Top Secret Elvis Presely?
The King of Rock N Roll gets files released
Pfc. Steve McQueen was confined for being absent without leave, Lt. Clark Gable’s cameraman enlisted with him and Pfc. Elvis Presley was a public relations headache for the Army, according to U.S. military documents released on Thursday.
“Elvis Presley will not be released in a manner different from any other inductee serving overseas,” the Army’s adjutant general wrote to citizens who complained following reports that the rock ‘n’ roll icon would get an early “good behavior” discharge.
When he entered the Army at Memphis, Tennessee, on March 24, 1958, there was a public outcry from his fans, and protests flowed to Washington, including a hand-written plea released by the National Archives and Records Administration.
“Dear Mamie,” one correspondent wrote to then-first lady Mamie Eisenhower. “Will you please, please be so sweet and kind as to ask Ike (President Dwight Eisenhower) to please bring Elvis Presley back to us from the Army. We need him in our entertainment world to make us all laugh.”
A 1959 Army memo set out the Presley problem: “When Private First Class Presley was first inducted, there was considerable adverse public reaction … alleging that he would receive preferential treatment in the Army.
This impression has been largely replaced by a public impression of a good soldier serving his military obligation. … Many teenagers who look up to and emulate Private First Class Presley will … follow his example in the performance of their military service.”