Just an update on that Velvet Drive problem. We removed the transmission and it was the drive plate. There is a smaller center plate with the grooves that go over the transmission spline which is riveted on the large plate having the springs. all the rivets were sheared off. Except for the rivets, everything else looked in good shape.
Long story short, the transmission was brought to a shop and everything checked out. With the new plate and the service at the shop the bill was under $500. Put things back together (being very careful not to force the last 1/4" by sucking it in with the bolts) and everything works great. Thanks for all the help, you guys were spot on on the diagnosis.