Elvis (2022) | Transcript

The life story of Elvis Presley as seen through the complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Elvis (2022)

Elvis follows the story of infamous rock ‘n’ roll star Elvis Presley seen through the eyes of his controversial manager Colonel Tom Parker. The film explores Elvis Presley’s highs and lows and the many challenges and controversies he received throughout his career.

* * *

[“Suspicious minds” by Elvis Presley playing faintly]

Oh, let our love survive

I’ll dry the tears from your eyes

let’s don’t let a good thing die

[Woman singing] Snowman’s coming

yes, he’s coming

he’ll take you by the hand

he’ll say one, two, three

[panting rapidly]

And you will be…

In cotton candy land

[man] For those of you who are wondering, who this fella here is, I am the legendary colonel Tom Parker.

[Newscaster] Colonel Tom Parker, legendary manager of Elvis Presley, has been rushed to valley hospital.

[Parker] I am the man who gave the world Elvis Presley.

[Siren wailing]

Without me, there would be no Elvis Presley.

And yet, there are some who’d make me out to be the villain of this here story.

[“Suspicious minds” by Presley playing faintly]

[Newscaster 1] Colonel Tom Parker was a liar, a cheat, a con man.

A shocking new book accuses colonel Tom Parker

of massive fraud and mis-management.

Parker received as much as 50% of Elvis’ income.

He worked Elvis like a mule,

to support his own gambling addiction.

[Newscaster 2] The court finds that the compensation received

by colonel Parker was excessive,

and shocked the conscience of the court.

[Newscaster 1] Many believe that colonel Tom Parker

was responsible for the death of Elvis Presley.

[Parker] Now, you listen to me.

The only thing that matters is that that man

gets up on that stage tonight.

[Band playing “also sprach zarathustra”]

[Crowd applauding]

[Cheering, applause]

[Crowd roaring]

[Band playing fanfare]

Glory, glory, hallelujah

his truth is marching on

his truth is marching on

[Newscaster, voice echoing] Tom Parker killed him!

No! That’s not true.

[Breath shaking]


No, no, I didn’t kill him.

I made Elvis Presley.

Nothing all those muckrakers said in their books was true.

Me and Elvis, we was partners.

It was Elvis the showman and the colonel the snowman.

[Female reporter] This is the lying dutchman.

[Parker] I always knew I was destined for greatness.

As an orphan, I ran away to the carnival,

where I learned the art of the “snow job,”

of emptying a rube’s wallet while leaving them with nothing

but a smile on their face.


But a carnival act that would get you

the most money, the most snow,

had great costumes and a unique trick,

that gave the audience feelings

they weren’t sure they should enjoy.

But they do.

And I knew if I could find such an act,

I could create the greatest…




After the carnival, I moved into the music business…

The country music business.

I partnered with one of its biggest stars, Hank snow.

Pardon me if I’m sentimental

when we say goodbye

[Parker] And his hapless son, jimmie Rodgers snow.

Hot-diggity-dog, Billy.

I got one.

Oh, yeah.

Can’t believe it. Blow their socks off.

Security. Security, disk in!

Tell the mayors of these towns that we need a police escort

for Hank when he arrives.

In Baton Rouge, we are going to have a carny wedding

at the top of the Ferris wheel,

so, zina, pick out your next husband.

In New Orleans, we’re gonna use the loudspeaker

to announce you, Hank.

[Hank] Oh, sure.

[Speaking ciazarn]

[In English] You are going to march in the parade.

[Both speaking ciazarn]

Am I gonna be riding on an elephant, too?

A man on an elephant looks important.

And taller.

We still need to get a novelty act

to bring in the young folk.

Well, yes, yes,

that’s why you have a meeting with the Duke of paducah tonight.

If we can book “the funniest mouth in the south,”

we’ll have the greatest show of the season.

Hey, jimmie, turn that record off.

Y’all have to hear this.

Kids all over town are playing it everywhere I go.

[“That’s all right” by Presley playing]

I hear negro rhythms.

But with a country flavor.

Sun records? That’s Sam Phillips’ label.

[Parker] Oh, yeah, Phillips.

He makes all those race records with the colored singers.

Well, this fella’s on the hayride tonight,

after me in the newcomer spot.

In shreveport?

No, they are not putting a colored boy on the hayride.

That’s the thing. He’s white.


He’s white?

[Radio dj] What do you think, texarkana?

Shall we play it for the 27th time?

[Elvis singing] Well, that’s all right, mama

that’s all right for you

[radio dj] Shall we play it for the 27th time?

Everybody’s talkin’ ’bout this new Presley kid

[Elvis singing] That’s all right…

[Overlapping] That’s all right that’s all right…

He’s white?

[Parker] But it don’t matter if you do ten stupid things,

as long as you do one smart one.

[Hayride emcee] Welcome y’all to the Louisiana hayride,

broadcasting live to 26 of these United States.

How do you think I feel

[crowd clapping in rhythm]

I know your love’s not real

[Hank] Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Where is the colonel?

You have the fella that’s singing the “all right, mama,”

that new record that’s on the sun label, eh?

The pop jocks keep playing him.


Country DJs, too.

Even the colored kids, they’re buyin’ his record.

The colored ki… well, where would I find such an act?

The dressing room.

[Guitarist] Oh. Howdy.

Hey, Elvis Presley?

Blue moon boys?


You’re up next.

Oh, sh…

Excuse me. Bill, go time!

[Bill] I know, I know.

[Girl] Hi!

How’s his stomach?

I thought I’d grab him a Pepsi,

but poor thing’s still shaking like a leaf.

I’ll get him on the stage. Come on. Let’s go.

[Elvis groans]


It’ll settle your stomach.

[Elvis] What if I forget the words on live radio?

All we gotta do out there’s just a bit of clownin’ around.

That’s how we got this thing started in the first place.

Scotty and bill are right, Elvis.

You’re not out there on your own.

You boys are a band.

[Scotty] That’s right.

[Gladys] The lord gave us music to bring people together.

We’re like a family,

and family is the most important thing of all.

[Vernon] Amen.

Come on now, booby. Jesse’s shining bright tonight.

Shining down his strength upon you.

[Group humming soft melody]

[All singing] Oh, I’ll fly away

[Parker] Jesse, Elvis’s twin brother, who died at birth.


[Doctor] Vernon, come quick! It’s another child!

[Gladys] My darling, you’ll have the strength of two men.

[Parker] But when my boy’s daddy passed a bad check

and got carted off to prison…

[Young Elvis shouting]

The boy and his mama had to take one of the houses

for white folks in a colored neighborhood.

[Neighbor kid] New boy! Come over!

[Parker] But that boy had a big imagination.

[Young Elvis speaking]

[Parker] He really believed he was the hero

in one of them comic books.

[Young Elvis speaking]

[Parker] He was going to bust his daddy out of the hoosegow

and fly him to the rock of eternity!

[Young Elvis] Then he buys his mama a pink Cadillac.

[Tupelo boy] Pink Cadillac? What are you talking about?

Hey, fools! Whoo!

[Man singing] Ohh

black snake crawlin’ in my room

come on, doc, let’s go.

[Parker] Them comic book heroes all have them super powers.

His was music.

That’s all right, mama that’s all right with you

that’s all right, mama anyway you do

ohh… black snake crawlin’ in my room

[tupelo boy 2] Move, man. Hey, it’s my turn.

[Congregation singing nearby]

[All vocalizing]

That’s all right, mama

That’s all right, mama

[playing up-tempo riff]

[Congregants clapping rhythmically]

[All singing loudly]

[All] Oh, I’ll fly away oh, glory

I’ll fly away

when I die

when I die hallelujah, by and by

[tupelo boy 2] What you doin’?

I’ll fly away

-no more preachin’, no more -I’ll fly away

-no more pain, no more -I’ll fly away

[Elvis singing] I’ll fly away

[revival singer] No more preachin’, I’ll fly

no more pain, I’ll fly

[Elvis singing] I’ll fly away

[tupelo boy] Hey, fool, come back.

No. He’s with the spirit!

It’s all right.



black snake crawlin’ in my room

[woman] Whoo!

That’s all right, mama that’s all right with you

[man] That’s all right, mama

anyway you choose

[Elvis singing] I’ll fly away, oh, glory

I’ll fly away

oh, away

black snake crawling in my room -Hallelujah, by and by

-ohhh -[Elvis] I’ll fly away

Elvis. Come on, you gotta get on in.

They’ve already announced you on the radio.

Folks are real excited.

[Parker] At sun records, Sam Phillips was on a mission

to save the world by recording black music.

But it didn’t sell.

So to pay his bills,

he needed to find a new singer for his country act.

I don’t know what it is you see in this boy.

I just think he’s different.

[Feedback squealing]

How do you know “big boy” crudup?

That’s all right, mama that’s all right for you

that’s all right, mama anyway you do

that’s all right that’s all right

that’s all right now, mama anyway you do

[congregation continues singing]

He’s a young singer from Memphis, Tennessee.

Got a song out on the sun label. It’s all over the radio.

Give him a warm hayride welcome to a Mr. Elvis Presley.

[All singing]

[Revival singer vocalizing]

[Young Elvis panting rapidly]

[Music crescendos, ceases]

[Emcee] Elvis, how are you this evening?

Just fine, how you, sir?

[Parker] Greasy hair, girly makeup.

I cannot overstate how strange he looked.

[Emcee] Are you all geared up with your band there to…

I’m all geared up.

Let us hear your songs?

Uh… well, I’d like to say how happy we are to be down here.

It’s a real honor for us to be…

Get a chance to appear on the Louisiana hayride.

We’re gonna do a song for you we got out on sun records.


You got anything else to say, sir?

No. I’m ready.

[Exhales nervously]

[Breath shaking]

It goes…

It goes something like this.

[Feedback squealing]

Oh, baby, baby,

baby, baby, baby

baby, baby, baby

[hesitant strumming]

Baby, baby, baby

baby, baby, baby

[feedback continues]

Come back, baby I wanna play house with you

get a haircut, fairy!


[Parker] In that moment, in a flash of lightning,

I watched that skinny boy in the pink suit

transform into a superhero.

Well, you may go to college you may go to school

you may have a pink Cadillac but don’t you be nobody’s fool

now, baby come back, baby, come

come back, baby, come

come back, baby I wanna play house with you

well, listen and I’ll tell you, baby

what I’m talking about


Come on back to me, little girl so we can play some house


Baby, come back, baby, come

come back, baby, come


Come back, baby I wanna play house with you

wanna play house!

