Elvis History Blog Readers in 2016
Share Their Stories & Comments

Twice a year, this blog space is given over to its readers, and this week is the second installment for 2016. Following are just a few of the interesting stories and messages I’ve received from readers via the “comment” link at the bottom of this blog page. Comments arrive in my inbox almost daily, and I try to answer them all as soon as time permits. However, to repeat what I’ve noted before, my response to all questions about the value of Elvis collectibles will be … “I’m not a collector of Elvis memorabilia, and so I know nothing about the value of such items. I suggest you put your items up for auction on a site like eBay and see what response you get.”

The following stories and comments have been received within the last few months. As usual, I’ll start with the kind of feedback that motivates a blogger to keep going.

From Robert: From all sites, yours sticks out head and shoulders above. The greatest and best informative site I’ve seen, ever.

My Response to Robert: Wow! It’s worth all the time and effort I’ve put into Elvis History Blog over the past nine years just to receive a comment like yours. I’ll do my best to continue providing informative and balanced content about Elvis Presley’s life and work in the coming New Year. 


From Gary: I recently discovered your Elvis website and am enjoying all the information, especially your reviews of his movies. One comment on Viva Las Vegas—you mention how Elvis shrugs off the apparent death of Cesare Danova's character during the big auto race. But if you look closely, Danova is actually in the final scene, at Elvis and Ann-Margret's wedding! So he somehow survived that horrible crash without a scratch!

My Response to Gary: I love it when readers like you point out unusual occurrences in Elvis’s movies. I’ve watched Viva Las Vegasmany times but never noticed Count Mancini in the wedding scene. It’s probably because it’s hard to take your eyes off the beautiful bride and the handsome groom.


From Ryan: I am also a dedicated Elvis fan. Since I was a young boy I remember my Mother and Father both playing many albums and eight tracks of his music. When I developed my own taste in music in the ’80s, beginning as early as 6th grade, I just kept trying to listen to and learn the lyrics to sing along with every Elvis tape or cassette I could get my hands on. I remember my Mother crying when they had announced his passing and watching the funeral with her when I was just 7 years old. I didn't understand at the time why, but as I matured and felt the passion in his music when I was much older, I completely understood the grief over his passing that my mother must have felt.

My Response to Ryan: I’ve read so many interesting stories like yours of parents passing their affection for Elvis down to their children. I can’t think of any other entertainer who had the power to inspire such extensive generational transfer of devotion. Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra were giants in their own time, but their popularity has not survived their passing to anywhere near the extent that Elvis’s has.


From Susan: (In response to my blog on Elvis and politics)

From what I have been reading, he wasn't a staunch Republican or Democrat.  He did admire some Democrat politicians like Kennedy. He seemed to go far right during the ’60s and hated the hippy culture. He obviously supported the Vietnam War, although it is not clear why, unless it was an anti communist stance. He was also very connected to the military, since he joined the army. Of course Priscilla's step-father was in the military (that’s how he met her in Germany), and her real father had been in the military. Plus Priscilla's half brother went to Vietnam. Apparently, he told Nixon the Beatles were filthy and unkempt and advised him to ban them from entering the U.S. Sounds a lot like jealously to me—they were at the time Number 1!

I did read that when the Beatles met Elvis, he told John Lennon that he had made a film in a week and it had “made him a million bucks.” Lennon replied,” I’ve got this afternoon free; lets make an epic together.” Elvis was infuriated because Lennon had made fun of him and hated him ever after! Tom Jones, a good friend of Elvis, also hated the Beatles.

The hippy movement, of course, made Elvis out of fashion. Elvis was politically conservative, hated the hippy culture, and was appalled by abortion. And yet he took drugs and took part in orgies. It seems that he saw himself as having a special right to do this because of who he was, but not other people. A case of “do as I say not as I do.” I wonder what his political views would have been had he not been a successful entertainer and remained poor?

He also spoke out about a man who had been unfairly sacked at the Hilton Hotel and said he should have been in a Trade Union. The Colonel told him he wasn't there to preach like Billy Graham. The American Dream didn't work for everyone it seems.

My Response to Susan: I rarely get commentary through Elvis History Blog that is so extensive and thoughtful as yours. In general, I agree with your objective and balanced view of Elvis’s political views, or lack thereof. His civic stances are hard to nail down, since he did not speak often about politics, and when he did, he often had an ulterior motive. (For instance, everything he said to Nixon was calculated to get the President to give him a drug enforcement badge.)

