Back in 2005, while working at another T.V. station in another lifetime, I was tasked, along with a news photographer and a producer, to travel around the state of Tennessee to do an hour special on vacation destinations. The very first thing I pitched was we had to go to Graceland. Everything else was secondary in this special but Graceland had to be number one.
Sometimes, what you wish for can be something you never ever expected. We talked to the PR at Graceland and it was all set up but before we shot anything, they wanted to take us around the estate and show us everything and then we could figure out what we wanted and did not want to shoot. As we began our tour, the PR person says, “Oh, something else, do not imitate Elvis! At all! Nothing! I will stop this tour immediately and you will not be able to shoot anything. We had a crew from the BBC here and I warned them, they did it and I kicked them out. Don’t think you are better than the BBC! Okay, we all ready?”
Gulp! Yes ma’am, we are ready and we understand that. Remember as a kid and your mom said, “Do not touch that cookie jar!” And all you wanted to do was to touch that cookie jar? The same applies here. My photographer said, “100 bucks you get us kicked out.” You see, all I had done on the way to Graceland, was imitate Elvis. Non-stop.
We made our way through the house, all the while my producer giving me the side eye of you better not open your mouth. I didn’t. Until. Well you see, Elvis had his own racquetball court but it had turned into a trophy house. Yes, hundreds of trophies all over the place at this perfectly built and beautiful racquetball court. And I love racquetball. I turned to David, the photographer, and whispered, in an Elvis voice, “Damn man, look at all my racquetball trophies. I paid Sonny and Red to lose to me.”
Then I turned around and there she was. “What did you say?” And she was mad. How steam did not come out of her ears will always be a mystery to me. Also, how in the world did she hear me when I was whispered way behind her? “What did you just say?” “I said, I love racquetball. I play in a league back in Nashville and would have died for a court like this.” “I am going to ask you one more time, what did you say?” “Ma’am, I said I love racquetball and I play in a league back in Nashville and this court is amazing.” She paused, looked at my producer who had no idea what I said and then asked my photographer what I said. And like a true boss, he repeated what I said, word for word. She paused and I said, “Seriously, I love what he has done with the place.” She paused again and said, “Let’s continue our tour, but you will walk next to me.”
We finished the tour, she said if you need me, I will be in the office and wished us well. We go to the car to get our camera gear and for 15 minutes, we laughed so hard that I almost passed out in the parking lot. Our producer said, “You made me proud. I thought when you asked about the toilet upstairs where Elvis died you were going to say something smart-ass but the fact we went about 15 minutes without getting in trouble, makes me smile.”
That’s TCB, baby!