Can Tuesday Hold On To Elvis?
The place was jammed to the door and jumping at The Cross Bow, a little-known rock ’n’ roll hangout in the San Fernando, one recent Saturday night. Gals and guys left their tables for the crowded floor, swinging to the beat of Lance and the Dynamics. And upstairs, in a tucked-away little balcony where they could see, but hardly be seen, sat Elvis Presley and Tuesday Weld. Elvis, tapping the rhythm on the table with his fingers, was thoroughly loving every minute of the rhythmic ruckus below, and when Lance, who is from his home town, let out with “Going to Kansas City” in pure Presley style, Elvis grinned and turned to Tuesday. But Tuesday looked as if she’d rather be down there dancing in the thick of things than hidden away—along with El’s six best buddies—for Elvis loves to travel in a pack. But it was pretty obvious, this is the way El wanted it. Why? What are Elvis Presley and Tuesday Weld trying to hide? Why are they dating in dim corners of out-of-the-way places and then denying they had a date at all? But the pack is loyal, they clam up when the question is asked. El and Tuesday still insist they don’t know each other.
Why do they say they don’t when they do? Ask Tuesday and she asks right back at you, “Elvis Presley? I have never, to my knowledge, met the gentleman.”
And like a true Southern gentleman, Elvis sticks to the lady’s story. But they’re about the only two who do. Everyone else says that his first date in Hollywood after the Army hitch was with Tuesday Weld.
They’ve been seen having a great time in Pacific Ocean Park, munching on hot dogs and drinking pop, and in some of the so-called “greasy spoons” around Hollywood, enjoying hamburgers—neither of them is a finicky eater. Just lots of it, for Elvis. He loves sauerkraut with mashed potatoes and gravy, even for breakfast, and his excuse for ordering doubles on strawberry shortcake is that he must regain the weight he lost.
But their pet hideout has been the balcony of The Cross Bow, where the owner and the band-leader are friends of his and can be trusted. Only they and a handful of regular patrons, sworn to secrecy, know when Elvis and Tuesday are upstairs playing the balcony scene like Romeo and Juliet.
It was written in the stars
And yet, for all the cloak-and-dagger mystery, by now, the only secret about their secret romance is why it can’t be brought out into the open. Certainly not because it’s a one-sided thing. Friends say it was “love at first sight” for both of them. They say Elvis quarreled violently with his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, for demanding that he stop seeing Tuesday. The Colonel did his share of denying, said none of it was so. But then he told people, “Elvis can do what he wants after five p.m. I don’t handle his social affairs. I gave up babysitting a long time ago.”
According to Ben Gary, Tuesday’s astrologer, whom she asked to do a horoscope on Elvis, it was written in the stars for these two. In fact, Gary told her in May that she would meet the man of her dreams—tall, very handsome and wealthy. May was the month Elvis arrived and soon they did meet. But about this there are also conflicting rumors. Some say she accidentally bumped into him on a movie lot, while others claim that she telephoned him at his suite in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
“But no matter how they met,” one of Tuesday’s girlfriends told me, “it was ‘love at first sight.” Since the rumors were flying anyway, she decided to fill me in on facts. “I saw Tuesday at a party Ben Gary gave and her happiness made her more beautiful than ever. She talked about how wonderful Elvis is, what a gentleman, what a man, what a wonderful person to share the rest of your life with! Later, she made some excuse, I can’t remember now, to leave the party early, but I know it was to meet Elvis. They like taking long drives along the Pacific coast.” And then she added, “And she told me that his conduct has been beyond reproach. I don’t think he even kissed her goodnight on their first date.”
Then why all the secrecy? “Because Tuesday’s putting off telling Dick Beymer there’s someone else. She’s too nice a girl to like the idea of hurting his feelings,” I was told. And it is true that Richard, who plays opposite Tuesday in “High Time,” never succeeded in covering up his own feelings for her. They were always together, they had long serious talks over lunch in the Twentieth Century-Fox commissary. They held hands on the set, and if Tuesday was called to the phone, he didn’t let go of her hand; he went along and held it while she talked.
But a time came when all that changed. Others on the set saw that the two were drifting apart, with Dick taking it very gloomily. He stopped following her to the phone booth, and the way rumors were checking out, just then, it might have been just as well. The voice at the other end might have been Presley’s.
Tuesday could be considering Dick’s feelings. But some observers aren’t convinced this is her prime reason for not telling the world she dates the boy whom millions of girls sigh for. They claim that both kids are playing it cool till they’re sure.
“Elvis has been burned too many times before,” one of his friends told me. “He wants to be positive he’s found the girl in the world for him.”
Elvis himself admits, “After three dates with a girl, I know if she’s using me or if she likes me for myself.” He also complains about the Hollywood habit of linking names romantically. “Every time I girl out, they have me married to her.”
And Tuesday’s reasons for keeping mum? Some say it’s because, being Tuesday, she likes to be dramatic when actually the romance isn’t all that serious. They point out that she has dated Dick Beymer again. And that Elvis was out on the town (Las Vegas) with Juliet Prowse, his co-star in “G.I. Blues,” who is generally considered Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend. That’s just it, say other friends—Elvis and Tuesday are each dating to give the impression that their own romance isn’t serious when it really is.
