ELVIS LIVES!

And South Florida's Tabloid Valley vanishes.

The swashbuckling tabloid days are gone. With the Enquirerheaded to New York, Tabloid Valley and the hard-drinking, source-bribing journalists it nurtured are quickly vanishing. Gone also is the catchy way they tried to point out the absurdity of life.

Standing along Dixie Highway, McDonough recalls a story about Peter Burt's father, long-time Enquirer reporter and Examiner Editor Billy Burt. During the senior Burt's tenure at the Examinerin the '80s, the tabloid quoted a farmer who alleged that Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe were living together in a remote cabin in Alaska. A British journalist who was in South Florida to research a story about the U.S. tabloid industry grilled Burt about the article.

"You know that isn't true," McDonough remembers the reporter telling Burt.

"We have someone who says it's true," Burt responded. "This rancher, he says he saw them."

"But you know that's not true," the reporter insisted.

"Excuse me! In the New York Times this morning, President Reagan was quoted as saying there were no Contras in Nicaragua. We know that's not true either, but they still printed it."

McDonough laughs, stuffing his hands in his jeans pockets. He still lives in Lantana and works as a freelance writer for several newspapers in England. But he misses those outrageous tabloid days.

"A few years ago, I was riding my bike through Lantana," he says as he trains an eye across Dixie Highway. "I saw a big truck in front of the Enquirer building, and someone was loading up that famous, big red sign. It was just sad, painfully sad."

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