I am not sure why this question is such a tough one to figure out: Was Alicia Kerwin going to accompany Elvis on the August 17-28, 1977, tour, either for the entire tour or for a small part of it? Maybe it’s a difficult topic because Ms. Kerwin is no longer here to help us fully address these questions, but in her absence we nonetheless have enough information to reach a well-informed conclusion.
Someone recently reminded me of this paragraph (above) from Dick Grob’s 1995 book, and it is interesting how slanted it is in the assessment of what was happening between Elvis and Ginger Alden at this time. So, let’s break this down:
“Elvis started complaining about Ginger.” This refers to Ginger Alden and her alleged refusal to go on the upcoming August 17-28 tour with Elvis. Elvis, or anyone, really, would of course complain about something that he did not like, or something that ran counter to his wishes. In this example, he is upset because Ginger is *not* accompanying him on the tour.
“He was upset with her because she absolutely refused to go with him on this tour…she went on all previous tours, but was adamant about this one.” So Ginger went “on all previous tours” (key word: “all”), but Elvis was so upset about this one tour that he was going to have another female companion flown in? ONE tour Ginger supposedly did not want to go on, and thus Elvis had to bring in someone else? Note that the Elvis/Alicia relationship (<–and this is a generous term) consisted mainly of talking, reading, and sleeping, so it is curious that Elvis would risk his engagement to Ginger for the simple pleasure of talking, reading, and sleeping with a woman he barely knew. He couldn’t go 11 days without this?
Further, was Ginger really refusing to go “on the tour,” meaning the entire trek, or did she tell Elvis that she merely wanted to join the tour in a few days? The author of this passage is clearly leading the reader towards the former.
[**The question must be asked: WHY did Elvis *have* to have a female companion with him on this tour? Why?]
“At first he tried to change her mind…not that it really mattered.” OK, so he was upset about Ginger not going on the tour with him, and he tried to change her mind, but suddenly switching gears, we are now told that it really didn’t matter to him anymore. If that is true, then why was he still trying to change her mind?
“He ‘beamed’ jokingly…as he explained…that [he] would be traveling alone on this tour.” No one knows what “beamed jokingly” means, so I won’t comment on that.
Elvis and Dick Grob knew that “other ‘arrangements’ had already been made” to bring Alicia Kerwin on the tour. The use of the quotation marks around “arrangements” is the author’s way of making it appear as if they were being really sneaky, that they were swapping out Ginger for Alicia, ya know, for sneaky things. But let’s remember, these “arrangements” were not for sneaking off to a hotel with a Hollywood starlet, they were for flying in a 20-year-old Memphis girl for talking, reading, and sleeping. It is a reasonable assumption that Elvis at this point in his life was not running around town sleeping with every woman he could find, Hollywood starlet or otherwise. This was all about talking, reading, and sleeping…companionship. Also, and this is important: Elvis was trying to convince Ginger to go on the tour with him, and when she refused he supposedly lined up Alicia Kerwin to take her place. What would have happened, then, had Ginger changed her mind? This account suggests to us that Elvis likely already knew about Alicia going on the tour, and that she already had her airfare provided to her by Dick Grob, so what was Elvis going to do if Ginger turned around and said, “OK, I’ll go on the tour”? Doesn’t this whole thing have a very strong “junior high school” feel to it?
Add to this the notion that Elvis was still asking Ginger about the tour on the morning of August 16 (as Ginger claims, and as is certainly believable). If Elvis knew Alicia was going to meet up with the tour in Portland the following day, why was he still asking Ginger if she would be going? Shouldn’t he have then been trying to convince Ginger *not* to join him on the tour? Where is Jack Tripper during all this?
“Elvis had been seeing Alicia for sometime now and she seemed like a real lady.” This first part is false. Elvis had invited Alicia to Graceland on several occasions over April, May, and June 1977, but she had ended the relationship in June. Not only had Elvis not been “seeing” Alicia Kerwin, but he had not spent any time with her in six weeks or so, since she had broken things off with him. It is worth noting that in at least one account of this situation leading up the start of the tour, Elvis couldn’t even remember Alicia’s name. Show of hands: how many people have you dated for “sometime” yet the name of that person escaped you?
