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Orange Garnished With Presley

August 15, 1997|CATHY WERBLIN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Yes, there will be events in Orange County to mark the anniversary of Elvis' passing. That said, don't expect to find his most devoted fans attending--at least those who have a choice in the matter.

So deep is their grief for the 20-years-gone rock 'n' roll icon that they've boarded jets, trains and buses and headed to where it all started and ended--Tupelo and Memphis, Tenn.

The Elvis exodus is so intense that local fan club members, who normally organize any number of events to remember Elvis on the date of his death, didn't even consider that true Elvis lovers would miss Memphis for this year's week of activities and memorials.

"We're all going to Memphis; that's how we're celebrating it," said Sand Houser, president of the Jail House Rockers, one of 550 Elvis fan clubs worldwide.

Still, back home in Orange County, merchants on Garden Grove's Main Street have labeled August "Love

Me Tender Month," and Elvis impersonator Terry Crisp will perform tonight during the strip's regular Friday night car show.

Turning the weekly car show into an Elvis memorial, with impersonator, was the brainchild of Elvis lover J.J. Jauregui, manager of Main Street's Crooner's bar, a watering hole he bills as Orange County's only "Elvis bar."

With every spare inch of wall space dedicated to Elvis mementos and memorabilia, the pub is a place "where the King lives and where the King is always seen and heard," Jauregui said.

And a King, wearing sideburns and jumpsuit, will sing in front of the bar around 7:30 p.m. and again about 9, Jauregui said.

On Saturday night--the anniversary of Elvis' death--the bar will play Elvis music and videos exclusively, said Jauregui, who--with his sideburns and razor cut--resembles Elvis a bit.

In Santa Ana, Elvis impersonator Ron Stein will hold court as the King at the Crazy Horse on Tuesday The 90-minute concert, planned to honor Elvis, also features John Lennon and Marilyn Monroe impersonators.

Tickets to the Crazy Horse show are $25; Stein said his handmade costumes are exact replicas of clothing worn by the King in concert.

Meanwhile, administrators of the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda plan to take advantage of the Elvis-Nixon connection by beefing up the facility's gift shop.

Kevin Cartwright, library spokesman, said the shop has issued new coasters sporting the popular photo of Elvis and Nixon shaking hands. A postcard printed with the photo, a canceled Elvis stamp and Nixon's signature has also been reissued for the anniversary. There are also Nixon and Elvis watches and T-shirts available in the gift shop.

For those who chose to stay home and remember Elvis privately, local public broadcasting television station KOCE Channel 50 will run the documentary "Elvis 56" at 9:40 p.m. on Saturday and again at 2:30 a.m.

The documentary features original appearances by Elvis on the "Ed Sullivan" and "Steve Allen" shows as well as footage of vintage performances. Radio station KRTH-FM (101.1), known as K-Earth, plan an Elvis weekend starting at noon today and running until 11 p.m. Sunday. The oldies station will play several Elvis songs every hour and offer giveaways of Elvis mementos, compact discs and videos.

K-Earth DJ Brian Beirne will broadcast from Graceland throughout the week. Beirne headed east Sunday with Sharon Beason, winner of his annual Graceland trip giveaway.

Beason, 37, of Anaheim, won the contest when she correctly answered seven of Elvis trivia questions. She not only knew what college turned Elvis down for night school (UCLA), but also the name of the Hugh Hefner jet used on Elvis' 1974 tour (Big Bunny).

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