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Topic: Aug. 8-16 is National Elvis Presley Week Return to archive
12th August 2006 06:13 PM
Ten Thousand Motels Published: August 11, 2006 12:58 pm

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, in retrospect

Whether you saw him live in his heyday, or think you saw him last week in the Caribbean with Jimmy Hoffa, everyone knows Elvis is ‘The King.’

Teddye Snell
Tahlequah Daily Press

TAHLEQUAH — When talking about Elvis Presley, most people fall into two categories: Those who liked him decked out all in white, cape flowing, with mutton-chop side burns and a gigantic golden belt; or those who remember “The King” when he was just a young prince, with pompadour hairdo, blue dungarees, black leather jacket and a baby’s face.

Aug. 8-16 is National Elvis Presley Week, set aside to honor the creator of rock ‘n’ roll in all his incarnations.

Many area residents remember exactly where they were when they heard the news of Elvis’ death, on Aug. 16, 1977.

“I was 18 years old and eight months pregnant when Elvis died,” said Sharon Wright, director of Cherokee Nation Marshal Service. “I grew up listening and watching Elvis. We went to the movie house in Stilwell to watch him in ‘Kissing Cousins,’ and my brother Tom and cousin Diane got thrown out early in the movie for talking. They were very strict about talking.”

Aside from remembering Elvis’ death, many recall bits of their youth that were inexorably intertwined with the singer’s popularity.

“We danced to his albums,” said Wright. “My mom and aunt were fans. Diane, that same cousin, went to see him in Las Vegas and told us how wonderful his show was for years, but that was in his big sideburns and bell-bottom [trouser] days.”

Sharon Winn, English professor at NSU, also recalls her first Elvis “sighting.”

“I remember seeing Elvis on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’ on TV,” she said. “If you got on the Ed Sullivan Show, you pretty much had it made in those days. Anyway, they showed Elvis from the waist up because people considered his gyrating [hips] obscene. We were hoping to get a glimpse of his legs, but no luck. Now I see him and I think of how mild all of this was. But I think they had really big ratings that week because Elvis was making waves.”

Arthur White, director of jazz studies at NSU, holds Elvis in high esteem.

“I respect the chances Elvis took in challenging the perceptions of rock ‘n’ roll, and what was, at the time, a very conservative environment for pop music,” said White. “For example, his appearance on the Sullivan show was a landmark achievement for exposing rock to a widespread audience, and a landmark for scaring the hell out of many parents, and really, isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll is supposed to do?”

White was younger when Elvis died.

“I remember playing outside the day Elvis died,” he said. “I hadn’t heard of his death yet that day when I saw a classmate’s mother walk into my neighbor’s house, sobbing uncontrollably. I went to school the next day and asked my classmates if her mother was OK. She told me her mom was crying because Elvis had died. It didn’t register with me until years later the impact that Elvis had on teenagers of the ‘50s and ‘60s, much in the way [Kurt] Cobain had on kids in the ‘90s.”

Reva Crawford, who works in Solutions Development at Cherokee Nation, knows first-hand the passion and loyalty Elvis’ and others who followed sparked in teens.

“The greats of pop music reach inside you and liberate passion in an entirely unsophisticated way,” said Crawford. “Sometimes, like Elvis, they have the looks and behavior as well that allows them to be a sex symbol and disturb the older generation at the same time. That makes them doubly popular.”

Crawford believes Elvis had a greater influence on the male gender in the beginning.

“When I think back to my teen years, almost all the boys I knew either played the guitar or tried to [in imitation of Elvis],” she said. “They tried for the hairdo and the swagger, combined with ‘Ah, shucks, ma’am.’”

Some residents never saw Elvis perform, but have made the pilgrimage - either voluntarily or not - to his famous home in Memphis: Graceland.

“My dear friend Paula and I went through Memphis after midnight,” said Wright. “We stopped at Graceland and the security let us prowl around the grounds. I went back later on a family vacation and took the tour. So, yes, Elvis is still a part of many lives. He’s even a vampire in a book series I read.”

Vampire or ghostly apparition, many people worldwide have reported seeing Elvis, long after his death.

“I just happened to be spending the night in Memphis on my way to Nashville in 1987,” said Marilyn Craig, public relations director for the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokees. “I was staying with friend who lived downtown, and as I drove down those city streets, I couldn’t believe my eyes! I saw Elvis everywhere I looked! It happened to be the 10th anniversary of Elvis’ death, and his fans were out in full force.”

Gregg Simmons, Tahlequah resident and Cherokee Nation Tax Commission staffer, doesn’t remember his Elvis experience with relish.

“I dated an Elvis fan once,” said Simmons. “She took me and some of our friends to Graceland. It happened to be Elvis’ birthday, and all of the weirdos had come out of the woodwork. There were Elvis impersonators of all shapes and sizes. I saw a baby dressed like Elvis, a man with about two strands of hair dressed like Elvis, an Asian man dressed like Elvis and countless others. It was just an all-around strange experience. I don’t care if I ever go back.”

White claims to have seen Elvis right here in Tahlequah.

“I had several Elvis sightings this summer,” he said. “And I anticipate seeing him again next June on the stage at River City Players!”

Whether they hold Elvis in esteem despite circumstances surrounding his death, or whether their image was jaded following his passing, Elvis will live on in the hearts of many – including Crawford.

“I saw Elvis live at Grady Gammidge Center at Arizona State University, probably around 1974,” said Crawford. “Sure, he was fat and a strange stereotype of himself, but it wasn’t much different than seeing a show on television on a beautiful place that you’ve visited at some time or other. The show could never be the same as your earlier travels, but it elicits the memories of the good times you had.”
12th August 2006 06:15 PM
RollingstonesUSA I bought the new Elvis:Live cd today, it's amazing!
12th August 2006 08:27 PM
glencar Always be the King...
12th August 2006 08:54 PM
Ten Thousand Motels ELVIS WEEK EVENTS,1426,MCA_505_4907706,00.html

Love him tender

August 13, 2006

Wednesday will be the 29th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death. As always, to mark the occasion, there will be plenty of Elvis sightings on the tube this week. Here are five:

This Is Elvis (Monday at 6:15 a.m., HBO Signature) - In this 1981 movie, the King is recalled in dramatizations and home movies, news clips and concert excerpts.

E! True Hollywood Story (Wednesday at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Saturday at 7 a.m., E!) - "The Last Days of Elvis" recalls the events of August 1977.

Elvis' Entourage (Wednesday at 10 p.m., Thursday at 2 a.m., Biography) - Members of Elvis' "Memphis Mafia" entourage reminisce about their experiences on the road, life at Graceland and in Hollywood.

Harum Scarum (Friday at 8 p.m.,i) - In this 1965 movie, Elvis plays an action star and ladies' man who is traveling through the Middle East on a goodwill tour to promote his latest movie. Once he arrives, however, he is kidnapped by a gang of assassins who are so impressed with his on-screen adventures that they want to hire him to carry out a real-life assassination of their own.

Elvis: That's the Way It Is (Saturday at 8 p.m. and Aug. 20 at 9 p.m., i) - This 1970 backstage documentary takes viewers behind the scenes as Elvis prepares for opening night in Las Vegas.


[Edited by Ten Thousand Motels]
12th August 2006 09:04 PM




[Edited by Ten Thousand Motels]
13th August 2006 02:06 PM
Kilroy Elvis Lives In The Hearts Of Every True Southern.
Elvis was and is The King of Rock N Roll
He has now left the building..............
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