Greg meets the King’s best mate, Joe Esposito, who travelled to country NSW to visit the former Wiggle and devoted Elvis collector. Jacqui Lang reports.
Greg Page is like an excited schoolboy as he shows off his Elvis Presley memorabilia to Joe Esposito, the late superstar’s best pal and former road manager and accountant.
“I’m thrilled that Joe, someone who was such a big part of Elvis’s life, is here to see it all,” Greg, 38, says.
Now one of the world’s foremost collectors of Elvis items, the former Wiggles member has more than 100 collectibles on display at The King’s Castle, the Elvis museum at Parkes in central western NSW. They include a striped shirt Elvis wore to promote his movie Jailhouse Rock in 1957 and a gold lamé suit, one of only two made for Elvis by tailor Nudie Cohn. The other is at Graceland, Elvis’s home in Nashville.
“I think Greg has amassed a great collection, one of the best in the world,” enthuses Joe, 72, who then turns to a dazzling 1970s silver phone that sat on Elvis’s office desk at Graceland. “I remember that phone well,” he sighs, nostalgia in his voice.
“Joe has been a great help in authenticating some of my purchases and explaining how the pieces fitted into Elvis’s life,” Greg says. “Seeing we can’t chat to Elvis anymore it’s fantastic we have access to Joe, who provides such great insight into the great man.”
For Joe, it’s fun to see all these pieces again.
“They bring back so many memories,” he says. “Elvis never made it to Australia but knowing him as well as I did, I can tell you he would have loved the people here and would be happy his fans got to feast their eyes on these pieces.”
Joe was 20 in 1958 when he met Elvis, three years his senior, when both joined the US army.
“One of the best days of my life was the day I met Elvis,” he recalls. “It changed my future.”
Despite the King’s fame, Joe says he felt “most at home with regular folk” and was renowned for his generosity.
For the full story in this week's Woman's Day, on sale April 12, 2010.