Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elvis is Alive! (Weekly World News Elvis Sightings 1990-2000)

Good morning!

Confession time: I am a huge, late-to-the-party fan of Weekly World News. When I was a kid, standing in line at the grocery store with my grandma, I would sneak a peek at the insides of the gold standard of tabloids, but I don't think I understood at the time that in the pantheon of newsstand entertainment publications, Weekly World News is king. I confer regency status upon WWN in particular because there's not a single word of truth from the front cover to the back... and that is saying something! While other weekly rag sheets may have a true story about a sitcom star battling weight gain, or a movie actress who may or may not be seeing her director off set, WWN , in its almost thirty year runspent fifty or so pages every week spouting utter nonsense. THE MOST. ENTERTAINING.  NONSENSE. OF THEM ALL. Telepathic vampire bats, divers attacked by mermaids, Bigfoot, two headed babies...this magazine had it all. I think my High Fidelity style list of dream jobs would probably include being a member of the WWN writing staff.

The exploding bra sub article here is intriguing.
One of the most exciting topics Weekly World News covered, again and again and again? Elvis sightings! Probably moments after news of the King's untimely death broke in 1977, a gossip columnist somewhere was clacking out a story about how he'd obviously faked his own demise and was living in some farflung corner of the globe in the kind of blissful obscurity he hadn't enjoyed since being a teenager in Memphis. If Elvis can't be in heaven, I hope he's in Modesto with a girlfriend half his age and all the down home cooking he can eat, is a sentiment I share as a rabid Presley fan. I scoured Google books's archive of WWN's backpages for a look at some of the  wishful thinking the editors put into where Elvis may be today.

Let's take a look!

This 1993 article has the King riding motorcycles (be careful, E!) and marrying a waitress in his (technical) home state of Mississippi. I personally like the inset of "He IS alive!" as a kind of "See! Told you so!" coda to each entry in the two page spread. "The Nashville accident is a chilling reminder that he is, after all, only human, and that one silly mistake could be the tragedy that snatches him from our lives forever," the first news blurb gently chides the grateful that he not only survived the "so-called fatal" heart attack in the seventies', but also this run in with a tree on his Harley! Wouldn't it be terrible if he really really were dead? Below, an oddly photo-shopped bridal pair are supposed to be Presley and his new wife, Karen Crane. At first, I was like, "Wait, no...was he all the way divorced from Priscilla when he allegedly died?" I mean, I remember he sang "Don't Cry, Daddy" and "Separate Ways" for her, but was all the legal paperwork inked by the time of the "death hoax"? Yep, Priscilla and Elvis has been legally divorced since 1974.  What's interesting to me in this story is a quoted source named William Stern who has "investigated over 2,000 Elvis sightings since 1977." Can you imagine marking off number 1,298 as "nope, still not Elvis..."?

 The United States Postal service issued a commemorative Elvis stamp in 1993, on what would have been EP's fifty-eighth birthday, spurring renewed interest in the thought of the big man still walking among us. This article purports that over a hundred thousand WWN readers demand THE REAL, 1993 ELVIS on the stamp!

Yeesh, people! I wouldn't want that stamp period. Who did the artwork on this?! He looks like a cross between that Jesus painting the woman "restored" and late career Nicolas Cage. Do you like the question mark on the death date there? That's because he's still alive, in case you hadn't noticed. HE'S ALIVE, BY GODFREY....(personally, I would have voted for the older Elvis, out of the three...I think he was actually possibly his hottest circa the Aloha from Hawaii concert recording).

Now, THIS would be welcome news:

No, not that a squirrel stole a $7,800 diamond necklace, but the idea of Elvis clones running around the United States-- well! That makes the possibility of me running into one like about five times greater (as the article states there are five additional Elvis clones).  I like them odds. From the article: "Apparently, they [the clones] were supposed to wait until the Colonel [Tom Parker, EP's manager] called for them, but he never did. He must have changed his mind," states the Elvis expert from a "Nashville study group devoted to the King". His manager's greatest publicity idea to date-- an army of Elvises! You could dispatch them to the four corners of the world, have an Elvis concert on every continent at once! Personally, I just want to see him in a gas station. Somewhere. Anywhere.

