“I promise it will have you on the edge of your seat.” –Steve Binder
“Something terrible must have happened in Holland.” –Alanna Nash
Elvis Presley continues to be so famous, that even 40 years after his death, just about anyone associated with him shares in his prominence. No other performer’s history can claim that. Such is the case of Colonel Tom Parker, Presley’s notorious manager from 1956 until after Presley’s death in 1977. Variety just announced a new movie is in the development stage for Colonel Parker’s bio and will begin production in early 2018.
Steve Binder has incredible real-world experience dealing with “The Colonel” back in 1968 when producing and directing the NBC television special “Elvis.” The event is now known as “The Comeback Special” because Elvis wanted to get away from making Hollywood “travelogues” to performing live again. This was his comeback.
Binder, who is developing the feature film with Spencer Proffer and Joe Berlinger, said, “The Colonel’s ‘real’ story has never been told, and I promise it will have you on the edge of your seat. I was there and I knew the Colonel. Move over P.T. Barnum, the ride is about to begin!”
Colonel Park came to America as a 20-year old undocumented Dutch immigrant in 1929. His real name was Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk. The screenplay will be based on Alanna Nash’s book, “The Colonel: The Extraordinary Story of Colonel Tom Parker and Elvis Presley,” published by Simon & Schuster. In one interview, Nash said “The Colonel obviously had a very troubling secret. He never became a U.S. citizen, which meant he couldn’t get a passport.”
“Now, he passed up numerous opportunities to become a citizen, which would indicate that he didn’t want a background check of any kind,” Nash surmised. “Something terrible must have happened in Holland. His family told me that he left quite abruptly, without taking any identifying papers, any money, or any clothing. And even then he valued money above all else, and he worked extra jobs in order to afford the latest in men’s haberdashery.”
“Why would he leave all his possessions behind in a trunk? He also told Byron Raphael, the young William Morris trainee who was assigned to Parker in ’56, that he worked his way over in the galley of a ship, but that he didn’t go back to pick up his check. Obviously, he was terrified of some kind of discovery. This means he set out in a foreign country literally penniless.”
Parker left this world at age 87, in 1997 a very rich man even 20 years after Presley died. According to the filmmakers, Parker’s life was a dangerous and well-orchestrated charade.” There is evidence showing Parker may have escaped the Netherlands for American after he beat a woman to death.
Parker served three years of service in the U.S. Army in Hawaii, but after desertion, he was punished with solitary confinement. He was diagnosed with a psychosis that led to two months in a mental hospital. He was then discharged and soon moved to Florida. Parker joined the Johnny J. Jones and Royal American carnivals, passing himself off as a native West Virginian under the name of his former commanding officer, Thomas Andrew Parker.
Priscilla Presley attended Colonel Parker’s funeral and in her eulogy said “Elvis and the Colonel made history together, and the world is richer, better and far more interesting because of their collaboration. And now I need to locate my wallet, because I noticed there was no ticket booth on the way in here, but I’m sure that the Colonel must have arranged for some toll on the way out.”