Friday, April 16, 2021

An Elvis Moment

With two children, four and ten years old, and our cottage in Denmark off limits due to corona restrictions, me and my wife were a bit lost at what to do during the Easter Holiday here in Sweden. Then we got the idea to play tourists in our home town and stay in a hotel for one night. 

It turned out to be a great experience, especially for the kids. My sister-in-law had worked as a manager at that particular hotel, and saw to it that our room was full of balloons and  Easter eggs filled with candy. There were even some newly bought magazines placed on a table, one for each family member. Mine had a famous shot from the Comeback Special on the cover and was titled (in Swedish) The Complete Guide To Elvis. It included some 30 articles spread over about 150 pages.

I lay down on the comfortable bed for a predictable but pleasant read. The chapters covered different aspects of Elvis' history such as his rise to fame, his movie career, the '68 Comeback Special and the return to live performances in Las Vegas. It also featured articles about some of Elvis' most important albums, like Elvis Presley, Elvis Is Back and From Elvis In Memphis

The magazine included a lot of photos, and I recognized most of them. But in one of the last chapters, titled "Having Fun With Elvis," I spotted one I hadn't seen before: it showed a handwritten list of the movies Elvis had watched when he rented the Memphian Theatre on Friday, September 25, 1964. 

Four titles were picked by Elvis that night, but only the last one, Dr. Strangelove, was screened from start to finish - apparently for the fifth time! The one before that, Kings of the Sun, apparently didn't grab Elvis and the reels were switched to the Peter Sellers movie after only a couple of minutes. It was also amusing to see what was written below the list: "Elvis was always one hour to three hours late."

Finishing the magazine, I noticed it was written by Gillian G. Gaar and titled Elvis - The Legend when originally released in English. A quick search on the internet on my phone revealed that the author was a music journalist and the magazine an adaption of an illustrated biography authorized by the Graceland Archives to mark the 40th anniversary of Elvis death in 2017.

It's funny how Elvis turns up when you least expect him to. This time in a hotel room full of balloons, Easter eggs and children. Granted, the magazine wasn't something I would have picked up from a newsstand as it was clearly aimed for the general public, offering nothing new. But it was my Elvis moment that day, and it was a good one. 

PS: This is what Jerry Schilling has to say about Elvis and Dr. Strangelove in his book Me and a Guy Named Elvis:

"There was one stretch during which Elvis had us watch Dr. Strangelove at least a dozen times. Me and the boys were probably not the most astute judges of political satire, but, hearing Elvis bust up laughing, we'd start to see the film through his eyes and end up laughing just as hard. [...] As a matter of fact, he did a masterful impression of Dr. Strangelove being choked by his own misbehaving prosthetic hand, an impression that he startled us with countless times over the years."


Jakob Skjernaa Hansen said...

Gillian G. Gaar wrote the book "Return of The King: Elvis Presley's Great Comeback" (2010), about, of course, the "comeback years" 1968-1970. I highly recommend it!

Thomas said...

Thanks for the tip Jakob, appreciate it! Googled the title and read a couple of reviews on different Elvis sites that I respect, all of them positive. I'll try to get my hands on a copy.