What are they hollerin’ at?

The wiggle!

The what?

Them girls wanna see you wiggle.

Move, man!

Do more!

Much more!


Do it again.

[Women screaming]

Well, this is one thing, baby that I want you to know

come on back let’s play a little house

and we can do what we did before

now, baby

sit down!

Come back, baby, come

come back, baby, come come back, baby

what in god’s sweet name am I looking at?

Hit it!

[Loud guitar riff playing]



[Loud scream]

What were you thinking, jimmie?

I don’t know what I’m thinking.

Please, lord, don’t let ’em hurt my baby.

Hurt him? Looks like they wanna…

[slow echoing] Baby, baby, baby, baby, baby

[Parker] Now, I don’t know nothin’ about music…

[Faint breathy gasps]

But I could see in that girl’s eyes,

that she was having feelings

she wasn’t sure she should enjoy.

[Crudup singing faintly] Black snake crawlin’ in my room

[Parker] Yes.

He was a taste of forbidden fruit.

She could’ve eaten him alive.

[All shrieking]

Why are you trying to kill my son?

[Parker] It was the greatest carnival attraction

I’d ever seen.

He was my destiny.

Right under my nose… In Memphis.

[Memphis dj] Top of the morning to you, friends,

from the home of colorful, old beale street.

The place where the blues began in Memphis, Tennessee,

where you see pretty browns dressed in beautiful gowns,

along with tailor-mades and hand-me-downs.

Where you see honest men and pickpockets skilled,

and business never closes till somebody gets killed.

Now, just kidding.

But there’s a lot goin’ down on beale street tonight,

and nowhere more-so than at the club handy.

Come around if you wanna see big mama Thornton,

layin’ down her newest hit.

[Thornton singing] Get it, get it

[saxophonist] Get it! Come on!

Oh, let’s do it

[Memphis dj] Now, listen up, while brown america speaks.

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

quit snoopin’ ’round my door

[Thornton continues singing]

[Parker] Just why a truck driver from Memphis, Tennessee,

liked to hang out on beale street, I do not know.

You told me you was high class but I could see through that…

[Parker] But it did him no favors,

fitting into them white housing projects.

Hey, squirrel. Nice shoes.

And, daddy, I know that you ain’t no real cool cat

hey, Elvis!

[“Vegas” by doja cat playing]

[Girl] Hey, Tommy.

That’s that boy whose record everybody’s talkin’ about.

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

[Boy] Hey, sideburns. Where’s the negro suit today?

[Parker] He was crazy for that beale street music.

Beale street style.

He had beale street stars in his eyes.

What do you think, Tony? Huh?

B.b. King.

No, I didn’t take my boy away from nothin’.

He was runnin’ from the day he was born.

I just opened the door to our destiny.

[Gladys] So without so much as a word to your daddy and me,

you quit your job to go traveling

all the way to Florida with this colonel fellow

that we have never met.

Mama, it’s only four days.

Yeah, four days. And then what?

I knew a fella once, got his record on the radio.

It was all over in a flash.

Mama, I’m just trying to take care of you and daddy.

That’s all I have ever cared about.

I ain’t ever gonna let us get back to a place again

where daddy gets in trouble with the law

to put food on the table.


How dare you?

As the good lord warns us,

do not wear yourself out to get rich.

Do not trust your own goddamn cleverness!


Elvis, you’ve upset your mama.

[Shaky sigh]

You know, mama, I was thinkin’,

maybe I’ll buy you one of them pink Cadillacs

like you saw back when you was working at the hospital.

I don’t need no pink Cadillac.

Satnin, I just gotta be making

the most of this thing while I can.

It’s like daddy says, this could all be over in a flash.

I’m not fearful of it being over, booby.

I don’t know how to explain it.

But I saw it in that girl’s eyes.

It’s something beyond us, but I know that whatever it is,

it’s something that…

It’s something that can come between us.

[Crying softly]

Oh, no, mama, no. Hey.

Ain’t nothing ever gonna do that.

You’re my girl. My satnin.

You’ll always be my bestest girl.




[Trembling sigh]

I will call you every night.

Will you promise me, booby?

I promise.

I promise. I promise, I promise.

All right. I love you.

Bye, baby.

[Elvis] Nothing but nothing…

I love you.

Is gonna come between us.

[Scotty] Let’s go!

[Gladys] Bye, booby!

See you soon!

Wanna bet? [Laughs]

Well, it’s one for the money two for the show

three to get ready now go, cat, go

but don’t you step on my blue suede shoes

well, you can do anything

but stay off of my blue suede shoes

well, you can knock me down step in my face

[over loudspeaker] Your attention, please.

I have some good news.

Our next four nights are sold out…

thanks to the dazzling performances

of our tremendous showman, Hank snow.

Pardon me if I’m sentimental when we say goodbye

[Parker] And I’ve noticed a mild interest

in our newest act, Elvis Presley.

[Playing up-tempo music]

[Groupie] Hi.

Yeah, Dixie, I’ll be back before prom.

[Rock music continues]

[Crowd cheering]

Well you can burn my house steal my car

drink my liquor from an old fruit jar

do anything that you want to do

[Hank] Colonel, what is that boy doing on our tour?

[Parker] Well, I told you all about him.

And he wants to record one of your songs.

Oh? Which one?

All of them.

Well, you warn him plenty.

None of those lewd gyrations or sudden, jerky movements.

[Elvis yelling]

Let’s go!

Let’s rock!

[Women shrieking]

Is that a pair of young ladies’ intimates

I see upon the stage?

Yes, I believe it is, Hank.

Best not happen when he sings one of my songs.

I’m sure it won’t.

[Gladys] Elvis, the papers say there are girls

around your hotel all night long.

I don’t even go out, mama. I stay in.

You know, it gets lonesome.

[Radio dj] I tell you, this new sensation, Elvis Presley,

he’s breaking hearts all over the south.

Quit knocking at my door, Scotty.

[Woman chuckles]

[Elvis singing] Are you sorry we drifted apart?

Never know how much I love you

never know how much I care

when you put your arms around me

[woman sighing]

[Scotty] Oh, come on, e.P.

Life on the road ain’t the concern of folks back home.

[Elvis singing] Fever

[bill] Why don’t you try one of these?

Put the pep back into your step.

[Elvis singing] What a lovely way to burn

[Elvis singing] Well, shake, rattle and roll

I said shake, rattle and roll

I said shake, rattle and roll I said shake, rattle and roll

well, you won’t do right


To save your doggone soul

[jimmie] You’re really something else, man!

I promise, I’ll put my heart in…

[Elvis chuckles]

I wanna be just like you!

[Elvis] Okay. Yeah, thank you.

I can no longer, in good conscience,

go on stage with that boy.

Yes, a conundrum. A conundrum.

[Announcer] Please welcome to the stage, Hank snow!

After I perform, I shall spend the night in prayer.

And I will do what needs to be done.

[Downtempo country music playing]

Come on, jimmie!

How do you think that I feel

oh, baby oh, baby

how do you think that I feel

[music fades]

[Parker] That night, I happened to see him.



A snowman is only as good…

As his attraction.

[Bill] Elvis!

Come on, man.

Elvis, come on! Hurry up!

[Parker] It was all, or nothing.

[Bill] Elvis, we’re going to the hall of mirrors!

[Elvis] Wait up!

[Jimmie] Screw the hall of mirrors. That’s boring.

[All chattering, laughing]

[Scotty] Right, hang on. Here we go.

[Speaking ciazarn]

[Elvis] Hold on.

All right, fellas. Come on.


[Parker] Lost, my boy?

Colonel Parker, sir.

You look lost.


I guess I am.

Ah, yes.

The roar of the crowd. The life on the road.

And then calling home to your loved ones,

pretending nothing has changed,

when everything has.

Yeah. Lost.

I’m sorry, sir. I… I meant I don’t know the way out.

Yeah, that is precisely what I am saying.

I… I saw you. Apart from all the others.


Like you don’t know how to get out of this.

But I do.

[Zina singing] Snowman’s coming

allow me to show you.

Yes, he’s coming

take his magic hand

[Parker] Creatures of the carnival.

And I am one myself.

[Crowd exclaiming]

It’s where I learned the art of the snow job.

[Elvis] Snow job?

[Parker] Yes.

It’s like the trick you do with the wiggling,

getting all the girls hyped up,

empty their wallets and leave them

with nothing but the smiles on their faces.

I’m no trickster.

Oh, yes, you are.

All showmen are snowmen.

It’s a wonderful place.

Nobody on the aerio.

[Speaking ciazarn]

Your future, Mr. Presley, blazing before you.

Recording contracts, television, even Hollywood.

You’re great, colonel.

You are the best person I could ever hope to work with.

You know, this is something I ain’t never

said to nobody before…

But I believe I can be great, too.

Oh, no doubt.

But we could be even greater together.

But to achieve this, I need to represent you exclusively.

Exclusively? Sir, I… I don’t follow.

What about Hank snow?

Hank. Yes…

He sent me here to fire you.

[Metal creaking]

Hank wants you off the tour.

So I will have to leave Hank.

We will both have to make sacrifices.

We will need a record label with national distribution.



Sam Phillips… discovered me.

I know, but we have a way to help Sam understand

that it would be foolish of him to hold you back.

Every man has his price.

[Sam] Rca does have the distribution.

[Elvis] I just need to know that you’ll

still be with me as friends.

Don’t doubt that, we’re not going anywhere.

Marion and I just don’t want to stand in your way, that’s all.

The world needs to hear you sing, Elvis.

[Newscaster] Elvis Presley’s contract sold to rca today

for the highest price in music history.

Quite the payday for sun records.

It’s just business. Show business.

To achieve truly great things,

one must make truly great sacrifices.

You will have to be free of any entanglements.

You see, my boy, show business is snow business.

And the fans need to believe that you are always available.

[Elvis] The colonel says that with all the publicity

that’s gonna be coming,

he might have to put it out there that…


I don’t have a girl.


[Parker] Then we will need your parents’ legal commitment.

They may need a bit of convincing themselves.

[Gladys] Sam Phillips is a good man we can trust.

We don’t know this colonel from a nail in a wall.

[Man] Is there a lawyer representing the family?

[Parker] Oh, unnecessary.

I am of the firm opinion

that family is the most important thing in the world.

