Meet Robin Rosaaen, former eBay Ambassador, Elvis memorabilia collector, and the girl Elvis personally nick named Rockin Robin. Robin had the pleasure of watching Elvis live and in concert a total of 72 times. She's been a guest on Oprah, Geraldo, Joan Rivers, and Vickie Lawrence. She's received dozens of achievement awards and been mentioned in numerous books, and magazines. She's also known as the largest known collector of Elvis memorabilia in the world, although she describes it as just a hobby that's slightly out of control.
The first thing I was dying to know of course was the story behind the nickname, so I got right down to business. Here's Robin's answer
During the 1972 season of seeing Elvis twice a year in Las Vegas, I had given him a bumper sticker from the health club that I had worked for at the time and it read on it , "I Want Your Body". So one night in Las Vegas during the show, I held this up and got Elvis to come over and give me the first scarf of the evening and when he read what the bumper sticker said, he replied, "you've got it baby!".........later as the band began to play Polk Salad Annie, Elvis turned to me and pointed and said "Rockin' Robin" ! The band members looked at him and than he went into the song and everyone that knew I was down front, knew he meant this for me. Later, up in my room at the Hilton, I played back my tape recorder and heard him call me Rockin Robin and so it has been my nickname ever since.
What are some of your most memorable Elvis moments ?
Some of my most memorable moments of Elvis were when we had the squirt gun fight with him during a show at the Sahara Tahoe and later read about it in Ed Parker's book, Inside Elvis. That was so much fun that night and Elvis really seemed to enjoy it as he spoke about it the next night and I had my tape recorder with me, so I have this on audio tape. Just the fact that Elvis got to know who I was over the years and that he would acknowledge me from the stage will always be some of my best memories of him.
Oh no, you aren't getting off that easy Robin, we want all the details of the squirt gun fight. We want the whole scoop and don't leave anything out.
The squirt gun fight came about when I went to the local Railey's Supermarket in Lake Tahoe while everyone was at the dinner show at the Sahara Tahoe and I bought 6 small squirt guns for us fans and one large green one for Elvis. As we sat there waiting for Elvis to come out, we filled the squirt guns with water and waited to ambush him. The large green machine gun sized squirt gun was passed to Elvis and he pranced about the stage with it and aimed it at The Stamps and carried it around with him and we waited until he gave it to Charlie and than we opened up on Elvis ! The guy handling the mic cords said after the show that all you could see was these 6 streams of water coming over the foot lights on the stage and he was trying to make sure that Elvis did not trip over the cord. Elvis had a ball with this and the next night said to the audience, "Ladies and gentleman, you should have been here last night as it was like the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, I practically was electrocuted !".
We've all heard about his wonderful since of humor. After seeing him 72 times you must have lots of stories. Tell us more.
My special favorite stage memories of Elvis were his sense of humor and way he could get the audience wrapped around his fingers. I remember one night when the stage lights were dimmed and I was sitting down front and could hear something being wheeled out onto the stage. When the lights came back up, there was Elvis on this double bed, singing to a pillow "Mary In The Morning," as if the pillow was a women. It was so funny, and than when he finished the song, he rolled over and fell off the bed onto the stage !
OK fess up Robin, how many scarves do you have and describe for us the feelings at that moment.
Over the 6 1/2 years that I was fortunate enough to see Elvis in concert, I received 13 scarves in various colors, both with and without his name silk screened on them. There was nothing like looking into his eyes and having him talk to you as you pulled the scarf from around his neck and put your fingers up through his hair ! One night when I went to pull the powder blue scarf from around his neck, he said, "No, no honey let me do it" and with that Elvis proceeded to put the scarf around my neck as we exchanged kisses and my friends with cameras in the audience snapped photos of this event and later when I saw them, I had no idea that I had squeezed his arm so hard and the next photo shows me speechless as Elvis talks to me and I have no idea what on earth he said. That was the effect that he had on you.
Thinking back, what were your very first memories of him ?
The first memory that I have of Elvis, was seeing him on television while at my grandmother's home and wondering what and who this was. But I was only 10 years of age and had no idea what impact Elvis would have on my life later on down the line.
