NEARING THE END OF THE TOURS
As Told By...ARLENE COGAN
I went on most of the last tour, followed the show from city to city, mainly because I was just worried about Elvis' health.
I felt that he was unhappy, and I felt for the first time in my life that it was more important for him to see me sitting there than it was for me to see him.
I wanted him to know somebody was there that cared about him.
I went with a friend, Rose Clayton, to see him in Knoxville, Louisville, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Binghamton, Omaha, and Lincoln.
(He cancelled two dates during that tour for health reasons).
I had planned on going on to Indianapolis, but for some reason, I just came on back home to Memphis and didn't see that last concert.
I saw a change in Elvis physically, but not so much while it was occurring as when I reflect on it now.
The concerts [filmed for the CBS Tv special] weren't shown on TV immediately.
While we were doing them, I thought he looked great.
You know, being around somebody all the time, you don't notice so much how they really look.
I knew he had put on weight, but I didn't think, "Gee, he looks bloated", or any of that until I saw one of the concerts on TV later.
No matter how he was feeling, Elvis always nailed "How Great Thou Art" in his stage show.
It was really pretty magical.
His voice was always great for that song even when he wasn't "in voice".
It was real special, real heavy.
The last time I saw Elvis Presley, he came to a class of mine.
I was teaching at the University of Cincinnati.
He came anonymously, only three or four people saw him.
He was bloated and fat.
I'm a martial arts person, so wherever I work I always have a kicking board or a punching board on the wall.
Elvis was a student of Mr. [Ed] Parker, who was a very good karate fighter.
He practiced on my wall for about fifteen minutes and told me he was very happy with his life and left.
I went to see him at his concert that night.