In mind of that, I have taken the Liberty

of making these contracts out

in the name of Elvis Presley enterprises.

A family business.

And I was thinking, Vernon Presley:

Business manager.

[Elvis] What do you think, daddy?

[Vernon] Uh… well, uh…

I like it very much, son.

[Parker] Ah!


Mrs. Presley, your son has a unique gift.

It’s as though he has the strength

of two men inside of him.

[Pen clicks]

[Elvis] You know, colonel, I would do anything

to make sure my mama and daddy never have to live

in no poverty ever again.

Mama, it’s gonna turn out so, so good.


[Camera clicks]

Colonel, I wasn’t fooling when I told those other kids

I was gonna buy ’em a Cadillac one day.

My boy, with me, you will buy them two Cadillacs.


A hundred?

Two hundred.


A thousand.

A million.

An aeroplane.

How about a rocket ship?

[Both laugh]

Well, maybe not a rocket ship. My mama don’t like me to fly.

But me, I’ve always wanted to fly. Fast.

Faster than the speed of light to the rock of eternity.

What? To the rock of eternity?

Captain marvel, Jr.

He’s my favorite comic book hero.

He flies.

Well, what about you, Mr. Presley?

Are you ready to fly?

Yes, sir. I’m ready.

Ready to fly.

[Producer 1 over intercom] Uh, Mr. Presley,

try not to move around so much during the takes.

[Elvis] If I can’t move, I can’t sing.

[Singing] Well, since my baby left me

[band plays two chords]

Well, I found a new place to dwell

[producer 2] What is he doing? We paid for this?

It’s down at the end of lonely street at…

[Producer 2] It’s a suicide song.

Heartbreak hotel

[Parker] Them know-it-alls said I’d backed the wrong horse.

But my boy knew teenagers.

And that first record changed everything.

Well, it’s so very hard to have to leave the one you love

and you get more lonely with each passing day

it’s so lonely just sitting and dreaming of…

[Newscaster 1] In a few short months,

Elvis Presley has popped out of nowhere.

Everywhere he goes, he causes riots,

mountains of press and rivers of money.

[Newscaster 2] It’s another gold record for Elvis Presley.

This one giving him his first worldwide hit.

[Crowd screaming]

[Maid] Mrs. Presley, look!

Come on, Mrs. Presley, let me show you how to use this.

Come on, hens! Come on, hens! Come on!

Come on! Outside! Out of my house!

Come on, this way! Come on, babies!



[Elvis grunting]

[Elvis] Go, Billy boy!


[Parker] I took my boy’s wiggling

and put it in the movies.

I took his name and face,

and put it on all sorts of toys

and knick-knacks, and called it…


Your face on every conceivable object,

including Teddy bear, perfume, plaster busts…

Of questionable likeness.

“The Elvis Presley game.”

Something so everyone can show their love.

Grandma dodger, what is that behind your ear?

[Gladys] “I hate Elvis.”


Yes. I hate Elvis.

In my way of thinking, “I love Elvis,”

that’s an easy sell.

Those who hate your son will do so

whether we profit from it or not.

After all, what is hate worth if it’s free?

Oh, yeah. I get it.

Snowman strikes again.

[All laughing]

[Parker] Merchandise, promotion. Diskin, what else do we have?

[Diskin] Necklaces.

[Parker] Necklaces.

[Diskin] Scarves.

[Parker] Oh, scarves. Yes…

[Lansky] Mr. Presley and Mr. King…

Regular peas in a pod,

relieving me of my finest threads.

Must be some occasion.

Mr. Lansky, it’s Milton berle.

The whole of america’ll be watching.

I don’t watch television.

So what’s it gonna be?

How you gonna blow their wigs off?

Well, the network wants me to do a ballad.

But I’m thinking about cuttin’ it up with “hound dog.”


Elvis Presley, “hound dog,” and uncle miltie.

Strange things are happening every day.

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, hound dog

cryin’ all the time

you ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

cryin’ all the time

well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit

and you ain’t no friend of mine

when they said you was high classed

well, that was just a lie

yeah, they said you were high classed

behold, tomorrow, all of america

will be talking about Elvis Presley.

My wiggling boy.

[Gladys and Vernon laughing]

Even as a little one, he made me laugh so.

He’s so funny!

You never caught a rabbit you ain’t no friend of mine


You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, a hound dog

cryin’ all the time

[aide] And, senator, for the next leg

of your racial integrity tour,

we booked the over ton park shell in Memphis.

What are they laughing about?

[Laughter continues]

[Elvis] You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

cryin’ all the time

who the hell is that?

It’s that boy from Memphis.

[Dreamily] Elvis Presley.

Cryin’ all the time

a white boy from Memphis, moving like a goddamn…

[Elvis singing] Is your heart filled with pain

shall I come back…

The obscenity and vulgarity of this rock and roll music

is obviously a means by which the white man and his children

can be driven to the level of the negro.

[Elvis] The colored folks have been singing and playing it

just like I’m doing it now, man, more years than I know.

Colonel Parker, we called you in here

to talk about this act of yours.

[TV reporter] A petition has begun circulating

to bar Elvis Presley from television.

[East land] We’ve set up a committee

to keep an eye on this vulgar, animalistic rock and roll bum.

[TV host] Your style of gyrating while you sing

has been bitterly criticized…

I don’t feel I’m doing anything wrong.

[Woman] We simply will not advertise on any station

that puts this delinquent on television.

Colonel, you put an end to your boy’s animal behavior,

or we will.

[Parker] Don’t worry, senator, my boy does what he’s told.

[Elvis singing] Tell me, dear

are you lonesome tonight?

“Elvis the pelvis.”

That’s one of the most childish expressions I’ve ever heard

coming from an adult.

Is Mr. Allen gonna cancel me from the show?


Yes, he is.

He is replacing you with one of the country’s greatest singers.

Mario lanza?

Someone greater.

The new Elvis Presley!

Yeah, I snowed ’em!

You just have to put on one of these tails here,

can sing the “hound dog,”

and it’s a light-hearted, sophisticated family show.

I can’t move in one of these.

And that is the point.

Mr. Allen agreed only as long

as there is no wiggling of those hips.

I can’t figure it out. My own mother approves of what I do.


You have read the papers, my boy?

Yeah, I read the papers.

The papers say that I shot my mother and smoke marijuana.

Your movement’s in the style of a black man,

and you have broken the segregation laws.

So let’s follow the plan. It’s a good plan.

You do the Allen show, family style,

and then tomorrow we go back to Memphis and

we snow them on the July 4th children’s charitable concert.

And we put this whole unfortunate misstep behind us.

Now, do you want to go into politics?

Or shall we stay in show business?

[Steve Allen] We want to do a show the whole family

can watch and enjoy, and we always do.

And at this time, it gives me extreme pleasure to introduce

the new Elvis Presley!

[Dog barks]

[Faint crowd laughter]

[Female fan 1] He used to be so hip.

[Male fan 1] He looked so silly.

[Male fan 2] I mean, he looked like a Butler.

[Female fan 2] I can’t believe he agreed to sing to a dog.

[Door bangs]

[Elvis] God damn it!

[Grunts angrily]

He could’ve given us some warning.

I know how to do a skit, I could’ve made it funny!

The most stupid, embarrassing, humiliating thing I ever did.

Well, what the hell do you want me to do about it?

We’re musicians!

[Female fan 3] It’s just embarrassing.

[Male fan 3] Who does he think he is?

[Voices overlapping, echoing faintly]

[Horn toots]

[Fans screaming]


[Gladys] She just went on and on about the damn dog.

And I said, “neighbors shouldn’t speak like that.”

And then she said…

I like the bit with the dog.

It was the most embarrassing performance of my life, daddy.

She wasn’t the only one who said it.

All the neighbors did.

Oh, god.

Those New York people were using you

to poke fun at the whole south.

Getting a laugh out of putting a hillbilly in a tailcoat

and singing to a dog.

[Faint shouting]

God damn it, mama, it was either that or I get canceled.

Then that’s it for television.

Colonel says I’m running out of states that I’m welcome in.

And they don’t pay unless I can perform.

So colonel says I play the charity concert tomorrow night,

as the new family style,

then everybody calms down and we get back on track.

Someone’s got to think about keeping a roof over our heads.

Roof over our head?

We’ve always managed to keep a roof over our head, Vernon.

Mama, daddy is business manager. It’s his job.

[Vernon] That’s right.

We was doing just fine before that man came along.

Colonel has got us all of this.

I don’t want all this! You’re unhappy!

I am not!

[Grunts loudly]

You’re losing yourself, booby!

Oh, hell, mama, I…

Satnin knows.


[Heavy sigh]

[Gladys] The way you sing and move…

It’s god-given.

So there can’t be nothing wrong with it.

[All chattering excitedly]

Hey, I’m gonna ask cousin about the movie.

Hey, e.P., e.P.!

Can we close down the movie house

and watch Godzilla tonight?

Don’t tramp mud in the house, Billy!

[Billy] But you said we could watch the movie!

Get out! Get out of my goddamn house!

[Billy] You said you’d take us!

Tramping mud in my house

and doing my damn head in.

[Frustrated sigh]

Mama, you ain’t never happy.

No matter what I do, no matter how much I give you,

it ain’t never enough.

And, I wish you would not drink so goddamn much.

It’s not good for you.


Put that back in the shed!

Elvis, wait!

Elvis! Elvis, come on! Elvis!

[Man on radio] Here’s Elvis Presley.

[Elvis’ songs playing on radio]

[“Tiger man” by Rufus Thomas playing]

[On radio] This is Rufus Thomas here from wdia.

You can catch b.B. King tonight at club handy,

with sister rosetta tharpe.

[“Let it all hang out” by Denzel curry playing]

[Excited chattering]

[Elvis] Hello.

[Laughs] E.P.!

B.b.! Hey!

[King] Get over here!


Have a good night.

[Indistinct, excited chatter]

Thank you. Have a good night.



Get him! Get him in here! E.P.! E.P.!

All right, all right. Thank you.

Wop, bop-a-loo-bop ba-lop, bom, bom

tutti frutti, oh rooty tutti frutti, oh rooty

[Elvis] Got my mama going on about the “hound dog,”

and the colonel’s got me wearing tails,

and everybody wants something different.

Hey, listen, man.

If you’re sad and you want to be sad,

you’re at the right place.

If you’re happy and you want to be happy, guess what?

You’re at the right place.

