Monday, January 08, 2007

A Hunka Hunka Burning Birthday Candles

The year was 1935. The surviving twin baby boy was Elvis. Yep, today marks what would have been (or what is, depending on what you believe) Elvis’ 72nd birthday. No matter what you thought (or again, what you think) of him, Elvis remains one America’s most iconic figures. His career spanned three distinct phases, all of which left a mark on our culture. There was his raw and shocking early career where he seemed to challenge middle America with every move of his hips, his forgettable 60s movie roles and lastly his Vegas jumpsuit era which is probably how most now picture him. Ok, enough of the tribute, let’s get on to the good stuff. So, pull up a chair, shoot out the TV and fry up a peanut butter and banana sandwich (which I will admit is actually pretty tasty, despite spending the night in the hospital for an emergency angioplasty after eating one).

Out here in lovely Southern California, the Nixon Presidential Library is getting in on the Elvis birthday action. The AP says that the library opened an exhibit today chronicling the December 1970 meeting of the former President and King of Rock and Roll. The exhibit features the outfits that both men were wearing (I wonder which weighed more, the all wool suit, or Elvis’ jumpsuit) and the gun that Elvis gave to Nixon. Of course, the photo of the two of them shaking hands in the Oval Office has become a very recognizable image and the AP story actually says that it is the number one most requested image from the National Archives. See, who says you can’t generate interest in American politics. Release a photo of Paris Hilton and President Bush and watch the interest peak.

I can’t help but look at that photo and think of Batman and Police Commissioner Gordon. It’s in the Oval Office, Nixon looks very ‘Presidenty’ and Elvis looks like a caricature in his jumpsuit and cape. Now tell me, how many other famous people can you think of who have the confidence (or perhaps audacity) to meet the President while wearing a cape? Not even Barbara Streisand, I bet. Although for public entertainment purposes, maybe every Oval Office visitor should be required to wear a sequined cape. It could have the Presidential Seal on it and you could buy replicas at Presidential libraries or the White House gift shop. Do you think Elvis offered to buy Nixon a Cadillac in order to get his drug enforcement badge?

Growing up a young impressionable Elvis fan left me with a few things to overcome as I grew up. You can imagine my surprise during my first few dates in high school when I realized that not every date was going to culminate with a campy song and dance number on the beach. It’s too bad really, because I always arrived prepared with my trusty cheap acoustic guitar and sidekick by my side. My first hint should have been that I wasn’t a racecar driver, circus performer, army soldier stationed in Germany or fishing boat captain. Plus, Ann Margaret was never with me. Looking back now, it seems that every date ended the moment I began to serenade the girl with a lyrically challenged sub-par 60s pop tune. Oh well, it’s not my fault that these girls had no sense of excitement and no appreciation for really bad campy mid 60s romance! Those fools! I bet they’re lonesome tonight…

What else can you say about a performer who’s actions were so threatening to Eisenhower’s America that he had to perform ‘Hound Dog’ on the Steve Allen show to an actual hound dog while clad in a tux and tails? Can you imagine a performer today only being filmed from the waste up during a performance? That prudish Ed Sullivan! No matter what you want to say about the King, at least he provided the blueprint for living a life of excess for all that tried to follow in his footsteps.

How cool would it be to step into Elvis’ shoes (ok, I’ll say it: his blue suede shoes – are you happy now?) for just one day? Where else would it be ok to have a department store open up in the middle of the night just for my friends and me? I could buy large gas guzzling sedans for complete strangers. Or how about naming my residence, putting a silhouette of me on the front gates and building a ‘jungle room’ in it? If it was fun to shoot out a TV 30 years ago, how much more exciting would it be to fire a round into a plasma TV today? The sideburns, the glasses, the ‘j-suits,’ the girls, the jet-black hair, this guy was cool. Unfortunately, because of his excesses, we often overlook just how good a singer he really was. This cat had pipes, especially late in his career. Maybe a great voice is the side affect of bloating up like the girl who ate the candy and turned blue in Willy Wonka.

