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Interview with Loanne Parker (About Elvis Presley and 'The Colonel')

Elvis & Col. Tom Parker

Elvis & Col. Tom Parker

The following is an interview with Col. Tom Parker's widow, Loanne Parker , by Joanna Johnson. There were absolutely no restrictions on the questions that we were able to ask of Mrs. Parker, and in this interview, Loanne and Joanna spend considerable time discussing the various myths and stories surrounding the Colonel.

Hi Loanne , I'd like to thank you for agreeing to this telephone interview. And I'd also like to welcome you to our show. Now Loanne, there's been a lifetime of Elvis rumors, quotes, misquotes writings about the Col that people around the world have heard and we're going to get into that. We may get into that later but right now I'd like to hear from you and how you would describe the Colonel as you knew him, as a person, as your husband and of course the personal and working relationship you had, both of you with EP.

Col. Tom Parker

Col. Tom Parker

Q: Start with when did you meet the colonel?

Loanne : I met the Colonel in 1969 in Las Vegas, that was when Elvis was preparing to appear at the International Hotel, he was the second artist to appear, Barb Streisand (was) the first, because again the Col wisdom was don't be the first act. You're going to have a lot of problems with sounds, etc. and he didn't want to put Elvis in that position. That's when I met him, I was an employee of the hotel

Q: I believe you were his secretary, how did that happen?

Loanne : I was never his secretary. Colonel Tom and I had a personal relationship. And when they decided that Elvis would tour, the tour sponsor was RCA records, and they needed a secretary to travel on the tour and I was hired as the RCA records tour secretary and I held that position until Elvis' death. So I was on the road with the show.

Q: How long were you married to the Colonel?

Loanne : Col and I were married in 1990 but again our relationship went back to 1970.

Q: That's a long time.

Loanne : That's a very long time and we went through a lot together Joanna. There were very traumatic things that occurred in his life, Elvis death, that just turned our world upside down, His wife Marie died and before she died she was literally a vegetable, that was very, very difficult for him. There were other problems that came up of course, the problem with the state of Tennessee. Everyone says there was a problem between the estate and Col Parker. The problem was with the guardian ad lidim who was appointed for Lisa, in fact the estate refused to make charges against the colonel and that's in the court record. The judge ordered them to proceed or they would be replaced. So there was never the problem between the estate and the colonel, that's another one of those stories.

Q: We're gonna come up with a few of them as we go along. Were you involved in any way with the col'. s business dealings?

Loanne : Absolutely, I was the sec for RCA record tours but I was assigned to the Colonel and my initial during that period appear at the bottom of many, many of his letters, plus he confided a lot in me.

Q He was a great man.

Loanne : He was great all on his own, he didn't need anyone behind him. But I think he enjoyed having someone there who appreciated his work talents. Marie did not like show-business, she was uncomfortable with show business. And so he couldn't discuss it with her, probably didn't even think of discussing it with her. Because they were in the age group where a man had his life which was his business, the wife had her home, children if there were any and there were a few things that they would talk about in regard to the home and children but that was about it.

Q That's something that's very difficult, to have a working and personal relationship with your husband, you must have been very, very close.

Loanne : Oh, we were close, we were extremely close. In 1985 we closed all of our homes and moved here to Las Vegas. I'd had a home here all during that period and we were together 24 hours a day from 1985 until his death.

Q Is that where you're from, Las Vegas originally?

Loanne : No, I'm from Ohio.

Q When did you move out to Vegas?

Loanne : 1968.

Q Did you get to go to any of Elvis' concerts?

Loanne : Yeah. Of course.

Q How do you remember them?

Loanne : He was dyn-o-mite

Q That's what you remember?

Loanne : I wish every one of your listeners could have attended a concert and seen him perform in person because you had to be there to feel the electricity, to feel the excitement, he had an aura, a magnetism that doesn't come across on film, he looks great on film but in person he was even more sensational. I was NOT an Elvis fan when I met colonel. I didn't dislike Elvis but he just wasn't my style but was I converted quickly, one show, that did it.

Q Would you say you ended up knowing

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