So just do me a favor…

Let it all hang out.

Let it all hang out, e.P.!

Let it all hang out, baby.


She rocks to the east she rocks to the west

but she’s the girl that I love best

tutti frutti, oh rooty, uh!

Hey, man.

Tutti frutti, oh rooty, whoo!

Tutti frutti, oh rooty tutti frutti, oh rooty

[faint] Tutti frutti, oh rooty

[indistinct radio chatter]

Wop, bop-a-loo-bop…


Whoo! Man, he’s cuttin’ it!

Sister rosetta found this kid in the backwaters of Georgia.

[Crowd cheering]

They should get the colonel to book him on Steve Allen.


They would love his moves.

Got a girl named Daisy

she almost drives me crazy

got a girl named Daisy


She almost drives me crazy

she knows how to love me yes, indeed

boy, you don’t know what she do to me

tutti frutti, oh rooty

man, he sings the hell out of that song!

I would love to record that.

If you do, you’ll make a whole lot more money

than that kid could ever dream of.

Tutti frutti, oh rooty

wop, bop-a-loo-bop, ba-lop, bom, bom


[Crowd cheering]

[Cheers fading]

[Electric guitar plays blues melody]

[Tharpe singing] I’m a-workin’ on the building

[patrons] Workin’ on the building

[tharpe] It’s the new foundation

[patrons] The new foundation

[tharpe] I’m goin’ to heaven

[patrons] Yeah!

[Elvis] Goin’ to heaven

to get my reward

[patrons] Get my reward

[Elvis] Whoo!


[King] Ha-ha! That’s all right.

That’s a nice ride you rode up in tonight.

It ain’t like your ol’ big b.B. King bus.


Big red.

Yeah, well, I can go where I want, play what I want,

and if they don’t like it, I can go someplace else.

You’ve got to be in control, man.

You should have your own label, like me.

You don’t do the business, the business will do you.

Man, I just leave all that to the colonel.

So it’s, um…

It’s his idea, this new Elvis?

Listen, I don’t get it, man.

Cats buy your records because they like what you do,

not because you’re dressed up like some… like some Butler.

You really think those kids want to see Elvis the Butler

at the russwood park gig tomorrow?

Man, I ain’t wearing no tails.

I just… Gotta lay off the moves, is all.

Colonel says if I don’t, they’re gonna put me in jail.


Come on, man.

They’re not gonna put you in jail.

They might put me in jail for walking across the street,

but you’re a famous white boy.

Too many people are making too much money off of you

to put you in jail.

You think so?

I know so.

Colonel’s a smart man. There’s gotta be another reason.

[Tharpe playing “strange things happening every day”]

Every day, yes

there are strange things happening every day

hey, Elvis, b.B.! Give us a smile.

Every day

[east land] You promised us a new Elvis, colonel.

Yet, here he is with this b.B. King at club handy,

jiggling and wiggling with Billy ward, and here,

on colored night at the Memphis fairgrounds.

We’ve been poking into your background,

and we’ve found your records.

“Unfit for military duty.”

“Acute psychopathic state.”

Well… I was pretending to be crazy. I wanted out.

I was just a boy from hunting ton, West Virginia.

Well, before the army, we found no record of you at all.

[Tharpe singing] Every day, yeah

there are strange things happening every day

every day are so strange

every day people are stealing the planes

oh! There are strange things happening

every day oh, ain’t that strange, every day

[up-tempo music playing faintly]

[Tharpe singing] Every day, yes

there are strange things happening every day

[Parker] While 10,000 screaming fans were cramming in

to see our show, senator east land was holding

a segregationist rally just three miles away.

[Crowd screaming]

The mayor loved you on the Steve Allen show.

All the important people did.

What song are you going to sing tonight?

I’ve made no decision.

I’ll feel it.

[Parker] Pay no mind to all the cameras.

Those are our friends in the vice squad.

They don’t mean nothing. Ain’t that right, chief?

As long as you don’t so much as wiggle a finger.

[Emcee] Oh, yes, sir, good people!

A big thank you to shorty Morgan’s Dixie dolls!

But I know some of the young people

are very excited about this next act!

[Loud cheering, applause]

Jesse’s with us tonight, baby.

Play it smart out there, yeah?

Well, stop talking about it we’re talking about everything

and do somethin’ about it

Elvis Presley!

Strange things happening every day

just sing the nice song. Smile the nice smile.

No wiggling.

Then we can get back to our show business.

And have fun, my boy! Fun!

[Tharpe singing] Oh, we want peace!

We want peace!

We ought a stop talkin’ about it and do somethin’ about it

oh, there are strange things happening

every day

[cheering, applause]

[Cameras clicking]

[Cheering subsides]

There’s been a lot of talk about the new Elvis.

[Crowd jeering]

And of course, that other guy.

[Crowd cheering]

[Elvis singing] You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

[chuckling] Cryin’ all the time

[east land] …At his command, both civil and other,

to maintain public order, and prevent crime and riots.

He can use those forces…

To prevent the racial integration of schools,

if this is necessary, under the police powers of that state…

There’s a lot of people saying a lot of things.

[East land] In fact, it is his duty…

Of course you gotta listen to the people that you love.

[East land] …And prevent turmoil and strife within the state.

But in the end, you gotta listen to yourself.

[Crowd cheering]

So I want you to know, those New York people

ain’t gonna change me none.

[Cheering, applause]

[East land] The subversives who own…

control and dominate the entertainment industry…


[east land] are determined…

to spread africanized culture…

I’m gonna show you what the real Elvis is like tonight!

[East land] Influencing your children…

To accept the negroes.

[Band plays chord]

If you’re looking for trouble


What’s going on?

You came to the right place

if you’re looking for trouble

just look right in my face

I was born standing up

and talking back

my daddy was a green-eyed mountain Jack

because I’m evil

my middle name is misery

well, I’m evil

so don’t you mess around with me

I’ve never looked for trouble

[all screaming]

But I never ran

I don’t take no orders

from no kind of man

I’m only made out

of flesh, blood and bone

but if you’re gonna start a rumble

don’t you try it on alone

because I’m evil

my middle name is misery



Well, I’m evil

so don’t you mess around with me

[band accelerates tempo]

[Excited chattering]

I’m evil, evil evil as can be

I’m evil evil, evil as can be

[officers shouting]

So don’t mess around

don’t mess around with me

I’m evil

[cameras whirring]

I’m evil

[faint singing] Evil, evil

uh, now would be a good time to get back into the car.

I’m evil



[sound fades]

[Cameras clicking, whirring]

Our friends at rca are not gonna be happy when they see this.

[Up-tempo music continues]

[Sounds fade, muffled]

[Parker] He didn’t listen to me.


[Faint singing]

Why didn’t he listen to me?

[Faint singing] I’m evil

get my boy off that stage!

With me


[Scotty] Get your hands off him. Hey!

[Bill] Hey, Elvis!

[Women shrieking] Elvis!

Go look after the merchandise. Look after the merchandise!

[All shouting, yelling]

[Man] Elvis, come on!

Get off of me! Mama, you get in the car!

Get in the car!



You’re gonna get us in trouble.

He’s all right, come on.

[Scotty] Elvis!

[Bill] Scotty, come on.

Let’s go.


[Fans thumping on car]

[Siren wails]

[Parker] My dear boy had chosen.

You, his audience, his fans.

He had no idea what he had done to both of us.

[East land] We warned you, colonel.

You’ve lost control of this act of yours.

And he’s dividing this nation.

There are a lot of people who want to see him in jail.

[Parker] I had to find a way out.

A way to save him.

[Elvis singing] Crawfish


no. There’s no way my baby’s going to Germany for two years.

It is either the army or jail.

There is something else.

Vernon, they are poking into your background.

We don’t have nothin’ to be ashamed of!

Now, my daddy is a good man.

[Parker] Yes, yes. But your papa did go to jail.

You know them, and their flashy headlines.

“Elvis, the draft dodger.” “A family of delinquents.”

There was no moon

[Parker] We may never book another date, or sell another record again.

And my way of thinking,

the army could be a brand new start for all of us.

Let them cut your hair.

Prove to the world that you are a clean-cut, all-American boy.

You do your two years, and when you come back, I promise you

I will have done everything I can

to make you the biggest actor in Hollywood.

You will choose your own pictures.

It’s gonna be okay, mama.


And I pulled Mr. Crawfish out of his hole

[TV reporter] Young Mr. Presley, a rock and roller no more.

He’ll do six months’ basic training at fort Chaffee

before shipping off to Germany.

[Elvis continues singing faintly]

[Parker] Since the day he was born,

she had feared losing her second son.

While he was in basic training…

She worried and drank…


And drank.

[Loud thump]

[Glass clattering]

[Faint] Hey…


[Sobbing quietly]


[Elvis crying] Oh, no…


There are some fine folks from the press waiting outside.

A few questions, pictures, and they will leave us alone.

I can’t get him to do anything.

He trusted her like nobody else,

and now she’s gone and who does he have now?

[Vernon] Well…

He trusts you. [Shaky exhale]

Can you talk to him?

Oh, no.

It’s not my place…

Can you do it, colonel?

We need your help now.

[Elvis sobbing quietly]

Your daddy is doing the best he knows how,

but he is overwhelmed.

He needs your help out there.

[Crying] I can’t go out there. I just wanna stay here forever.

Oh, my boy.


No one could never replace her.

But you listen to me.

From this moment on, anything she would have done…

I will carry out, in her name.

When you are overseas, I will stay here at home.

And I will work, and I will worry.

Trust me.

Now, you go and you stand by your papa.

You comfort him.

You comfort him.

Comfort your friends and your family,

and even your fans. Hmm?

Because if you don’t do that…

All that your mama has sacrificed for you

will be for nothing.


[Elvis] No matter what happens,

you stay with me through thick and thin, okay?

You’re like a… Like a father to me.


[Faint chatter]

[“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”]

[Parker] I needed to protect him.

Even from himself.

My plan, Elvis Presley would return

a clean-cut, all-American boy.


[Thunder rumbling]

I did not consider

the most dangerous thing of all.


[“Can’t help falling in love” by Presley playing]

[Indistinct chatter]

[Parker] Priscilla, the pretty teenage daughter

of a United States air force officer.

And then he said to me…

[Sucks, exhales]

[Gruff voice] “You know what, Priscilla?

You gotta listen to me, sweetie,

because this guy, he’s got girls all over the world, okay?

