By Tiffany Tedford Young
When current Chester County resident Farley Guy moved into Lauderdale Courts in Memphis in 1949, he had no idea he would soon become close friends with the future King of Rock ‘n Roll, Elvis Presley. After his father’s passing, Guy’s mother and sisters moved into the apartment complex where Presley was already residing with his parents. Following a short stay with his grandfather, Guy joined his family in Memphis where he met “The King.”
“Elvis lived on the first floor. I lived on the second floor,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Elvis and Guy to become close friends. “We run around together and went up there to the theater on Jackson Avenue… We could go up there [to that theater] for two for a quarter, Monday through Thursday… Roy Rogers, all them old Westerns,” Guy shared about their teenage adventures.
With a chuckle, he went on to recall that Presley loved to joke around and sing for their group of friends.
“He sung a lot for us around the courts there at night, you know. He clowned a lot… Of course, he played the guitar. In fact, he had one of mine.”
Both Presley and Guy were eventually drafted into the United States Army.
“After I got my draft notice, I went out to Graceland there, and told him about it. He was kind of excited about it.”
On March 24, 1958, the two friends reported for duty. They boarded a bus bound for Fort Chaffee, Ark. The two ultimately had to part ways when Presley was sent to Fort Hood, Texas (and then on to Germany), while Guy served in south Chicago at a missile base. After arriving back home two years later, Guy and Presley spent some time together boating in south Memphis.
“When we got back home, I went out there and we spent a few days together.”
The two remained friends for several years after leaving the army. “He was always friendly and always nice. Showed me all through Graceland out there… I went with him one time to Sikeston, Mo. when he first started. Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Jerry Lee Lewis and all of them was there.”
With Presley’s worldwide fame and Guy’s busy family life, the two eventually lost touch around 1967. “The last ten years of his life, I didn’t see him,” Guy recalled.
Sadly, in 1977, Presley passed away at the age of 42 due to cardiac arrest. Millions of people across the world still celebrate the life and work of Elvis today. In fact, an entire week is dedicated to his memory: This year, Aug. 9-18 is Elvis Week. When asked if he was surprised that Presley’s fame has lasted this long, Guy replied, “No, because I feel like he was really a good singer.”
With 38 top-ten song hits and over 30 movies under his belt, Elvis Presley has touched the lives of countless people, but, for Guy, his impact was surely most unique. From a movie theater, to the army to Graceland, their adventures will be remembered for years to come.