KING CREOLE – Elvis’s best movie role (Part 1)

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– Elvis’s best movie role –

(Part 1)

By Mariusz Ogieg?o


“It is my duty and I must fulfill it. I’m proud of it “. Graceland, purchased in the spring of 1957, received thousands of letters every day. Whole bags of letters. Mostly from Elvis fans, in which they assured their idol of undying love.

However, the correspondence delivered to Presley’s residence shortly before Christmas differed from that he had regularly received over the past few months. Instead of a woman’s seductive red lipstick, the envelope bore the official seal of the Memphis draft board. Inside, however, was a document that had been expected for a long time (Elvis was to learn about it on December 19 from the chairman of the commission, Milton Bowers), and which could have permanently changed the course of the phenomenal career of the twenty-two-year-old singer.

On December 20, 1957, Elvis Presley was called up for military service. The singer, hailed as the king of rock’n’roll, was to wear boots at the beginning of the following year, on January 20, 1958.

The information about Elvis’ conscription into the army quickly reached the media, where it immediately sparked heated discussions and comments. The largest American dailies devoted extensive articles to it and even, like the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, entire front pages.

” Elvis Presley, who thanks to his rapidly developing career became a world-famous rock’n’roll singer, received ‘greetings’ from Uncle Sam yesterday ,” The Los Angeles Times reported the next day.

A greeting that, according to The Indianapolis Star published on the same day (December 21, 1957), ” apparently surprised Presley .” Even though, as the author of the text wrote, ” according to the rumors circulating since the beginning of the week, his name had a ‘hot’ status in the draft board .”

“It’s quite a surprise for me ,” Elvis himself said in a conversation with journalists.

In reality, however, even if in the multitude of numerous duties (recording sessions, work on a film set and constant performances on stage), the singer actually forgot about his duty to his homeland, it is worth emphasizing here that from the perspective of the principles and functioning of the American Army his being drafted into the army was not at all unusual.

His ability to perform regular military service was confirmed on January 4, 1957, during examinations at the Veterans Hospital. Kennedy in Memphis. From then on, the call for it was a kind of formality.

A natural course of events that had no influence on him or even his manager, Colonel Parker.

Although watching the film “ELVIS” directed by Baz Luhrmann, you may get a completely different – wrong impression. According to the creators of the picture, it was Parker who suggested that Elvis join the army in order to alleviate the controversy surrounding him, improve his image in the eyes of society and, above all, cool down the hostile mood after the famous concert at Russwood Park in Memphis in July 1956.

As a result, everything I mentioned above and what was shown in the famous production from 2022 is only part of the truth. In fact, Colonel Parker, hoping that his stay in the army would improve his client’s image, not only did not take any steps to prevent Presley from being drafted into the Army (or to provide him with special treatment during his service), but also decided to make it the most important media event the ending decade and create a new image of Elvis – an exemplary citizen who abandoned his comfortable and prosperous life almost overnight to serve his country.

Material issues also did not go unnoticed by journalists, who repeatedly emphasized in their texts that one of the currently highest-earning artists in the USA will now have to live only on a modest monthly military salary.

The Indianapolis Star newspaper quoted earlier emphasized that ” Presley, who used to receive up to fifty thousand dollars for a single ‘live’ performance, will now earn seventy-eight dollars a month as an ordinary private .”

The possibility of Elvis’s two-year absence from the market caused a huge stir among both his opponents and supporters. The former believed that for such a long period of time, young people would forget about him, find new idols, and the short-lived fashion he started would disappear forever.

The latter, however, despaired and did everything in their power to ensure that the draft board’s decision never came into force. ” It’s a crime ,” commented one of Presley’s admirers standing at the entrance gate to Graceland in The Tribune newspaper from Ohio. ” I feel like crying ,” added another. And another said directly: ” I just want to touch his mouth and eyes. I will follow him anywhere. Even to a military camp. They can’t keep me away from him .”

The fans’ actions were not limited to making touching comments in the press. Many of them even took to the streets to defend their idol! Protesters demonstrated in front of the recruitment committee buildings and bombarded it with thousands of letters every day expressing their dissatisfaction with Elvis’ call for military service. Some of them even demanded that the steps taken by the commission’s employees be canceled and that the singer be released from the obligation to join the army.

“I’m sick of it ,” Milton Bewers complained to reporters in early 1958. “ My whole life revolves around Elvis Presley now. With all due respect to Elvis, he’s a nice guy, but we drafted people who were much more important than him. After all, without the whole show business veneer, who is he? Truck driver? “.

Throughout the entire situation, only Elvis seemed to remain calm. Commenting on his vocation in the press, he admitted that serving in the army is his duty that he must fulfill and the only thing he worries about is a very long separation from his parents.

” Elvis wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of becoming a soldier, but no matter what strings he could pull to change that at the time, he wasn’t going to do it ,” Jerry Schilling said in his book Me And A Guy Named Elvis. ” He felt he was no different from anyone else in this respect .”

Information provided by EP Promised Land (Poland), Mariusz Ogieg?o


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