ESCONDIDO, Calif. — When you think of Elvis Presley, you probably associate the 'King of Rock and Roll' with Las Vegas not Escondido. In this Zevely Zone, I visited the Heartbreak Hotel where sitting in your typical Escondido neighborhood, one house stands out as the king of them all.
For years viewers have asked me to knock on the door at the Heartbreak Hotel. Through the turn style I went with the home's owner Andre Villa. "Well, this is the inside right here," said Andre. The retired air conditioning and sheet metal worker bought this home in 1977 and figured 'It's Now or Never'.
"It's the boulevard of broken dreams, cirrhosis by the sea and a room without a view," said Andre. As a child growing up in Vista, Andre had a love affair with movies and his production stars three main characters. "Elvis Presley, there's James Dean, Marilyn Monroe is over here," said Andre.
I asked Andre to quantify how many pieces were in his collection. "I don't think I can count that high," he replied. "This is just a drop in the bucket, this room it's literally a drop in the bucket," said Andre's wife Penny. 56 years ago, she ''Couldn't Help Falling in Love'. "A lot of guys want a man cave, right? He has a man house and yard," said Penny. It was out in the yard where Andre took me for a tour. "Of course, as soon as I put Heartbreak Hotel here it started it all," said Andre who told me his neighbors don't mind at all, in fact they bring their friends over to see what's new. Bob's Big Boy, Ronald McDonald, a Chevron sign; the yard is filled with those and so many more. "Colonel Sanders here is there next, and I have a giant pig up top here," said Andre.
It just kept going. Andre took me to his pool and then to his garage which he converted into a room to hold more of the collection. The garage doubles as workout room is a good reminder for visitors that this is their home. Andre told me people show to their house and actually think it is a hotel and ask for a room.
"Yeah, they want to know the price," said Andre. I asked him what he tells them. "Well, it's just my home and most people turn around and high tail it out of here," said Andre. That means no vacancies at the Heartbreak Hotel; after all they've got a full house with Elvis, James Dean, and so much Marilyn.
I asked if Penny if it makes her jealous to see Andre obsess over the 1950's heart throb. "No, she didn't make it to 75. She was a really nice lady; she was very sharp. She just wasn't as ornery as I am," said Penny. "I raised the kids of which there were three and I have 9 grandkids. I don't really care don't care what he does with the house. I really don't."
To which Andre says to his wife; thank you, thank you very much! His favorite Elvis song? "Oh, I don't know, Heartbreak Hotel?" he laughed. Andre and Penny don't give out their address but they say if you want to find Heartbreak Hotel you will. They only ask that if you do please be respectful; drive by but don't knock on their door.
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