The photo of Elvis Presley that I have posted is an original. The young lady who was lucky enough to be at the right place, at the right time, is my neighbour Helga Hoffmann’s friend, Annalise Gemp. Annalise, an Elvis fan, was in the German spa town, Bad Nauheim, in 1959 for health reasons. Fans were aware that Elvis rented the house at Goethestrasse 14 while he was stationed in Germany, and they seized every opportunity to snap a photo of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll when he was home on leave. Helga told me that she asked a memorabilia expert about the value of the photo and was informed that it would have been worth something if Elvis was alone in the photo. I am sure Annalise would disagree. The photo was of great value to her. It was exciting for me just having the photo in my possession for a couple of days; I can only imagine what a thrill it must have been for Annalise to stand beside Elvis for the time it took the photographer to capture the moment.
As well as lending me the photo of Elvis and Annalise, Helga told me a story about her brother, Werner, that I am delighted to share.
Prior to coming to Canada in 1963, Helga lived in Berlin with her family. Helga remembers listening to a radio station from England that played Elvis music. Her brother, Werner, who was 12 years old at the time, and a big Elvis fan, wanted very much to change his light hair to black so he could look like his idol. Having no money for dye, Werner came up with what he thought was a brilliant plan. He dislodged the stove pipe, gathered soot, and applied it directly to his hair! Helga said his hair looked great...until he went to bed. When Werner woke up the next morning, his hair was much lighter, and on his white pillowcase was a big black stain from the loosened soot. Werner promised their mother he would not try such a foolish stunt again while living under her roof. It would take a few years, a paying job, and Miss Clairol, before Werner would finally have the Elvis look he wanted. Thank you, Helga, for sharing your amusing story.
Helga's photo and story in The German Connection are perfect lead-ins to a very interesting interview with Germany's world-renowned, award-winning ETA. Stay tuned: SPOTLIGHT ON will be posted very soon. Until then...Cheers! CM