Being a historian by nature and education, however, I would need some reputable sources before I could accept some of your comments as fact. For instance, I’ve never read or heard that Elvis participated in “orgies.” I guess some might classify his escapades with Parisian showgirls while on leave from the army as “orgies,” but I’ve seen no evidence that even that rose to the level of debauchery usually associated with an “orgy.”


From Juan: Regarding the This Is Elvis review. Elvis’s sexual, off-color comments were not released on the original 1972 Elvis On Tour film. He made those comments knowing they would be edited and not included in the final cut of the documentary. The This Is Elvis documentary simply used outtake footage. This reminds me of the 1970 documentary That's The Way It Is, when Elvis looks at the camera and says to a member of his entourage, "You can't use those words; they'll cut it right out.” Of course decades later, the scene was used for the This Is Elvis special edition DVD release.

My Response to Juan: Elvis probably expected that his “sexual, off-color comments” recorded during filming for the Elvis on Tourdocumentary would not be included in the film, but, as a certain presidential candidate learned recently, anything a celebrity says while the cameras are running can surface at a later date to embarrass him. Of course, Elvis was not alive to be embarrassed by his sexual comments being included in This Is Elvis, but his once veiled personal life suffered another uncomfortable revelation. 


From Joe: Alan, love this blog! I can relate to just about everything you write about being an Elvis fan. I started in 1956 when I was 10. My 12-year-old sister said we had to watch the Dorsey Brothers TV show to see this singer. It was a revelation. For us it was the beginning of Rock and Roll. Elvis was singing “Tutti Frutti,” and we started dancing!  Like you, I miss the excitement of a new Elvis album or single coming out. Great memories. Thank you!

My Response to Joe: It’s always fun to hear the stories about the memorable moments that turned people into life-long Elvis fans. For most, like you Joe, it’s a never to be forgotten event. Strangely, though, I can’t remember why I became an Elvis fan back in 1962. I remember that “Return to Sender” was on the charts at the time and Girls! Girls! Girls! was in theaters, but the exact moment I became an Elvis fan escapes me.


From Don: I've done some research on my own. Billboard is a crooked publication. They stripped Elvis of half of his pre-Hot 100 number ones based on a chart name change. Also, they refused to recognize “America,” a 2001 number 6 Hot 100 Best Seller; “A Little Less Conversation,” a 2002 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; “Rubberneckin’," a 2003 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; “That’s All Right,” a 2004 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; and “Heartbreak Hotel,” a 2006 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller as legitimate hits because they would rather go by a list that is influenced by payola.

I found a site back in 2004 that was run by a man by the name of James Leeky. Through his research, Mr. Leeky discovered that around the world Elvis has amassed over 70 number one hits and over 30 number one albums. Mysteriously, someone sought to shut down Leeky's website for good and now it's as if it didn't exist. I am in the process of recreating that site and posting the charts as they were at the time. I copied the pages before the site was taken down, thank God!

My Response to Don: I certainly admire your passion for Elvis and your commitment to making sure he gets the credit he deserves, but I wonder if such fervor sometimes interferes with the joy of just being an Elvis fan. It’s much more gratifying to celebrate his enormous influence on music and popular culture than to chase conspiracy theories against him.


From Don: I've done some research on my own. Billboard is a crooked publication. They stripped Elvis of half of his pre-Hot 100 number ones based on a chart name change. Also, they refused to recognize “America,” a 2001 number 6 Hot 100 Best Seller; “A Little Less Conversation,” a 2002 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; “Rubberneckin’," a 2003 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; “That’s All Right,” a 2004 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller; and “Heartbreak Hotel,” a 2006 number 1 Hot 100 Best Seller as legitimate hits because they would rather go by a list that is influenced by payola.

I found a site back in 2004 that was run by a man by the name of James Leeky. Through his research, Mr. Leeky discovered that around the world Elvis has amassed over 70 number one hits and over 30 number one albums. Mysteriously, someone sought to shut down Leeky's website for good and now it's as if it didn't exist. I am in the process of recreating that site and posting the charts as they were at the time. I copied the pages before the site was taken down, thank God!

My Response to Don: I certainly admire your passion for Elvis and your commitment to making sure he gets the credit he deserves, but I wonder if such fervor sometimes interferes with the joy of just being an Elvis fan. It’s much more gratifying to celebrate his enormous influence on music and popular culture than to chase conspiracy theories against him. — Alan Hanson (© December 2016)

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"I remember my Mother crying when they had announced his passing. I didn't understand at the time why, but as I matured and felt the passion in his music, I completely understood the grief over his passing that my mother must have felt."