Elvis picture doesn’t tell whole story

first_imgLooking back on that day in 1957 when she held the scissors in her hand, the decision Elsie Pringle had to make really wasn’t all that tough. Most women would have done the same thing, she says today. “It was either Elvis or Norm – one of them had to go,” Elsie was saying Friday, standing in the hallway of the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills waiting for her doctor’s appointment. “It sure wasn’t going to be Elvis, so I told Norm, `Sorry, honey,’ and cut him out of the picture. It was the only way it fit into my wallet.” For the next 50 years, every time Elsie opened her wallet, the first picture people would see was a young, handsome kid with a killer smile standing there with his arm around her. “Isn’t that Elvis Presley?” they’d ask. “Yeah, we used to date,” Elsie would say, smilin’ and lyin’. Her husband Norm didn’t mind. If you have to play second fiddle to someone for 50 years, who better than the King – who died 30 years ago last week. “When he kissed her hand I swear she didn’t do the dishes for a week,” he says. The couple, married 55 years now, were standing in front of the Elvis Presley Memorial Wall at the Woodland Hills hospital and home that cares for people who had careers in the entertainment business. Norm worked as a recording engineer for Warner Bros. for more than 25 years. Dead center on the wall, surrounded by some of the King’s gold records, is the uncropped picture of Norm standing on the other side of Elvis with a microphone in his hand, getting ready to interview Presley, who was appearing in a concert in Vancouver, Canada. Back in 1957, Norm was a disc jockey on a local radio show in Victoria, and his young wife, Elsie, had tagged along to meet Elvis and begin a little white lie that’s had them both laughing for 50 years. They had met in 1952 on the radio early one morning. “I was an all-night disc jockey and she called the station at 2 a.m. one night to ask me if I knew how to fix tape recorders,” Norm said, laughing. “I could tell it was a come-on, that she had the hots for me. She invited me over after I got off work. There was nothing wrong with her tape recorder. “I didn’t have a car so a friend dropped me off at her apartment. I told him to drive around the block for a few minutes and I’d give him a signal from the window whether I was staying or not. “Hey, this was radio, I didn’t know what she looked like. I gave my buddy the signal that I was staying. The marriage has lasted 55 years so I’d say things worked out pretty good.” Yeah, they did. Very good. Now, every time Norm and Elsie go for a doctor’s appointment at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital, they walk in as minor celebrities. That young couple up on the Elvis Presley wall with the King. In her wallet, though, Norm didn’t make the cut. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. [email protected] (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img