February 14, 1964

Berth 73, Long Beach Harbour,

Long Beach, Ca.

Change of Command

Comedian Danny Thomas (left) and Elvis Presley stand on a pier opposite the yacht Potomac, formerly the yacht of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, as Thomas accepts the craft in behalf of the St. Jude Children´s Hospital at Memphis, Tenn. The "change of command" took place at Long Beach, Cal. Presley bought the yacht recently for $55,000 and offered it to the March of Dimes for help in raising contributions, but the organization declined. The Coast Guard also declined to accept the vessel. Thomas was instrumental in raising funds to construct the children´s hospital at Memphis, Presley´s home town.

Copyright: Pacific Stars and Stripes, February 22- 1964


Elvis Presley (right) turns over the papers for the S. S. Potomac, former presidential yacht of the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to Danny Thomas, founder of St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Presley purchased the yacht to keep it from being scrapped. Thomas accepted the boat for the hospital, a non-sectarian project dedicated to finding cures for catastrophic diseases of children. It is hoped that the boat will be sold as soon as possible and the money used in research of children´s deseases. Presley´s manager, Col. Tom Parker is in the background.

Copyright: Monessen (Pa) Valley Independent, February 17, 1964


Elvis´ Gift Rite Runs Into a Snag

Rock ´n´roll idol Elvis Presley´s philantropic journey into Long Beach ran into an  un-expected - but momentary - snag today.

The stage and screen star´s retinue of publicity men and 20 uniformed officers were swarming over Berth 73 in Long Beach Harbor putting up bunting and signs and special walkways, in preparation for his 1 p.m donation of the presidential yacht Potomac.


The change of ownership ceremony in which Presley was  to give the 165-foot vessel to comedian Danny Thomas for St. Jude´s Hospital in Memphis was almost called off when the property owner, Llewellyn Bixby, showed up and informed the group he hadn´t given permission for use of the dock.

BIXBY SAID he was worried about public liability. Col. Tom Parker, Presley´s manager, said he thought an earlier lease with an auction company covered today´s ceremonies.

After a conference with Bixby, Parker promised to pay for a special $500,000 liability insurance policy and to keep the public off the dock.

A police lieutenant showed up meanwhile and, not recognizing Bixby, told the group they would have to get the boat out of the berth, because Bixby had called police earlier and said they were trespassing.

Bixby, however, told police he was attempting to work out a compromise solution because, "I don´t want to be a mean guy."

Several teen-age girls appeared early this morning on West Seventh Street, in front of the dock, waiting for  the film personalities to arrive.

Michael F. Tamer, national executive director of St Jude Research Hospital - in whose behalf Thomas will accept the yacht - said it is his hope there will be an immediate sale of the vessel, so the money can be turned over to the hospital

PRESLEY BOUGHT the Potomac, Franklin Delano Roosevelt´s sea-going White House, at public auction Jan. 30 and offered it to the March of Dimes as a gift.

The March of Dimes, saying the organization had no funds for the vessel´s upkeep, turned the gift down. Presley then offered it to the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, ostensibly because the bill bringing the auxiliary into existence was signed aboard the vessel.

The Coast Guard also turned it down.

St. Jude´s is a $6 million research hospital for children founded by Danny Thomas. Memphis is Presley´s hometown.

Copyright: Long Beach Press Telegram, February 15, 1964