We have been told for many years that Elvis told Rick Stanley on the morning of 8/16/77 that he did not want to be disturbed until a 4:00pm wake-up call/time. Presumably he informed Rick of this so that he would pass along the instruction to his brother when David Stanley came on duty at 12:00pm. According to the the description of the “on duty” protocol followed by Elvis’s small staff of aides and assistants (RS, DS, Al Strada, and Dean Nichopoulos), when Elvis was alone in his suite with a “female companion” (on this day it was Ginger Alden) his aides were not to proactively “do” anything for Elvis, but instead should simply be on-call. This meant that the aides would wait to hear from Elvis should he require anything, i.e. medications, an errand run, or that type of thing. This protocol further outlined the standard operating procedure that the “female companion” would be the person responsible for keeping an eye on Elvis, though I, personally, think this is ridiculous and would require Elvis’s girlfriend/fiancée to literally be his nurse, assistant, and babysitter all at the same time, to the exclusion of doing anything else, even sleeping (some argue that the female companion should not have gone to sleep before Elvis, but once he was asleep then she could go to sleep, but that is absolutely absurd on several levels). And since Elvis had a female counterpart for much of his adult life, if not multiple counterparts simultaneously, it would be logical to conclude that this person would look after him whenever she was present, meaning pretty much all the time. To put a fine point on it, then, why even have aides (who were paid a salary) if the female companion was nearly always “on duty”? What kind of woman would sign on for that kind of responsibility?
So, let’s assume for the sake of discussion that the female companion was the person responsible for at least Elvis’s first line of care, that is, checking on his immediate condition, making sure he was properly taking his medications, and the like. In this case, Ginger would have been in that position, and from late on the 15th through mid-morning of the 16th, Ginger would have been his caregiver/monitor. Would this arrangement be discussed with the female, or with the aide on duty, or was it just accepted as the standard? From what we’ve been told, this was the standard, and thus it was known by everyone involved. On 8/16/77, then, Elvis allegedly directs the on-duty aide (Rick Stanley) that he is not to be disturbed (while he is watched and attended to by Ginger), and if he needs anything he will call the aide. Correct?
Rick Stanley from “The Touch of Two Kings”: “Rick, I won’t need anything else the rest of the night. If I do I’ll call and let you know.” Rick then writes, “That meant not to disturb him the rest of the night.”
Quoting Elvis from, “Caught In A Trap”: “Rick, I won’t need anything else for the rest of the night. If I do, I’ll call and let you know.” Rick then writes, “That meant not to disturb him the rest of the night.” (This is the same exact quote from “The Touch of Two Kings.”)
Rick Stanley had stated over the years that on this particular morning, around 4:00am, Elvis gave him these verbal instructions: not to disturb him, to wake him at 4:00pm, and that he will call Rick if he needs anything. Rick said he then passed along this set of instructions to David at noon, when David arrived for his afternoon shift. It is interesting that even though the protocol did not change at all, Elvis still…according to Rick Stanley…verbally told him that he should not be disturbed. Do you see how this serves Rick, and then David? The one day that an instruction from Elvis would absolve them of any responsibility for Elvis’s well-being over those 10-12 hours…and lo and behold, Elvis verbally gave that instruction. He didn’t say to check on him at 10:00am, or at noon, or at 2:00pm; no, Elvis essentially wrote them both a hall pass that said, “Rick and David have no responsibilities until at least 4:00pm today, and they (or just David, after 12:00pm) are not to check on me during this lengthy stretch of time.” Imagine that. Imagine the luck…the coincidence…of all days…how fortunate for Rick and David that Elvis said they didn’t need to check on him even though the protocol did not change. This is an important point: Elvis’s verbal instruction changed nothing…the protocol remained the same: don’t call me, I’ll call you. There was no reason for Elvis to say this…it was already known as standard operation procedure. And yet…again…on this one day…when Rick and David needed it the most…Elvis gave them the hall pass. Or did he? Did Elvis really ask not to be disturbed, or did Rick simply extrapolate that for his own convenience?
What is also interesting here is that while Elvis’s instruction changed nothing pertaining to the aides’ work responsibilities, Rick and David nonetheless took Elvis’s words to mean, “Go shoot up Demerol and play pool with a friend who’s not supposed to be there.” Why did they think they had the day off? Elvis said, “If I need you I’ll call you,” which was, as stated above, standard operating procedure. In fact, Elvis did call for Rick a bit later, but Rick could not be found (or if he was found, he could not be roused from his Demerol slumber).
Several more quotes:
David Stanley from “Life With Elvis”: Rick told him, “Elvis doesn’t want you to wake him up until four.”
David Stanley from “Elvis Up Close”: “Hey, when Elvis says, ‘Don’t bother me ’til four o’clock in the afternoon,’ you don’t bother him.”
Quoting Elvis, from “Elvis We Love You Tender”: “Ricky, tell David when he comes on tomorrow not to disturb me under any circumstances, I don’t want to get up until about four.” (Notice here that Elvis’s instruction not to disturb him is directed at David, for later that afternoon, not at Rick, for that morning. If we want to be precise, then, Elvis never told Rick not to disturb him; he only gave this instruction to David, with Rick as the messenger.)
Joe Esposito quoting Elvis (speaking on the intercom to Joe) in “Good Rockin’ Tonight”: “Call to wake me up tomorrow around five in the evening.”
Joe Esposito on CNN: “…I was supposed to wake him up at 4:00 o’clock.”
Billy Smith in “Revelations from the Memphis Mafia”: “Elvis wasn’t supposed to be woken up until about four o’clock in the afternoon.” How did Billy learn this? He doesn’t mention this earlier in the book when talking about being with Elvis in the bathroom around 7:30am.
What pattern do we see here? That the Stanley brothers are the only people who say that Elvis asked not to be disturbed. No one else says this. Over the course of the previous evening and into the mid-morning of the 16th, there were many people in and out of the house at all hours, preparing food, doing chores in preparation for the tour, gathering up information, planning travel, playing racquetball, packing crates, meeting with Elvis…and yet to get some sleep during this hectic time period, he told only Rick and David not to disturb him, and even that instruction is questionable.
“The best way to avoid becoming a scapegoat is to find one.”