This is Judy Palmer’s book. It is a book written by an Elvis fan for Elvis fans.So many fans want to know “What was he like?” Judy answers this question by sharing her experiences with you. From her stories I am impressed by this thought; small gestures matter. He said “Thank you” for a photograph or a scrapbook. When he could, he shared a joke or small talk with his fans. He was patient and kind. He somehow made them all feel significant. Elvis lives on today, not only because of the big moments in his career; but also that endearing quality of his character. The heart of Judy’s book is her concert photos. Many fans took countless number of photos of Elvis performing. After 1970 Judy taught herself to photograph in natural light so she wouldn’t get caught by the showroom security. She was now free from the limitations of flash photography. She always sat close to the stage. Her new skill and proximity to Elvis gave her a point of view most amateur photographers did not have. She was able to capture his mood on stage without disturbing him. Her photos were highly prized from the beginning, other fans immediately wanted copies for themselves. Judy quickly moved from trading copies to selling prints. As she attended more shows, she mailed written descriptions of what she saw and price lists for reprints. She gained a reputation as one of the finest amateur photographers of Elvis. She created a “brand name,” an identity for herself among Elvis fans.Judy chose the photographs and the stories for this book. I edited only for clarity, not for content. It is also important that she chose what not to include. Such is her desire to protect Elvis that she will not publish an image, or a story that she considers unflattering. Both Judy and I hope you enjoy this tribute to Elvis by people who loved Elvis.
I will never have what Elvis fans want, but what Judy certainly does. She met Elvis many times and has the snapshots and autographs as proof. She saw Elvis perform over sixty times and created the stunning images of him onstage. She sat ringside for the iconic “68 Comeback Special.” She was interviewed for the first complete biography of Elvis, written by Jerry Hopkins in 1970. Judy is modest and is careful to state she was not a confidant. But Elvis was very accommodating to his fans. So were Priscilla, Vernon and Vester Presley. Judy felt that she really knew Elvis and his family, for they shared so much with her. Judy never gave up her devotion to Elvis, but after he died she moved on with her life, as many of us did. She married a wonderful man named Doug and raised two children. She became an All-Star saleswoman at Nordstrom. And she kept her most precious candids and concert photos tucked away in scrapbooks, hidden at a friend’s house for safekeeping.