On Alicia’s Timeline with Elvis: According to an interview with Alicia as part of the Dr. Nichopoulos case (which is widely available), Alicia’s second-to-last communication with Elvis was in mid-June, when she called him. And why did she call him? Because she needed some papers for the car Elvis had purchased for her in Palm Springs. Elvis returned the call a few hours later, and Alicia agreed to visit with him later that night (this was June 11, 1977, and she still needed those papers). She spent several hours with him talking. Elvis then called Alicia one final time somewhere between June 11 and June 26, in “the middle of the night,” and asked her to come to Graceland for a visit, which again centered around talking and sleeping, and perhaps some reading. Kerwin is then asked, as part of this interview, if this was the last time she saw Elvis, and she responds, “Yeah.” At this point in the interview, if Alicia had been ”seeing” Elvis beyond late June, she would have said so; if she had been planning to go on the August 17-28 tour with him, she would have said so; if she had any sort of communication with Elvis, she would have said so. That she does not mention any further communication tells us quite clearly that late June was the end of the relationship; she was not around in August 1977, and thus she was certainly not going on the tour. So, why then does Dick Grob say she had been “seeing” Elvis for “sometime,” and why did Dick Grob say that airfare from Memphis to Portland (ME) had been provided to Alicia?
And finally, on this point:
“Q: This you stated privately, [you] stated that you really didn’t want to get involved with Elvis, and you really wanted to discontinue the alliance. Was this because you had heard something about Elvis? Were you actually too young for the man, or what?
A [Alicia Kerwin]: I was a 20-year-old girl, and it was just too fast. I had never been used to this. I mean, you stay up all night with people around constantly, and it just wasn’t what I wanted at this time.”
But Dick Grob and others would have us believe that this young girl was re-starting the relationship and going out on tour with Elvis…?
“Elvis had already purchased a new car for her and I had arranged for her to join the tour in Portland, Maine after she got off work the next day.” Why is the car purchase mentioned here? Does that mean something in terms of the seriousness of the relationship? What happens when a relationship reaches “car purchase” level? Also, funny how the Alden family gets so much push-back on the cars Elvis bought for them (as gifts), and yet no one is critical of Alicia (or anyone else, for that matter) when Elvis buys her a car. Anyway, on the notion that Alicia would join the tour in Portland the following day, this would refer to the afternoon/evening of Wednesday, August 17. Since the story being told here indicates that the plane ticket had already been purchased and provided to Alicia, was it not possible for her to simply fly to Portland with Elvis later on the evening of the sixteenth, aboard the Lisa Marie, and then to take off work for the rest of the time she needed? Why didn’t she just take off work on the seventeenth? How late did tellers work at this bank?
And another question: Who paid for this airfare? In the estate ledgers covering this time period, there is no reimbursement listed for the cost of one-way airfare. Are we to believe that Grob paid for the airfare himself and did not ask to be reimbursed? The estate ledgers show that Vernon (or Patsy Presley) wrote reimbursement checks for even the smallest expenditure, and it is safe to assume that Grob would have asked to be paid back. So, who paid for this airfare?
“As the conversation continued, Elvis said he was ‘trying to find the best and easiest way to have Ginger leave, but she somehow refused to take the hint.’” Um, what exactly was one of these so-called “hints”? That Elvis was upset that she wasn’t going on the tour with him? That’s not much of a “hint” is it? In fact, we are being told here that Elvis was upset that Ginger wasn’t going on the tour with him, and at the same time we are being told that he was giving her hints that he wanted to end the relationship/engagement. Advice for Elvis: “Please go on the tour with me” is not the way to convince a woman that you want to break up with her, and thus would not be considered “a hint.” Further advice for Elvis: Getting angry when a woman won’t go on a tour with you is not the way to convince her that you want to break up. I hope that everyone can see the glaring contradictions here, as we are being told, repeatedly and over many years, that Elvis was angry that Ginger wouldn’t go on the tour with him *AND* that Elvis wanted Ginger “moved out.” These two things are mutually exclusive; you cannot have one *and* the other.
