Elvis Presley: Fans gather at Graceland for funeral in 1977
Elvis Presley was devastated when he learned he had been conscripted into the US Army. On March 24, 1958, the singer was inducted into the army in Memphis, Tennessee. Later that year, on September 22, he was shipped off to Friedberg, Germany, where he remained for almost two years. On March 2, 1960, the star was brought back to the US before holding a press conference at Fort Dix. In the crowd were countless fans and journalists from all of the biggest music and news publications.
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Also in attendance was Hollywood actress Tina Louise.
Tina was best known at the time for appearing in a number of films, including The Hangman, Day of the Outlaw and The Trap. She later went on to star in the Gilligan’s Island TV show.
Variety’s David Bittan noted Tina’s appearance in the March 9, 1960 edition of the magazine, where he wrote that Tina arrived in a “tight white dress … with her bright red hair peeking out of a turban”.
The writer added that Tina made the King of Rock and Roll visibly blush when she asked a question about his dance moves.
Elvis Presley was embarrassed by Tina Louise’s question
Elvis Presley: Tina Louise attended the press conference with other actors
Elvis was taking questions about returning to the stage after two years, prompting Tina to ask: “Are you still going to use suggestive movements?”
He replied his movements on stage were “natural” and that he “would not” be changing them.
He added: “Unless my fans wanted a change.”
The King also batted away claims that his music would take a more “adult” turn now he had returned from the army.
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Elvis Presley met with Tina Louise at the press conference
Elsewhere during the press conference, Elvis told Variety: “I stay homesick all the time. I’d give my neck to be back. You just don’t know.”
This doesn’t come as a surprise considering how vocal the King was about not wanting to remain in the army for any longer than he had to.
In a private letter to his friend, Alan Fortas, during his army tenure, Elvis wrote: “I would give almost anything to be home.
“You know it will be March of 1960 before I return to the States. Man, I hate to think about it.”
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Elvis went on to add: “Of course, don’t say anything about it, because a miracle may happen.
“Boy, it will be great getting out. I will probably scream so loud they’ll make me stay two more years.”
The star also explained he was most looking forward to kickstarting his career again.
He wrote: “I can hardly wait to start singing, travelling, making movies, and above all seeing the old gang and old Graceland. All I do is sit and count the days.”
Before coming home for good, Elvis was granted a leave of absence after his mother, Gladys Presley, died in 1958.
When he returned home he asked his girlfriend at the time, Anita Wood, to go see his mother with him.
Anita said in an interview later: “He said: ‘Come on in, I want you to see her.’ And I said: ‘No I don’t think I want to go in there.’
“He said: ‘Yes Little she loved you and I want you to come in there and I want you to see her. You just gotta come in here and see her.'”