Presley alive turned out to be a walk in
the park for Linky and Dinky. After they found him,
my jaw dropped open and stayed there. Not only
because Elvis was still alive (that's a whole story
in and of itself, right?) but how Linky, of all people,
with his sidekick Dinky, found the exact door to
knock upon, and the King of Rock and Roll opened it up.
I'll tell you
exactly how they did it, don't worry.
You'll slap your forehead in amazement, because as
stupid and ridiculous an idea as it seemed to be, it
worked like a charm. That's one of Murphy's Laws we
would all do well to remember: "If it's stupid, but it
works, it's not stupid."
I wish they had
accomplished this impossible feat
through brilliant leaps of intuition and dogged
detective work, but it was pure dumb luck. And I have
to say, a bit naive. But that was the magic of the
whole thing, a smart person couldn't do it and wouldn't
do it. "But what about the mispelling on the grave,
'Aaron' instead of 'Aron'? Hogwash. That never meant
Elvis was alive (although he was, wasn't he?) Those
clues were red herrings, some on purpose, some
HERE'S HOW LINKY & DINKY FOUND ELVIS
They simply bought
a beautifully framed, laminated,
mass-produced copy of Elvis' Army fingerprints from the
Graceland gift shop and zippity, zappity do -- Elvis
was found living under the name of "Jon Burrows", in
the great state of Arizona (Phoenix). And yes, he's now
70 years old.
It was just that
easy! They ran Elvis' known
fingerprints through the National Fingerprint Database
(with my help, of course) and a match was found.
Hard to believe,
but absolutely, astonishingly, true.
This stupid idea
wouldn't have worked in the 80's or
most of the 90's, it had to be done AFTER 1997, and
nobody on the entire planet thought to do it after 1997
except Linky and Dinky.
The fact that
this preposterously unlikely scheme was
successful at all was due to a series of unrelated but
quite fortunate historical events:
1. On March 24,
1958, Elvis began his army life as
Private US 53310761. He was fingerprinted the same day.
This was routine for all new members of the military.
(He was also fingerprinted in 1957 for his Firearm
application, but that valuable piece of rare
memorabilia is privately held by a collector. Last I
heard it was on tour in London.)
2. Thirty years
later, in 1988, the Justice Department
instituted the National Fingerprint Database, and
commenced to scan in billions of whorls, loops, arches
and swirls from millions of physically inked
fingerprints on file. To save time and money, they
didn't scan any on-file prints acquired prior to 1960,
determining those less likely to be needed, reasoning
that mostly young people commit crimes. (They're still
scanning, by the way, and in no danger of reaching 1960
in this lifetime). But since Elvis' patterns were
recorded in 1958, his fingerprints were never in the
national computer, and were never going to be, until...
3. In 1997 a
one "Jon Burrows" of Phoenix, Arizona was
briefly arrested for vehicularly damaging an innocent
fire hydrant. Refusing to take a breathalyzer, which is
against the law in Arizona, he was sent downtown and
booked. The next morning he was released on his own
recognizance (the recognizance of Jon Burrows, not
Elvis Presley) and a few weeks later the charges were
the prosecutor's office had a million more important
things to do, and
B.) they didn't know they had detained
and then released
So, a few days
after that, routinely, a clerk in the
Phoenix P.D. scanned Jon Burrows' fingerprints into the
computer, and just as routinely, shot them via modem to
the F.B.I. in Washington D.C. to the National
Fingerprint Database, where they sat, untouched and
unobserved (and unimportant) for eight years.
4. Eight years
later, on January 5th, 2005, Linky and
Dinky visited Graceland, Elvis' palatial home in
Memphis, Tennessee along with about five thousand other
people. While exiting through the Gift Shop, they
purchased a memento of their visit, which happened to
be a laminated copy of Elvis' Army fingerprints, for
$19.95 plus tax. They also bought an Elvis oven mitt,
but that doesn't matter.
5. The next day,
on January 6th, back at home, they
asked Uncle Url to impose upon his old college buddy
(now in the U.S. Marshall Service) to run those prints
through the computer and see what came up. No mention
of Elvis was made. Before handing over the prints, they
cut the laminate, removed the printed card, snipped off
the part that said "Elvis Presley" and waited for the
results. No matter how many times Elvis' fingerprints
had been run through the computer prior to 1997, they
would have always come up empty.
But on THIS day...
6. The prints
come back registered to Jon Burrows, with
a brief account written in police-lingo of what he was
arrested for back in 1997, his height, his weight, his
eye color, his date of birth (1/8/35, you guessed it)
and his street address.
HIS STREET ADDRESS!
The next day,
Linky and Dinky are back on a plane to
Arizona, where they rent a car and locate the modest
home at the street address revealed in the arrest
report of Jon Burrows.
