Alexander Steel Houses - Designed by Donald Wexler(Excerpt from Journeyman Architect Documentary)
Design Onscreen – The Initiative for Architecture and Design on Film – presents a new documentary by Jake Gorst on Palm Springs architect Donald Wexler. During the 1950s and 60s, Wexler pioneered commercial and residential construction using steel. Wexler applied his ground-breaking techniques and unique style to hundreds of structures, including the Palm Springs Airport, the Larson Justice Center and projects for clients such as Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra. Today his work provides inspiration for a new generation of architects.
This clip features the Alexander Steel Homes, built in Palm Springs, California. The music was composed by Hayes Greenfield.
By 1967, Priscilla had been living with Elvis for five years. She
was twenty-one, certainly old enough to become a wife. Elvis and
Priscilla had been talking about getting married for over a year,
discussing when to do it and how it would affect his career. It was time
for him to get married, and he knew it. He had been with Priscilla
since she was barely sixteen, and there had to have been pressure from
her family. According to the Colonel, Elvis telephoned him in Palm
Springs. “Priscilla and I want to get married,” he announced. “That’s
fine,” the Colonel replied. “I want to get married in Vegas,” Elvis said. “Would you set it up?”
Colonel called Milton Prell, our friend who owned the Aladdin Hotel.
Then he asked Marty Lacker and me to meet with him and Elvis to make
arrangements. At about 4:00 A.M. on May 1,1967, Elvis, Priscilla, George
Klein, Joan and I snuck out the back of the Palm Springs house to avoid
the fans and press, some whom seemed to have gotten wind of the
marriage plans. We climed over a small wall and into a waiting car that
took us to the Palm Springs airport. There we boarded a private Lear jet
owned by Frank Sinatra and flew to Las Vegas, while Marty and the rest
of the wedding party took a larger plane. At the Las Vegas airport,
another car was waiting to take us to the courthouse to fill out papers
for the marriage license. I paid the fifteen-dollar fee because Elvis
wasn’t carrying money. Then we went to the Aladdin so Elvis and
Priscilla could rest before the wedding.
The Ceremony, performed
by Judge David Zenoff, a justice of the Nevada supreme court, took place
at ten the next morning in Milton Prell’s apartment in the hotel. The
guests included Milton and his family, the Colonel and his wife, Marie,
Colonel Beaulieu and his wife, their son Don, George Klein, Billy and Jo
Smith, Patsy Presley Gambil and her husband, Gee Gee, and Vernon and
Dee Presley. Priscilla’s sister Michelle was the maid of honor; my wife
Joan was the matron of honor; Marty and I were co-best men.
the time Elvis decided to marry Priscilla, Marty was the flavor of the
month. Elvis was like that. His moods changed and he was into different
people at different times. There were periods when Elvis couldn’t seem
to get enough time with a particular person. Then, without any apparent
reason, his interest would shift toward someone else. I was on the
interest list more often than not, whereas Elvis and Marty had a
love-hate relationship. After he’d asked Marty to be best man, he soured
him and asked me to be best man. That really upset Marty. “Joe, you be the best man,” he said with a martyred air. “No,” I said, “let’s both be the best man.” That worked out fine.
ceremony was over in a few moments. I handed Elvis the three-karat
diamond wedding ring and he slipped it on Priscilla’s finger. Afterward,
we had a huge reception with a five-foot-tall wedding cake. Then Elvis
and Priscilla held a press conference, and the news was flashed around
the world. They changed their clothes and we all flew back to Palm
Springs where we enjoyed a group honeymoon for three or four days,
beginning that night with a wonderful home-cooked wedding dinner. Elvis
was in a rare romantic mood. That afternoon, he had gone out to the
garden to pluck a rose for Priscilla, which he set next to her place on
the table. He even carried her across the threshold. If Elvis was
initially reluctant to get married, on his wedding day, he couldn’t stop
grinning. We were all happy, except for Red West, who was wounded
deeply because he hadn’t been included in the wedding party. Red and all
the guys in Vegas for the wedding, but the Colonel said there was only
room for the family. “Well, damn it,” Red said, “if I can’t go to the
damn wedding, then I shouldn’t even be here,” Some of the other boys
were upset too. Red stayed in his room and didn’t even attend the
reception. He and Elvis discussed it later, in Los Angeles, but of
course, Elvis blamed Red’s exclusion on the Colonel. A few weeks
after the wedding, we had another reception in Memphis for the rest of
family. Then Elvis and Priscilla had another honeymoon on the Circle G,
the ranch he’d bought shortly before their marriage.
During the 1950s and 60s, architect Donald Wexler pioneered commercial and residential construction using steel. He applied his ground-breaking techniques and unique style to hundreds of structures, including the Palm Springs Airport, the Larson Justice Center and projects for clients such as Dinah Shore and Frank Sinatra. Today his work provides inspiration for a new generation of architects. This clip features the Alexander Steel Homes, built in Palm Springs, California.