“Elvis didn’t like to dance.” That’s what “one of his boys,” Lamar Fike told me on the phone from his home in Arlington, Texas, recalling the early-halcyon-final days with Elvis.. “I got tired of Memphis. I got ‘music’d out!” he admitted. Lamar was one of two of “the boys” whose number expanded to “12 or 13.” When he first worked for him–’57-’60, Lamar says there was no salary — “not a dollar” — just whatever money he needed: “a few dollars — a thousand.” It eventually became $365 a week.
“I introduced Priscilla to him in Weisbaden,” when Elvis was in the Army in Germany, Lamar says. “She was 14 — she was beautiful. And I had to face her mother and father when I brought her home from a date with Elvis!” Their association continued post-WWII when Presley bought a Beverly Hills Home next to Danny Thomas’. “Priscilla took dancing lessons,” recalls Lamar who has watched her on “Dancing With The Stars” and thinks she is terrific — as she goes into the final nine competition. He, too, is concerned with the plastic surgery she is enduring — and correcting. Lamar reminds that Ann-Margret, Elvis’ favorite costar, was/is a great dancer. “He was in love with her.”
“One of the Boys: 57-60” is the title of the screenplay Lamar has written. He’s also completing his book, “Fike: An Uncommon Journey on Elvis Presley Boulevard” with author Mark Bego. The film’s part of his Drawbridge Production with partner Taylor G. Atha. He reminisced about early days when Elvis and his “Memphis Mafia” stayed in Suite 850, the Presidential suite, of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, and visits to the MGM lot with Yul Brynner, Clark Gable, Robert Taylor. He drops names like Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, Mickey Cohen, Frances and Abe Lastfogel, Mike Romanoff. When he met Elizabeth Taylor, he recalls, “I went blank when she asked me my name!” He and I both set-sided at Paramount with Elvis’s then boss Hal Walllis. He recalls a Halloween party at Nat King Cole’s house in Hancock Park where guests included Sammy Davis, Jr. Bob Mitchum. Lamar was so impressed by the star parade, he says “I stayed in shock half of the time.” But he retains memories of it all. These stories will all be in the book and movie script. And maybe a new chapter about a dancing star — Priscilla Presley?