This article is a little mean spirited, as Lisa Marie did give birth to a son, Benjamin Storm Keough, in 1992. The assertion, "I'm gonna teach him how to sing just like me," is even creepier! Also, what is with EP's face in this photo! I understand he would be older in 1992 than when we last saw him in 1977, but jeepers creepers. Doesn't he look a little worse from wear than you would expect? "Nothing, and I do mean nothing, was going to keep Elvis Presley away from that baby," emphatically states a quoted source in the article. Reminds me of that line from "The Highwayman", one of my favorite poems out of the Childcraft poems treasury when I was a kid (how was this a children's poem, btw?), "Though hell should bar the way". Was Elvis ready to come out of hiding? We don't see him next in the pages of WWN until the year 2000 (the distant future).

EP, you are not doing a very good job of staying in hiding if you're having yourself wheeled out onto the lawn of Graceland.
Seeing as Elvis's Memphis home was opened to the public in 1982, this can't be a very comfortable set up for him to hide out. Thousands of visitors roll through that very driveway on a little tour bus that delivers them from the hospitality/gift shop area to the home and grounds. I love that he hasn't changed his trademark TCB glasses in twenty three years, too. The byline "I believe he's testing the waters before he tells us he's alive" just cracked me up again, looking at the article. "I'M ALIVE!" says Elvis. They should add a little dialogue bubble to his head there.
The photo was supposedly taken by a woman who "snuck back in" to Graceland after it was closed for the day. Because I obviously, as the King of Rock n Roll in-hiding, would want to live in a working tourist destination. No one will ever find me here! It's the most obvious place to hide, in plain sight! I'm only sorry that Google books doesn't have the May 2000 issue in the inset available for online browsing, too bad, so sad.

So! Are you a fan of these kinds of magazines, or are you immune to their wackadoodle charm? Had any relatives sight Elvis going out for a late night chili dog sometime in his purported "afterlife"? What kind of conspiracy theories do you like to keep up with in the news? Are you an Elvis fan? Let's talk!

That's all for today, but I'll see you back here tomorrow. Have a great Wednesday (and keep your eyes peeled for Elvis clones!). Til then.


  1. I remember seeing the Weekly World News at the grocery check-out line when I was growing Granny used to read the National Enquirer, which was incrementally more highbrow but still pretty out-there. Fun stuff!

    1. I am DYING over some of these articles, it was hard to narrow it down to one subject, every page is a gold mine! SO off the wall.

  2. This is... just... so, so, truly bizarre! What a total screwball publication. It's absolutely terrifying. Amusing, but then you realise that some people must read this and actually believe it.

    I'm a massive Elvis fan, but I'm totally cool with the fact that he's no longer with us. It's tragic what became of him but all these conspiracy theories make a total mockery of him, I feel. Poor guy. Just let him rest in peace...

    1. Oh, I agree- as much as I enjoy screwball conspiracy theories, you have to feel a little pang of guilt for the people who were actually close to him being ghoulishly reminded of his being gone. I'm sure Lisa Marie wouldn't want to see some weird photoshopped picture of her "reunion" with her "still alive" dad. Still! Think of how magnetic a personality you'd have to be for people to be SO LOATHE to admit you were no longer with us that they're STILL coming up with conspiracy theories thirty some odd years later!! One of a kind.

  3. wouldn't you love a job writing for them? my favorite is the stamp story i think. that image is SO TERRIBLE! poor poor elvis.

    1. I think it's painted over an image of him from an actual photo where he's crackin up and kind of cute...but the overlay just makes him look insane!!

  4. Hooo, BOY! This is making me have a flashback to an aide I worked with in a hospital back in the 90's. She was convinced Elvis was alive, and she meant business. I stumbled into that particular rabbit hole by reminiscing about how darn HOT it was that day. She bristled and told me that it was all a hoax and "the KIng" was still alive. The other staff grew quiet and made nervous, waist level "stop!" gestures. I was told later that she had a shrine in her home, with a bust and candles n' everything. At first, I thought it was a joke and laughed, but I dried up in a hurry. She was for real. After that, any nurse/aide interaction we had was accompanied by prolonged, thru' the skull eye contact and disgusted head shakes and sneers. Jeepers! She was creepy.

    1. So creepy!! We have a book at the library here about "Elvis Shrines" and flipping through the book, you go through the realization stages of "Oh, neat! Look how amateur-artistic these are! Oh wow.... All the time and effort put into...wait a minute, this person is completely insane, aren't they." I love that your patient was RABID about his still being alive. Phew! It takes all kinds.



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