When Elvis played Charleston in June 1956, he made national headlines for nibbling on the fingers of a female reporter from this paper.

This was back in the Hayride era -- before Ed Sullivan, before "Love Me Tender," before the Army.

After Elvis bit her, the reporter asked "What's the big idea?" to which he responded, "I was only being friendly, like a little puppy dog."

Even then, he wasn't nothin' but a hound dog.

But the future King may have been even more flirty with another local woman.

Earlier this week, a woman identifying herself as "Barbara" called Richard Todd on WTMA's Morning Buzz. Todd was talking about the Ultimate Elvis Tour coming up Sunday at the Performing Arts Center. And there on the line, Barbara claimed to be the woman in a famous image of Elvis known as "The Kiss." (See it at http://photos.elvispresley.com.au/1956.html)

In the black-and-white pic, photographer Albert Wertheimer captured Elvis sticking his tongue out at a woman in a black dress -- her face is not seen. Over the years, several women have claimed to be the one in the photo, which was taken in Richmond, Va., two days after the Charleston show.

She has never been positively identified, but Barbara said she's the one -- and apparently she lives right here in the Lowcountry.

Lonesome tonight?

On the air, Barbara said she had a boyfriend at the time and was not interested in messing around with Elvis. She was on her way to see her boyfriend but stopped in to see Elvis, who was playing two shows at the Mosque Theatre in Richmond.

Barbara said the picture looks as if the two are touching tongues, but claimed in the millisecond after Wertheimer snapped the picture, she turned her head. After all, she had a boyfriend.

According to Elvis Presley resources, the King flew out of Charleston the morning after the show here, headed for the Steve Allen show in New York City. The next day, he took the train to Richmond for his two shows there. One Elvis Web site -- which offers many images of him with the woman in the black dress around Richmond -- claims the young lady is someone the rocker had met in March.

Interestingly enough, Elvis played Charleston not only that June, but also in March of that year.

It's now or never

This may be the best photo journalism mystery this side of Eisenstaedt's V-J Day in Times Square (the one with the sailor kissing the nurse).

Dozens of people have claimed to be the people in that photo, and several have claimed to be Elvis's pal in "The Kiss."

Todd, who does not know the local woman's identity, said she offered even more telling details off-air.

"I'm totally convinced it was her," Todd says. "I told her, 'You could have been Priscilla.'"

So Barbara, if you're out there, how about giving us the full scoop? Inquiring (or is that Enquiring?) minds want to know if you are the one who caused the King to check into Heartbreak Hotel. Give me a call.

Reach Brian Hicks at 937-5561 or bhicks@postandcourier.com.

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