Now an adult, Elvis Presley’s cousin is recalling his early childhood adventures in Presley’s Bel Air mansion.
Danny Smith is the son of Billy and Jo Smith. Billy was Elvis’s cousin and a member of The King’s inner circle, according to The Express. And so his son got to spend a lot of time running around both Graceland and Presley’s mansion in Los Angeles.
Presley bought the Bel Air mansion so he would have a place to stay while he was filming Hollywood movies. The house, at 525 Perugia Way, was the site of Presley’s historic meeting with The Beatles. When Elvis stayed there, he often brought his entourage, known as the Memphis Mafia, with him.
Smith is now recounting those experiences and others on his Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel.
Elvis Presley’s Cousin Recounts Mischief at Presley’s Mansion
At Presley’s Bel Air mansion, Smith got into some mischief. He was just a preschool-aged kid at the time, but he discovered something in the house that struck his fancy – and that came with serious repercussions.
“At that house, in the kitchen underneath one of the cabinets was a key switch light,” Smith recalled, per The Express. “And that was to set off an alarm to notify the police in case of an emergency or whatever.”
“I had found out about it and that it was under there,” he continued. “Having my love for motorcycles like I did I would get up under there and I would turn it and go [makes ignition sounds]. And Mama said whenever they heard that they’d go crazy because by that time Bel Air police was out by the house.”
Smith set it off two or three times, by his reckoning. But if Elvis was put out by the consequences of the child’s actions, he never chastised Smith. It seems The King took childish misbehavior in stride.
Smith Took a Shine to Presley’s Housekeeper
Presley’s housekeeper at the time, Alvina, was a kindly soul who often looked after Smith. And she and Smith had some good times playing Let’s Pretend in Presley’s expensive limousine.
“I loved her to death. She took time with me, cared for me,” Smith said. “Sometimes Alvina would take me out to Elvis’s limousine and I was too small to sit in the seat. But she would put me in the driver’s seat, I’d stand up on the seat and drive like [driving hand motions].”
He used to love to sit in Presley’s limousine, pretending to drive it for hours, while Alvina indulged him by telling the imagined chauffeur where she wanted to go next. (During those play sessions, the limousine never actually left the driveway, fortunately.)
Whether at the Bel Air mansion or at Graceland, Smith and his friends had plenty of fun horsing around in the shadows of musical history being made. If they were aware that it was, they didn’t seem to think about it much. They were just kids, after all.
And what about Graceland? You can watch Smith’s account of hanging out at Graceland here.