The real truth
But the real truth, claims still a third side to the debate, is that for all her “I-don’t-care” ways, Tuesday is a girl like any other. Any girl, before she pins her heart right out on her sleeve for the world to see, likes to be sure that the boy is hers for keeps. And Elvis is a boy whom many a girl has tried to hold, but didn’t or couldn’t. They mention, among others, the strawberry-blond singer from Memphis, Anita Wood, who was Elvis’s steadiest girlfriend before he went into the Army. And Margrit Buergin, the pretty Frankfurt fraulein he liked a lot when he was stationed in Germany. And Priscilla Beaulieu, the sixteen-year-old beauty who kissed him a tearful goodbye when he left Germany. Priscilla was a Texas gal overseas with her father, an Air Force captain, and she’d been seeing Elvis steadily for months before he went home.
Says a friend of Tuesday’s, “I’ll admit that Elvis’s romances haven’t been as many as you could expect, considering his appeal, but still there have been quite a few. And every time that people thought, ‘Well, this one is it,’ it ended. So you can’t blame Tuesday for not rushing out with any admissions, even if she is impetuous in a lot of ways”
Elvis has stated more than once, “I want to be known for my career, not my romances.” But it’s pretty hard to separate the two; his career has been wrapped around with romance. Millions of girls are in love with him, hordes of “ponytails” carry his picture in their wallets, and he has been photographed kissing fans all over two continents. When he came home from overseas, teenagers waited in a furious, blinding snowstorm just for the privilege of waving hello to him.
But through all the dazzle and idolizing, there was only one woman on earth whom Elvis always called “my best girl.” It broke his heart when his mother died. It hurt all the more because she died just when he’d made it possible for her to enjoy life as the Presleys had never known it through years of bitter, grinding poverty, sweetened only by strong family love. After the funeral, Elvis kept his lonely father with him all he could, and when he was shipped to Germany, Vernon Presley followed along.
El was reared in a home where love and marriage went hand in hand, and it wasn’t surprising that he grew up with his nice attitude of respect for womankind. And Elvis has gone to bat, in the past, for the institution of marriage. He has said, “I plan to marry, some day, and have a big family.”
The only question his friends ask is whether Tuesday is enough like Elvis’ adored “best girl” to be the one. Certainly she could never be described as “a girl just like the girl who married dear old Dad.” But those close to Tuesday say, “You can discount more than half the talk that floats around about her. She’s no wild character—she’s more the victim of rumors, than anything else.”
Whether it’s Elvis’s influence or a case of growing up, many people have been noticing a big change in Tuesday Weld. A famous columnist had this to say about her a few months back: “I’ve always seen Tuesday with her hair disheveled, clothes disarranged and falling off, and rather pouty. So I was very surprised when I met her at Johnny Mathis’ reception to find a very pretty girl, well-mannered and neatly dressed. There was none of the roughness in her talk that I was led to believe was a part of her make-up.”
Nor did the cast of “High Time” find her the party-girl they’d expected. She explained it herself. “There are always a lot of people around ready to help you get into trouble,” she said, “but you have to get out of it by yourself. So I don’t go to parties much any more. I like small groups.” Somebody asked, “By small groups, how many do you mean?” And the well-known Weld wit flashed out, “Two people.” At that time the other of the two was Dick Beymer. Soon after, Elvis.
People make a lot of a seventeen-year- old having her own private floor in the house where her mother has her private floor. Yet, a top columnist who has often criticized the girl for wearing wildly weird wigs, smoking cigarettes, going shoeless to a TV interview and other “publicity stunts,” also patted her on the back, publicly, for the way she takes care of her mother. The columnist said, “Not only did this talented girl buy a house in Beverly Hills for the two of them, she has taken out a large, paid life insurance policy naming her mother beneficiary.”
Her mother is watching
And in a smaller way, Tuesday revealed a little something about her own daughterly attitude a year ago on her sixteenth birthday. Explaining why she didn’t want a big party she said, “It makes me feel strange when people give me presents.”
“Even your mother?” she was asked.
“Well, about my mother,” she said, “‘on my birthday, I like to go back to the old Chinese custom and give my mother a present.”
But Tuesday does listen to her mother. And there are those who say her mother is keeping a sharp eye on the romance. Mrs. Weld’s telling Elvis off nearly wrecked the so-called secret romance, some say. When he brought her home at three-thirty in the morning, Mrs. Weld is quoted as scolding, “Don’t you know she has a nine a.m. studio call?” and Elvis as answering, “What about my own? It’s even earlier!” “Fine,” was the irate reaction. “Let the Colonel worry about you.” But Elvis’s intimates pooh the idea that he’d even keep himself out late. They insist he gets Tuesday home well before midnight because his own studio calls are almost at the crack of dawn. And her friends make something else, again, out of the yarn. “See?” they say. “If Tuesday is as independent in that house as people are always yapping, how would Mrs. Weld know how late she got in? People gossip too much.”
Anyone who can unravel the whys and wherefores of these little mysteries has the privilege of doing so. But eventually it may all come into the open. Elvis, now twenty-five, is considered a mature and stable person around Hollywood. And Tuesday is beginning to grow up—up and away from much of the fun stuff that made her a character. If ever they stop being afraid to admit their love—providing that’s the main problem—there will be many well-wishers glad to know that Tuesday can hang on to Elvis when no girl could before.
SEE ELVIS IN “G.I. BLUES” FOR PARAMOUNT AND HEAR HIM SING ON THE RCA VICTOR LABEL. SEE TUESDAY IN U.I.’S “THE PRIVATE LIVES OF ADAM AND EVE” AND 20TH’s “HIGH TIME.”
It is a quote. PHOTOPLAY MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 1960