ELVIS’ GOLDEN CARICATURES VOLUME 3 is the third volume of caricatures of Presley rockin’ and shakin’ and rattlin’ and rollin’ the ’50s! Like the first volume, this collects fifteen images of the singer/actor in his youthful prime. There are fourteen images in the main gallery, and there is the featured image found at the top of the page and below the gallery.
For more information on caricatures and this project, refer to the first volume of this series of articles. I have alternated black and white pieces with colored below, and they are in roughly chronological order.
Each image had the artist’s name beneath it. Each name—and many are first names only followed by the last name’s initial—is hyperlinked to a page that will give you more information on the artist.
Hope you enjoy seeing these images as much as I did finding them . . .
The artist appears to have mixed eras here: facially, this looks like Elvis ’57. The striped shirt is from the prison costume he wore in Jailhouse Rock. But the rest of the attire looks like the black leather gear from the ’68 NBC-TV Special—as does the fact that he appears to be on a small stage surrounded by fans, like the one in the Burbank Studio fused or the filming of the live portions of that show.
“I love music like Radiohead, Bright Eyes, Broken Social Scene—that’s a small list, but it represents my taste. When I would play that music at work, it just seemed to demand too much of my attention, and I found myself really enjoying simpler music, such as Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Van Morrison, and Elvis. . . . My favorite song is Jailhouse Rock. There’s this amazing combination of restraint and explosiveness that makes me want to jump up and rock out as would any Rage Against the Machine song!” 1
Artist: Ken Coogan
The youthful face, the sideburns, and the plaid shirt would seem to place this image here in the ’50s.
Artist: Lezio Junior
Elvis has always worn red shirts, so this painting could be from any time in the ’50s. Very nice rendering. I have included the pencil drawing, which is actually less caricaturish than the finished piece!
Here’s another nebulous image that I could have included in two different eras: the face—especially the grin—and pompadour say “Fifties” but the high white-collar screams “Seventies jumpsuit.” The grin won and it’s here in the ’50s.
Artist: Russ Cook
Elvis as he appeared in Love Me Tender in 1956—or at least as how he appeared in the imagination of Russ Cook. The artist sees a much more mature—and seemingly weary or jaded—Elvis that the rest of us saw in that movie.
Artist: Joan Vizcarra
The lines here recall Hirschberg. While the sculpted sideburns look like ’68 Elvis, but the rest seems fifties-ish—and that’s why it’s in this chapter!
Artist: Jim H
Elvis as overgrown, pampered, petulant child. While the dark plaid shirt recalls Follow That Dream, the face and hair had me place this in the ’50s.
Artist: Tom Richmond
Elvis in RCA Victor’s New York studio in November 1955. Note the little pieces of hair overlapping his collar: these can be seen in the photos from these sessions.
Artist: Alberto “Sting” Russo
Another amazing piece by Sting, this time with a rendering bordering on realistic—except for the lip-thing: even Billy Idol in all his absurd posturing couldn’t do that! (“Wait a minute! There’s something wrong with my lip . . .”)
Artist: Nelson Santos
Elvis ’55? ’56? ’68? Whatever the era, this drawing looks like it could have appeared in the original Mad comic book of the ’50s with Harvey Kurtzman as the artist.
Elvis in one of his many plaid shirts. Here the artist has made Presley so damn affable he looks goofy!
Artist: Derek Brennan
The hair and sideburns and the antique microphone suggest this is meant to depict the ’50s Elvis, but the collar gives the drawing a ’70s ‘jumpsuit’ look.
The dance scene from Jailhouse Rock (1957) will probably remain a fave of caricaturists forever . . .
When RCA Victor gave the album ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS VOLUME 2 (1959) the subtitle of “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong,” the eight-digit number did not refer to his fans: it was an approximation of the number of records that Presley had sold up to that time. 2
FEATURED IMAGE: Artist Nelson Santos combined the little-boy Elvis with the Don Juan de Marco Elvis for this arresting painting. 3
POSTSCRIPTUALLY, I have planned four volumes of caricatures of Elvis in the ’50s, and two each for the ’60s and the ’70s. There are at least two artists who have done enough high-quality caricatures of Presley to merit a volume of their own, Al Hirschfeld and Alberto “Sting” Russo. Here are links to the volumes:
The First Published Caricature of Elvis Presley
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 1 (Rockin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 2 (Rollin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 3 (Rattlin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 4 (Shaggin’ the 50s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 5 (Stuck on the 60s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 6 (Wild in the 60s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 7 (Elvis by Hirschfeld)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 8 (Love Letters from the 70s)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 9 (Aloha from the 70)
Elvis’ Golden Caricatures Volume 10 (Elvis by Russo)
1 Very few of the artists include any kind of commentary on their work, and I thought Elvis fans would enjoy reading a younger artist’s say on why and how he got turned on by Presley’s music. Wait until he gets to ELVIS IS BACK and FROM ELVIS IN MEMPHIS . . .
2 “I was putting the final touches on this article and had to link this title to a Wikipedia entry. Normally, I just find the entry, copy the address, and head back to my site and paste the link into the text. But the first sentence in the entry caught my eye: “50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong: Elvis’ Gold Records – Volume 2 is the ninth album by Elvis Presley.”
No. It’s not—or wasn’t: upon release in 1959, the ninth Elvis Presley album issued by RCA Victor in the United States was ELVIS’ GOLD RECORDS, VOL. 2. Period. And so I preceded to read the article, which was filled with factual errors and misconceptions about the record biz. Which led me to rewrite the article, as I am a Wikipedia “editor.” Which led to a whole passel of problems, some of which you can read in “50,000,000 Wikipedia Contributors Can’t Be Wrong (Hah!).”
3 If you don’t know Don Juan de Marco, the World’s Greatest Lover, look him up (and see the movie).