I’m an Elvis fan. I can tell you everything from his most obscure vocal influences (a Jewish cantor singing in an apartment above his parents’ Memphis apartment) to the origin of his most haunting recording (Blue Moon, found in a desk drawer three decades after it was recorded). The King was also a gun nut; when he met his maker in his Graceland bathroom, Elvis left behind a collection of 37 handguns, an unknown number of rifles and one machine gun. Long before that fateful August night, Elvis famously presented Richard Nixon with a commemorative Colt .45 (see: below). On the eve of Elvis’ birthday, the Daily Mail decided to highlight the Hillbilly Cat’s experience with a similar weapon, relative to fellow Vegas sex symbol and siren Tom Jones . . .
Writer Chris Hutchins recalls an old anecdote about Elvis leaving a .45 in Tom Jones’ bathroom. For some reason, the Mail plays it like some sort of quasi-homosexual encounter. The truth [via elvispresleynews.com] is more revealing . . .
Tom Jones was once left shocked when he found Elvis Presley’s gun in his dressing room lavatory. Jones struck up a close friendship with Elvis and they would often spend time together when they were in the same city on tour. But on one occasion, after Jones appeared at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, he was stunned to find a silver-plated Colt .45 automatic pistol on his toilet cistern after Presley had used the bathroom.
Jones tried to discreetly hand it back, only to see Elvis shrug off the incident. He says, “I wrapped it up in this towel, took it out and said, very quietly, ‘Er, Elvis, you left your gun in the toilet.’ And Elvis just goes: ‘Aw s**t man, ma .45’, and stuck it in his belt. I was trying to be very discreet about the whole thing, but he couldn’t have cared less.”
Thank you EP News for takin’ care of business, establishing the fact that Elvis was not in the bathroom while Tom Jones was showering. (Not to go all Suarez on you.) And shedding light on the fact that Glady’s surviving twin may have been the world’s best rocker, but he was amongst the world’s worst gun owners.
In fact, given Elvis’ propensity for popping pills aplenty, it’s amazing he didn’t have a negligent discharge or ten. Assuming that shooting a TV set during a televised Robert Goulet song and dance number was petulant, rather than negligent.
And that pointing a gun at Memphis Mafioso George Klein’s noggin was legal—given that Nixon made Elvis an honorary DEA Agent, and Klein was guilty of helping supply The King with enough narcotics to stun a Cape Buffalo.
Remember: I’m a fan. Who shakes his head and sighs when he read this . . .
Elvis Presley’s Signed Application for gun purchase Dec. 2, 1970 at a Palm Springs, CA. gun shop to purchase an Astra handgun & filled out an extensive Federal Firearms Form 4473. Elvis claimed to be six foot one inches tall, weighing 160 lbs and gave his Beverly Hills address. Note: Elvis ticked “NO” when asked if he is addicted to stimulants or narcotics.
As any true student of Elvis will tell you, the man’s later life was a train wreck. (Train I riiiiiiiiiide . . . ) His firearms handling habits were horrendous. But I’d still give my right nut for at least one of Elvis’ guns: the Walther PPK he gave Jack Lord, an actor who became convinced he was hard-ass Hawaiian Police Chief Steve McGarrett—even as ABC was filming the last two seasons. I wonder if Lord was a responsible gun owner . . .