Colonel Tom Parker’s Dancing Chickens: Many Elvis fans know that Col. Parker managed Eddie Arnold and Hank Snow before taking over Elvis’ career. However, I’ll bet you didn’t know this. According to www.leftlion.com, Colonel Parker once had a carnival act with dancing chickens. He got them to dance by putting them on an electric hotplate covered with sawdust, accompanied by a record player. Lucky for him, PETA wasn’t around back then.
Another Chicken Story: This comes from the caption under an Elvis picture on Flickr. “In January 1961, Elvis signed a 5 year contract with Hal Wallis. To celebrate, he went out and bought a Rolls Royce Phantom V from a Beverly Hills dealer, only to bring it home and have his mother’s chickens pick away at their reflections in the elegant finish.” Well, Gladys died in 1958, so we know this is a fabrication. But if you are going to tell a fib, you might as well go for a big one. Chickens at Elvis’ home in exclusive Bel Air while he’s filming movies in 1961? Yeah, sure. There’s a lot of bogus stuff about Elvis floating around on the Internet, but this takes the cake.
Elvis Ultrasound: Do you like the comic strip “Baby Blues”? I love those kids Zoe, Hammie and Wren. The authors of the strip have published their work in a number of books. One of the compilations is titled, “I Saw Elvis In My Ultrasound.” Why not? Elvis has been sighted everywhere else.
A Bidding War For Elvis: The website Elvis Presley From Poland has a story about the Army and the Navy fighting over which service would get Elvis. Supposedly the Navy offered him the opportunity to form an “Elvis Presley Company” comprised of sailors from Memphis, and he could personally pick his friends to be part of this special company. Well, if Elvis’ Memphis buddies had escaped the draft so far, I bet they were glad he didn’t agree to that one. The Army supposedly offered Elvis the chance to perform on a worldwide tour of all the Army’s prestige posts, with first-class travel to them. However, Colonel Parker decided that “a front-line combat unit was where he should do his soldiering.” Front-line combat? What fighting was the Army doing in Germany in 1958?
That’s A Big Velvet Elvis: According to www.canada.com, the largest velvet Elvis is on display at the Tattoo Factory in Chicago. It measures 12 ft by 12 ft, and depicts Elvis with a tear in his eye. Put that on your list of stops for your next visit to the windy city.
The Man From Psycho Scores Higher Than Elvis: This story tickles me for a couple of reasons. One of Elvis’ soundtrack songs from the movie Blue Hawaii is “Moonlight Swim.” So, where was the scene? On a beach at midnight? No, Elvis sang the song in the daylight while cruising in a convertible filled with lovely young babes. Elvis never released the song as a single, but Tony Perkins did. Before becoming famous for his role in Psycho, Perkins sang in a few Broadway plays. His version of “Moonlight Swim” reached #24 on the charts in 1957.
Metal Elvis: The website for Talent Booking USA has a promo for an Elvis tribute band (not a tribute artist – a whole band). The singer looks and sounds like Elvis, and the musicians are look-a-likes of famous members of heavy metal groups Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, etc. If these guys ever show up in Memphis during Elvis Week, I might just take in their show.
Elvis Bootleg Songs In Russia: Back in 1957, the Los Angeles Daily Mirror reported that bootlegs of Elvis’ hit singles were selling for 50 rubles ($12.50 US dollars). What does that equal in dollars today? $200? $500? Where did Russian kids get that kind of money? Guess what the songs were recorded on. Used X-ray film. Pretty clever, but how did they play them on their turntables?
Fired For Playing An Elvis Presley Song: There once was a disc jockey at radio station KEX in Portland, Oregon who got fired because he played Elvis’ recording of “White Christmas.” The station manager banned the song and fired Al Priddy because the song “is not in the good taste we ascribe to Christmas music. Presley gives it a rhythm and blues interpretation.” If an R&B interpretation of Christmas music gets you fired, it’s a good thing the DJ didn’t play “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.” That could have gotten him banned from the city.
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