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CONCERT DATE: February 17, 1977. Savannah, GA.

Contact The King? Forget It!
By Gary Mikell
Savannah Evening Press
February 17, 1977

"Foolish"

The word shot through a telephone receiver and echoed with a firm, negative condescension in the ears of a News-Press reporter.

The attempt to interview the King had failed.

But it was a valiant try, not unlike ploys by other reporters in other cities, which , too, have been foolish and disappointing.

Here, today, Elvis Presley has blockaded himself on an entire floor of the DeSoto Hilton Hotel and he's inaccessible.

Press passes, and any other of a thousand excuses the Elvis' admirers may improvise to glimpse the monarch of Rock and Roll, have proved fruitless against as air-tight security force that surrounds Presley in anticipation of his concert in the Civic Center tonight before approximately 8,000 concert-goers.

Presley arrived in Savannah, reportedly during the "wee hours" this morning by private plane and was whisked to his DeSoto room. The 13th floor has proved unlucky for fans attempting to see Elvis because it has been completely sealed off by a security force under the command of Savannah Police Department Lt. Robert Henry

35 Rooms

One hotel staffer said the Presley entourage, which includes an undetermined number of technicians and advance people, originally requested 75 rooms be assigned to the King. But the DeSoto could only accommodate 35.

Elvis's suite was described as a parlor-plus-three, which includes a huge living room with three bedrooms. He also is said to have access to 24-hour room service.

Although no all-night vigils or long lines have been posted around the hotel by Presley aficionados, DeSoto staff members report numerous attempts to call or contact Elvis.

"The phone has been ringing for him only every five minutes," said switchboard operator Pam Hambirck. "They ask to talk to Elvis and I tell them 'No'"

The hotel also has received several letters from women addressed to Presley. "The funny thing is that a lot of them have their phone numbers scratched on the outside of the envelope" said desk clerk Mike Obrofta. "Like he was really going to call them."

Tight Security

Greg Marshall, DeSoto Hilton sales manager, said Elvis' advance man Charles Stone had said security is probably tighter for Presley than for the President Jimmy Carter.

"He (Stone) said Elvis just likes to come into town for the concert, get his room, get in it, do the concert and leave," said Marshall.

Evidence of the tight security was plain when one reporter armed with a fistful of press passes, bravely tried to get onto the 13th floor - if not to talk to the King himself, to ask about the security arrangements.

As soon as the elevator door opened and the reporter began babbling his explanation three uniformed police officers each weighing more than 200 pounds began pushing him back with little opposition.

Police reported that Presley's staff had asked for "the biggest huskiest" policemen to guard their boss and one police woman who asked for a turn at security duty was turned down.

"All the man has asked the DeSoto and the police for is his privacy, which is really hard for him to get even in his own home at Memphis," said DeSoto director of sales Guy Bigelow. Unless the hotel and police provided this security, he wouldn't have any privacy the entire time he is here.

The Civic Center is providing 16 Savannah policemen to surround the stage for his 8 pm concert tonight in case any of the more avid fans who are planning to attend the sold-out concert get carried away and try to charge him.

To handle the overflow traffic for the rock fans plus people attending the free showing of a travelogue film in the Civic Center theater there will be a fleet of policemen directing traffic around the center.

Courtesy of Francesc Lopez