In Search of Elvis

updated 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/26/1988 AT 01:00 AM EST

They loved him tender, they loved him true, they refuse to let him go. A decade after his death, Elvis Presley enjoyed the busiest year of his afterlife. Or was it an afterlife, after all? Fans claimed to have sighted Presley, now 53 and graying, from Honolulu to Kalamazoo, and, for $1.50, callers could dial a special number and hear a man-who-would-be-the-King mumble about why he disappeared. To unravel this riddle once and for all—to find out if, in the cosmic sense, Elvis really has left the building—we put out a call for photographic proof of Elvis' existence. Here's what developed.

"He used to rent my place all the time for parties, but now he comes mostly by himself," says Elliot Woonsaki, an arcade operator in Santa Cruz, Calif. "He's a whiz at Skee Ball."

"As president and treasurer of the Bessie Love Fan Club—you remember her from The Broadway Melody?—my wife, Euglina, and I make an annual pilgrimage to Bessie's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame," says Bryce Midriff of Newport, R.I. "Truth be told, we'd never paid much attention to Elvis' star—until we got home and developed this snapshot."

"I'd been out all night taking pictures of UFOs, and I stopped by Dunkin' Donuts for some Java," says Murray Cromwell of Memphis. "I got this shot with a Nikon F2, a 35mm-105mm zoom lens and Tri-X 400 film pushed three stops. Elvis is eating a jelly donut, with sprinkles."

Muriel Wingtip, Miami: "I was playing tennis and noticed Greta Garbo volleying on the next court. Then I noticed whom she was volleying with. Even weirder, there was another guy standing off to the side waiting to use the court—Jimmy Hoffa!"

"I dunno," says accountant Otto Fromage, who snapped this picture in L.A. "The car, the coat, the license plate, the fact that the car was riding kind of heavy on the driver's side—somehow it all said Elvis."

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