Monday, August 16, 2010

Elvis Presley meets President Nixon in 1970

PD Photo: Elvis Presley meets President Richard M. Nixon in the White House Oval Office on December 21, 1970, photo by White House photographer Ollie Atkins (the-then chief White House photographer).

On December 21, 1970, the original 'King of Rock and Roll' Elvis Presley, at his own request, met then-U.S. President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office of The White House, when he reportedly expressed his patriotism and his contempt for the hippie drug culture. This may be to debunk the negative publicity he received as a result of the stories contained in the book entitled ‘Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley’ by Peter Guralnick (Back Bay Books; 1999).

During the meeting Presley asked Nixon for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge to add to the items/memorabilia he had been collecting. Nixon who felt the meeting awkward, suggested that Presley could send a positive message to young people and it was therefore important for Presley to ‘retain his credibility’. Presley is reported to have told Nixon that The Beatles, whose songs he used to perform in concerts, exemplified what he saw as a trend of anti-Americanism and drug abuse in popular culture.

Ironically, this picture was being described to be 'of the two greatest recording artists of the 20th century' by the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace (now rechristened as the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum from July 11, 2007, when it became a federal facility), and sold several souvenir items with this photo with the caption, "The President & the King." The photo is now available from the Archival Research Catalog of the National Archives and Records Administration under ARC Identifier 1634221.

Nothing to wonder about the huge sales this photo could generate, as in a recent auction, Elvis Presley's strands of hair collected by his barber Homer M. Gilleland went for £10,700. A three-page real estate sales contract signed by Elvis Presley fetched £25,000, his gold and diamond 18 carat Cameo sold for £25,000, his legendary gold trimmed sunglasses sold for £13,800, and his gun, a .22 Harrington and Richardson seven-shot revolver was snapped up for £7,700.

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