Natalie -Wood-and-Nick-Adams-at-Graceland

Monday, October 30, 2006

It was a short visit!



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ISBN  978-0-615-37758-2

At the same time Elvis was dating Debra Paget (his co-star in "Love Me Tender"), he was introduced to Natalie Wood (excerpts from ELVIS by Albert Goldman). The actress was, at the time, an eighteen year old girl living with her working parents in Sherman Oaks. In taking up with Natalie Wood, Elvis was winging to the opposite extreme from Debra Paget. If Debra Paget was the sizzling Jane Russell type, Natalie Wood was everyone's cute pansy-eyed daughter, now a pixiesh teenager in peddle pushers and babushkas, riding around Beverly Hills on the back of a motor bike.

Natalie was as dedicated to her career as Debra Paget. Both girls had studied in different grades at the same studio school. At eighteen Natalie was a veteran of fourteen years in pictures. She was instinctively independent and a mature young woman who resented being treated as a carefully chaperoned child. When she got involved with the Jimmy Dean crowd, she found that the world she had been unconsciously seeking. "They were gods," she recalled. "I just wanted to be exactly like them. What we used to talk about was how unhappy we all were. Whoever was the unhappiest, whoever came closest to suicide the night before, he was the winner.

At Graceland where she had flown to with Nick Adams,..when she saw the hundreds of fans besieging the little spruce-green tract house, served by souvenir peddlers, hot-dog and popcorn vendors, she was shocked and horrified. She came from a world where all the celebrities lived, but she had never witnessed anything like this carnival atmosphere around a film star's home. When Elvis tried to pull into the driveway, the fans blocked his path. Nonchalantly, he leaned out the window and said, "As soon as I pull the car into the garage, we'll all come back out there and talk to you all." "Don't forget now, you promised," chorused the fans. If Natalie figured this was just a little line to get into the house, she soon learned differently. No sooner had they parked the car then Elvis marched them out to the low iron fence, embellished with metal musical notes, where they chatted with the fans for half an hour and Natalie had to field endless questions, whether she was having a romance with Nick (Adams) or planning to marry Elvis?

Just as bizarre was the fish blow atmosphere of the house. One afternoon, while Elvis was playing Ski Pool with Nick Adams in the den, five teenage girls, standing on tip toe, witnessed the whole game from an open window. The rule was that any fan was welcome to wander around the property so long as they weren't disruptive. If they made too much noise, they were asked to leave. When Natalie asked Elvis why he put up with this outrageous violation of privacy?, he said he owed his success to his fans and that it was his duty to tolerate their behavior and fulfill their requests for appearances and autographs everyday. On that responsible note the visit ended and Natalie, accompanied by Nick Adams left via airplane for Los Angeles, the peaceful place.

( Presley talks about Elvis.