From: 26th Anniversary Issue, August 2003
by Phil Arnold
It seems everyone gets more interested in Elvis around August 16th each year. This phenomenon was certainly most pronounced in 2002 as we approached the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ passing. Even the highly respected Harris Poll felt compelled to see how the American population as a whole feel about Elvis.
It’s pleasing to note that 34% of the 209 million adults over eighteen consider themselves Elvis fans. While that may be expected, the big surprise has to be Harris’ finding that 23% of young adults (18 to 23) are Elvis fans. So, it looks like our nation’s fascination with Elvis won’t run out of steam any time soon.
Here’s an incredible statistic: One in ten Americans have visited Graceland. Wow, that’s a lot of people. No wonder the lines are so long, and the prices keep going up.
Do you think there are an awful lot of Elvis impersonators out there? There must be, because according to Harris nearly 72 million folks have seen one. Think about it, 34% of the population has seen a tribute performer, compared to just 5% who saw the real deal live in concert.
The poll also revealed that tribute artists might want to reconsider which Elvis they impersonate. They may prefer to go on stage in jumpsuits, but the public has a different taste. Only 9% preferred the 70’s Elvis, compared with 48% for the 60’s Elvis, and 42% for the 50’s Elvis.
Elvis’ movies often get a lot of bad press, but they still have appeal. 70% of the people polled said they had watched an Elvis movie. That obviously is heavily weighted to TV and video viewing, because an Elvis movie hasn’t been shown in theaters for almost 35 years. Too bad Harris didn’t do a question about how many total viewings we crazies have done over the years. How many Elvis movies did you watch last August?
© 2004 Philip R Arnold