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Are you lonesome tonight? Then take a trip down to London’s O2, where a new exhibition – “Elvis on Tour” – gives guests the chance to see over 200 pieces documenting Presley’s life on the road. (Nov. 30)
AP

MILWAUKEE — As 40 years have passed, people sometimes use words like legend or myth about the time Elvis Presley jumped from his limousine at a Madison intersection, assumed a karate stance and halted a fight he spotted at a gas station.

“It really did occur. I was an eyewitness,” said Bruce Frey, who was 20 years old on that night of June 24, 1977. Now he’s 60 and a retired Madison Police Department detective.

While searching online for something else, I stumbled on a strange roadside marker showing where Elvis saved the day. This is a story I somehow had not heard before.

So I drove to Madison, to the busy crossing of East Washington Avenue and Stoughton Road, and there I found the small, headstone-like monument near the sidewalk. 

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It’s not in good shape. A metal plate bearing a description of what happened that day has been pried from the stone and taken away. But an image of Elvis, guitar in hand and a thank-you-very-much sneer on his lips, remained on the marker, suggesting to passers-by that he did something at that spot.

I tracked down Frey after finding his name in a 1977 Wisconsin State Journal article headlined, “Elvis in town in time to halt East Side fight.” Using his police skills, Frey has become something of an expert on what happened that day, interviewing other witnesses and even Elvis’ bodyguards and backup singers. They say The King was proud he could help out.