My Favorite Mistake

By Weintraub, Jerry | Newsweek, April 11, 2011 | Go to article overview

My Favorite Mistake


Weintraub, Jerry, Newsweek


Byline: Jerry Weintraub

Jerry Weintraub on how Elvis saved him from a business disaster.

For New Year's Eve 1975, I took Elvis Presley to Pontiac, Mich., for a concert at the Silverdome, which is the 80,000-seat stadium right outside Detroit.

I ran the concessions, which always did fabulously well. When Elvis sang, he used to take his scarf and give it to girls in the audience. He would change scarves 10 times in a single show: sweat, wipe sweat off his brow, give the scarf to some girl, and she would smell it and faint. I decided as a new item, in addition to all the key chains, pictures, and everything else, I was going to get scarves made. So I went to India, China, somewhere, and bought 35,000 scarves with his picture on them. When I arrived at the football stadium, my concessionaire came to me and said, "We got a big problem. The scarves you bought? Nobody's buying them. You're going to get stuck with 35,000 scarves."

Oh, my God, I thought. What a stupid mistake this is! Now I'm going to have to ship these things back. Why the hell did I do this?

I was sitting backstage with a frown on my face, which is very, very rare for me. And in comes Elvis and his entourage. …

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