Las Vegas Sun

January 20, 2018

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Columnist Susan Snyder: Taking in a live Elvis show

Rose hoped Elvis would return to Las Vegas on the anniversary of his death Monday, just long enough to give him a piece of her mind.

The 69-year-old Las Vegas woman was among about two dozen who filed into the Greek Isles hotel's Celebrity Showroom Monday for a seance in which the King's spirit would return.

Or not.

"I'm still very angry with him," said Rose, who asked that her last name be withheld for reasons that soon will become obvious.

"I went to see his movie, and I'd taken my kid sister. I was just a kid too, you know. anyway, I put my pocketbook down on the seat next to me, and didn't notice until after the movie was over that someone had stolen it," she said. "I blamed him for it. It's all his fault. I had to call my father up to come get us."

Elvis Presley died Aug. 16, 1977, at Graceland in Memphis, Tenn. Dixie Dooley, star of the Riviera's "Escape" magic show, was asked to perform the seance because he conducts one each Halloween hoping to contact Harry Houdini.

Scott and Carolyn Grossberg, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., sat a few seats away from Rose in the showroom's front row. He's a magician at Hollywood's Magic Castle and wanted to see Dooley conduct a seance.

"I'm here to see if that lady gets her wallet back," his wife Carolyn said.

The small but affable group chatted quietly as they waited for Dooley to appear and conjure a king.

"It makes me feel old when my grandchildren say, 'Who's Elvis?' "

"I thought the line was going to be out the door."

"It was just a book of stamps and car fare home. They found my pocketbook in the alley ... "

Terri Blair and Jeannie Smith, of Virginia Beach, Va., figured an Elvis seance was "the most Vegas thing" anyone could do.

Dooley appeared just before the 2:01 p.m. start time. The digits represented Elvis' three favorite numbers.

"We're trying to move the spirit of Elvis, whose spirit is still alive in Las Vegas. Elvis loved Vegas," Dooley said.

He performed a couple of 1920s-era tricks used by "fraudulent" mediums, then pulled Blair and Rose onstage to help. The trio sat around a small table with a crystal ball and joined hands.

"We're calling the spirit of Elvis Aaron Presley to cross the veil of this world and send us some sign," Dooley said.

Elvis' rendition of "Dixie" played softly in the background.

"Let us know that you are here with us," Dooley said.

Thunder rolled. Real thunder. Was it really just the forecasted August monsoon?

"It was a sign," Jean Lovell, of Lincoln, Neb., said after the seance.

She was joking.

I think.

Lovell, a county judge, and her pal Susan Tast, a Lincoln public defender, travel to Las Vegas each August to commemorate Elvis' death and take in the newest Presley impersonators. They know which ones do old Elvis, which ones do young Elvis and even which one uses a sock to, um, embellish his costume.

"The new one over at Fitzgerald's -- what a great wiggle!" Tast said. "He's got this leather suit. It fits like butter. And he smells good."

"We come because this is where Elvis still lives," Lovell added. "If he's alive, he's in Las Vegas."