He’s got girls waiting outside of his house

and girls writing him endless fan mail.”

[In normal voice] And then mommy decides to pitch in and go,

“ooh, what could he possibly see in you, okay?

What do you two do up there all night?”



And I just said, “mom, dad…

We talk and we listen to music, okay? That’s all.”

And then they were going on and on about that photo of you

and Natalie wood riding around on that bike in Memphis,

and… [gasps] And then what I said…

And I said this really calmly, I said, “listen, okay?

He’s just really lonely. And quite frankly, so am I.”

And then they didn’t really know what to say after that,

so I went upstairs and I went to bed.

Never met anyone like you.

Well, I hope not.

So… what is Natalie wood like?

She’s nice, you know.

She’s been writing me about acting.

I’ve been asking her stories about…

Working with James Dean and…

God, I just hope to one day be as good as him, you know?


Colonel’s promised me that when I get back

he’s gonna set me up in Hollywood to be a serious actor.

That’s really what I dream of.

Hey, e.P., e.P., now, you promised the captain

that you’d get her home by 7:00.

Hey, Charlie. What’s that behind you?

What? No…

He don’t boss me around.

You know, I think if you dream it, you’ll do it.

You do?


[“Can’t help falling in love” by kacey musgraves playing]

Shall I stay?

Would it be a sin

if I can’t help

falling in love with you?

[Interviewer] You no longer want to sing in your films,

is that right? You want to be a dramatic actor.

[Elvis] Well, sir, that’s my big ambition now.

It takes a lot of time, a lot of experience.

[Parker] He was as good as Brando.

But you didn’t want to see him in movies where he didn’t sing.

[Elvis singing] A little less conversation

a little more action

all this aggravation ain’t satisfactioning me

[Parker] Thanks to me, his life became one big Hollywood movie!

Starring Priscilla…

[Singing] Bright light city gonna set my soul

gonna set my soul on fire

[Parker] And a cast of his “buddies” and “cousins.”

His Memphis mafia.

So get those stakes up higher

there’s a thousand pretty women waitin’ out there

and they’re all livin’ the devil may care

and I’m just the devil with love to spare, so

viva, Las Vegas

[Parker] There was that fairytale wedding.

And the honeymoon on frank Sinatra’s jet.

And introducing baby Lisa Marie.

I made him the highest paid actor in Hollywood history.

We had a lot of fun!

But Elvis was a young man,

and of course, he got distracted.

So we made them faster and cheaper.

[Radio reporter] Beatlemania sweeps america,

as teens turn their attention to the teenage rockers.

[Parker] Is it my fault the world changed?


[Cronkite on TV] Good evening. Dr. Martin Luther King,

the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement,

has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee.

[“Edge of reality” by Presley playing]

[TV reporter] New Elvis stinker bombs, another flop.

There’s no more appetite for Presley pictures.

[Parker] It don’t matter how hard I worked,

how many snow jobs I came up with,

how much snow I made them.

My boy loved to spend.

And with them hillbillies around him,

the money would just melt away.

With the sale of the ranch and the horses,

that’s gonna cover the payroll,

but as for the security at Graceland…

[Cronkite on TV] Officers also reportedly chased

and fired on a radio-equipped car

containing two white men.

Dr. King was standing on the balcony

of his second floor hotel room tonight,

when, according to a companion,

a shot was fired from across the street.

Dr. King.

[Billy] Uncle Vernon, come quick!

He always spoke the truth.

[Vernon] What happened?

They rushed the 39-year-old negro leader to a hospital,

where he died of a bullet wound in the neck.

[Parker singing] Jingle, jingles…

Here comes Santa claus here comes Santa claus

right down Santa claus Lane

Vixen and blitzen and all the reindeer

pulling on the rein

Elvis Presley’s wonderful world of Christmas.

Brought to you by

the singer sewing machine company,

to every television set in america.

It only takes three days to tape,

and there’s no audience.

Violence breeds violence,

repression breeds retaliation.

[Parker] …Christmas sweater.

Made on the new singer, home knitting apparatus.

Memphis is burning.

And to fear his brother.

When you teach that he is a lesser man

because of his color or his beliefs…

[Parker] …Dreaming of a white Christmas,

because, oh, it’s definitely going to snow.

[Elvis] Christmas special.

Is this the best we can do, admiral?

Well, we took the Hollywood phonies

for every nickel they had

and now it is time for us to pack up our tents

and move on to even greener pastures.

We’ve seen “Elvis the rebel,”

we’ve seen “Elvis the movie star.”

Now we will see “Elvis the family entertainer.”

And appliance salesman?

What did you say?

Listen, Jerry, I don’t need you to question me

about how I support my family and every goddamn person here.

You understand me?

If you don’t like it, you can go back to Memphis.

Laugh it up, assholes.

[Male voice singing “here comes Santa claus” on tape]

[Man] What a beautiful rendition

of “here comes Santa claus” that was,

with all the sparkle and magic that the season brings.

And you’ll be even warmer this season

in a 12 Gauge cable-knit woolen sweater…



Made right at home on the singer sewer sk155 home knitter.

And now, here’s Elvis!

[Stops tape]

[Mahalia Jackson singing on TV]

Can I watch the memorial with you?

Yeah, baby.

I’m so tired of playing Elvis Presley.

Too many people rely on me.

[Priscilla sighs]

I love you.

And your daughter loves you.

We don’t care about the money or anything else.

We just want you to be happy.

[Jackson singing] Lord, hold my hand

and don’t let me fall

you’re only really happy when you sing the music you love.

[Jackson] Oh

take my hand

[Elvis] Mahalia Jackson.

I used to hear her sing at east street church.

[Jackson singing] Got a feelin’ in my body

that’s the music that makes me happy.

This will be our lucky day

so when things are too dangerous to say… sing!

[“I got a feeling in my body” playing]

When Moses walked the children out of Egypt land

he said “now don’t you worry we’re in the lord’s hands”

I got a feelin’ in my body

this will be our lucky day

we’ll be released from all our sorrow

leave it layin’ along the way

[Jerry] You gotta meet these binder and bones guys, e.P.

They’re the ones that put James brown,

the rolling stones onstage.

They’re doing some cutting edge stuff.

Mr. Binder, Mr. Howe… Thanks for coming.

[Helicopter whirring in distance]

[Elvis] When I first came to Hollywood, I’d come up here

and sit for hours.

Right over there, the observatory…

That’s where they shot rebel without a cause.

Man, I used to dream of being a great actor like Jimmy Dean.

This sign was beautiful then.

And now…

Feels as though lots of things are like that these days.

Broke down, beat up.


I really like what you guys did,

putting James brown and the stones together.

We’re, uh… Big fans of yours, too.

It’s just that, Mr. Presley, we don’t usually…

Oh, Elvis.

Elvis, uh…

Christmas specials aren’t really our thing.

I know.

Tell me, honestly…

Where do you boys think my career’s at right now?

Well, it’s…

It’s in the toilet, Elvis.

[Both laughing]

You hear that, Jerry?

Oh, lord. I knew you were the right guys for this job.

You know, back when I was starting out,

some people wanted to put me in jail,

even kill me, ’cause of the way I was moving.

So they cut my hair,

they put me in uniform and they sent me away.

That killed my mother.

And ever since then…

I’ve been lost.

And when you’re lost, people take advantage.

I need you fellas to help me get back to who I really am.

And who are you, Elvis?

I sure as hell ain’t somebody who sings Christmas songs

by a fireplace for an hour.

[Steve] And what does the colonel think?

I don’t give a damn what the colonel thinks.

[Rock clattering]

[Parker] For this television special,

we’ve got this bindle fella, number one hotshot director.

Elvis will be humoring him by doing a few of his fresh ideas.

Ah, the sweater!

To Mr. Presley’s dressing room, please.

We are going to sing three spectacular Christmas songs

in that very sweater.


Now, when that sign lights up, what do you do?


[Crowd applauding]

“Silent is the night” and “deck the halls,”

and, uh… “Whose child is this?”

[Elvis] You think we can do some gospel?

Well, if you want to find yourself,

first thing you do is go home.

Metaphorically, you know. Get back to who you really are.

And what is the boy that…

oh, “the little drummer boy”?

Yes, “the little drumming boy.”

Oh, the… with the…

[Bones] We get your old band back together.

But we are going to start with “here comes Santa claus,”

isn’t that right, Mr. Bindle?

Uh, the Christmas specials come later in the show.

Can you bring up two?

[Steve] A leather jacket. Raw, dirty.

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, this is television, not radio,

so when that goes up and you clap,

let’s see it on your faces as well.

[Enthusiastic applause]

[Steve] But you need an audience.

[Elvis] Audience?

Bring it over to one.

[Bones] At any second now,

Elvis is gonna walk onto this stage and perform just for you.

[Elvis] I ain’t sang in front of an audience in a long time.

[Steve] That’s my point.

Ladies and gentlemen, here’s Elvis Presley!

[Applause, cheering]

Well, since my baby left me

well, I found a new place to dwell

well, it’s down at the end of lonely street

at heartbreak hotel

where I’ll be I’ll be so lonely, baby

I’ll be so lonely

I’ll be so lonely I could die

well, the bellhop’s tears keep flowin’

and the desk clerk’s dressed in black

well, they’ve been so long on lonely street

well, they’ll never they’ll never look back

they’ll be so lonely, baby

they’ll be so lonely

they’ll be so lonely they could die

[band picks up tempo]

Well, that was… energetic.

You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

snoopin’ at my door

you ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog

cryin’ all the time

well, you ain’t never caught a rabbit

you ain’t no friend of mine

come on!


Is “here comes Santa claus” next?


I see no reason why not.

He’s not in the swe… he’s not even wearing the sweater.

Well, it’s one for the money two for the show

three to get ready now go, cat, go

but don’t you step on my blue suede shoes

I do not know what is going on.

Singing “hound dog”?

What does that have to do with Christmas?

Blue, blue, blue suede shoes yeah

blue, blue, blue suede shoes baby

blue, blue, blue suede shoes yeah

blue, blue blue suede shoes

well, you can do anything

but lay off of my blue suede shoes

[“jailhouse rock” begins]

Young man, you tell them

it’s time for “here comes Santa claus.” I said so. Now!

All right. First positions!

