For most folks 1977 was the year Elvis checked out. Something about too many painkillers, peanut butter and banana sandwiches and falling off the King of Rock N Roll’s bathroom throne at Graceland.
So he’s gone, right? Long gone – 36 years long gone – officially speaking.
Or is he?
Followers of my column in the Star may recall that in 2001 I stumbled onto a Parkville M.D. by the name of Donald Hinton who swore up and down that Elvis was still alive but in hiding. And that Hinton was treating him under the assumed name of Jesse, Elvis’s identical twin brother who died at birth.
There were five people at the time in Hinton’s inner circle who knew the “real truth” about Elvis still being alive and hiding out as Jesse, including his cousin Jerry Presley, a local deck builder and musician who performs nationally as an Elvis tribute band.
Hinton self-published a small book outlining the story of Jesse entitled, “The Truth About Elvis Aron Presley In His Own Words.”
“It presents the events of Elvis Aron Presley’s last 24 years as told to him by ‘The King’ himself through a collection of handwritten letters and cards, telephone conversations and photos since his death in 1977.
“Dr. Hinton risks his reputation and livelihood to bring this astonishing story to print because, he says, “Jesse” felt it was time to tell his fans the truth. Elvis’ disciples and skeptics alike should welcome this opportunity to finally establish or lay to rest the truth about Elvis’ death or life.”
Heavy stuff right?
I covered Dr. Hinton’s travails extensively.
“He’s about to come out,” Jerry Presley told me at the time. “That’s what the book’s about. There’s so much inside stuff that can’t be talked about right now.”
Falderal, countered Todd Morgan, Elvis Presley Enterprises director of media.
“You could have a bonfire that could be seen galaxies away if you piled up every book or article, every falsehood ever written about (Elvis),” Morgan said. “There wouldn’t be a lot left to read comparatively if you eliminated the falsehoods.”
Unfortunately, Hinton’s claims netted him far more than fame than fortune.
The media attention landed the Parkville psychiatrist on the hot seat with Missouri Board of Healing Arts and the Missouri Attorney General‘s office who also wanted to know “the truth” about Elvis – but a different truth.
Word at the time was they were “reviewing” the good doctor’s claims and looking at other issues, including what happened to any gifts fans may have intended for “Jesse” and prescriptions that may have been written to him and sent out of state.
And as for any gifts, earmarked for Elvis, “All I know is they all get sent” to Jesse, Jerry Presley told me at the time “(Dr. Hinton) doesn’t have ’em.”
Hinton and company have long since gone underground, and while in theory “Jesse” is still alive and well at age 77, it’s been years since Hinton was disciplined and dropped out of sight. And years since the talk of Elvis as Jesse was seriously last broached.
Which doesn’t by any means mean that Elvis is not still alive.
Stand by for Part 2 of my update tomorrow.