Burning Love

Published date20 July 2022
Publication titleWest Coast Messenger, The
Denis set up his collection of Elvis memorabilia in the Greymouth Regent Theatre foyer during the screening of Baz Luhrmann's film 'Elvis', and the collection featured books, a pink model Cadillac, photographs, badges and even a lock of hair

The aficionado once had a lot of Elvis vinyl too but says that has been given away to friends and charities over the years.

Denis made a pilgrimage to Graceland in 1980, part of an 'Elvis Tour' organised by a New Zealander with Hollywood connections.

"Brian Jamieson had been involved in the movie business and he was back living in Auckland when he decided to stage an Elvis Tour. Well, he pulled some strings and made a good job of it, there was about a busful of us went.

"He said he would do his best to organise some 'special treats' but we didn't know what that meant. On our flight to Memphis he said 'I have a surprise for you, keep tomorrow night free'. And that is how we came to have dinner with Billy Smith (Elvis' cousin), and Marty Lacker (part of the Elvis inner circle) and their wives.

"They gave us pieces of Elvis' hair and jeans--it didn't cost us anything. Billy Smith shook our hands, he thought it was great for us to come all the way from New Zealand, and we had photos with them.

"At Graceland, Uncle Vester Presley was running the gates and talking to the fans that came in. He had a little box that he handed out souvenirs from. Back then, you had free range of the estate, you could wander round and take pictures."

Denis even has...

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