ELVIS ON TOUR – on the way to the Golden Globe – (Part 11)

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Both performances, shot just a few days earlier, were brilliant and portrayed Elvis in his life form. However, the producer was aware of the fact that ” a good concert is not necessarily a good movie “. So he needed a lot more material. Especially one that would show viewers Elvis – a man and not just Elvis – the star of the stage.

To this end, the MGM cameramen became even more active over the next few days and did not leave Presley one step away. They were everywhere with him. Literally. They accompanied him from landing at the airport to the way to and from the concert hall. While documenting many truly unique moments.

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One of them, in addition to talking to a crowd of excited fans waiting on the tarmac for his arrival or the handing over of city keys by the mayor of Roanoke, was a meeting with eight-year-old Denise Sanchez. A lovely eight-year-old girl from Santa Fe who fell in love with Elvis’ music when she was only four.

Unfortunately, fate was not kind to the girl. Just a few months earlier, shortly after Christmas 1971, doctors diagnosed her with cancer. To prevent further spread of the disease, it was decided to amputate the leg and part of the hip.

Despite such measures taken, the disease continued to progress and in a short time also affected the lungs. Doctors were helpless (according to sources I managed to reach, even further chemotherapy was stopped).

And when everything seemed lost, the information appeared that made the young fan’s face smile again. Her mom managed to get two tickets to Elvis’ performance at Albuqureque on April 19, 1972.

For Denise, it was like a dream come true. And … like a giggle of malicious fate at the same time … Shortly before the concert, it turned out that the girl’s condition deteriorated so much that a trip to a city distant by sixty-five miles (about one hundred and four kilometers) was practically impossible.

Fortunately, however, seeing how much Denise wanted to hear her idol ‘live’, the doctors let her go.

The rest of the story was like a fairy tale. A fairy tale in which Denise played the main role.

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Well, at the urging of her friends, her mother went to the local newspaper to tell her daughter’s story. Moved by what she heard, Grace Marie Parther – a journalist from the Albuqureque Journal, decided to help the woman and arranged for her to meet with Colonel Parker.

Two days later, in an interview with Elvis’ manager, Denise’s mother revealed that meeting a popular singer is the greatest dream of her ailing child.

Presley’s impresario reacted in his own style. He hadn’t promised anything outright. Instead, he delivered his famous ” I’ll see what I can do “, then instructed the woman what time Denise and she should come to the hotel where Elvis was staying.

And that’s how it happened. The meeting took place shortly before the beginning of the concert ending the April tour.

In various memoirs from that day, you can read that Denise was most concerned about how Elvis would react to her appearance – partial baldness caused by taking chemicals and missing one leg. However, it soon turned out that it was completely unnecessary. Elvis’ behavior exceeded her wildest expectations. ” You look beautiful “, she heard from her idol as soon as she entered the wardrobe. After these words, the singer knelt down and kissed her cheeks.

After a short conversation, the girl unfolded the poster, which she held tightly in her hands, and asked Elvis for an autograph and singing a song specially for her at the concert … ” Of course, I’ll do it ,” Presley replied, handing her a signed photo. ” But I won’t tell you which one. OKAY? It will be a surprise .

Later that evening, when the audience rewarded him for his daring performance of “Never Been To Spain”, Elvis asked for a moment of silence and said that the next song was for ” a special girl he just met backstage – Denise “. Moments later, the sounds of the ballad “You Gave Me A Mountain” were heard from the stage, which the young addressee, present in the audience, heard with tears in her eyes.

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Paradoxically, this moving scene was not used in the film and Denise herself did not live to see its premiere. The girl passed away in August 1972.

In total, MGM filmed four complete Elvis concerts for the new film. In addition to the previously mentioned performances at Hampton Roads and Richmond, also in Greensboro (April 14) and San Antonio (April 18).

Information provided by Mariusz Ogieg?o of Elvis Promised Land (Poland)


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