The King Meets Tricky Dick
January 8, 2003 11:27 AM   Subscribe

Since it's Elvis Presley's 68th birthday today and Richard Nixon's 90th birthday tomorrow, it's only natural to herald the December 21, 1970 meeting that has inspired a novel, a Showtime made-for-cable movie, musical novelties, and a mini-memoir from a Nixon staffer. The National Archives has received so many requests for photos of Elvis shaking hands with Nixon that they posted this online exhibit.
posted by jonp72 (8 comments total)
What the national archives exhibit doesn't mention is that Elvis had brought along a handgun to present to the president as a gift. The secret service politely offered to hold on to that little item for him.

The whole story is recounted in great detail in the second volume of Peter Guralnick's superb biography of the King, Careless Love. Apparently, the initial motivation for the trip was to pull rank on some federal bureaucrat who was standing in the way of Elvis's police badge collection. He was pretty much out of his gourd on drugs at the time. (Elvis, not Nixon. Though that would have explained a lot.)
posted by steviehero at 11:42 AM on January 8, 2003

Elvis' expansive law-enforcement badge collection is on display at Graceland. Apparently his hobby ... Speaking of off his gourd, he wanted to be an honorary DEA agent, because he thought he could help Nixon fight America's drug problem (see, his qualudes were medication).
posted by risenc at 11:55 AM on January 8, 2003

over thanksgiving, i paid a visit to the nixon library and birthplace (in orange county, or orinda or whatever).

they had a johnny cash exhibit (nixon met cash a few times, i belive -- and i got to meet the "ring of fire" gold single!).

anyhow, the fact that elvis met nixon, or maybe, more appropriately, that nixon met elvis, is one of the biggest cash cows for the nixon library gift shop. Half the stuff in there has got a photo of the King on it.

(i also got to see the aforementioned colt .45 bequeathed by elvis, tons of nixon campaign trinkets, and pat nixon's gowns. also: the tape recorders used in the oval office! woo!)
posted by fishfucker at 12:46 PM on January 8, 2003

Elvis kitch is a hoot. I found this in my local Parade magazine.
posted by hipnerd at 12:47 PM on January 8, 2003

The Elvis-Nixon thing is probably my favorite bit of American History. It's just so weird and out there. Both those guys have so much cultural baggage around them and having them come together as they did for the reasons expressed in the letter like a big a cream pie in the face of the illuminati.
posted by wobh at 1:12 PM on January 8, 2003

Fishfucker, it's Yorba Linda.

"Memphis to Nixon"
The Beat Farmers

"The Oval Office had never seen such a thing,
A clandestine visit from the Rock n' Roll King
Captain Marvel in a black velvet suit
He's on a mission to save America's youth
Yeah all them hippies are gonna kneel to the truth
Things need fixin, Memphis to Nixon
Big E was just too cool to be true
Mr. President, I'm gonna do what I can
'Cause Nick's prescriptions make it mighty clear
Goin' back to Graceland, with a badge and a plan
its not fiction, Memphis to Nixon..."
posted by planetkyoto at 3:45 PM on January 8, 2003

On a related note (no pun intended), today is also David Bowie's birthday.

BTW, is Nixon ready to come back again? Surely he's rested (although not tanned) by now...
posted by davidmsc at 6:51 PM on January 8, 2003

Good though semi-surreal stuff, jonp72 - thanks! I had forgotten about this strange scenario.
And in honor of the hunk o' burnin love guy's birthday...
posted by madamjujujive at 7:22 PM on January 8, 2003

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