Warden threw a party in the county jail

the prison band was there and they began to wail

the band was jumping and the joint began to swing

you should a heard those knocked out jailbirds sing

let’s rock all right, everybody, let’s rock

everybody in the whole cell block

was dancing to the jailhouse rock

dancing to the jailhouse rock dancing to the jailhouse rock

dancing to the jailhouse rock dancing to the jailhouse rock

[wild cheering]

They were dancin’

well, they were dancin’

to the jailhouse rock


All right.

It’s been a long time, baby.

A long time.

[Jazmine Sullivan’s “sometimes I feel like a motherless child”]

[Elvis] Well, I like a lot of the new groups,

you know, the Beatles and the byrds, but,

a lot of it is basically…

Rock and roll music is basically, uh…

Gospel or rhythm and blues.

Well, that’s one thing about this TV special that I’m doing,

they’re gonna let me do what I want to do.

Sing the music that I want.

Music that I love.

Music that makes me happy.

[Parker] Those know-it-all hippies had brainwashed Elvis,

acting like he was one of them radicals,

throwing his career away to sing spirituals

with a bunch of longhairs.

[“Up above my head” begins playing]


Cue the gospel number now. Go.

“Here comes Santa claus.”

Up above my head

[chorus sings backing vocals]

There is music in the air


Up above my head

all right, none of this will be in the special.

Can you make a note that that should be in the special?

Okay, now let’s segue straight into the whorehouse dancers. Go!

Whorehouse? No.

Now bring in the kung fu spectacular.

[Parker] What? Kung fu?

[Elvis] If you ever take a trip down to the ocean

find yourself down around mobile

[executive] This has nothing to do with Christmas!

You’ll be hearing from our lawyers.

But, we still have “here comes Santa claus”!

Santa claus is bringing you a lawsuit!

Digging the finest little five-piece group

up and down the Gulf of Mexico

guess who’s leading that five-piece band

well, wouldn’t you know

it’s that swinging little guitar man

I got a feelin’ in my body this will be our lucky day

just put your arms around me real tight

we’ll be released from all our sorrow

leave it layin’ along the way

well, I’m the king of the jungle they call me the tiger man

I got a… I got a feelin’ in my body

this will be our lucky day

[gunshot echoing]

[Men and women screaming]

[Stagehand 1] Bobby Kennedy been shot!

[Stagehand 2] Bobby Kennedy’s been shot, everybody!

[TV reporter] Senator Kennedy has been shot.

Oh, my god. Senator Kennedy has been shot.

[People screaming, shouting on TV]

[TV reporter] Get the gun. Get the gun.

Take a hold of his thumb and break it if you have to!

Get his gun!

We’re ready on set.

Oh, my god.

[Shouting continues on TV]


[TV reporter] Senator Kennedy was involved in a shooting,

that a newsman was involved,

and that one other man was involved.

There are now three doctors back there caring for them.

[Stage manager] Steve, we gotta get back to work.

[Steve] Work?

[TV reporter] Amount of blood on the floor of this anteroom.

Ice is now being, uh, brought…

[turns down volume]

[Sighing] Listen, I, uh…

I just want to say that…

[Pained chuckle]

That this nation is hurting.

It’s lost. You know? It…

It needs a voice right now to help it heal.

We have to say something.


Have to make a statement, e.P.

Mr. Presley does not make statements.

He sings “here comes Santa claus”

and wishes everyone,

“merry Christmas and good night.”

Senator Kennedy’s press secretary

was made roughly an hour and a half ago.

Some five to ten minutes later, the operation began.

The six-man team of neurosurgeons

probing for the bullet that had lodged

in senator Kennedy’s brain.

No report yet as to how that operation…

[Parker] Poor Mrs. Kennedy.

This tragedy…

A tragedy.

But it has nothing to do with us.

[Newscaster] The white house has reacted to the shooting…

It has everything to do with us.

No, I just do not think

we should be making speeches about politics and religion.

Dr. King was shot eight miles from Graceland

while I was out here singing to turtles.

And now this, and all you can think about is how many

goddamn sweaters I can sell?

I am a promoter. That is what I do.

And I’m Elvis Presley. That’s what I do.

Well, Mr. Bindle has really gotten inside your head

with all of his hippie friends.

You actually think that you singing your old songs

dressed in black leather,

sweating, mumbling incoherently to the audience

was a good show?

Colonel, I know when I’ve excited an audience.

That was not a real audience, my boy.

There was a sign flashing “applaud,”

telling them when to clap for you.

This entire jamboree is an embarrassment.

You have embarrassed the sponsors,

you have embarrassed yourself,

you have embarrassed me.

[Thumping cane]

Now, you can sing whatever songs

you and Mr. Bindle choose for 55 minutes,

but at the end of the show, there will be a Christmas song.

Or else we will be sued.

No, you will be sued for breach of contract,

because I will no longer be the promoter of your career.

I will have to leave you.



[Taps cane on floor]

Now, I have convinced our friends

at singer sewing machines to come back tomorrow

for “here comes Santa claus.”

I will see you in the morning, Mr. Presley.

Oh, and as I recall,

Dr. King said rock and roll music

contributed to juvenile delinquency.

[Lyndon Johnson on TV] It would be wrong,

it would be self-deceptive

to ignore the connection

between that lawlessness and hatred

and this act of violence.

It would be just as wrong

and just as self-deceptive to conclude from this act

that our country itself is sick,

that it’s lost its balance,

that it’s lost its sense of direction,

even its common decency.

200 million Americans

did not strike down Robert Kennedy last night,

any more than they struck down

President John F. Kennedy in 1963,

or Dr. Martin Luther King in April of this year.

My fellow citizens, we cannot,

we just must not tolerate the sway

of violent men among us.

We must not permit men that are filled with hate…

[flicking switches]

[Piano notes playing]

[Elvis singing] Here comes Santa claus

here comes Santa claus

right down Santa claus…

We’re pretty set for the number tomorrow, right, e.P.?

It’s pretty familiar territory, right?

A reverend once told me…

“When things are too dangerous to say…


[Piano playing “if I can dream” melody]

[Singing] There must be lights burning brighter somewhere

got to be birds flying higher

in a sky more blue

[orchestra joining in]

[Stage manager] Standing by. We’re seconds away, folks.

We’re just waiting on upstairs.

We’re gonna get a rehearsal going very shortly.

Let’s go, let’s go, people! First positions!

Here we go, from the top.

Mrs. Presley is quite the homemaker, Priscilla is,

and I’m sure she would love to have

one of the sk551 machines so she can knit Elvis’s…

They were in there all night.

Doing what?

He’s working on a new song. He says he’s singing it.

New song? Whoa, hey!

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Yes!

Gentlemen, take your seats.

Now, that’s a winter wonderland.

Mr. Bindle.

You and I are on the same page at last.

Bring up the lights on the sign.

Okay, yeah. Let’s go.

[Stage manager] Dancers, stop. Dancers, stop. Stop!

Turn about. Turn about.

You’ve got to get some roll. I got action on the right side.

Turn around. Come on, through, through, through!

We’re lost in a cloud

with too much rain

we’re trapped in a world

that’s troubled with pain

but as long as a man has the strength to dream

he can redeem his soul and fly

deep in my heart there’s a trembling question

still, I am sure that the answer’s

answer’s gonna come somehow

out there in the dark

there’s a beckoning candle, yeah

and while I can think while I can talk

while I can stand while I can walk

while I can dream

oh, please let my dream

come true, oh

right now

let it come true right now

[Song ends]

[Faint applause]

[Elvis on monitor] Thank you. Good night.

[Parker] I was always said, when it came to music,

my boy knows best.

But the special was my idea. It was a tremendous hit.

We was back on top.

But some people were putting ideas into his head

that he didn’t need me no more.

[“Any day now” by Presley playing]

[Priscilla] Whoo-hoo!

It’s working.

[Jerry] London, Germany, Japan…

Hulett here has got it all lined up.

Air Presley’s new wings.

[Hulett] You know, when you play stadiums, it’s like…

You do a week of shows in just one night.

And when it’s done, you get on the plane…

You go where you want, you play where you want,

and if they don’t like it, you go someplace else.

You know who told me that? B.B. King.

[Hulett] Well, b.B. Knows, man.

And the someplace else you should be going is overseas.

I like that.

You know, I heard last year alone, you had two offers.

Germany and Japan,

for a million bucks for one night.

I mean, why the colonel would turn that down,

I have no idea, man.

Well, if you figure it out, can you let us know?


[Hulett] Well, screw him. You’ve got the plane now.

You should use it.

[Elvis] Yeah, come to daddy.

Maybe we should call it the “Lisa Marie.”

[Jerry] That’s a beautiful name.

[Priscilla] Right?

[Parker] Hit me. Hit me.

Mr. Parker, Mr. Kohn would like to see you.

Colonel Parker. Hit me.

[Dealer] I can’t, sorry.

[Kohn] You’ve run up quite a tab, colonel.

And we hear your boy’s working with new people.

You’ve lost your meal ticket.

It’s time to settle up,

before we have to make things…


Well, before the army, we found no record of you at all.

No passport, no residency.

You were never a colonel. Never a Tom.

You weren’t even a Parker.

Why did you flee Holland, Andreas Van kuijk?

[Brushing teeth]

[Priscilla] I don’t know why

you can’t just let the lawyers take care of it.

[Elvis] I have to see him in Vegas.

He’s in the hospital. It’s the right thing to do.

Yeah, well…

He’s frail right now.

You know what he’s like, baby.


Hey! Watch it.

[Chatter on TV]

You know what he’s like. The second that you’re near him,

you’ll be under ten feet of snow before you know what’s happened.

[Spits] My mind’s made up. Business is business.

He and I are done.

But I owe it to him to tell him to his face.

Well, just make sure he doesn’t clip your wings, honey.

[Spits] He won’t!

I am gonna go see him in Vegas.

I’m gonna look him in the eyes, and I’m gonna tell him…

[Priscilla] Watch my hair.

[Elvis] I’m gonna tell him…



[Both chuckle]

[Elvis] …It’s over.

[“Power of my love” by Jack white playing]

You break it, you burn it

drag it all around

you twist it and turn it

you cannot tear it down

’cause every minute, every hour you’ll be shaken

by the strength and mighty power of my love

colonel doesn’t want you making a fuss.



Elvis is here.


Oh. My boy.

Admiral. How are you?

Oh, my boy, I should have come down to see you.

[Groaning] But I’m a little laid up, you know.

[Nurse] You’ve just had a heart attack.

