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Oct 23, 2022



 SUMMER 1957

From the beginning, Elvis needed to be surrounded by trustworthy people. Despite his success, his family and his girlfriend, Anita Wood, he felt alone. This happened to him on concert tour or in Hollywood. For some reason he felt different and didn't fit in with the environment, plus the Colonel had tried to keep him away from Scotty, Bill and Dj, his musicians. They felt isolated from him and there was also the unfair economic issue they were suffering.
Elvis was already accompanied by his cousins and some of his friends, but the group would grow.

Alan Fortas would meet Elvis Presley in the summer of 1957.
He and George Klein knew each other from high school and he introduced him to Elvis, because Alan was a good football player.

Although he had seen him in concert two years before, he would never have imagined how far Elvis would go with his success.
Since he shared that hobby, Elvis considered him special because of his ability and he too was accepted into Elvis' group.

His description of what Elvis was like then; Alan said that he was cheerful fun, as well as handsome and impeccable in his clothes, with his characteristic hair smeared. Elvis called his hairstyle "his Tony Curtis cut."

Elvis and Alan Fortas
Elvis and Alan Fortas

Elvis was close, friendly, a person who made everyone feel comfortable and accommodating.
They talked a lot about football and this brought him closer to the group playing many times at Graceland.

Elvis was also a good player, but even though it was a tough game at times, everyone knew that his face was untouchable, because by then he was already shooting movies.

Already in the summer of 1957
 Elvis had a kind of "inner circle," a group of friends some of whom lived there with him or went everywhere, a kind of bodyguard fraternity.

Gene Smith With Elvis
Gene Smith With Elvis

It would be the birth of the "Memphis Mafia", but this nickname would come later. The point is that Elvis
With his popularity he could no longer walk alone, he needed protection and for his affairs, trips, his house, etc. and the truth is that he also did not want to be alone.

At Graceland they always had a good time playing games, listening to records, drinking Pepsi and watching TV, riding motorcycles, shooting fireworks, etc.
They shared laughter and jokes because Elvis was a joker, but by then he was happy with his buddy.

Lamar Fike With Elvis
Lamar Fike With Elvis

Elvis liked that his friends were from the south and shared hobbies, cooking, music and above all loyalty. It was what he valued most in friendship.
He really was not prepared for what he had to face, he was too big and in his solitude he needed support or at least distraction. Besides, there was this other world around and the women who came out in his path.

Elvis and Red West

At that time, Lamar Fike, Elvis's cousins, Gene and Billy Smith, Cliff Gleaves and Alan Fortas already formed this circle. They were in charge of various tasks and there was also George Klein, but he worked at the Radio and on occasion traveled with Elvis.
George seemed to be the closest, for the music especially.
There was also Red West, who was in the Marines at the moment, but had accompanied Elvis on tour in 1955/56.

George Klein With Elvis
George Klein With Elvis 

Over time, this circle of friendship would grow, becoming very important for them and of course for Elvis himself, who would maintain a kind of brotherhood with them.

Information provided by From Tupelo to Memphis

"Following the Path of the King..."

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