Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Elvis Week, Part II

Brace yourself for an onslaught of girls, bikinis, racing cars, songs coming from nowhere, and some pretty bad acting.

You're about to be swept away to Hawaii, Las Vegas, down South, out East, and up and down the Pacific coast of California.

You'll see a king as a mechanic, a salesman, a tourist, and a plethora of other identities.

It's Elvis Died This Week, week. The movie channels will be aplomb with Elvis movies through Sunday, at least.

Last week I ruminated about the death of Marilyn Monroe, which happened on August 5, 1962.

Elvis Presley left this Earth on August 16, 1977, and he was another who died at home, with something to do with drugs.

His death got America all shook up.

They found MM in her bed, and Elvis in his bathroom. Both dead as door nails.

Over-ingesting of drugs was the cause of death in both instances, although MM's demise has a small cloud of conspiracy hanging over it.

No such drama with Presley, who surely died from his own hand. The only question was whether it was deliberate or accidental.

Like Monroe, Elvis showed signs of deteriorating.

His face got paunchy and his whole body became bloated in the final years of his life---perhaps from the late-30s and beyond. Elvis was 42 when he died.

I remember hearing of Elvis's death on the radio, and telling my mother as soon as she arrived home from work---when she was barely out of the car.

She wasn't much of a fan, but he was still iconic enough so that when you heard of his death, you definitely stopped what you were doing and reflected, fan or not. And my mother did, indeed give pause after I delivered the news.



I'm more of a fan of Elvis as a person, rather than as a singer or actor.

Mainly, I dug his sense of humor, which comes through so plainly in the film clips you see of him, whether he was on stage or off it.

I like his music, too, even though I wouldn't put his voice in the upper echelon of performers of all time. But it was good enough to accompany the melodies to which he (and we) rocked.

There are two times when you're deluged with Elvis movies and specials: in early January, to coincide with his birthday (January 8---same as my wife's, actually), and now, to honor his death.

Babe Ruth died on August 16, too, but you'd never know it.

Of course, The Babe couldn't move like Elvis. And maybe Elvis had more hits.

Actually, the conspiracy nuts have been out when it comes to Presley.

As in, he's not really dead at all. Elvis just put us through a ruse so he could be alone.

But I'm sure you don't believe all that nonsense.

Elvis Aaron Presley---the surviving identical twin from Mississippi who gosh darn near invented rock-and-roll. Dead from drugs and gross negligence of his body at age 42.

Marilyn Monroe, dead at 36. Judy Garland, a shell of herself when she died at age 47. Michael Jackson, gone at 50.

Maybe these types were never destined to grow old, at least in terms of age.

They packed enough aging into their shortened lives to befit and 80-year-old, truth be told.

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