By Ryan Buxton, EnStarz | Aug 17, 2012 10:03 AM EDT
Every year, Elvis fans flock to his sprawling estate, Graceland, to hold a candlelight vigil for the music legend, but his wife Priscilla Presley revealed she almost never opened the home up to the public.
Priscilla appeared with her daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in an interview from Graceland on the Today show Thursday - the first time the pair has been interviewed together from the home. During the chat, Priscilla admitted she faced pressure to close Graceland's doors after The King's death in 1977.
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"I was told that Elvis passed, and that he'll be forgotten in the next couple of years. Life goes on," she said. "Thank God I didn't listen to any of those people."
Despite the naysayers, the residence opened up to the public in 1982 and interest exploded, drawing 600,000 visitors a year and becoming a National Historic Landmark. For the 35th anniversary of Elvis' death in 2012, the annual vigil exceeded expectations and drew more than 75,000 visitors.
The fanfare is especially important, Priscilla said, because Elvis thought he would be forgotten by pop culture once he retired from music.
"And to see this every year? It's like, 'Oh my gosh, you were wrong. Look at this! Look what you do every year,'" she said. "It brings a smile to my face, because...if he only knew."
Priscilla and Lisa Marie have mostly avoided appearances together in the past, but because it's the 35th anniversary of her father's passing, Lisa Marie said it was an "important" time to speak to the public together.
"I've always avoided this because I felt that it would be too emotional, but I really felt it was important to come down here tonight," the singer's daughter told the crowd at the Graceland vigil. "I love you very, very, very much."
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