Friday, September 30, 2011
Elvis and the G.I. Blues...
Sandy Ferra reveals that she once dated the King, but eventually Presley married Priscilla and she wedded veteran TV game show host Wink Martindale
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
BEVERLY HILLS, CA (ANS) -- After Elvis Presley returned to the United States from Germany in 1960 following his time as a G.I., he eventually moved to Los Angeles and with his girlfriend Priscilla pining for him in Germany, Elvis Presley began dating Sandy Ferra, the then 14-year-old daughter of a nightclub owner.
That news was too much for an old hack like myself to pass by, so I managed to get an interview Sandy after the event, and I discovered that, because of her young age, she was initially chaperoned everywhere by her mother Mary Lou, and that 25-year-old Presley got no further than kissing Sandy, but apparently he had other intentions.
In this exclusive interview, Sandy told me that she first met the King of Rock and Roll when he visited the Cross Bow, her father’s night club in Panorama City, which is located in the San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles. He was in town to make “G.I. Blues,” his first film after his discharge from the army.
“Elvis had just got out of the army and one day he came into my dad’s club and saw my picture in the office, and said, ‘I’d like to meet your daughter,’” Sandy recalled. “So Elvis called me, and because it was a school night and my mother wouldn’t drive me up to the nightclub, he said he could come back the next week and he asked me if I could come up and meet him there. In the meantime, my dad came home and told me that he [Elvis] was a ‘gorgeous guy’ because I didn’t know who Elvis Presley was.”
Sandy explained that Elvis didn’t visit the club to sing, but just for recreation.
Where did you go?
“Elvis was living at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, so we’d go there and have pizza, hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, as well as watch television and also talk and dance. That was our dates.
“And then, after the first three dates, he then promised my mother that he’d be a 'gentleman' and 'take good care' of me and then my mom then said that it was OK for me to go out with him without her being there. He stuck to his word and was and he was a perfect gentleman. He loved and respected my parents and was a wonderful part of my life.”
Did he ever talk about the Lord during those days?
“Elvis didn’t realize that this was going to take place after his death, for that is when he became [big for God], with the release of much of his Gospel music. He had no idea at the time, as he was kind of like my husband -- a Tennessee boy, who was very shy who didn’t know how talented and valuable he was.”
How many dates did you have with him?
“I dated him for six years,” she said. “And then I did dance in Viva Las Vegas and a bunch of his other movies and a lot of days I’d go to the set because I went on the auditions by myself as a dancer and he didn’t get me the parts. I worked in the movies and a lot of days I’d get paid just for going there and having lunch with my boyfriend. It was a great life growing up.
“I am sure that there were lots of girls who were very jealous of the fact that I was dating Elvis, but I didn’t talk about it very much so many didn’t even know.”
Did he ever propose to you?
“We talked about marriage and I knew I was the kind of a girl he wanted to marry, but he had actually met Priscilla two months before me while he was in Germany and then, after she moved over to the States with her parents still living in Germany, she moved to Memphis and he felt responsible for her.
Were you saddened with what happened to him in his later years when his life just fell apart and died on August 16, 1977 in the bathroom at Graceland?
“Yes, after I married Wink, we were with him in Las Vegas just a few months before he passed away,” recalled Sandy. “Wink knew him some ten years before I met him; actually before I knew either one of them. They were friends in Tennessee and were both true Tennessee gentlemen.
“Elvis told Wink how proud he was of him and how great his career was, which I found quite amazing when you think of what Elvis had achieved in his career. And then he told Wink that my mother came on the first three dates and Wink said, ‘I didn’t believe her when she first told me this, but if you tell me that, I believe you.’
“And then Elvis also told Wink that I was the nicest girl from the nicest family that he ever knew.
“After his mother Gladys died [in 1958], Elvis kind of lost his way. But then when Pricilla left him, he just wanted to forget reality because he had chosen her for his queen, and he believed in marriage as an institution; that it was meant to be ‘till death do us part' and that kind of broke his heart.”
“They were afraid that they would lose their jobs and sadly that was the most important thing for them,” said Sandy.
So are you glad you married Wink instead of Elvis?
Sandy stopped and smiled and then replied, “God had a plan and this was the plan God had for me. If I had stayed with Elvis I may have been able to save him, and you know, I’m not God, so maybe, also I may not have been able to save him. Also, I wanted somebody that I could grow old with, which I got. We were married on August 2, 1975 at the Arcadia Presbyterian Church in Southern California,” she said.
In a previous interview at the same event, Wink Martindale told me that he was a close friend of Elvis Presley and when Wink became the host of the TV show, Teenage Dance Party, Elvis made an appearance. Then, following Presley's death in 1977, Martindale aired a nationwide tribute radio special in his honor.
So, after this rather extraordinary interview, Sandy went back to join her husband, who had been the keynote speaker at the MFI event, and I pondered on what may have happened to Elvis if he had stayed with Sandy. Well, no one will ever know the answer to that one.
Message to the broadcast media: I have an MP3 audio recording of this interview with Sandy Martindale – it is nearly 8 minutes long -- and part of which is about her time with Elvis. If you would like to run it, please send me a request at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know which station you represent (with the call letters), or which network you are with and where you are based.
Note: I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.
** You may republish this story with proper attribution.
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