If you have read my little book you will know that I had many meetings with Carlin Music boss
Freddy Bienstock. Freddy had been asked by Colonel to get new songs from UK songwriters for a
follow up to “On Tour”. Elvis’ second live appearance movie “Elvis: On Tour” unlike “Elvis That’s
The Way It Is” contained no new songs so the usual revenue stream was devoid of an album or
single royalties. Pressure was on for Elvis to play overseas, and at a meeting at MGM in Culver
City I was asked to help to get a deal and take it to Elvis’ father in Memphis. British promoter Mel
Bush suggested Windsor Safari Park (now Legoland) knowing of Colonel Parker’s carnival past
with the touring Royal American Circus Shows. The Royal American people were big friends of
the world’s biggest circus operator Billy Smart who had developed Windsor. The safari park was
just a 15 minute ‘copter ride from London’s Heathrow Airport and was totally secure with 5 star
private accommodation for Elvis during his stay. As asked, I took a portfolio of documents from
Mel who was based in Bournemouth to Memphis and had a discussion with Vernon. As soon as
my “Elvis and More – The Spoils of War” book was published, of the blue, I was delighted to get a
letter, the full content I will publish in our next magazine. In the meantime, to paraphrase:
Dear Todd: I am reading your autobiography and I had to put pen to paper to corroborate one of
your anecdotes. My father during the 1970s was Chief Superintendent of Police for Thames
Valley. We lived some five doors from Billy Smart Junior and his wife Kay. Due to my father’s
position, we have a close working / friendship relationship with all the Smart family. We have many
pictures of us children holding lion cubs. We even had a key to the to the back gate of the park so
dad could let himself in and out.
Later, in my teens I went out with Lord Smart and I remember him showing me all his Elvis
memorabilia including pictures of when they had met Elvis.
My father said to me that when I was old enough, I could travel to see Elvis in the USA, but added
“Don’t worry, Elvis is coming to the UK and you will see him then.” Although my father, quite rightly
never shared anything of his work with the family, he must have known about the talks around
Elvis possibly appearing at the Safari Park via his chats with Ronnie Smart and being the senior
police officer for the area would have been liaised with regards to the logistics. Thank you, Todd,
for sharing this tale and making me remember something that sometimes I thought I had
imagined.” Kindest good wishes, Penny.
Sadly, Elvis’ wellbeing deteriorated and what could have been amazing never happened, but
collectively, we all tried, we really did.