Elvis Month: Movies, Millions, Mansions, Military

Elvis 10/08/2019
Photo credit: Getty

November 1956 Elvis’ first movie ‘Love Me Tender’ premieres in New York city, it’s a smash hit featuring Elvis performing several songs.

In December the front page of The Wall Street Journal describes how Elvis merchandise has grossed $22 million in sales in a few short months.

By this stage Elvis had become the primary symbol of the new youth culture in America.

The following January Elvis makes his third and final appearance on ‘The Ed Sullivan Show’, shot only from the waist up the show aims to diffuse some of the controversy surrounding the influential rock star.

Ed Sullivan, easily considered the most influential person on television and in the industry at the time, tells the audience “this is a decent, fine boy”. 

Elvis’ second film ‘Loving You’ goes into production and The New York Times run a story attesting that Elvis records are a craze in the Soviet Union.

The record are not legally available but a black market in bootlegged records is thriving.

In March 1957 Elvis buys Graceland Mansion for himself and family, while the home is ready to move into mid-May it’s not until late-June that Elvis spends his first night there. 

April sees Elvis take his tours for the first time outside the US in a visit to Canada and in May his third film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ enters production.

In August Elvis performs in Vancouver, his third Canadian city and final show outside of the US.

‘Jailhouse Rock’ is released in October and performs well. Within 12 years it’s North American earnings roughly compare with ‘The Wizard of Oz’.

The film is widely considered the ultimate classic of ‘rock opera’ films and the titular production number is recognised as the grandfather of pop/rock music videos.

In November Elvis performs shows in ?Hawaii for the first time, which also serves as his last public appearance before entering the Army.

In December Elvis and family enjoy their first Christmas at Graceland, he also officially received his draft notice to enter the Army.