Musician Biographies » Elvis Presley » “Jailhouse Rock” - Military Stirrings And Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, The Army, Gladys Presley's Death

“Jailhouse Rock” - The Army

elvis colonel creole king

Elvis's draft notice came just before Christmas 1957. Although he put on a brave face for his family and friends, Elvis did not want to go into the army. He followed the Colonel's advice to the letter, though, and if the Colonel thought Elvis should serve in the army, that's what Elvis would do. Elvis could have served in the entertainment corps. The entertainment corps are groups of entertainers who enlist in the armed forces but who, instead of training for the military, spend their service time rehearsing for and performing shows to entertain the troops. However, the Colonel thought Elvis should prove that he could be a soldier. Elvis delayed his army entrance to shoot the movie King Creole. King Creole was Elvis's favorite of all of his movies.

Fun Fact!

During the filming of Jailhouse Rock, Elvis aspirated (breathed in) one of the porcelain caps from his teeth and it lodged in his lung. He had to be hospitalized to remove the cap. In fact, this accident mirrored one of the events in the film!

After shooting the movie, Elvis palled around with friends in Memphis. He arrived at the draft board with carloads of friends, his parents, then-girlfriend Anita, and the Colonel. As Elvis said good-bye, Colonel Parker handed out King Creole balloons. Gladys Presley wept openly.

Elvis boarded a bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas For Elvis's first few army days, the press photographed everything he did. Army officials even chased a photographer out of the barracks for trying to get a photo of Elvis sleeping on an army cot! The press was on hand to photograph Elvis's regulation army haircut. Elvis smiled for the cameras. He joked, “Hair today, gone tomorrow.”

Elvis was assigned to the Second Armored Division at Fort Hood, outside Killeen, Texas. Private Elvis Presley did well as a soldier, winning marksman and sharpshooter medals, and acting as the assistant squad leader.

After basic training, Elvis spent two weeks at Graceland. He wore his uniform because he was proud of it. RCA released Elvis's first greatest-hits album and his twenty-second single. King Creole opened in theaters to excellent reviews. Finally, Elvis did a recording session for RCA.

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