The anniversary of the 1981 Hilton fire on Wednesday sparked memories about longtime Hilton spokesman Bruce Banke and the Elvis Presley book project that was put on hold by his death.
“Vegas Confidential” columnist Norm Clarke, and Don Usherson, the former MGM Grand publicist and longtime local entertainment reporter, and I were reminiscing Friday about Banke, a colourful character who died in late 2000 at the age of 64.
It was Banke who walked into an executive board room meeting on Aug. 16, 1977, and interrupted Hilton chairman Barron Hilton to report that Elvis had died.
Moans filled the boardroom, Banke told me in 2000.
For several years before that day in 1977, Banke was working on a book about Elvis' Hilton years, Usherson recalled during lunch at the Red Velvet Café on West Sahara Avenue.
I put in a call Friday to Banke's son, Bryan, a Las Vegan, to see whether the family has considered moving forward on the book project.
His father had collaborated on the book, the son said, with Loanne Parker, the widow of Elvis' manager, Col. Tom Parker.
Some differences arose and the manuscript has been gathering dust since Banke's death. It is unlikely that the book will go to a publisher for a number of reasons, Bryan Banke said.
Usherson, by the way, is working with Robert Goulet's widow, Vera, on a possible project to honor the legendary baritone. The former Broadway star, a longtime Las Vegan, died Oct. 30, 2007.
Source; EER / EpGold