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Elvis Forever In My Heart
Mosaic for the 40th Anniversary of Aloha From Hawaii
We lost a legend.
August 16, 1977, we lost a legend, an American icon and a fantastic entertainer. I danced to Elvis Presley music at an early age. As soon as I could recognize a tuneful beat as a toddler, Elvis was my favorite kind of music. The older I got the stronger my passion got for all things Elvis.
I can clearly recall watching him in our living room on our black and white television. Television was a treat in those days with the selection of entertainment greatly limited. I believe we got two channels and on rare occasions possibly a third channel. ABC, NBC, and CBS were the only choice we had, that was it.
Although I was not born until 1955 and it was the 50s Elvis first performed on variety shows like Ed Sullivan and the Milton Berle shows. I remember it. His first movie Love Me Tender was released in 1956. It was a post civil war film and a western in its own rights. Some talented stars joined his spotlight in Love Me Tender like Richard Egan, Debra Paget, L.Q. Jones and James Drury. I was a year old then and I don’t know how old I was when I first viewed his movies, but I was young.
It kind of makes one homesick for the good ole days.
As soon as I was old enough to go to the picture show. It was Elvis I watched unless Disney had something playing. Now and then a good western would come to town. Variety was slack at the theater, too, one screen per theater, not a half a dozen and a choice like they have today. One thing we had in those days that are not plentiful today though was drive-in outdoor theaters with a mammoth screen and a special speaker you attached to your car window. You could pack your car full on a Wednesday night at a discount price of three or four dollars. They had a concession stand with popcorn and candy just like the indoor theaters had. Weekends were extra special as they introduced the new films coming to a screen near you. Baby Boomers have seen a much more laid back form of entertaining themselves back then than they do today. It kind of makes us homesick for the old days.
I was only three when Elvis was drafted, but with him all over the news and still performing Number one hits while in the Army, I had no real concern. I was a bit young to worry about war or anything dangerous. I did however as those years go by become alarmed he brought home a young girl, Priscilla Beaulieu from Germany to pursue a long romantic relationship with. The day they got married in 1967 I know I was not alone in feeling a little jolted by it. Silly or not it was a common occurrence among the teeny bops that grew up loving him. Despite all that, we welcomed their new arrival Lisa Marie in 1968. When Elvis and Priscilla divorced in 1973, his millions of faithful fans including myself were feeling very sad for him.
If I Can Dream
I believe every being comes into our lives for a reason.
More hits, more movies, more concerts and more record albums made Elvis Presley’s career soar. Songs to fill our hearts and excite our dancing shoes just as his first one, Heartache Hotel did, we never got over the love for the King of Rock and Roll, he had become. The seventies rock and our idol becomes overly exhausted by the fast pace he keeps. Before our very eyes we can see the King is not himself and aware or not of the things he must do to keep himself going, it all comes to a screaming halt. On August 16, 1977 our world lost an everlasting icon of love and success and we mourn with great heartaches. We mourn with every breath we breathe to give thanks for giving us Elvis, even if we lost him at the young age of 42. Long live his memory, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Aaron Presley. Forever and ever he remains in our hearts as long as we shall live.
I believe every being comes into our lives for a reason. I believe Elvis taught us many things both while he was here and after he departed. The gospel music he so proudly sang as a reflection of his sweet mama and the push forward to never give up on bringing a new style of dance and entertainment to the world. He was not photographed from the waist up forever and he even made clear of the powerful act of courage he could contribute to his country both by going to battle or on home front as an advocate against dangerous drugs and awarded by Richard Nixon a badge to influence our young people. It was great sadness he fell victim to prescription drugs that no doubt took him from this world much too soon. Perhaps that event can stop another from the same tragic death.
Fifty years of loving Elvis
After over fifty years of loving Elvis I finally got to tour Graceland in 2012. It is an experience of a life time. It is like stepping back in time and everything is frozen in place just as Elvis left it. The feeling of his presence is very strong there and I’m certain he knew I had finally come to see him. Every Elvis fan needs to go there at least once in their lives. I know I finally felt a closure I lacked before. May he rest in peace and his fans find comfort knowing that he is.
Not long after my trip to Graceland in 2012 I had my picture added to a mosaic of Elvis in Aloha from Hawaii, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of his concert there. This is one of many “I am an Elvis Fan.” collective mosaics. My photo is in the yellow strip near his collar. They have an extra large copy in Hawaii and one at Graceland.
Love Me Tender
What was he like to work with?
Another added adventure took me to meet two of Elvis’s guest stars in Love Me Tender which are James Drury and L.Q. Jones at the Memphis Film Festival right after my visit to Graceland. Of course, I meant many other western stars there and we helped celebrate the 50th anniversary of the classic television show The Virginian. Of all the things I could ask James Drury-The Virginian, all I could think of was Elvis. What was he like to work with? I knew what his answer would be before he even told me how much he enjoyed working with Elvis and how honored he felt to be in his first movie. I never had a chance to find out what L.Q. would say, but I would imagine he felt the same way.