It Was 25 Years Ago Today Almost

Article excerpt

ATLANTA (Cox) -- Russell Brock is growing his sideburns out. Pam Wood is collecting teddy bears. Debbie Reeves has renewed her annual reservation at the Heartbreak Hotel. They're among the folks from the Atlanta area bound for Graceland and Elvis Presley Week, a heat- and- humidity soaked annual Memphis rite that ranges from a solemn candlelight vigil to jumpsuited impersonators. And this isn't just any Elvis Week -- he died Aug. 16, 1977, making this the 25th anniversary of his passing.

"That is what Elvis fans are supposed to be about," Wood says. "If Elvis were alive, he'd be singing for these old people."

But Elvis is not alive, except in the occasional tabloid story. His sudden death at age 42 has grown over the years into an enormous tourism industry in Memphis. Much of it is centered around Graceland, the home he bought for $100,000 in 1957 and where he is buried, but it spills over everywhere, to Beale Street, the University of Memphis and Libertyland amusement park. Elvis Week runs Aug. 10-18 -- a nine-day week -- filling hotels in the area with tens of thousands of fans from England, Japan and points all over the globe.

"I've talked to British people who work second jobs to come to Graceland once a year," says Wood, who's been attending Elvis Week for 10 years.

Those were the days, my friend

NEW YORK (AP) -- Today is the 214th day of 2002. There are 151 days left in the year. Here are some business and legal highlights from this date in history:

On Aug. 2, 1776, members of the Continental Congress began attaching their signatures to the Declaration of Independence.

In 1876, frontiersman "Wild Bill" Hickok was shot and killed while playing poker at a saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory.

In 1921, a jury in Chicago acquitted several former members of the Chicago White Sox baseball team and two others of conspiring to defraud the public in the notorious "Black Sox" scandal.

In 1934, German President Paul von Hindenburg died, paving the way for Adolf Hitler's complete takeover.

In 1939, Albert Einstein signed a letter to President Franklin Roosevelt urging creation of an atomic weapons research program.

In 1945, President Truman, Soviet leader Josef Stalin and British Prime Minister Clement Attlee concluded the Potsdam conference.

In 1964, the Pentagon reported the first of two attacks on U.S. destroyers by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in the Gulf of Tonkin.

In 1985, 137 people were killed when a Delta Air Lines jetliner crashed while attempting to land at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, seizing control of the oil-rich emirate. (The Iraqis were later driven out in Operation Desert Storm.)

For digital nostalgia

NEW YORK (AP) -- The back issues of The Wall Street Journal, dating to the paper's founding in 1889, have been scanned into a searchable database -- advertisements, obituaries and all. The company responsible, ProQuest, announced two weeks ago that it had done the same for The New York Times, which began publishing in 1851. Unlike most electronic databases, which contain only text, ProQuest's "Historical Newspapers" archive brings up full pages, with images and graphics. It is reachable via the Internet, but subscriptions are available only to companies and institutions such as libraries.

ProQuest, based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is also scanning The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor, with hopes to make them available next year. "We are beginning with national papers, then as time goes on we hope to add regional papers and local papers," said ProQuest spokeswoman Tina Creguer.

It took 15 months to process the two papers. The Times back issues from 1851 to 1999 consist of 3.4 million pages. The Journal from 1889 to 1985 weighs in at 1 million pages.

A strange catch-22

NEW YORK (NYT) -- Millions of Americans have found that the ease, speed and accuracy of writing with a computer keyboard have vastly reduced the occasions on which they might turn to a pen or pencil. …