The tale of how Egil "Bud" Krogh - Seattle attorney, ex-White House aide and ex-con - got Elvis Presley together with Richard Nixon in the Oval Office 40 years ago isn't new. But it got a memorable retelling last week at the National Archives in D.C., on what would have been The King's 75th birthday.
Krough organized the White House Plumbers led by G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt (and went to prison for his role during the Watergate era along with another White House aide and Seattle attorney, John Ehrlichman).
He drew a big D.C. crowd last week alongside Jerry Schilling, one of Presley's close friends. They recalled what led to the weird gift exchange - a Colt 45 for Nixon that Presley brought into the White House, and a narc badge from Nixon for Elvis, a narcotics expert. It resulted in one of the most famous photos in White House history: the cool King in his purple cape and the uptight president in a business suit, shaking hands.
Copies of the photo, reports the LA Times, are requested more often than most the archives' treasures, the Constitution included. Writer Faye Fiore also provides this epilogue:
Nixon resigned from office under threat of impeachment 3 1/2 years later, on Aug. 9, 1974. When he was subsequently hospitalized with phlebitis, Elvis called to wish him well.
Elvis died at age 42 on Aug. 16, 1977, of a heart attack; 14 prescription drugs were found in his system. Nixon later noted in his friend's defense that those were not illegal drugs.
Schilling wrote a book, "Me and a Guy Named Elvis."
Krogh wrote one too, but "The Day Elvis Met Nixon" is mostly pictures. He also spent four months in prison for his role in the White House plumbers scandal.
Bud Krogh today
As SW reported in 2007, exhibits at the Nixon library in Yorba Linda, California include a note to Nixon from Krogh's son, wishing Nixon well when he was ailing in 1994 (he died shortly thereafter), and mentioning his dad had just published the Elvis' book. As if to say neither of them has left the building, the library peddles Elvis momentoes at a souvenir stand along with RN signature golf balls.