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|PLAQUE MARKS WHERE ELVIS STOPPED A FIGHT
February 03, 2016 Badger Herald / Elvis Express Radio
It was early in the morning of June 24, 1977, and three Madison youths were gearing up for some late night fisticuffs in front of a service station along East Washington Avenue.
Suddenly, a limousine pulled up and out stepped an overweight, middle-aged man in a blue jumpsuit. He walked up to the struggling parties, struck a karate pose and told them,
“All right, I’ll take you on.”
This man was Elvis Presley.
While you couldn’t be blamed for believing this is a summary of a deleted scene from “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure,” the event described was indeed a real occurrence.
The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll broke up this scuffle on his way into town from the Dane County Regional Airport, in Madison to perform later that day at the Dane County Coliseum, now
the Alliant Energy Center.
Presley’s intervention that morning would be one of the last acts of good will in his life as he died just 53 days later on Aug. 16, 1977.
Since then, Madison residents have created a small plaque marking the scene of Presley’s pacification. If you’d like to visit it, you can find it on the map below:
WISCONSIN STATE JOURNAL, TUESDAY, AUGUST 30, 1977
Madison guard found Elvis a gentleman
By William R. Wineke
Of The State Journal
Elvis Presley was a "gentleman" who called policemen "sir and who was fascinated by police
badges, according to the Madison policeman in charge of guarding bins during bath his
"He had a police badge and he was fascinated by mine; he wanted to play cards with me for
my badge but I wouldn't do it," mid Madison Police Detective Supervisor Thomas J. Mc-
McCarthy, who has guarded many of the celebrities who have performed in Madison In
recent years, mid Presley was one of the most civil. But he also said the famous singer was
deteriorating rapidly in appearance by the time he came to Madison in June and had
obvious health problems.
"It wasn't the weight; I don't think he had ballooned all that much. But he really seemed
droopy-eyed and foggy," McCarthy recalled. McCarthy spoke of a gentle, kind man, but
also of a man who was a virtual prisoner of his success.
"He went out of his way to make things easier for those of us who worked with him; he
always called me 'Sir' and was never anything but polite to me," McCarthy said. "One time,
we had this fan, a real fanatic, who wanted to see him and I put her in a basement room in
the Edgewater and told her Elvis would walk by it.
"When it came time to go, Elvis walked by the room and there were six women in there — I
don't know where they came from — but Elvis walked over and talked to them a few
minutes. You know, he was late and he didn't have to do that, but he did it because he
knew it meant a lot to them." At the same time, Presley was a prisoner, McCarthy said.
"That's the only way you can say it. He couldn't go anyplace and he couldn't do anything
because everything would stop when he showed up. "I remember, some of his staff wanted
to play softball and they incited him to go along, but he said he couldn't because if he
showed up at a park the crowd would get so big no one could play the game — and he was
right, It would have."
When Presley came to Madison he reserved two floors at the Edgewater Hotel. (Presley
performed twice at the Dane County Memorial Coliseum, on Oct. 19,1976 and on June
24,1977.) "When he got here, he never left his room, never. And you know, the other thing,
it was weird, really, is that no one could come on the floors while they were here, no maid,
no bartender, nobody but Presley and his people could enter those floors... McCarthy also
revealed that when Presley was in Madison in October, he lost a large diamond.
"I was with him right after the concert; he had his car driven up behind the Coliseum and he
got in and looked down at his rings and there was a diamond missing; he called it a `black
diamond.' "So, he handed me the ring and asked if I could look for the diamond and here's
this empty place in the ring about as big as my thumbnail.
"So, we went back and we looked all over for that diamond, but we never did find it. I've got
a feeling some maintenance man swept it up and never noticed It. I never mentioned
anything about it to the press because if that story got out people would have tom the
Coliseum down looking for it".
McCarthy also shed new light on the famous June 24 fight which Presley broke up in front
of an E. Washington Ave. filling station.
"We were stopped at a red light and Elvis saw those two guys hassling the attendant —
they weren't fighting then; they were just hassling and he said, 'Look at those two punks; I
don't buy this two-on-one deal;' so he told the driver to wait because the attendant might
need some help. "A couple of minutes later, they start fighting and out of the car goes Elvis.
"When they saw who he was, well, that stopped the fight. He said, 'If you want to fight, let's
fight,' but when they saw who he was, there wasn't any more fighting. Then he said, 'I found
you as enemies; I'll leave you as friends,' and got back into the car." McCarthy said the
news of Presley's death "shocked the hell out of me," but implied that the singer was in had
health. "I knew it was coming; anyone who looked at him could see he was in trouble; but I
Just didn't expect It to happen this soon," McCarthy said. "He was a nice guy; that's about
all I can say about him. You see a lot of different kinds of entertainers and some of them
are real obnoxious but Elvis was a gentleman."
|Left - An original newspaper cutting 14 days after Elvis' death, which we have transcribed for you for easier reading...