The King isn't dead, not as far as Ace Anderson is concerned.
"Elvis -- it's like he never left," says Anderson, a former truck driverfrom Pasadena who now makes his living immortalizing the memory of rock 'n' roll's greatest legend.
An Elvis Presley fan who talked his way into the singer's hotel room in 1976 and gradually gained acceptance among his entourage, Anderson, 43, runs an entertainment business that promotes Elvis-related events and bookings. With offices in Hollywood and Anne Arundel, Anderson is trying to go big time.
This weekend, however, Anderson focuses his efforts at home with "A Tribute to Elvis," a charity event scheduled tonight and tomorrow at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie. All proceeds will go to Baltimore's Children's Cancer Foundation Inc.
"Elvis loved children," notes Anderson, whose 17-year-old son, Elvis Aaron, is named after Presley. (Young Anderson said he decided recently to stop using his first name.)
For $12 a couple, Elvis fans tonight will enjoy dinner and dancing to the sounds of Gene Vincentt and the Cadillac Cruisers and the Jordanaires, the backup singers who performed on Elvis' early recordings.
Tomorrow's program features Elvis impersonator Mike El, more music, an auction of Elvis merchandise, a panel discussion with people who knew Elvis and a raffle drawing for a trip to Memphis. Patsy Andersen of Graceland will bringartifacts from the Presley mansion "for your viewing pleasure," a press release says.
Tireless in his devotion to Elvis' memory, Anderson will head to the Academy Awards in Los Angeles as soon as he's finished with this weekend's tribute. He's been in California a lot lately, knocking on doors -- Ann-Margret's, Casey Kasem's -- trying to muster interest in a television documentary he's making.
It's called "Elvis: The Legend Lives On," he explains, a two-hour investigationof Elvis' influence on today's world. Anderson, who's marketing the project to the major networks, wants the release of the program to coincide with the release of the Postal Service's Elvis stamp.
His plans call for a celebrity who knew or was influenced by Elvis to be host for the show. "I talked to (Casey) quite a lot about it," he says. "And I was up to Ann-Margret's last month. They're interested."
He hasn't talked to Eddie Murphy or Angela Lansbury yet. They're alsoon his list.
The main reason he's going to the Oscars, Anderson says, "is to meet people and try to make the connections I need" to get the documentary produced. "Sylvester Stallone's supposed to be there, and we're supposed to get together. He has an Elvis MasterCard. He's a big Elvis fan."
To gain some publicity, Anderson says, he's thought of emerging from his limo at the spot where everyone waits forthe stars in a white Elvis-style jumpsuit.
He's the type that would do it.
Nervy and a little flamboyant (he wears three gigantic gold-and-diamond rings), Anderson got where he is today by having the guts to follow the world's biggest star up to his hotel room after a concert.
Anderson first saw Elvis Nov. 9, 1971 -- he remembers exact dates -- at a concert at the Baltimore Civic Center. "I sneaked down toward the stage, and when he came out I had my camera, and I couldn't even take a picture. It was just like he had stepped off the screen."
Five years later, when Elvis came to the Capital Centre in Landover, Anderson decided it wasn't enough just to see him; he had tomeet him.
So, he figured out where Elvis' limo would pull up to take him away. When Elvis started singing his last number, Anderson got in his own car and prepared to follow the limo. While his ex-wife aimed a home movie camera at the back of the limo, he tailed Presley to a nearby Sheraton.
At the hotel, he says, fans tried to swarm Presley on his way inside. "The guards pushed everybody out, but not me," he says.
After handing Elvis a fan letter and telling him he'd named his son after him, Anderson says he followed Elvis into the service entrance until the singer finally turned around and said, "Are you coming or not?"
Anderson says spent several hours watching Elvis and his entourage perform karate.
After that, Anderson says, he was "in" with the Elvis crowd. When Elvis died Aug. 16, 1977, the first thing Anderson says he did was call Graceland.
Today, Anderson distinguishes between Elvis "fanatics" -- the type who use their foodmoney to buy Elvis lamps -- and "normal Elvis fans" like himself, who looked up to Elvis, enjoy his music and study his life as a hobby.
Doesn't he feel, just a little, that he's exploiting a great talent by booking entertainment gigs for D. J. Fontana, Elvis' original drummer, or George Klein, Elvis' high school friend?
Anderson says no. "I said once, 'George, you are not the star. Because you knew Elvis is the only reason people want to talk to you.' "