On the night of June 26, 1977, the King of Rock 'n' Roll, Elvis Presley, gave his last public performance. He had no way of knowing, as he sang before a packed house at the new Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, that he would die less than two months later. Today, 25 years later, thousands of those who attended the concert still treasure their ticket stubs from the event. Now a group has dedicated shrine to The King at the site of that last performance. Now, Market Square Arena, like Elvis, is no longer around. So the historical marker, weighing a ton, and the time capsule placed in its base, are being dedicated at the spot where the old arena stood. Among those who are in Indianapolis this week for the unveiling is the man who was Presley's on-stage announcer for years, Al Dvorin. He coined the phrase: "Elvis has left the building." He often used it to convince crowds that there would be no encore and that they should go home. By the way, the Indianapolis Star says that before the old arena was razed, a kind of memorial to that final concert -- including a picture of Elvis and a plaque and ticket stubs -- was on the wall next to one of the facility's ticket booths.
GRAHAM MOUNTS CINCINNATI CRUSADE
In the words of Hollywood movie previews: "It's been two years in the making!" And it has. The folks at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association have been working with church leaders in Cincinnati to prepare for the internationally respected preacher's latest major soul-winning effort. The Cincinnati Enquirer says that Graham went to Paul Brown Stadium to meet with the media this week, talking about his goals for the crusade -- which opens on Thursday night. Graham is now 83 and continues to show the deterioration of movement brought about by Parkinson's disease. But reporters who attended the news conference soon found that Graham's voice is still vibrant and his determination to spread the Gospel as strong as ever. More than 200,000 people are expected to attend the crusade, which some fear may be one of his last major public appearances. By the way, former Cincinnati Bengal footballer Anthony Munoz will give his testimony on opening night. And, for the people of Cincinnati, healing the racial scars left by the Over-the-Rhine riots of last year is high on the agenda. One interesting aspect of the Billy Graham crusades over the years has been the ecumenical support he is often given. Even Catholic parishes report that attendance is up when Graham comes to town.
JORDANAIRE ERNEST WEST DIES
One of the best-kept secrets in the history of recorded music is the fact that the Jordanaires quartet is heard on more recordings than any other group. The reason: The gospel group -- turned Nashville background singers -- was so quick in learning arrangements that everyone and his brother called in the Jordanaires to help in sessions. From 1982 until 1999 Ernest Duane West was the smooth baritone member of the group. Now, according to the Web site country.com, West has died. He worked in the earlier part of his career as a singer in the Southern Gentlemen Quartet with Sonny James. He then was tapped to fill an opening in the Jordanaires and joined the group that has appeared on countless recordings, from Patsy Cline's "Crazy" to most of Elvis's biggest Nashville-recorded hits. I once spent part of an evening with the Jordanaires in Branson, Mo., talking for much of the time with West. His genuine love of music was evident in every one of his comments. The quartet was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1998. Ernest Duane West was only 61.
DANIELS CAUGHT IN FLAP WITH PUBLIC STATION
To hear Charlie Daniels talk, the public TV station in Nashville doesn't want him to sing his latest patriotic song, "The Last Fallen Hero," on an upcoming Fourth of July broadcast. Daniels says he was so upset that the producers of the broadcast didn't like his new song he decided to opt out of the program. Now the Nashville Tennessean is reporting the headman at the public station says he can't figure out what the controversy is all about because he likes the song. Further, he says that he likes the song so much that he plans to play it either before or after the planned Independence Day special on his station.
LOOK WHAT'S HAPPENED TO THE OLSEN TWINS
"Just leave them alone and watch what happens." That old axiom couldn't be any more accurate when applied to the photogenic Olsen Twins. In the latest edition of People magazine, the publication notes that America has literally seen the pair grow up before their eyes. Blossoming from "cuddly infants in 'Full House' to successful teenagers" ... to nearly full-grown glamour twins. Now Mary-Kate and Ashley head their own successful media conglomerate. At "sweet 16," the pair has taken a page from the Britney Spears "How to look and act years older than you are" workbook, appearing nearly "legal" in People's latest layout. The publication gives its readers the chance to see the twins evolve in a retrospective of photos of the two.
BROOK TAPPED TO APPEAR IN 'DOE' DRAMA
Popular actress Jayne Brook, of "Chicago Hope" fame, has been hired to appear in a new drama on Fox called "John Doe." According to the Hollywood Reporter's on-line editions, the show will center on a mysterious man who doesn't know who he is -- hence the "John Doe" moniker. No, it won't be a remake of the Frank Capra classic "Meet John Doe," in which Gary Cooper's childlike faith in society prompted the formation of a grass-roots self-help group. This one will center on a police lieutenant's attempts to figure out just who John Doe really is. Doe will be played by charismatic actor Dominic Purcell. Originally, Elizabeth Lackey had been chosen to play the female lead, but contractual problems in the time between production of the pilot and orders to produce the series took her out of the loop. Lackey's new project will see her appearing opposite Richard Thomas in a series for PAX TV to be called "Just Cause."
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