You’re not meant to get out of bed.

Heart attack? Colonel, you said your back…

My heart just stopped is all, and I fell. It’s…

I put my back out.


[Diskin] There you go.

It was all the excitement about the Christmas special, you see.

I should never have worried,

because you came through like you always do.

Nobody can sell “show” to an audience like you.

I admit it. I was wrong.

Colonel, I…

I wanted to tell you in person.


As far as business is concerned…

I think we need to go our separate ways.

[Slot machines clattering faintly]

Well, you may be right.

Maybe it is time for me to retire.

Oh, come on, colonel, quit snowin’ me.

You ain’t retiring.

I will miss the circus. I will.

But I cannot keep up with these young fellas,

like your Mr. Hulett,

who wants to put together a new show

for an international tour,

for you to play stadiums.

These international tours are very, very expensive.

And the costs cut into the artist’s profits.

I worry that the financial risk

would put a strain on your daddy.

But I cannot help but think,

as your former technical advisor

and as an old friend, what if…

The next Elvis Presley show did not cost you a red cent?

I wonder if your daddy would not like the sound of that.

The brand-new international hotel.

[Whistles] It’s a mighty big stage.

The biggest in Las Vegas.

You could get lost in a place like this.

My boy, you performed that comeback special

on a tiny square, inside a studio,

and the fans loved it.

In a room this size,

you could give them the greatest show on earth.

Nothing less than Elvis Presley.

I’ve been experimenting with a new, big sound.

Good. Good, my boy.

Because you can fill up this entire stage

with every musical idea that is inside that head.

No, it would cost.

[Laughing] Yes, that’s the beauty of it.

You see, this here international hotel…

[voices chattering]

[Door shuts]

[Quietly] This international hotel…

[Elvis] Mmm-hmm.

Needs a major drawing card

to pull in all the rubes and put it on the map.

So they will cover all of the costs

of putting together your show.

And you just play here for six weeks,

and then off you go,

to tour around the world

with no financial risk to Elvis Presley enterprises.


Well, goddamn.

[Both chuckling]

Snowman strikes again.

[Laughing] Oh, yeah.

We’re going to make it snow. It will snow.

[Elvis] First of all, we’re gonna need the sweet inspirations.

[Singing] Yeah, yeah

[Elvis] And the imperials.

[Singing] We’re caught in a trap I can’t walk out

[Elvis] And a 30-piece orchestra.

[Musicians warming up]

[Elvis] You know, the first thing that I ever recorded,

the very first thing,

was an old, uh, rhythm and blues-type song

called “that’s all right, little mama.”

[Instruments continue playing]

And back then we only had

two or three instruments at the time.

But this ain’t no nostalgia show.

We’re gonna do something different.

[Instruments stop playing]

I, uh… I wanna try something new.

All right, Glen, you’re gonna start us off, okay?

Take the intro here.

[Scatting softly]

[Glen playing lively rhythm]

[Piano continues playing]

All right, bring that bass up, Jerry.

[Bass thrumming]

[Drums accompanying]

Keep playing.

[Band member] Whoo!

Oh! Oh! Oh!

-That’s all right -that’s all right

-that’s all right -that’s all right


[The imperials] That’s all right

[Elvis] With me.

[All] Any way you do

[Elvis] All right.

[Elvis] James, you ready?

[Playing guitar riff]

[Elvis] Oh!

Flames, man!

Flames are coming out of that guitar.

I got that. Ronnie.

I’ll get back to that.

Horns, you ready?

Ba-da-bom! Ba-da-bom!

[Trumpets matching melody]

Let’s up the octave!

[Playing same melody in higher range]

[Musicians cheering]

Yeah! Goddamn!

All right, ‘bones. On a one, three, four…

[Trombones playing deep blasts]

[Laughter, cheering]

[Elvis] Ronnie, you know what to do, man.

Do it to me, come on. Take us home.

[Playing lively solo]

Huh, huh, huh, huh hah! Hah! Hah!

Come on. Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!

Hah! Hah! Hah! Hah!


[Band playing “that’s all right”]

[Kohn] Colonel, nice to see you.

[Parker] Oh, here you are.

Yeah. Here you go.

How ’bout a hound dog?


I’ll fix you with some food and drink.

Thank you.

[Band continues playing]

[Elvis] All right, let’s go.

[Crowd cheering]

[Cheering intensifies]


Well, that’s all right, mama that’s all right with you

that’s all right, mama just any way you do

-that’s all right -[Chorus] That’s all right

-that’s all right -[Chorus] That’s all right

that’s all right now, mama any way you do, yeah

well, my mama, she done told me papa told me too

“the life you’re livin, son now, women be the death of you”

now, that’s all right

that’s all right

that’s all right now, mama any way you do

[Chorus] That’s all right

that’s all right

that’s all right

any way you do

da, da-da, Dee, Dee, Dee Dee, Dee, Dee-Dee

Dee, Dee, Dee-Dee Dee-Dee, Dee-Dee, Dee-Dee, do

-that’s all right -[Chorus] That’s all right

-that’s all right -[Chorus] That’s all right

that’s all right now, mama any way you do

well, that’s all right now, mama any way you do

[band plays finishing fanfare]

[Cheering, applause]

Ain’t nobody gonna do a better show than that.

I tell ya, if I was you,

I would book him for a hundred years.

Well, no better time than the present.

But we hear hulett has him doing a world tour.

[Elvis speaking indistinctly]

Well, well, well, uh, I think Mr. Presley

could be persuaded to make the international his home,

provided he was paid pretty well.

What did you have in mind?

I’d like to introduce to you a couple of people tonight,

one of which being my beautiful wife, Priscilla.

[Applause, whistling]

Would you stand up, honey?

For an attraction as tremendous as Mr. Presley…

[Woman] We love you, Priscilla!

[Elvis chuckles]

Also, this man over here, I wouldn’t be here without,

my manager of many years, colonel Sanders.

Parker. Parker.


Well, we’re gonna do a new song for you tonight.

It’s called “suspicious minds.”

“Suspicious minds.”

[Guitar playing intro]

We’re caught in a trap

I can’t walk out

because I love you too much, baby

why can’t you see

oh, what you’re doin’ to me

oh, when you don’t believe a word I’m sayin’?

We can’t go on together with suspicious minds

and we can’t build our dreams

on suspicious minds

so, if an old friend I know shove it up your nose

stops by to say hello

[laughter, applause]

Would I still see suspicion in your eyes?

That is what my boy would expect.

Now… [laughs]

What are you going to pay me?

[Both laughing]

Oh, let our love survive

colonel, your sideshow is the jackpot.


[Kohn] If you bring him back every year,

I’ll make it worth your while.

[Elvis] Oh, I’ve never…

Lied to you

caught in a trap

I can’t walk out

good thing die

yeah, yeah now, don’t you know

caught in a trap


I can’t walk out

because I love you too much

caught in a trap I can’t walk out

because I love you too much

caught in a trap I can’t walk out

because I love you too much

caught in a trap I can’t walk out

because I love you too much, baby

oh, don’t you know caught in a trap

of course, I will reserve the right to sell calendars,

pictures and such?

[Music subsides]

[Kohn] You do whatever you want, colonel,

as long as that boy stays on that stage.

[Song ends]


[Audio fades]

[Parker] My boy’s light burned brighter

than even 15 years before.

[Elvis] Hi, darlin’.

[Women exclaiming]

[Parker] I saw in her face that night

what I had always known.

She could never compete with the love he felt from you.

[Music slowly builds]

I’m sorry I couldn’t make it up there, man.

Take my… take my hand

take my whole… Whole life too

for I… for I… I can’t help

hey, guys. Time to go back.

Falling in love with you

oh, oh, for I… For I can’t help

falling in love

with you

[Crowd roaring]

[Band playing final flourish]

Thank you very much.

Thank you! Thank you.

[People chattering excitedly]


Such a fine show.

[Applause continues faintly]

[Bandmates cheering, clapping]

[Elvis] Yeah, baby! Yeah.

[Bandmate 1] Wow, great show.

Thank you. Thank you, all.

[Bandmate 2] Goddamn, Elvis. That was great.

[Bandmate 3] That was fantastic.

[Elvis] There she is.


[Crying softly]

Oh, god. I don’t know who that was out there.

You were… you…

You were incredible. You were…

You were everything.

Thank you, baby. Thank you.

Mr. Elvis Presley,

I guess that’s your new manager over there, hmm?



Yeah. I’m gonna go talk to him, all right?


You okay to get upstairs?

Mmm-hmm. Yeah.


Tremendous… Tremendous triumph.

The greatest show on earth.

My dear boy, this brainchild came from you and me,

but you alone Rose above it all, and it worked with your talent,

and your dedication. [Emotional laugh]

We did it. We did it!

We did it. [Chuckles]

We did.

Come on. [Exhausted laugh]


I can’t wait to show the world what you and I can do.

The world will see this show.

Whatever it takes, I guarantee it.

Whatever I have to do.

[Man] Ladies and gentlemen of the press,

the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley!

[Reporters clamoring]

[Elvis] No, I’m not the king.

Hey, fats. Mr. Fats domino, ladies and gentlemen.

This is the real king of rock and roll.

Yeah, I’m somethin’ else.

[Reporter] Any plans to take this show on tour?

There’s so many places I haven’t been yet, you know.

I’d like to go to Europe. I’d like to go to Japan.

I’ve never been out of the country,

except in the service.

[“Polk salad Annie” playing]

[Crowd cheering]

What are you lookin’ at back there?

Oh, Mr. Diskin.

Have we discussed with Mr. Hulett,

pertaining to the death threats?

The death threats?

Precisely. Death threats!


Down in Louisiana

where the alligators grow so mean

lived a girl that I swear to the world

made the alligators look tame

polk salad Annie


[Jerry] Colonel, once we finish the season,

Elvis wants to take the tour overseas.

Overseas? Have you thought about security, Jerry?

[Jerry] Of course I have.

[Parker] This is Elvis Presley,

the most famous man on the planet.

Straight-razor totin’ woman

lord, have mercy

[Parker] The crazies in those countries…

They’re a hundred times more dangerous.

Am I the only one who thinks about security?

Sock a little polk salad

you know I need it

there is nothing more important than security!

[Song continues]

[Men yelling]


Am I the only one who ever thinks about Elvis’ security!

[Yelling in Dutch]

[All shouting]

Get him out of here!

