Albert Goldman - Amongst The Dust
By Bob Nelson
Greetings friends. 2005 proves to be quite a year for Elvis and his
admirers. The television CBS mini-series and Elvis by the Presley for
example, inspire a wave of responses on many Elvis' tribute websites.
This Canadian, once again, is inspired to a reflective mood and I am
thinking about television, Elvis, you and I. By the way, I am still
opening boxes after my return from England last summer; loads of old
letters and drawings I refuse to throw after 28 years. I still possess
one of the first drawings of my hero, Elvis. The date scribbled on
the back indicates "78/11/15".
Many of the long standing Elvis collectors visiting this site may
recall, author, critic, the late Albert Goldman, who died of a heart
attack on March 28, 1994 at age 66. For our young readership; Albert
Goldman received acclaim for his biography of the late, celebrated,
comedian, Lenny Bruce, then made headlines with controversial
best-sellers about Elvis and John Lennon.
Excerpts of his book, "ELVIS", was published in one of our local
newspapers here in London, Canada in 1982. That year I was 19 years
old and I read these excerpts in our local newspaper from his book and
felt compelled to send the following letter to his mailing address in
New York. After I posted the letter, my dear friend, Mrs. Doreen
Oldroyd, president of the Elvis-Till We Meet Again Fan Club, of Sault
Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada (closed years ago I believe) wrote a
letter to me at the time and kindly suggested that Mr. Goldman would
not likely respond to my letter or perhaps flatly avoid his mail box
after the massive response to his biography from Elvis's fans. (Her
prediction proved correct: he never responded to my letter). I was
an opinionated Elvis fan (some things have not changed to this day I am
afraid) so I asked one of my former high school teachers and dear
friend, to review and correct my grammar and after I looked over my
letter one more time, sealed the envelope, pasted on my 1st Class
Stamp to the U.S.A. (35 cents Canadian in 1982) and off it traveled to
Mr. Goldman's mailbox in New York City.
While I am doing some honest research for a change (smile) to compile
my article to commemorate Elvis' 70th birthday for ENN (there have
been so many opinions published on websites this year - I suppose one
more wouldn't hurt). I thought you might like to read this old
letter of mine, warts, blemishes, old acne (?) and all.. I discovered
it again recently not having seen this in over twenty years. Yes, it
raised a smile and a chuckle; in fact, I recall secretly incorporating
three words to one of Elvis' songs in this letter. Why would I think
Mr. Goldman would identify with an Elvis song? Perhaps, looking back,
this letter is a small example of my inflated ego at the time. Well,
for the fun of trivia does anyone recognize the words? Do you recall
I wanted to present it as my round-of-the-mill tribute to all of you;
Elvis' admirers. Thanks again friends for the privilege of your kind
consideration for posting my writings to this website.
Happy reading, viewing, and listening to our number one entertainer.
Read you all again soon.
"April 24, 1982: Dear Mr. Goldman:
I am writing this letter in reference to your book called "ELVIS".
Also, I would like to comment on an interview that was published in
People Weekly Magazine. (Dated: January 18, 1982)
I compared your book to other books written about Elvis Presley and I
feel your book has nothing new to offer about Elvis' life.
I am not overly concerned about what facts or details are in the book.
What concerns me is how the general public is going to receive and
understand what you have written.
What was your main purpose for writing the book?
I think Elvis' life and death is very much a part of our own lives;
therefore, it should be looked upon as a lesson to all of us.
As you well know, through the years the general public has always
looked for a source to find many answers.
After reading your book I got the impression that you were glorifying
the concerning Elvis' drugs and generally placing a bad mark on Elvis'
The general public may look at your book as the one source to finding
the answers about Elvis. Surely through your book there is no possible
way the people could view Elvis Presley as a lesson to themselves.
The book creates a negative feeling toward Elvis which he certainly
doesn't deserve at all.
I was also concerned about an interview published in People Weekly
Magazine. I read the article and was quite disturbed about one
statement you made concerning the Elvis fans. I quote you as saying,
"The annual mourning marking Elvis' death is carried on by sad,
woebegone folk, who have nothing better to do." I don't consider
myself as an expert writer. Please tell me what qualifies you to the
level from which you can criticize the work of other people. I don't
find any fault with preserving the memory of Elvis' name through
different forms of charitable activities. Many people who have
criticized Elvis in the past and continue to do so tend to over look
this very important factor.
Maybe those critics should concentrate their energies on writing
material about our future. Leave the job of preserving the memories of
Elvis Presley, good and bad, to his many admirers who continue to work
for the good of all people in the future.
Believe me, Mr. Goldman, there is sufficient proof of this if you take
more time to stop, look and listen.
Yours truly, Robert Nelson"