“He didn’t say why, but I thought the badge might be part of the reason”
– Jerry Schilling
Have you ever woken up one day and thought, “I want to meet the President”? Elvis had. With his obsession of badges, there was a badge he wanted and decided he could only get one from the President of the United States. On December 19th, 1970, Elvis bought a ticket at the Memphis International Airport under his alias of Jon Burroughs and boards a commercial airliner to Washington D.C. Thinking he may need reinforcement, he returns to the airport and takes the next flight to Los Angeles.
He arrives and contacted Jerry Schilling and convinced him to travel to Washington D.C. with him. On the flight, Elvis scribbled a letter to President Nixon.
“I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a federal agent”
– Elvis Presley in his letter to President Nixon
Letter Written by Elvis for President Nixon
Once they landed on December 21st, 1970, Elvis and Schilling had taken a limo to the White House. They made it to a security checkpoint and Elvis handed the letter to a security guard around 6:30 a.m. Determined to obtain this badge, he went to the offices of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs where he met with a deputy director. The approval for the bureau badge had been denied, but Elvis was not giving up.
During the time he was at the office, the letter made its way to President Nixon from the hands of Egil “Bud” Krogh. Krogh was a huge Elvis fan and loved the idea to have the two meet. Through much persuasion, President Nixon agreed to the meeting. Krogh called the Washington Hotel, where Elvis was staying, and set up the meeting.
Elvis arrived at the White House with Schilling and friend Sonny West around noon. Being the southern gentlemen that he is, Elvis knew he should not enter someone’s home empty handed. He had brought President Nixon a Colt .45 pistol display case that he had brought from his mansion in Los Angeles. Of course, the Secret Service would not allow this in the meeting and held it.
“When he first walked into the Oval Office, he seemed a little awe-struck”
-Egil “Bud” Krogh
Though Nixon had installed a taping system, it was not installed as of yet. Krogh took notes of the meeting and recalled that Elvis had said he thought the Beatles were a force for anti-American spirit. Telling Nixon that Elvis was on his side and that he had been studying the drug culture and Communist brainwashing. This is when he asked for the badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. When the President said he could make it happen, Elvis reached out and hugged the President out of excitement.
President Nixon invited Elvis’s friends Schilling and West into the Oval office to meet them. Krogh took them to lunch while Elvis waited for his narc badge. Elvis had requested to keep the meeting a secret so he could be a secret agent at large, but after a year the story was broke by Jack Anderson. It seemed that no one had really cared until after Nixon had resigned and long after the death of Elvis Presley.
Recently, there was a film made starring Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey. Though Michael Shannon was not my favorite choice, I thought he did a really nice job becoming Elvis despite the fact that he does not look like him. I wanted to hate the film, but I could not help but love it!
This is one of my favorite stories about Elvis. There are plenty of times that I wake up and have thoughts, but I know I could never accomplish some of these thoughts in a day or two. Elvis, however, could walk up to the security gates of the White House and obtain a meeting with the President of the United States. Pretty remarkable.