By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
Wow, kids, we’re putting the Way-Back Machine on its “Thankyouverymuch” setting, so buckle up.
In the ’80s and ’90s – I told you we were going way back – a lot of people weren’t sure Elvis Presley actually died in 1977, even though front page headlines had proclaimed the horrible news around the world.
Cartoonists and photographers picked up on the craze and let their imaginations run wild with visions of aging Elvises roaming the Great American Landscape.
One image from those days stands out in my mind, though I can’t remember if it was a cartoon or a faked photograph.
“Something about it just said, ‘Elvis,’” the caption read, or words to that effect.
It showed a man with familiar black hair from the back. He drove a pink Cadillac convertible that tilted toward the driver’s side because the guy behind the wheel was about to pop a thousand rhinestones off his jumpsuit.
Surely, some fans looked at the depiction and were offended because they thought it made fun of Elvis. I get that.
Others saw it as a slam on people who believed the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll walked among us. I get that.
Still others just thought it was funny. I get that, too.
But here’s what I saw: Dead or alive, Tupelo’s favorite son will never leave us.
That image was an early indication of what Elvis’ legacy has become: all-encompassing.
Uh-oh, kids, here’s another way-back reference. Does anybody remember Mojo Nixon? He sang “Elvis is Everywhere,” and I doubt there’s ever been a truer phrase spoken or performed in my lifetime.
When my daughter was a toddler, she watched an Australian TV show called “The Wiggles.” If a skit required a king, an actor came out in a white jumpsuit and you better believe he said, “Thankyou, thankyouverymuch.”
At Christmastime, when children around the South and beyond sing “Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer, you’ll go down in history,” they add “like Elvis” because, really, who’s bigger?
George Washington? Davy Crockett? Marilyn Monroe?
Let me remind you of something: “Elvis is Everywhere,” and that includes George, Davy and, yes, indeed, Marilyn.
To be fair, Nixon sang that there is one place where Elvis is not. He named Michael J. Fox as the anti-Elvis, but I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now. I’m willing to bet Fox can pull off the trademark Elvis snarl with ease and aplomb.
“Everywhere” means “everywhere,” and I say it’s good, all the tribute artists, fans and movie marathons, as well as the enterprising youngsters who dress as Elvis zombies at Halloween.
Kids, if you think the town of Tupelo had to use its own Way-Back Machine to make the 12th Elvis Presley Festival possible, you haven’t been paying attention.
Elvis is here. Elvis is now. You’re free to celebrate or mock him, but he’s not going away.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.