Again: Elvis “was trying to find the best and easiest way to have Ginger leave, but she somehow refused to take the hint.” I’d be interested to see any such “hint” that Elvis put out there that Ginger should have picked up on and said to herself, “Hmmm, looks like Elvis is hinting that he wants me to leave.” I have never read any such account of Elvis’s “hinting.” I have read about Elvis providing financial assistance to the Alden family; I have read about planning discussions for a wedding; I have read about Elvis (via the estate) paying for the pool at the Alden property per his promise (Vernon wrote two checks after August 16 to cover the costs); I have heard about vacations, and jewelry, and automobiles, and other gifts; I have read about Elvis’s positive outlook going into the tour; I have read about going to the movies and the amusement park and riding go-karts; but I have never read about these “hints” that, according to Dick Grob, Elvis was throwing out left and right in Ginger’s direction, but she was just too dense to notice (which is the message Grob is trying to convey here).
Also of note, Elvis was trying to find the “best and easiest” way to have Ginger leave, and we are told he opted for, “Have my dad kick her out while I am out of town.” Nice. Who would have kicked Ginger out if Vernon had gone on the tour? “Hey, uh, Nancy, can you do me a favor?” (Vernon said in a 1978 Good Housekeeping interview that he had told Elvis on Monday night [8/15/77] he would be joining him on the tour.)
Elvis said, “Daddy will have her moved out once we leave and she will never come back here again.” Again, we are being told that Elvis expected his father to kick Ginger out the door, *AND* that Elvis was upset because Ginger wouldn’t be going on the 11-day tour with him. If Elvis wanted to break up with Ginger, shouldn’t he have been *HAPPY* that she wasn’t going on the tour? Then Vernon would have kicked Ginger out while he was away (if Vernon stayed in Memphis, of course), and Elvis would have then been free to talk, read, and sleep (actually sleep) with whomever he wanted. Again, “Come on tour with me” does not emanate from the same emotional place as, “Get out.”
On the question of Elvis’s plan to have Vernon kick Ginger out the door after Elvis left on the tour, let’s also consider the following:
In Dick Grob’s 1979 manuscript for his 1995 book, he writes:
Let’s compare this (above, from 1979) to what he actually included in his 1995 book (note italics, where the passages do not match):
“I was one of the few that I feel had access to Elvis’ private thoughts. Elvis felt comfortable discussing important things and aspects of his life with me.”
Then, “During the next interruption [in conversation], Elvis started complaining about Ginger. He was upset with her because she absolutely refused to go with him on this road tour when it was announced. She went on all previous tours, but was adamant about this one. At first he tried to change her mind to no avail, not that it really mattered any more to him. He ‘beamed’ jokingly at me as he explained that the ‘boss’ would be traveling alone on this tour. I caught the nod and the wink. Elvis fired off with that statement, knowing full well other ‘arrangements’ had already been made. Elvis had been seeing Alicia, for sometime now and she seemed like a real lady. […] As the conversation continued, Elvis said he was ‘trying to find the best and easiest way to have Ginger leave, but she somehow refused to take the hint.’ Elvis, who never liked confrontations, told me, ‘daddy will have her moved out once we leave and she will never come back here again.'”
I am not going to analyze every statement in here (we’ll perhaps get to that later), nor the implications of all these differences between 1979 and 1995, but I am going to point out one thing: In 1978-1979, when Grob’s memories of this situation would have been far stronger than 16 years later when his first book came out, it is very interesting that he did *not* write that Elvis said, “[Vernon] will have [Ginger] moved out once we leave and she will never come back here again.” Grob’s memory would have been much clearer eighteen months after this conversation took place, than nearly twenty years later when he was working on his book. So, why did he add this one comment? This is not something that Dick Grob, whose blind hatred of Ginger is bizarre and inexplicable and uncomfortably obvious, would have forgotten.
Bottom line, Dick Grob and the people who make these allegations against Ginger, or about the Elvis/Ginger relationship, cannot have it all. They cannot say Alicia Kerwin was dating Elvis in August 1977 when she obviously was not. They cannot say Elvis was upset with Ginger for not joining him on the tour *and* that he wanted Ginger gone. It doesn’t work that way. It is illogical and simply factually incorrect to say that Elvis wanted “X,” *and* that Elvis wanted “the opposite of X.” Simply, if he wanted to break up with Ginger, he wouldn’t have wanted her to come on the tour; and if he invited her to join him on the tour (which he did), then he wouldn’t have wanted to break up with her.
And, going back to our initial question about Alicia Kerwin, the answer is, “No.”