News-Antique.com - Sep 19,2010 - Last month’s cover story in Collector magazine about John Lennon upset the faithful
The cover story of the September Collector was well read, but poorly received; at least in some quarters. Some people got pretty upset; not for the expected reasons.
They didn’t seem to mind the miraculous claim that the Beatles, a rock group, influenced the civil liberties movements of the 60s. They didn’t even bellyache that Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t get his due.
By the time the Long Beach Flea came, the story had been in wide circulation several weeks and the outrage crescendoed.
Exhibitors near the entrance of the flea market, when seeing Frank!, Collector’s publisher, walk by started to chant: “Elvis, Elvis, Elvis!”
This wasn’t the first occurrence of this kind of thing. At the Rose Bowl, a week earlier, a shapely blonde pulled an 18-inch Elvis doll off her table and kissed it: “He’ll always be my King.”
The rap against the story is that the name of the person they consider the exalted high priest of rock and roll wasn’t even mentioned!
Although the story meant no disrespect, these protesters may have a valid point.
When the black civil rights leader died a decade earlier, headlines rang out “King is dead!” but when Elvis died, they said “The King is Dead!”
Although the singer was neither royalty nor the head of state, you wouldn’t know it from the worldwide reaction to his death.
Radio stations throughout the world solemnly turned over their turntables to the dozens of his trademark hits, such as “Jailhouse Rock,” “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Love Me Tender.”
Impromptu shrines of flowers, record albums, and other Elvis mementos spontaneously appeared on the streets and boulevards of the world capitals.
The most poignant international tribute came from a family of three generations of Elvis Lovers. Their shrine memorialized the King on the Champs-Elysees, across from the Arc of Triumph. In front of a two-hour old garden of flowers, and a blaze of burning candles, a six- year-old boy with eyebrow-penciled sideburns, grappling with a six- string acoustic guitar, hammered out a French version of “Nothing but a Hound Dog” peppered with the occasional English word. Native Parisians as well as scores of American tourists added their voices to the little boy’s. Even a French gendarme, originally intending to break up the crowd, added a few of his own imaginary notes, using his nightstick as his guitar.
Variations of this scene played out in Times Square and along Hollywood Blvd; in front of his Walk of Fame star and every record shop.
But nothing could compare to the grief and shock felt by residents of Memphis, Tennessee, whose star attraction is Graceland and its famous tenant: the King of rock. Not a single car, truck or bicycle drove along Elvis Presley Boulevard without their grieving headlights on.
Only the death of President Kennedy, thirteen years earlier, stirred a bigger reaction. Condolences, in the form of everything from ten word telegrams to the most