It can take me four hours to go through a 60 minute Elvis DVD, and even longer for an Elvis movie. That’s because I like to play with Pause, Slo-Mo and Single-Frame-Advance while I’m watching. I do this on the TV just for fun, or on my laptop, so I can capture screen shots you would otherwise miss as the film advances at 24 frames per second.
Elvis was getting considerable heat in the press as the year 1956 ended. His gyrations on TV had many pundits claiming he was a bad influence on the country’s teenagers. Bowing to this pressure, Ed Sullivan filmed Elvis from the waist up on his third and last appearance, January 6, 1957.
Elvis knew this was happening, but he improvised a wonderful move to connect with his young audience. At the big finale of “Don’t Be Cruel,” he bent his head forward and raised his right hand above his head, his fingers spread, his palm facing back.
As Elvis sang the last notes, he looked out of the top of his eyes and he curled his hand down slowly while it vibrated like an alarm going off.
Words cannot do justice to the impact of this gesture. If you have either video “Elvis ’56,” or “The Great Performances,” or “ELVIS: The Ed Sullivan Shows,” you can see for yourself. Go to the end of “Don’t Be Cruel” where he raises his hand and hit the pause button. Then do single-frame advance. You will be amazed at the still pictures of Elvis, especially his hand and his eyes.
He looks like a mad wizard about to shoot lightning bolts from the ends of his fingers. I promise, it will give you goosebumps.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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