Elvis Presley 1957-59
January 6, 1957
Elvis Presley makes his third and final appearance on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town Show. It is for this appearance that Elvis is seen only from the waist up. It’s funny that after all of his television appearances the previous year, such censorship comes at this time. It is particularly amusing that this guideline remains in place during Elvis’ performance of the gospel standard, Peace in the Valley, one of five songs he performs on this Sullivan appearance. Ed Sullivan himself helps diffuse some of the controversy surrounding Elvis when he comes out on stage to thank Elvis and tells the studio audience and millions of American television viewers that “this is a decent, fine boy” and what a delight he has been to work with when appearing on the show. Ed Sullivan is the most influential person on television audiences and one of the most powerful people in the television industry at the time.
Personal appearances, recording sessions, record releases, controversy, and publicity continue.
Elvis begins production of his second movie, Loving You.
February 3, 1957
The New York Times runs a story entitled, "Presley Records a Craze in Soviet Union." Elvis records are not legally available in the Soviet Union. The article tells of bootleg recordings being cut on discarded X-ray plates and being sold in Leningrad on the black market for fifty rubles (about twelve and a half dollars) each, a lot of money at the time.
Elvis buys Graceland Mansion for himself, his parents, and his paternal grandmother to live in. It will be ready for them to move into in early April.
April , 1957
While touring with his show, Elvis performs outside the United States for the first time when he appears in Canada: two shows in Toronto on April 2 and two shows in Ottawa on April 3.
Elvis begins work on his third motion picture, Jailhouse Rock for MGM.
July 9, 1957
Elvis' second motion picture, Loving You, premieres and quickly reaches the top ten at the box office. Hit records include the title song and the classic smash "Teddy Bear".
Traveling, touring, record releases, and personal appearances continue.
August 31, 1957
Elvis performs in Vancouver. This is the third Canadian city he has performed in, and marks the last time he will perform in concert outside the United States.
September 27, 1957
Elvis returns once more to the town of his birth to perform. This time it is a benefit for the proposed Elvis Presley Youth Recreation Center in Tupelo, Mississippi. The grounds include Elvis’ birthplace home. He will donate regularly to the center for the rest of his life. (The center is still used by the general community today. The birthplace home is open for tours, and there is a small museum and a memorial chapel.)
October 17, 1957
Jailhouse Rock, Elvis Presley's third motion picture, premieres in Memphis, opening nationally in November and quickly going to the top five at the box office. The title song is a smash hit. Years later, this film will be considered one of Elvis’ best acting performances, surpassed only by King Creole, which is to follow in 1958. Jailhouse Rock will come to be considered the ultimate classic of all “rock opera” movies, and the "Jailhouse Rock" production number in the film is to be recognized as the grandfather of pop/rock music videos, a music format to become widely popular by the 1980’s.
November 10, 11 1957
Elvis performs shows in Hawaii for the first time.
Elvis and family enjoy their first Christmas at Graceland and Elvis officially receives his draft notice, a day he has known would be coming soon.
Late January- Early March, 1958
Elvis films and records for his fourth motion picture, King Creole.
March 15, 1958
Elvis performs two shows in Memphis. These are to be his last stage performances until after his army release in 1960.
March 24, 1958
Elvis Presley is inducted into the U.S. Army at the Memphis Draft Board and is assigned serial number 53310761.
March 25, 1958
Elvis gets his famous G.I. haircut at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.
March 29, 1958
Private Presley arrives at Fort Hood, Texas for basic training and is stationed there for six months. His parents soon move to a temporary home near the base.
June 10, 1958
After basic training, while on his first leave, Elvis has a recording session, his last until 1960.
King Creole, Elvis’ fourth motion picture opens nationally and the reviews are the best he will ever have for his acting. Its impressive list of co-stars and supporting cast includes Carolyn Jones, Walter Matthau, Dean Jagger and Vic Morrow. It becomes a top five film at the box office. This Michael (Casablanca) Curtiz-directed movie, set in New Orleans and based upon the Harold Robbins novel, "A Stone for Danny Fisher," will come to be regarded as Elvis’ finest film, his greatest acting performance, and proof positive of his potential to have become a respected serious actor, though the realization of this desire will remain forever out of his grasp.
Gladys Presley becomes ill and returns to Memphis to be hospitalized with acute hepatitis. Elvis is granted emergency leave and arrives in Memphis on the afternoon of August 12th. He visits her that night, and the next day and night. A few hours after Elvis goes home to Graceland to rest, she dies in the early hours of August 14 at age 46. Her body lies in state at Graceland that afternoon. Services are at the Memphis Funeral Home on the 15th, with the Blackwood Brothers singing "Precious Memories" and "Rock of Ages," two of Gladys Presley’s favorite hymns. She is laid to rest at Forest Hill Cemetery, a few miles down the road from Graceland. Elvis is devastated.
August 25, 1958
Elvis reports back to Fort Hood.
September 19, Elvis boards a troop train to New York, later boards the USS. Randall and sails to Germany, arriving on October 1. He will be stationed in Friedberg for 18 months, maintaining an off-base residence in Bad Nauheim, shared with his father and grandmother, and some friends from Memphis. He finds the fans in Europe to be as enthusiastic as those in America.
January 8, 1959
Elvis is interviewed off-camera via trans-Atlantic telephone by Dick Clark on his American Bandstand show on ABC-TV. The show commemorates the star’s twenty-fourth birthday. (Elvis never performed on American Bandstand.)
On a two-week leave, Elvis visits Munich, then goes clubbing in Paris, which includes a visit to the Lido.
Colonel Parker continues to keep Elvis’ career alive with promotions and hit record releases.
Captain Joseph Beaulieu is transferred from Texas to Weisbaden Air Force Base near Friedberg, accompanied by his wife and children, including his fourteen-and-a-half- year-old stepdaughter, Priscilla Ann. (Priscilla is the only child from Ann Beaulieu’s marriage to her first husband, James Wagner, a Navy pilot who was killed in a plane crash when Priscilla was an infant.) Through a mutual friend, Priscilla is invited to a party at Elvis’ home soon after her arrival in Germany. They meet, and the rest is history.
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