Just about every Elvis fan know the story behind the letters TCB on his jewelry. Of course, it stands for Taking Care of Business, which was kind of a slogan for Elvis.
However, do you know the origin of the lightning bolt in Elvis’ TCB jewelry?
And on the wall decorations in the basement game room at Graceland.
And on the tail of his Lisa Marie Airplane.
I have numerous reference books that say it was inspired by the lightning bolt worn on the chest of Captain Marvel Jr., Elvis’ favorite comic book hero.
Even more significantly, these sources say that super-hero Captain Marvel Jr. influenced a great deal of Elvis’ life and appearance.
One web site asserts that Elvis read Captain Marvel Jr. Comics from September 1949 to January 1953 while living at the Lauderdale Court. In fact, the Presley’s apartment has been preserved as a historic site, and a copy of Captain Marvel Jr. #51 sits on a desk in Elvis’ old room.
In her book “Elvis Presley: The Man, The Life, The Legend,” author Pamela Clarke Keough states, “Elvis used comics as an escape… Around the age of 12, Elvis discovered Captain Marvel Jr. and quickly became almost obsessed with him.”
Billy Smith, Elvis’ cousin and longtime friend, said that Elvis especially admired the dual image of Captain Marvel Jr. and his alter ego — an everyday guy, poor teenager Freddy Freeman. But, when he said the magic words, Freddie Freeman turned into super crime-fighter Captain Marvel Jr.
The comic book website Dial B for Blog sums it up nicely: “This is why Elvis idolized Cap Jr. – because the Freddy Freeman/Captain Marvel Jr. character was a perfect mirror image of the once and future Elvis. Freddy represented Elvis as he was, and Captain Marvel Jr. represented Elvis as he wished to be.”
Pictures of Captain Marvel Jr. in the early fifties do indeed show a hairstyle ultimately affected by Elvis — long, glistening, black, with unruly locks hanging down over his forehead. Also, there is a distinct similarity between Captain Marvel Jr.’s outfit and the seventies Elvis. The argument certainly can be made that Elvis copied his one-piece jumpsuit, wide belt, boots, and most of all, the cape from his boyhood hero.
Finally, young Freddy Freeman was often seen wearing white scarves, and we all know how Elvis would go through dozens of them at every concert.
There does not seem to be any connection between Captain Marvel Jr. and Elvis in the use of the Taking Care of Business motto or the letters TCB. That appears to be a unique personal creation by Elvis.
© 2012 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.