When did you start collecting ?
I began collecting when I was a teenager and than stopped for a few years when I became interested in surfer and the Beatles. But once I saw Elvis in 68 on television doing the Comeback, I knew that I had to see him in person and that's when I became an avid fan and collector and have yet to stop.
How large is your collection Robin ?
The size of my collection I lost count of back in 1994 when I did my book, "All The King's Things." At that time we had counted about 40,000 items which included buttons, books, photos, menu's and everything under the sun that is connected with Elvis. That was until I found eBay and now who knows what is all in there.
Tell us a little about your collection. What types of things does it consist of ?
In my vast collection of Elvis items, I have his dental records, chart and patient information sheet and 3 x-rays from the dental office in Palm Springs that he went to from March 1967 to September of 1968. I also have a lock of his hair, a white shirt and a blue cow hide jacket that was custom made for him at Hell Bent for Leather in Hollywood ( have a photo of him wearing this jacket, Houston 1970). Than I have thousands of photos, both stage and candid as well asmovie photos and unpublished contact sheets, plus all of the tour memorabilia.
Do you have any of your collection on display ?
I have displayed my collection at UC Berkeley for a few months and also at several fund raising events in the past, but the collection has grown so big now that I would love to open my own Elvis Gallery and be able to have this all matted and framed so that it could be made for everyone to enjoy, both older and new fans alike. Right now it over takes my entire 2 bedroom apartment. Elvis Is Everywhere !
Describe what your collection means to you.
My collection means to me, a time in my life when things were not so stressful and times were fun and less costly to see someone like Elvis and to be able to savior these items for fun and enjoyment.
Tell us all the exciting things you've been up to lately Robin, other than eBay of course ?
Over the years I have been on talk shows such as Geraldo, Oprah Winfrey, Joan Rivers, Vicky Lawrence and others. I have done several local TV shows such as Evening Magazine and Good Day Sacramento and just recently because I manage the Elvis site at eBay was filmed for some other talk shows that have to deal with eBay and the site in general.
Do you get the opportunity to pal around with alot of Elvis' co-stars ?
As for any celebrities that I have met because of my involvement in the Elvis World, I am friends with Deborah Walley, Julie Parrish and Anne Helm, not to mention Stella Stevens. I am currently in touch with Joan Blackman who I am trying to get out of her "reclusive" stage and back into the limelight with some interviews in regards to her 2 movies with Elvis, "Blue Hawaii" and "Kid Galahad." Just a few weeks ago, I was in Oakland with Yvonne Craig and Gary Lockwood who both starred in two movies with Elvis and we were there for the showing of "It Happened At The World's Fair" at the Parkway Theater in Oakland, California. I have also met and become friends with Celeste Yarnell from "Live A Little, Love A Little" and Diane McBain.
How did you become involved with eBay.
I became involved in eBay when I was hired as employee number #41 back in November 3rd, 1997. It was than as a Customer Accounts Rep., that I know Elvis was going to become my future job at eBay as the company grew and I created the Elvis Theme page on eBay that began with less that 200 items and has grown to over 8,000 listed on eBay, under the key word Elvis, on any given day.
I was the "original" ebay Ambassador and the person that eBay used to see if this program would work, where Ambassador's in certain categories with their expertise would promote eBay to the public and fellow collector's.
This year I contributed $1,077.00 to The Med Foundation in memory of Elvis from our recycling project at eBay and also donated $5,000.00 to Marian Cocke's Elvis Presley Memorial Dinner Event at The Peabody.
All The King Things, the ultimate Elvis Memorabilia Book can be found at both Barnes & Noble and Amazon.Com.
This outstanding book shows of some of the thousands of rare Elvis artifacts and snapshots Robin has collected over the years.
Robin is a contributor of this book which is also available at both Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
Robin will be joining us in Suite 101's Elvis Presley Chat room Wednesday night November 29 at 8:00 Central Standard Time.
1. Robin on The Vickie Lawrence Show
Originally published on Suite 101.com