In Search of Historic Elvis

 

My son and his fiancé came down from Columbus, Ohio to celebrate Thanksgiving with us.  Because they won’t be coming back again for Christmas, they brought all their presents with them.  When my son set the packages down, he asked, “Do you want to open them now or on Christmas?”  I told him waiting until Christmas was fine.

However, a few minutes later he asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to open one now?”  It was easy to figure out there was a really good present over there, one I was sure to like.  I told him yes, and, boy was that a good move.  He gave me a four-disc DVD set showing every page of every issue of Rolling Stone magazine from 1967 to 2007. 


 

Because I now own Rolling Stone – Cover to Cover, what would otherwise be a huge pile of back issues in my basement is now 3 discs sitting right next to my computer.  I am going to have so much fun going back through those old issues.

A fourth DVD is a browser you upload so you can search, view and organize the entire archive.  As soon as I got it installed, I went to Search and typed in Elvis.  What else would you expect from the blogmeister at ElvisBlog.  Up popped a list of 1420 Elvis articles.  Wow.  I didn’t think Rolling Stone wrote that much about him.  Then, I discovered that most of the articles merely had a mention of Elvis in the text of a story about another artist. 

Once I zeroed the search in to straight Elvis stories, I needed to decide which one to read first.  I like writing about anniversaries of Elvis events, and I needed a new topic for the next blog.  So, I thought I’d see if they had a story published in December 1969, which would be worthy of a 40th anniversary look back.  Unfortunately, there were no Rolling Stone Elvis articles then, so I just looked for any interesting December story in any year.  I was excited to find, “1981:  A Bad Year for Elvis.”  Hmmm.  How you can have a bad year if you are dead.

 

Once I read the story, I could see author Dave Marsh’s point.  There were three bummer things that happened in 1981 to tarnish Elvis’ image.  There was Albert Goodman’s hatchet job book titled “Elvis.”  There was the Tennessee trial against Dr Nick for recklessly over-prescribing pills for Elvis.  And there was the report filed by a lawyer for thirteen-year-old Lisa Marie against Col. Parker for taking excessive commissions on Elvis’s income.  I decided to save that article to discuss in a December 2011 blog when it would be the 30th anniversary.

Finally, I found a story from December 1989 titled “In Search of Historic Elvis.”  Author Alan D. Maislen shared his theory that depictions of Elvis showed up throughout history in many different cultures and countries.  He asks, “If Elvis is able to make appearances after his death, shouldn’t he have been able to show up before his birth?”

 

Before even reading the article, it was apparent that it would be tongue-in-cheek.  After all, we know none of those huge rock heads on Easter Island had sideburns.  Maislen started out by describing Peruvian mountain carvings in the shape of teddy bears, visible only by aircraft.  Then it was Incan priests with rings on chains around their necks.  The next one actually sounded believable until the last line. “… Rouen tapestry that depicts the martyrdom of Saint Joan of Arc.  The figure in the background was assumed to be a Burgundian bishop, chiefly because of his high collared, gold-sequined robe.”  We realize our leg is being pulled when the embroidery along the bottom of the tapestry is translated to “I want a hunk, a hunk of burning love.”

The next mock historical Elvis appearance was my favorite.  It was an Asian culture that once built ornate temples in the jungle and decorated them with an art form they invented — painting on black velvet.

The Rolling Stone article ended with the so-called diary of Walter Reed, the father of the cure for yellow fever.  I love these entries in his journal concerning his first patient:

Hands: Shaking
Knees: Weak.  Can’t seem to stand on own two feet.
Lips:  Like a volcano when it’s hot.
Patient: Delirious, Acts wildly, as if he were a bug.
Question: Why is he all shook up?

Author Maislen continues this section’s Elvis connection with the revelation that Walter Reed discovered the cause of yellow fever to be a mosquito (a bug).  This all supposedly happened in Cuba, the land renowned for its “fuzzy trees.”

I love to find well-written pieces about Elvis Presley, and “The Search for Historical Elvis” is just that.  In addition, it was illustrated by Anita Kunz who created some great historical renderings.


 

I wish I could give you a link to this wonderful content, but it’s not on the internet.  If your spouse spends close to $100 on you each Christmas, you might tell him/her you would like Rolling Stone – Cover to Cover.  You will love it.  That reminds me.  I need to call my son and thank him for such a really cool present.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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