They knock on
the door and Elvis answers. His voice was
deep, but polite. A bit faded, not tired-sounding, but
Elvis stood there, an old man. His face and hair
weren't snappy like those of his youth, and if you
didn't KNOW you were looking at Elvis, you'd never
think it. But that knowing makes all the difference --
it's him. The voice clinches it, and when he admits it
and tells you the story, well, even the liberal mass
media would believe it.
we're sorry to disturb you, but..." Elvis
tensed up considerably, his head and shoulders snapped
back, he squinted, he pursed his lips, he grew an
immediate frown and the door moved six inches more shut
that it had been before, all before you could say
he asked. A defense mechanism. He heard
to Dinky, "This is Dinky, and my name is
Linky, and we found you by tracking your fingerprints."
confused on the one hand that two odd
beings with odd names apparently knew his secret, and
terrified at the word fingerprints. The fingerprints
had been a source of worry for 27 years. It sounded
like they were finally going to ruin everything. Acid
dumped into his stomach and he grimaced.
Linky kept going,
"Well, sir, like I said I know this
is a surprise." He was being as gentle as possible. He
started speaking slower to be less threatening. "We
flew here to meet you, I hope you don't mind, It's
quite an honor." That was it, Linky had nothing else.
What he said was all he had. If this impromptu meeting
with the long (thought) dead King of Rock and Roll was
going to continue, his majesty was going to continue
it. Or slam the door.
Elvis stood there
about five seconds longer, started to
open his mouth to say something, then just slammed the
door. A moment later the boys heard the dead bolt click
around back!" Dinky called as he darted around
the house. Linky followed, not sure why. They rounded
the rear corner and there was Big E, already halfway
across the backyard, heading toward the fence. The gate
was not locked, he was going to sail on through.
Dinky shouted, ready to initiate an open
field tackle. "Just wait!" Dinky was closing fast.
Elvis saw the
two running at him full tilt, and he
stopped. He placed the suitcase (which he kept always
packed) on the ground and sat upon it. Hand to chin, he
had given up. Maybe about everything. All of it.
you people want from me?" Elvis asked,
annoyed. "I don't have nothing no more."
do!" Linky exclaimed. Was Elvis nuts? The
world would go ballistic once it found out that Elvis
Presley hadn't died in August of 1977. The rotation of
the planet would stop, waiting to find out how he did
it and where he's been all these years and in one voice
every human being on the globe would scream FOR THE
SAKE OF ALL THAT'S HOLY, PLEASE ELVIS,
PLEASE SING SOMETHING! ANYTHING!
He could name
his price for any interview of any
length. Oprah would personally put up a billion, just
to have him on her show. Whoever got the first
interview would get a 98 share. The other 2% would be
comatose or in diapers. The entire world would speak of
nothing else for weeks! 'Elvis is Alive' would be the
screaming banner headlines of every newspaper around
the world! Live coverage would eat up every minute of
national TV time. Every album, book, poster, movie, and
Elvis trinket of any kind would instantly be bought up.
600,000 fans would swarm Graceland, all thinking Elvis
was hiding out there.
at them, a bit sad. "I can't do it, my
health isn't good and the attention of it all would
kill me. They're going to want to take a lot of me, my
time and so forth. I just dunno who it's going to help,
except the people who sell things on TV. I don't have
any staff no more, and no place to protect myself. This
house won't keep them out."
was speed-thinking. Elvis might do it! He
might come out!
doesn't have to be today," Linky reassured
have to EVER!" Elvis barked. "Don't you
think I've thought of this a million times? I know what
would happen, I know a whole bunch better than YOU do.
It would be pandemonium, and I'd probably have a heart
attack and die." Elvis smiled at that one, he made
himself laugh, "Wouldn't that serve them right? I
announce I'm still alive, only to die as soon as they
believe it. Ha!"
Both Linky &
Dinky sat on the ground near Elvis. The
day was warm, the neighborhood quiet, the breeze gentle
and nurturing. Perhaps Elvis would talk. It was a
wonderful afternoon for a story. Maybe he would tell
the saga of how he came to be sitting on Sampsonite
luggage in this middle-class suburb of Phoenix, AZ in
2005, 27 years after he was entombed 16 feet
underground in a two-foot thick concrete sarcophagus.
see, that's just a plaque, obviously. It's
not a grave marker because I'm not buried there," Elvis
said, as if that was where the story started.
did you do it?" Dinky blurted out.
really do anything, it was all a mistake, but
at the time we figured we liked that it had happened."
believe this was happening -- Elvis
Presley was starting to tell the story of how he didn't
die. This was the moment of a lifetime. Of 20
lifetimes! He didn't have a video camera or even a tape
recorder -- what an idiot!
out in the bathoom and went into a coma,"
Elvis continued. "I wasn't dead when they found me, but
I sure looked like it. I saw the pictures. The
ambulance people took me to the hospital and into the
crash ward and they got me stable and so forth, but I
was a real mess. I should've been dead from those
drugs, but they pumped my stomach and gave me IV
neutralizers and, and, I don't what all, to keep me
breathing, which I had almost stopped doing entirely.
No wonder they thought I was dead at Graceland."
Dinky and Linky
exchanged glances. This was happening.
