help Nixon fight the war on drugs and restore respect for the flag. Nixon admires Elvis' big cuff links.

Then Elvis asks for what he's been after all along, a big gold badge to add to his collection, the thing that would make him a federal agent at-large for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. He had tried to get one from an agency head but was turned down, which is why he decided to go straight to Nixon.

"Can I be one?" Elvis asks his new friend.

"Well, federal agents at-large -- we just don't have those," Nixon stammers.
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