would elvis wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic?

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

WOULD ELVIS WEAR A MASK DURING THIS PAN­DEMIC? I found an ar­resting photo of a young Elvis wearing a bandana-like mask with what ap­peared to be modern demon­stra­tors in the back­ground. I found the image on Elvis Rare Records, where the site’s owner, Dave Reynolds, had sent me re­garding an­other issue. When I saw this image, I had to have it!

Dave found it on Rock­a­pedia, which sports a gi­gantic copy of the photo ti­tled “Elvis Presley – The Masked Man.” From there, I tracked the image to a page on Flickr, where it is posted with the title “Black Block Presley.” The person who posted the image is Will St. Leger, who I as­sume is the artist. I also as­sumed that the image was his clever take on Elvis and the Great Pan­demic of 2020. But the Flickr page states that the image was taken on No­vember 10, 2009.

There aren’t any notes from the artist about the na­ture of the image. I as­sume from the title and the background—a photo of Elvis from 1956 is seta against a photo that ap­pears to have been taken during a demonstration—that “Black Block Presley” is a po­lit­ical state­ment. What the artist in­tended es­capes me but he could be imag­ining Presley as a demon­strator or even a bloody looter. 1

To see Will St. Leg­er’s Flickr page with this image, click here. 2

The image led to pose a ques­tion: What would Elvis do during the coro­n­avirus pan­demic of 2020?


Elvis photo DavidBHecht 900 copy

This photo of Elvis was taken by David B. Hecht in Jan­uary 1956.

Not a penny

The orig­inal pho­to­graph of Elvis used by St. Leger was taken by David B. Hecht in a pho­to­shoot done at RCA Vic­tor’s be­hest in Jan­uary 1956. Hecht’s photos were used on the front covers of sev­eral Presley records, the most fa­mous gracing the cover of his second LP album, ELVIS (RCA Victor LPM-1382).

That same photo ap­peared on ELVIS, VOLUME 1 (RCA Victor EPA-992), the first EP album by any artist to sell a mil­lion copies. Ac­cording to Hecht, Colonel Parker and RCA Victor took his photos and never paid him.

Decades later, Hecht re­called being taken ad­van­tage of by Pres­ley’s people:

“A day or two after I’d fin­ished the photo ses­sion with Elvis, Colonel Parker came to my studio to look at the re­sults. He took all the films away with him, saying that he was to have a meeting with the folks at RCA to dis­cuss which pho­tographs were to be used for Elvis product. He told me to con­tact RCA the fol­lowing week and work out a deal with them. When I rang RCA, I was told they were thrilled with the re­sults but to con­tact the Colonel re­garding payment.

Back then, I was pretty naïve and be­lieved his sec­re­tary when she told me the Colonel was out every time I rang. After a while, it be­came clear he didn’t want to talk busi­ness with me and I began to re­alize he had no in­ten­tion to pay me for my work. I don’t know if he still has the orig­inal films, but to this very day, I’ve not seen a penny for them.” 3


Elvis masked 700 copy

This photo of Elvis was al­tered (or reimag­ined) by Will St. Leger in 2009, pos­sibly seeing Elvis as a demonstrator.

Would Elvis wear a mask?

So, the ques­tion re­mains: What would Elvis do during the coro­n­avirus pan­demic of 2020? Or, to be more pre­cise, Would Elvis wear a mask?

Of course, he would!

He’d find someone who could em­u­late the de­signs of Nudie Cohn and he’d have thou­sands of spe­cial masks made for him­self and for the guys.

He’d record a new ver­sion of an old hit and title it Won’t You Wear A Mask Around Your Face.

He’d give masks away on the streets of Memphis.

Hell, he might even re­quest a se­cret meeting with the Pres­i­dent and give him one . . .


Would Elvis wear a mask? Here is an aletered photo from 1956 with the singer in a mask!

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The image at the top of this page was cropped from the full image above. Fi­nally, if Elvis was alive he’d be 85 years old, an age that would put him at risk. Thanks to Dave Reynolds (Elvis Rare Records) for turning me on to this great image!



1   Yes, I’m as­suming a lot in this ar­ticle, some­thing that is usu­ally a must to avoid for me.

2   I left a mes­sage on the site in­quiring if Mr. Leger would an­swer some ques­tions about his work and hope to hear from him.

3   I’ll bet a book can be com­piled of sto­ries of people who were ripped off by Parker or RCA in their deal­ings with Presley.


5 thoughts on “would elvis wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic?”

  1. Nice work, Big N!
    Glad I could in­spire ya!!

    I must admit, the pic had me fooled. I thought it was the real deal. Nice de­tec­tive work!

    I too wrote Will St. Leger. Since he did it 11 long yrs ago, i don’t think ei­ther of us should hold our col­lec­tive breath for a reply. Be­sides, I need a smoke! ;) 

    As for if the King would wear a mask? I couldn’t of said it better than the Big N.! I think the 1st de­sign he’d have Bill Belew do would be with ru­bies, di­a­monds & sap­phires, reading “FUCK TRUMP!” ;);)

    • D

      Thanks for the comment!
      Thanks again for turning me on to the image!
      Thanks for trying to con­tact Leger!
      Thanks for spelling every­thing correctly!


      PS: Bill Belew is a much better choice than Nudie.

  2. Why are you so sure Elvis would wear a mask? Hand them on the streets, give one to the pres­i­dent and re-record an old hit? Pfff. That is what YOU think. I say he’d stay bar­ri­caded in Grace­land doing nothing. Period

    • BOB

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

      Guar­an­teeing him­self and his family and the guys and their wives and kids and the em­ployees on the Grace­land grounds is a fine, fine, su­perfine idea but I think ol’ E would get rest­less after a while and, as easy as slicin’ sand, he’d have a mask on and be calling up a movie the­ater owner or a car dealer in the middle of the night wanting to spend some money.

      Keep on keepin’ on!



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