Allyson Adams says that editing The Rebel and The King was a “healing” experience. The memoir, which was released in 2012, reveals the story of the sentimental friendship between her dad, actor Nick Adams, and Elvis Presley and the whirlwind eight days they spent in Memphis during the singer’s Tupelo Homecoming during the summer of 1956. It is based on a manuscript Adams came across when she went through an old box that belonged to her father, who reportedly died of a drug overdose in 1968 when Allyson was seven years old. “When I started to read [the manuscript], I became very emotional,” said Adams, who lives in Malibou Lake. “I could see what a passionate person he was, and I realized ‘that’s where I get it.'”
Adams said that until then, Elvis wasn’t even on her radar. She was raised by her mother, actress Carol Nugent, and carved out her own career as an actress, poet and writer. “Dad’s story was never a priority,” she said. “I had other things to resolve and needed to move on.” Then she opened what she refers to as “the daddy box,” where she found the 56 page “Elvis Presley, Singer, Actor, Man” under a stack of old photos. “It was the the Gospel according to Elvis,” she said.
According to Adams, Nick–known for his Oscar-nominated work in Twilight of Honor as well as for his signature role as “Johnny Yuma” in TV’s The Rebel–met Presley on the Twentieth Century Fox backlot when Elvis was making Love Me Tender. “Elvis recognized my dad, who walking around the lot,” she said. “He shouted out to him, “Hey, Nick Adams!” And a fast friendship developed.
“My dad really loved Elvis,” she said. “It was kind of a bro-mance. They were great buddies”
Nick was invited to Memphis during the tour and stayed with the Presleys. Their relationship was so close that Nick wanted the world to know the real Elvis, Adams said. So he began to record taped interviews with the famous performer who actually disliked being called “The King,” Adams said.
“People would see Elvis and my dad carting around a typewriter and asked what they were doing. Elvis would say, ‘we’re writing a book…setting the story straight,” she said.
Adams credits her mother and brother, local realtor Jeb Adams, both Agoura Hills residents, with developing the book. “I believe this is the best Elvis story out there and will be of great interest to his fans,” she said.
Adams will be appearing at two upcoming Agoura Hills events to discuss and sign her book. First, she will be at this Sunday’s Elvis Tribute Concert in the Park. She will next be part of a Q & A session moderated by Brian Rooney, local author (Three Magical Miles) and Adam’s neighbor, at the Cultural Arts Council’s July 19th screening of Love Me Tender.
Rooney says Love Me Tender has particular significance to both Elvis fans and local residents. Not only was it the singer’s first film, it was shot almost entirely at the Twentieth Century Fox ranch in the Conejo’s Cornell region, he said. “It’s actually the first stop on my tour,” said Rooney, who gives monthly movie tours through the Santa Monica Mountains to point out historic film locales. “And what most people don’t know is that the Elvis family ranch was located between the upper and lower parking lots of Malibu Creek State Park.”
What’s next for Adams? She’s writing a new book called The Daddy Box. “It goes more indepth into my dad’s life,” she said.
Stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy our photo gallery of select images from The Rebel and The King.