As the phone began to ring, Dee stood there, wondering what she was going to say. The clerk at the Grunewald answered and she asked for the Presley room. The connection was made.
“Uh, hello, uh, is Elvis there?” she asked uncertainly.
“This is Elvis.” The voice was deeper than she expected, but the lilting drawl was unmistakable, making her think of home. To her astonishment, she had the real McCoy.
“Yes, hello there,” she said sweetly now, leaping right in. “You don’t know me, Elvis, but perhaps you know my husband. He’s an officer at the base. My name is Dee Stanley, Elvis, and I was just calling to welcome you to Germany. It isn’t too often that we get celebrities from home out here.”
“Well, I do appreciate that, Mrs. Stanley,” said Private Presley. “Thank you very, very much, ma'am.”
Dee fumbled in the short silence that followed, wondering if she was saying the right thing.
“I also wanted to tell you how very sorry we all were to hear about your poor mother,” she said solemnly. “Please accept our condolences.” She paused for a second, then brightened up the tone of her voice. “Now, how would you and all your family like to have supper one night with me and my husband out here at our place? I’m sure you’d enjoy a little home cookin’ after all that slop they feed you out at the base!”
“Oh, the food out there isn’t so bad,” Elvis laughed. “Well, thank you very much for the invitation, ma'am. It’s sweet of you to think of us, but I have to go on maneuvers next week. Why don’t you call back this Monday, and I’ll speak to my daddy about it?”
Just then one of Dee’s friends entered. “Who are you talking to?” she whispered. Dee put her hand over the phone and whispered back, “Elvis.” Her mouth dropped open and she stared jumping up and down, screaming.
“I’m sorry, Elvis,” said Dee over the wail in the background, embarrassed. “One of my friends just walked in, and I guess she’s a little taken aback that I’m really talking to you on the phone. I’ll call back Monday.”
“Fine, Mrs. Stanley,” he said, restraining his laughter. “That’ll be just fine.”
—  Dee Stanley introduces herself to Elvis in Germany, 1958.

The Circle G era started when Elvis bought Priscilla a horse for Christmas in 1966. Elvis asked Jerry Schilling to locate horse ranches around Memphis, and he had Graceland’s maintenance man prepare the stables out back. Then Elvis and Jerry took off to see what the ranches at to offer. In a few hours, they returned with a beautiful quarter horse named Domino, solid black except for one white sock. Jerry held the horse while Elvis went into the house to bring Priscilla out. He led her out the front door, right up to Domino, with his hand covering her eyes. When he took his hand away, she was looking straight at this gorgeous animal.
“Where did he come from?” Priscilla gasped.
“I bought him for you,” Elvis said, very pleased with her surprise and delight. “He’s your Christmas present.”
Priscilla went crazy hugging and kissing Elvis.
“I’ve got to ride him right now!” she said. The horse was already saddled and bridled, so Priscilla jumped on and took off for the pastures. She rode Domino every day she was at Graceland.

Elvis decided he didn’t want Priscilla to ride alone, so he asked Jerry if it would be okay to buy a horse for his wife, Sandy, another animal lover. That started the ball rolling. Then Elvis rode Domino a few times.
“I need a horse for myself,” he told Jerry. “I want a golden palomino. Call around and see if anyone has one for sale.” Jerry located a palomino stallion at a ranch not far from Graceland. His name, Rising Sun, was a good selling point, and he was a beauty. The moment Elvis set eyes on him, this was the one. Now Graceland housed three horses, and Elvis was having so much fun that he wanted everyone to share his enjoyment. He bought horses and equipment for all the guys and their wives, if they wanted one. We all worked on the stabled, cleaning them out and painting the stalls. Elvis was beginning to fancy himself as a rancher, so he had to dress like one. We went to a western clothier and Elvis bought us all outfits: jeans, cowboy boots, sheepskin jackets, and of course, western hats and rancher’s gloves. Before we knew it, the horse population, now sixteen, had outgrown Graceland’s eight stalls.

A few months past Christmas, Elvis and Priscilla were driving with Alan Fortas around Horn Lake, Mississippi, about fourteen miles from Graceland. They spotted a large ranch for sale, 160 acres with a large herd of Santa Gertrudis cattle. The property included a three-acre lake traversed by a white bridge. Next to it stood a twenty-foot-tall white cross that, for some reason, the cattle clustered around every evening. Scattered nearby were three barns, plenty of room for the horses. The ranch house was about one hundred years old, but it had been completely renovated to look like a home featured in a decorating magazine. Elvis asked Alan to go inside and find out what the owners wanted for the property, Alan came back a few minutes later.
“They want $485,000, and that includes the cattle,” Alan reported.
“Let’s go home and talk to Daddy,” Elvis said. “I want to buy it.”
He described the place and told him the price.
“Now, wait a minute, son,” Vernon said. “That sounds like too much money to me. Do we have to buy the cattle with it?”
“I want the cattle,” Elvis protested, his mind already spinning visions of himself as a rancher. “What’s a ranch without cattle?”

The next morning, Vernon drove to the ranch to see the owner, Jack Adams. They struck a deal, and Vernon went to his bank to borrow the money. Elvis was now a full-fledged rancher, the proud owner of a herd of cattle and sixteen horses. He named his new place the Circle G, and bought pickup trucks for all the guys. Vernon was tearing his hair out. Then Elvis decided we all should live with him on the ranch, so he bought six extremely large trailers. Of course, he wanted them delivered the next day. He wasn’t aware that he needed permits from the city and he had to pour cement pads, not to mention get hookups for water, electricity, and sewage. So Elvis cast himself in the role of ranch foreman. He no longer looked like a famous singer or movie star. Wearing a cowboy hat and sheepskin jacket and sitting tall in the saddle, he was a dead ringer for the Marlboro man.

Every morning he saddled Rising Sun and rode out to issue instructions to the contractor on how to do things and where everything should go. Only one trailer was placed near the main hose, the one designated for Alan Fortas- who was supposed to be in charge of the ranch- and his wife. Finally, everything was ready. Finally, everything was ready. We moved into our trailers, Elvis had all the horses shipped over, and we settled into ranch living. Of course, Elvis was so tickled by the notion of living in a trailer on his honeymoon that he asked Alan to move into the main house. Lisa Marie was conceived in that trailer.

When he tired of living in the trailer and moved back into the house, he and Priscilla saddled their horses every morning and rode out back to join us for a cup of coffee. One weekends, we threw giant barbecues. The wives prepared all the food, except for meat, which I cooked on an open grill. We had great times.

For a year and a half after the marriage, between making movies we headed straight for the Circle G. Elvis felt very comfortable in his own little ranch world and usually hated to be torn from it.

Joe Esposito, Good Rockin’ Tonight


In Memory Of Elvis Aaron PresleyJan. 8, 1935 – Aug. 16, 1977.

I can’t explain it. I can’t explain what happens when the music starts. But I think you know. I think you know what it is to get all tied up in something, to get lost in it. That’s what singing and music does to me. It ties me up. It makes me forget everything else except the beat and the sound. It tells me more than anything else I’ve ever known, how good, how great it is just to be alive.


In Memory Of Elvis Aaron Presley ♛ Jan. 8, 1935 – Aug. 16, 1977.

In the entertainment business the future is very uncertain. You never know. You can only try. So I’m only gonna say I’ll try to continue to please the people enough that they, you know, that they keep liking me and keep interested. As far as actually knowing what the future holds for me, I’ve got no idea – Elvis Presley, 1960.