Elvis myths | Virgin Media
Elvis performing on stage

Elvis myths

01/10/2015Music

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The snake-hipped crooner Elvis ‘The King’ Presley is an almost mythological American figure. Since his death in 1977, many rumours, legends, and conspiracy theories have emerged – but do any of them hold water? We’ve put our special myth-buster hats on to find out…

 

 

 

Elvis' favourite meal was squirrel

Elvis eating

Elvis grew up in a poor family in Mississippi.

Verdict: Almost true

As a child growing up in a poor family in Mississippi, Elvis used to love fried squirrel and possum among other delicacies. Just hit the squirrel over the head with a mallet, skin it, chop it up, toss it in some flour and stick it in the pan.

He was working for the drug squad

Elvis close-up with quiff

"I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse..."

Verdict: Almost true

Elvis did write to US President Richard Nixon offering to become a Federal Agent at large. "I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques," he said, "and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good." They later met at the White House where a bemused Nixon gave him a badge.

Elvis was Oprah Winfrey’s cousin

Oprah Winfrey

Their family trees trace back to the same Mississippi town.

Verdict: Unproven

Oprah and Elvis share both Native American blood and ancestors by the name of "Pressley". A genealogist has traced their family trees back to the same Mississippi town but any further proof has not been established. He is, however, distantly related to two American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter.

Elvis was Welsh

Elvis performing on stage

Presley sounds like the Pembrokeshire hill range, Preseli.

Verdict: Untrue

Cardiff academic Terry Breverton spotted the undeniable fact that the name Presley sounds a bit like the Pembrokeshire hill range called Preseli. As his mother was called 'Gladys' he drew the not unreasonable conclusion that Elvis was at least part boyo. However, his name actually comes from a German ancestor Johann Pressler, who immigrated to the states in 1710.

Elvis was a black belt in karate

Elvis wearing karate clothing

He impressed a film crew by breaking boards with his bare hands.

Verdict: True

Elvis first saw a martial arts demonstration while doing his military service with the US Army in Germany. By 1960 he was already a black belt and during the filming of GI Blues he used to impress the crew by breaking boards with his bare hands. Unfortunately one day he got the technique slightly wrong and his hand ballooned in size, presenting his make-up artists with an unusual challenge!

Elvis dated Priscilla when she was just 14

Elvis and Priscilla Presley

He used to send a car to pick her up.

Verdict: True

Elvis met Priscilla Beaulieu in Germany in 1959 when she was just 14 and he was 24. He used to send a car to pick her up and bring her to the house he rented near his army base. In her autobiography she claimed that they didn't sleep together until they married eight years later but they did live together from when she was 16.

He wanted his wife's lover killed

Young Elvis close up

"Mike Stone must die."

Verdict: Probably untrue

Elvis encouraged his wife Priscilla Presley to join him in learning karate. Unfortunately she enjoyed her lessons with instructor Mike Stone a little bit too much and they ended up having an affair. According to an Elvis biography by one of his bodyguards, Elvis then raged: "Mike Stone must die". Elvis supposedly later calmed down saying, "maybe it's a bit heavy".

Elvis owned America's first VCR

Elvis with movie co-star

Elvis had the first TV remote control.

Verdict: True

Elvis was always into new technology. One of the things that most impressed The Beatles when they went round his house in 1965 was that he had the first TV remote control that they'd ever seen. He was also America's first private owner of a prototype VCR. Unfortunately, it was the soon-to-be-defunct Betamax.

Elvis never played overseas because his manager was illegal

Elvis in a Hawaiian shirt with a ukalele

Elvis didn't even play in New York until 1972.

Verdict: Probably untrue

It's a strange fact that throughout his long career Elvis never played outside America or Canada. Some have speculated that this was because his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, didn't have a passport because he'd entered the country illegally. However, Elvis didn't even play in New York until 1972 so perhaps he just didn't like to travel!

Elvis is still alive

Elvis impersonator at a casino

Elvis has been spotted all over the world since his death.

Verdict: Definitely true

On Elvis's tombstone his middle-name Aron is misspelt as the more common name Aaron. The extra 'a', you see, stands for 'alive'. Why he felt the need to leave this hint has not been explained by conspiracy theorists, but it's certainly true that Elvis has been spotted all over the world since his death, usually working in chip shops or failing miserably in Elvis look-a-like competitions. Long live the King!