TWO QUORA QUESTIONS answered in one day, both about Elvis. (Check out the previous post on this site’s front page for the first question and my answer.) The question this time was,“What was Elvis Presley like in person?” This is a difficult question to answer for those of us who did not know the man personally during his life.
I chose to answer with an anecdote about another person’s anecdotal account of their meeting Elvis way back when. My answer is the text between the two images below:
Elvis was polite and easily engaged
Thirty years ago, I lived in an apartment in Scottsdale, Arizona. I had two really nice neighbors, Frank and Sandy. The latter had been in the hotel business for years, and told me his Elvis story: he was working at a really swanky hotel in Hawaii when Presley was there in 1961 filming Blue Hawaii.
Sandy was not an Elvis fan. In fact, he preferred pop vocals, old-fashioned jazz, and show tunes. The first time he met the young Elvis, the singer had been out all day and was disheveled, sweaty, and in a hurry. Sandy was not impressed, and it more or less confirmed his distaste for rock & roll in general and Elvis Presley in particular.
A few days late, Sandy bumped into the singer in completely different circumstances and had a completely opposite experience: Elvis was polite, warm, friendly, and easily engaged. Sandy said he was perhaps the most charismatic person that he had ever met—and Sandy had met plenty of movie and recording stars over the years!
Interestingly, Sandy was surprisingly taken aback that Elvis was so at ease and playful with gays, a topic rarely discussed among Presley fans and historians.
FEATURED IMAGE: Joan Blackman and Elvis Presley in a scene from Blue Hawaii, filmed and released in 1961. The movie and its music were big improvements over the previous year’s movie and soundtrack album, G.I. Blues. But both were lightweight and huge steps down from the music-based movies of the ’50s (Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, and King Creole). Nonetheless, Blue Hawaii sold lots tickets and records and made lots of money and laid the foundation for the next few years of Presley’s career.