If he had survived those last fatal moments in the bathroom and was around to turn 72 today, what would he be like? Suspicious minds want to know. Would he have remarried later in life to someone who would have tamed him ala Sinatra or George Jones? Would he still be dying his hair or would he have pulled a Bob Barker by now and be sporting an all grey pompadour? Would he have slapped his daughter silly when she married Michael Jackson?

If he was still singing, would it be popular or a musical after thought. Yes, he’d probably still be playing in Vegas to huge crowds and he’d probably have a theater in Branson named after him. Maybe he would’ve taken up golf or become a spokesman for Cadillac (or Skippy Peanut Butter). I can just imagine the signature Elvis Escalade now complete with custom medallion rims and ‘TCB take care of business in a flash’ lightening bolt pin striping. He could be the featured performer one week on ‘Dancing with the Stars’ or ‘American Idol.’ If he were alive though, would Graceland be open to the public? What type of videos would he have attempted during the era of the music video? Would he have completely made the switch to country radio? Would Elvis have made cameos in ‘Airplane’ or ‘Cannon Ball Run?’

There are so many questions that will never be answered. If Elvis were still around today, there would be a couple of sure things we’d definitely know the answers to. The National Enquirer would be sorely lacking a longtime story to follow and Elvis would probably be on his third artificial hip by now. Happy Birthday Elvis, wherever you are, or aren’t…

16 comments:

mist1 said...

Elvis fact:

Elvis and my sister share a birthday. Elvis died on my birthday.

Creepy, no?

CSL said...

This post reminds me of the silly joke I heard in 7th grade that Elvis the Pelvis had a twin named Enis.

Michael C said...

Mist1: It is creepy, but I guarantdangtee ya you'll get a birthday wish from me come August 16th!!

CSL: I haven;t heard that before but you know I'll be repeating it at work tomorrow!!

Odat said...

I think I saw him today!!!
Peace

Michael C said...

Odat: I thought you might say that. So, was the hair dyed, black or missing altogether. Can you picture the King with a Bruce Willis receding hair line? Ok, not that I spend my time picturing that. Seriously!!!
;-)

PARLANCHEQ said...

If Elvis were alive today I think he would have a reality show like Ozzy Osbourne. :)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

How could Elvis not be President of the United States?

ShadowFalcon said...

Did Elvis spend his whole life talking to his dead twin?

Happy birthday king dude!

Natalie said...

HaHaHa, you said Branson.

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

elvis in the oval office in a cape! the man had class, no the man was a class in himself! what would he look like today? he would have jet blue/black hair, sideburns, capes, boots, the works, because he was ELVIS... and there would be a vegas hotel with a line of people out the door to get in to see him. and they would be throwing their panties at him. and their room keys. and swooning. and one of them would be me..... bee

Dan said...

How cool would it be to step into Elvis’ shoes for just one day?

Probably not so cool because you'd be mistaken for an Elvis impersonator! :)

Anonymous said...

The best place [url=http://coecomm.missouristate.edu/cs/user/Profile.aspx?UserID=2479]viagra online[/url] !

Anonymous said...

...please where can I buy a unicorn?

Anonymous said...

best web page just for you

Anonymous said...

Hi
[url=http://biloori.pt.gp/70/map.html]stars and famous map a[/url]
[url=http://bilhuta.profis.me/57/index.html]florida adult entertainment H[/url]
[url=http://biloori.pt.gp/68/index.html]decorations and favors 218[/url]
[url=http://bdimuel.unprecedented.de/75/map.html]anime columbus palace h[/url]
[url=http://bilhuta.profis.me/40/map.html]adult bath baby n[/url]
[url=http://bilhuta.profis.me/39/index.html]anime digital adult a[/url]
[url=http://bheqmuf.quests.eu/36/index.html]anime gi gx 586[/url]

See you later

cheap viagra online said...

I liked this blog, i think is very interesting, most of all for the new ideas that this blog talk.