For Bobby Morris, now 90 and best known as Elvis Presley’s former musical conductor, the memory of an iconic inauguration day image is frozen in time. A major snowstorm was threatening to delay John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball on Jan. 20, 1961.

Morris was aboard a bus full of A-list entertainers caught in a traffic jam on snow-clogged Pennsylvania Avenue.

It was crisis time and the moment called for a decisive leader.

“Frank Sinatra, who was entertainment director of the ball and invited everyone from Hollywood, jumps off the bus,” recalled Morris, “and starts directing traffic like a cop out in the middle of the avenue.”

That’s one of many memories of a lifetime for some lucky Las Vegans.

Celebrity impersonator Rich Little was invited to perform at Ronald Reagan’s first inaugural ball in 1981. He brought the house down with his impersonation of Reagan.

Afterwards, first lady Nancy Reagan told Little, “You do Ron better than he does.”

She grabbed Little by the arm and pretended she was taking off with him.

Reagan got the last laugh, though, when he called out, “You can’t afford her!”

Longtime Republican strategist Sig Rogich was in Washington, D.C. for president-elect George H.W. Bush’s inauguration in 1989.

Rogich, a Las Vegas advertising and public relations executive, helped produce commercials for Bush that ridiculed Gov. Michael S. Dukakis, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1988.

Rogich was walking near the White House on his way to some pre-inauguration events when he heard Bush call his name from a doorway from a nearby building.

“He called me ‘Sigley,’” said Rogich. The president-elect invited Rogich in for coffee and when Rogich was leaving Bush said, “I think I’ll be seeing a lot of you.’”

Not long after, “He called from Air Force One on the way to Chicago and asked me to come to the White House to an assistant to the President,” said Rogich.


NewsNorm Clarke