This was real!
time they had sealed off the Emergency Room
area and nobody could get in. But a reporter came in
from the back side, through the entire Hospital, and
was in a hallway in the Emergency Area when they were
rolling a dead body through that was roughly the size
of me. He asked if that was Elvis, and I don't know why
the Orderly nodded his head (maybe he misunderstood the
question), but he did and the reporter asked again, "Is
he DEAD dead?" and the orderly nodded yes. The reporter
flashed a picture of that bulging sheet on a stretcher
that appeared all around the world. And so that was the
first report that I was dead." Elvis chuckled a bit.
kept saying 'no comment' for another full
day, which of course made everybody believe I was dead.
They moved me into a special room even farther away
from the media, and my daddy and Joe Esposito were let
in to see me. I had come out of the coma and was
feeling pretty good, considering, when my daddy said
"they think you're dead, son. You almost were dead, but
you got saved. This might be the last time. Next time
you really will be dead, and no amount of grief will
bring you back."
to start to tear up, but not quite. He
kept going. He was talking faster now, as if he liked
this part. "I told daddy 'I can't escape who I am,
daddy, I can't get away from the fans.'"
shocked me. He never told me nothing about
this before, but he said he'd been thinking about this
for a long time with Joe Esposito, and they thought I
could get a nice two year vacation to get my health
back by letting the fans think I'm dead."
Elvis shook his
head, "It was so incredibly stupid to
think we could get away with it. But we did. ...Well,
we didn't figure on people getting so upset. I mean, we
expected to receive a few flowers and some cards and
letters, but Lisa Marie and Priscilla and Daddy and Joe
would all know the truth, so they wouldn't be hurt. We
told the Colonel too, he didn't even show up for my
funeral because he was so busy getting ready to make
money on my 'death', which we would need because I
wouldn't be doing shows or concerts anymore for a
made some mistakes. Daddy and Joe did. I stayed
in the hospital the whole time. There were very loyal
people there who took care of me, Memphis always took
care of me. The people were family, they never did
nothing to hurt me or embarrass me or anything like
that. But, the media, man, they came in droves. It was
a huge deal, I watched a lot of my funeral on TV from
my hospital room. I was really really scared we were
going to get in trouble, that daddy would get arrested
for perpetrating a fraud. And I was really afraid about
how mad my fans would be, since I was watching them cry
for me on TV. How could I ever come back and say it was
all a joke? They'd hate me, really hate me. They'd
probably find a way to sue me. The whole thing was a
huge mistake that I couldn't take back. They buried
that wax statue and I hoped it was all over."
that's when they started saying I was really
still alive. I went to Hawaii to one of the private
islands nobody else could get to and got straight and
healthy and so forth. I was there about three years.
The few people who knew were fantastic about it, they
kept the secret, they just let people talk themselves
to death, speculating. They never betrayed me. I keep
in contact with a few dear friends, but for the most
part, the people in my life know me as Jon Burrows, and
I'm happy with that. Being Elvis Presley, well, that
was just another life, one I lived a lifetime ago. I
can't go home again."
So, to make a
long story short, Elvis went on to
explain how one thing after another caused
problems. Vernon, his father, stayed home and
tried to run Elvis' music business, but couldn't, and
signed a new deal with Colonel Parker to run the entire
business for a fee of 50% of the earnings of royalties
and memorabilia sales. Everybody who knew Elvis wrote a
book, or two or three. The whole "Elvis is Alive" story
was keeping his memory growing and obviously fascinated the
public to no end. It also kept Elvis-trinkets selling like
hotcakes. It must have been leaked by Colonel Tom Parker,
the manager. That was really up his alley to do
something like that.
over Graceland in 1982 with the idea of
making it a museum, to build a legacy for Lisa Marie.
Now more tourists visit Graceland each year than the
White House. Through a series of shrewd business
moves she made Elvis Presley Enterprises more valuable
than it had ever been before, in excess of $100 million.
It was Priscilla who successfullly lobbied the courts to
grant descendents full rights and
guarantees to heirs
the commercial rights to the deceased celebrity's image
and likeness. As a result, Elvis Presley is a trademark and
anyone selling Presley related memorabilia in the U.S.
must pay EPE an advance fee plus a royalty on every
In 2004 Lisa Marie sold everything
to a huge marketing firm who intends to extend the
Elvis brand around the world.
Elvis doesn't own himself anymore.
It would be illegal
for him to "come back to life." Or so he says.
Well, the gist
of it is that Elvis charmed Linky and
Dinky out of it. He gave permission to write this
story (because who would believe it? You don't,
do you?) as long as he could be left in peace.
His legacy was already one to be very proud of,
the music of his youth still plays all over the world
every single day, and he's remembered with kind
words and generous thoughts.
A lot of crazy
things have happened to Linky & Dinky
over the years, but this one is a doozy. Elvis promised
to send us email every once in a while, but we're not
holding our breath. We wish you well, Elvis!
Long live the King!
-- Uncle Url