HTML Hit Counter

Friday, August 17, 2007

The stuff that legends are made on

There’s a story (probably apocryphal – and we try hard to avoid those because the true ones are often difficult enough to believe) – of a professor of journalism calling a newspaper and telling them he had photographic evidence that Elvis Presley was alive.

A team was immediately despatched to his home and he handed them a photograph of himself, taken in his study.

So how was this ‘photographic evidence’ that The King was not dead?

‘Oh’, said the professor, ‘Mr Presley took the photo...’

And he turned up, Mr Presley, often in burger bars in America, more frequently than George Best turned up at Old Trafford - although not as frequently as he (Mr Best) turned up at Tramp.

Two of our guys were on the case following his (Mr Presley’s) reported death which occurred, or not, 30 years ago this week. PAUL BANNISTER was on coffin duty and reports on the tricks his snapper mates got up to, and JOE MULLINS was on the follow-up, getting Elvis himself to explain the sightings.
Both of them somehow missed the Weekly World News exclusive (see Issue 4 for that newspaper’s winning ways) interview with him.

What would the legendary John Junor have made of it all? I think we should be told. It’s a fair guess, going by the account related by his grandson, the Daily Telegraph’s literary editor SAM LEITH, that Beaverbrook would have said: ‘Do you know why I don’t believe all this? It’s because Mr Presley is bloody dead.’ And the same with silly season stories about Lord Lucan, Cornish sharks and giant dogs and cats.

A legendary news editor – it’s a remarkably flexible adjective – was Bob Blake. When he retired from the desk Bob’s colleagues on the Daily Express had a book of his sayings printed. It ran to 208 pages, and its publication is recalled as a fond memory by STANLEY BLENKINSOP, another er, legendary figure who succeeded him.

And IAN SKIDMORE gets fired by legendary news agency boss Jimmy Lovelock.

But we start all this with a Rant, because that is what we do, with REVEL BARKER on the expensive lack of logic in firing Old Farts – some of them legends in their own lunchtime – in the name of cost-cutting.

And we close with a short about a reader who claimed in a phone call to legendary news editor Dan Ferrari that he could go back in time (as if that is something that we aren’t all doing, all the time, on this site).

Sam Leith reminds us, off-screen, that Peter McKay once proposed forming an early version of Gentlemen Ranters, a ‘JJ Dining Club’ (while JJ was still alive), to swap stories about him – ‘the only criterion for membership being that you weren’t the man himself...’

See also: Letters, Links, and The Spike