Go to main content

Elvis Looks Like A Million Bucks

June 08, 2007 | Other
Elvis Presley was already a big star, but he hadn't tested his drawing power in arenas yet. Concert promoter Jerry Weintraub enjoyed modest success but he needed someone like Elvis to help lift him to the next level - arenas. So, Weintraub started calling Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker. He called Parker every day for a year. And every day for a year, Parker told him to get lost. One day, Parker couldn't stand it any longer.

"You've called me every morning for a year," Weintraub recalled Parker saying. "Why don't you stop calling me? It's not ever going to happen."
"I can't stop calling you," Weintraub told Parker. "I had a dream that I was going to promote Elvis' arena tour."

Parker, realizing that he was never going to discourage Weintraub by ignoring him, told the promoter that he would meet with him the next day at the International hotel in Las Vegas. But there was a catch. Parker wouldn't talk to Weintraub unless the promoter showed up with a check for $1 million made out to Elvis.

"I had some money but not that kind of money," said Weintraub, who now produces movies, including the new "Ocean's Thirteen" caper film with George Clooney and Brad Pitt.

Weintraub had less than 24 hours to come up with the money, and he was getting no response from any of his contacts in the entertainment industry. Then, he got the call that changed his life. The owner of a chain of radio stations in the Northwest offered the $1 million, in exchange for 50 percent of Weintraub's future concert promoting business.

Weintraub said he was in no position to turn down the offer. He gave the check to Parker, and Weintraub became a major player in the music business, later promoting concerts for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Neil Diamond.

Years later, Weintraub was at the home of Danny Kaye, who liked to cook Chinese food on a wok for his friends. While making dinner, Kaye turned to Weintraub and said: "I want to thank you. I've made a lot of money on you."

Weintraub was mystified, until he learned that Kaye was the silent partner of that radio station owner. It was Kaye who agreed to back Weintraub's Elvis adventure. Kaye and his partner eventually returned their 50 percent share to Weintraub.
"They returned it after each making about 50 million dollars from the deal," Weintraub said with a smile. "But it was worth every penny to me."
Steve V wrote on June 08, 2007
Ive heard this story before so its probably true. However it just shows how ignorant Parker could be. Had Weintraub not come up with a million dollars Elvis would have never played the Garden in New York or other great areanas. You wonder how many other deals Parker turned down because of his greed & arrogance.
mature_elvis_fan75 wrote on June 08, 2007
Parker what a complete joke as a manager,its too bad Elvis lack of confidence kept him from doing even more great things than he did,i also think Elvis ways of spending led him to sign contracts he should have not signed,(the movies)but you can only say if only,or what if,im glad that he did get to play the garden etc,just shows that with all his talent he could have even had more success!
Viva wrote on June 08, 2007
The old saying "Elvis was a success in spite of Col Parker, not because of him." is still one the most perceptive comments made about Paker.