For a dead guy, Elvis Presley sure makes a lot of news. Last Tuesday, the Tribune's Live! section tracked down his mystery girlfriend from 1956. Plus, the King has new twin granddaughters, born Oct. 7 to Lisa Marie Presley. And Forbes recently named Elvis the top-earning dead celebrity, estimating he generated $52 million last year. For additional facts, it's now or never:
1. Elvis liked to shoot things. Famously, he shot out his own TV because Robert Goulet was on the screen. Less famously, he sat beside his pool and ate watermelon while squeezing off rounds with his .22-caliber pistol to blast light bulbs floating in the water.
3. Elvis' manager, who called himself Col. Tom Parker, was a Dutch illegal immigrant born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk. He served in the U.S. Army, but "colonel" was an honorary title conferred by Louisiana Gov. Jimmie Davis.
Before meeting Elvis, Parker operated a carnival act in which chickens danced because Parker hid a hot plate under the sawdust in their cage. Parker was known for charging Presley extraordinary fees. British journalist Chris Hutchins said he once asked Parker, "Is it true that you take 50 percent of everything Elvis earns?" Parker's answer: "No, that's not true at all. He takes 50 percent of everything I earn."
4. Elvis liked his meat well-done. One of his favorite expressions was "That's burnt, man." Whether he was talking about a steak or a song, something "burnt" was good.
5. When John Lennon heard Elvis had died, he caustically remarked: "Elvis died the day he went into the Army."
6. Was Elvis' middle name Aaron or Aron? The answer: both. The King's middle name was in honor of his father's friend Aaron Kennedy, but the Presleys used the Aron spelling to match the middle name of Elvis' stillborn identical-twin brother, Jesse Garon Presley. Even so, Aaron is the spelling on the Graceland grave site. Either spelling is OK, according to the official elvis.com Web site.
7. Elvis salted his food before he even tasted it.
8. Elvis got his first name from his father, Vernon Elvis Presley. But it's unclear where Vernon got it. The name of a 6th Century Irish saint was variously spelled Elvis, Elwyn, Elwin, Elian and Allan. Wherever the name came from, it has caught on. Modern-day Elvii include singer Elvis Costello (originally Declan Patrick McManus), film critic Elvis Mitchell, salsa star Elvis Crespo and Canadian skater Elvis Stojko.
9. The "catfish incident" occurred at a concert in Norfolk, Va., on July 20, 1975. The apparently drug-addled Elvis insulted his audience by complaining that the 11,000 people in the crowd were breathing on him. Then he said he smelled green peppers and onions and suggested that his quartet of black female backup singers, the Sweet Inspirations, had been eating catfish. Two of the "Sweets" walked offstage in disgust. Some took Elvis' comment as a racial insult, but it was more likely the culmination of bizarre remarks Elvis had made to his female backup singers -- both black and white -- during the tour. The offended Sweets returned the next night, and Presley publicly apologized.
10. The last food that Elvis Presley ate was four scoops of ice cream and six chocolate chip cookies. The last book that Elvis read -- and may have been reading on the toilet when he died -- was "A Scientific Search for the Face of Jesus" by Frank O. Adams, a slim volume about the Shroud of Turin.
Sources: "All Shook Up: Elvis Day by Day, 1954-1977" by Lee Cotton; "The Inner Elvis" by Peter Whitmer; "The Life and Cuisine of Elvis Presley" by David Adler; "The Death of Elvis: What Really Happened" by Charles C. Thompson II and James P. Cole; "Baby Names Now" by Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran; the Memphis Commercial Appeal; and Tribune news services.