21 March 2010
Take This Tune - Black Velvet
This week's Take This Tune is Alannah Myles' tribute to Elvis Presley, "Black Velvet".
Last year I told you of my one and only encounter with Elvis in "A Chinchilla Named Elvis". How I became an undying fan and the long term effect on my life happened as follows.
It was the summer of 1957. Loving You was going to be shown in a midnight premiere at the Warners Theater. I had seen "Love Me or Leave Me" the previous year while living with an aunt, but this was summer with Mama and she hadn't yet been introduced to my addiction. Mama was a waitress at a high end steak house named Dee's in Fresno, and would barely be dragging home in time to take me, but I'm begging anyway. To top it off she is working all week in mesh hose, high heels and a western saloon girl's outfit for some Pioneer festival the county was celebrating. Get the picture: Sore Feet, Long hours, begging 13 year old, movie starring a man she has never seen or heard. The no was adamant, but while ironing she did become the one and only person I ever heard say, "What's an Elvis Presley?" I put a fan magazine with full page picture in front of her which got the response, "At least you have good taste".
Come the night of the premiere and hope is fading fast. Mama gets home and takes off the three inch heels. She pulls off the mesh hose that have actually cut into her feet. She looks at me and her watch, slips on her regular waitress oxfords and says, "Let's go". Fresno was a sleepy town for a premier and the theater is almost empty except for the policemen at each exit just in case the non existant hordes of teenage girls start riotous screaming.
The first song in the movie that Elvis sings is "Got A Lot Of Living To Do". Towards the end, the camera goes into full closeup on that face as it swung around and those blue eyes now several feet tall were blazing on the screen. I don't think I even realized that I was flying up out of the seat, until I felt my mother's hand on my wrist as she said, "Honey, they like it better if you resist just a little." At which point sanity trumped hormones and I went thud back into the seat and started laughing. Suffice to say that I never got even close to a scream over any idol ever again. The long term side effect is that the men in my life must possess a strong ego as intensity has been known to produce laughter at inopportune moments. "No dear, I'm laughing at me not you."
Not a huge movie screen, but you shouldn't have any trouble seeing when the above happened.