[Song ends]

[Parker] Those guys turned out to be

some over-excited fans from Peru.

But the death threats were real.

I’m going back on. [Panting]

I’ll rip his goddamn tongue out by the roots.

[Parker] It started to take its toll.

Here at baptist memorial hospital in midtown Memphis,

Elvis Presley has apparently checked in to a private suite,

suffering from exhaustion.

A sign that Elvis is in fact here

is the aluminum foil that covers his windows to deflect the sun.

[TV reporter] Shock around the nation today

as a free rock concert at the altamont speedway

by English band the rolling stones,

ended with four deaths.

One resulting from a stabbing, allegedly committed…

[Nurse] Elvis, Dr. Nick is here.

[Parker] Such a lovely girl, Ms. Tate.

What has happened to law and order in this country?

Hippies and radicals,

threatening and killing popular entertainers.

The ira blowing up england? Planes exploding in mid-air?

Has the world gone mad?

Hulett’s security is not what it needs to be.

And he knows it.

An international tour now is out of the question.

What are you talking about, colonel?

I ain’t gonna let these sons of bitches push me off the stage.


You are not one of hulett’s long-hair zeppelins,

you are Elvis Presley.

You are beloved.

And I told him I have to look Priscilla in the eye,

and I have to promise her that little Lisa Marie’s daddy

will be safe while he’s away from home.

We’re taking the show to the world, colonel.

I ain’t gonna disappoint those fans.


If you want to book more dates, we could do an American tour,

15 cities in 15 days,

while Mr. Hulett straightens out his security problems overseas.

I’d like that very much, son.

How is that gonna be any safer?

[Parker] Because staying in this country,

I can handle every aspect of security.

And then we go international?

Yeah, sure, around the world. Wherever you want.

But in the meantime, here in america,

we put on a great show.

And what will we do, Charlie?

And have a lot of fun.

Taking care of business.

Taking care of business.

[“Burning love” by Presley playing]

[Parker] I’ll get guarantees from every mayor.

We’ll double the police presence.

You’ll have more security than the president.

[Crowd cheering]

Lord almighty I feel my temperature rising

higher, higher it’s burning through to my soul

girl, girl, girl you’re gonna set me on fire

my brain is flaming I don’t know which way to go

[Parker] And when the show is done,

the boys will hustle you to the motorcade.

Elvis has left the building.

Once you’re in the air, Dr. Nick will ensure your rest.

Burnin’ love

[Parker] Land in the next city, then we do it all again.

Fifteen times!

I’m just a hunk a hunk of burning love

I’m just a hunk a hunk of burning love

[Parker] It was life on the road, just like the old days.

We were making so much snow, we did it again.

And again.

And again.

All in the safety of the us of a.

Eventually, he lost interest in going overseas.

Why would you?

But I still kept my promise. I brought the world to him.

I invented the world’s first ever satellite concert.

[“It’s only love” by Presley playing]

[Parker] 1.5 billion people in one night, for a single artist.

Nothing like it before, nothing like it since.

[Band playing final fanfare]

[Parker] But it wasn’t enough.

He was addicted to the love he felt from you onstage.

Ordinary love just didn’t compare.

So, in the lonely moments between shows,

he turned to them pills.

Priscilla, I want you to do something for me, will you?

You give my baby girl a big hug for me, okay?

[Parker] The roar of the crowd.

The life on the road.

Calling home to your loved ones, pretending nothing has changed,

when everything has.


[Muffled slam]

What was that?

Ain’t no one gonna walk around

sayin’ they killed Elvis Presley.

What did you say?

Nothing, baby.

[Overlapping chatter on TV]

[Cronkite] Dr. Martin Luther King has been shot

in downtown Memphis, Tennessee…

[Static, feedback building]

[Newscaster] Sharon Tate was the last to die.



Is that you, doll?

I’m leaving you, and I’m taking Lisa with me.

Uh, ‘cilla, is this about what happens on the road?

About the what?

Is this about what happens on the road?

The girls? You think I give a shit about the girls

that you sneak in through the side door?

No. I couldn’t care less about whoever it is

you sneak through the side door.

It’s about this, Elvis.

And this.

Hey. Whoa.

And these goddamn pills those leeches

and has-beens feed down your throat!

God damn it.

Like you’re strung out.

Strung out?

Goddamn, I’m in the best shape of my life.

Best shape of your life.

The only time you’re happy is when you’re on that stage.

And in between that, you’re a ghost.

‘Cilla, I give you everything you could want.

What I want is a husband.

I am your wife. I am your wife!

And Lisa is your daughter. She needs a father.

[Elvis] I am her father!

[Exhales softly]

[Voice shaking] Do you remember the last time

that we laughed together?

Do you remember the last time that the three of us

sat down and had dinner together?

[Crying softly]

You won’t even make love to me anymore.

I gift you my life, and I have nothing left in me to give you.

Do you still love me?

[Exhales softly]

When you’re 40 and I’m 50, we’ll be back together.

You’ll see.

[Elvis crying softly]

[Sobbing quietly]

I have to go.

[Elvis] Will you please stay?

I have to go. Okay? If I stay, I’ll never leave.


You have to let me go.

Please, Priscilla.

You have to let me go.

[Car engine starts]


[Newscaster] Fifty thousand people gathered

in New Orleans earlier today to mourn the passing

of gospel legend, mahalia Jackson.

[Jackson] Will you come to Mississippi

and sing with us, Mr. Presley?

Why, b.B. King will be there. Perhaps even the rolling stones.

[Elvis] I’m sorry, Ms. Jackson.

The colonel, he… He won’t allow it.

[Jackson] You are a man, Mr. Presley.

And a man don’t make up his own mind

about matters of conscience.

[Jerry] Come on, disk in. Elvis needs a challenge

to get back on track.

Why won’t the colonel let him go overseas?

Security, Jerry. You know that.


The colonel’s killing his greatest asset without a reason.

So what is the reason?

Colonel always has his reasons.

I’m not at Liberty to divulge

personal information about Mr. Parker.

[Knocking on door]

[Jerry] He lied.

There wasn’t gonna be an international tour

’cause he can’t leave the country.

He’s got no citizenship, no official identity.

He doesn’t exist.

There never was a colonel Tom Parker.

[Slurring] What are you talking about, Jerry?

Hey, whoa, whoa!

[Indistinct shouting]

[Charlie] Get him an ice bucket!

[Overlapping shouts, chatter]

[King] Colonel’s a smart man.

There’s got to be another reason.

[Jerry] Come on, man!

[Parker] I will stay here at home,

and I will work and I will worry.

[Hulett] I mean, why the colonel kept turning them down,

I have no idea, man.

[Parker] Get out of the way!

Now, you listen to me. The only thing that matters…

Is that that man gets up on that stage tonight.

[Overlapping chatter]

If he was my son, I’d put him in a hospital.

Well, of course, this is a Presley enterprises decision.


Well… um…

Well, what can you…

What can you do for him, Dr. Nick?

[Elvis singing] His truth is marching on

[applause, cheering]

His truth is marching on

[Song ends]

[Screaming, applause]

Thank you. Thank you.

Now he’s gonna ask the house lights to be brought up,

’cause we’ve been looking at him.

He wants to look at us now. He loves this.

I’d like to turn the house lights up,

ladies and gentlemen.


‘Cause now that you’ve seen me, I’d like to take a look at you.

[Cheering, applause]

Oh, you’re beautiful. Thank you.

He’ll mention the vips that are here.

We’ve got some high-rollers in here tonight.

Get ready for the spotlight.

Mr. International hotel himself.

Thank you.

Ah, there you go.

And right next to him,

is my so-called manager, colonel Tom Parker.

There he is.

[Chuckling] Come on.

But I hear rumors that colonel is an alien.


Got here on my rocket ship.

[Cheering, applause]


Somebody call the FBI

and tell ’em that he has abducted me,

that he has locked me in this golden cage,

to keep me here forever with you, ladies and gentlemen.

[Light applause]

[Singing, slurred] So I’m caught in a trap

I can’t get out

’cause colonel’s got some big debts, baby.

Excuse me.

Well, this is the last show I’m ever playing here.

[Scattered groans]

I’m gonna get on my jet plane, the Lisa Marie…

It’s named after my, uh… My beautiful daughter.

And I’m gonna fly away.

No, no, no…

You know, I’m gonna fly away.

[Whispers] Stop the show. Stop this show!

Come on, get this curtain down.

Fuck the international.

Mr. Schilling, what the devil is happening here?

And Las Vegas.

[Jerry] That’s what he wants to know.

Ain’t no one gonna stop me, man.

Oh! Security.



Security, security! Security!

800 shows!

You don’t have a goddamn passport, you son of a bitch!

You are fired!

You are fired!

You’re fired!

[All murmuring]

You’re fired.

[Microphone thumps]

[Feedback squeals]

[Charlie] E., I…

Colonel, I gotta… I’ll talk him down.

This is colonel Tom Parker. I wish it to be known

that Dr. Nick’s services are no longer required.

Thank you.


Well, disk in…

If the boy wants to set out on his own,

it’s all right by me, but Presley enterprises

is going to cough up what it owes.

Are you ready?


Gasoline for the first trip to the hayride…

One dollar and 25 cents.

UN-recouped promotional costs

pertaining to souvenir calendars, $100.

Collectible trading cards, $100.

Posters, flyers and programs, $100.

Balloons, $50…

[Jet engines thrumming]

[Elvis] What’s the hold-up?

Sorry, e.P. Your daddy won’t come down.

[Door opens]


[Elvis] What is this?

Well, that is what we owe the colonel.

We’re broke.

Daddy, I’ve been playing this mausoleum for a hundred years.

How could we be broke?

[Vernon] You spend so much money.

You know, you got the cars and the girls and the clothes,

and all the… You know, new airplane.

Daddy, you are my business manager.

You’re supposed to be taking care of business.

I don’t know what to tell you, son, we’re broke!

We’re plain broke.

Gotta take the colonel back.

I am not taking him back.

We’re gonna lose Graceland.

I am not taking him back!


He takes everything from me.

He takes 50% of everything that I make!

And now he wants to take the home

that we bought for mama!

Listen to me, daddy.

That old bastard can sue if he wants,

but I am flying away.

With or without you.

[Elevator dings]

Oh, you bloodsucking, old vampire.

You bled me dry and you still want more?

I’m not an uncaring man, Mr. Presley.

Don’t you “Mr. Presley” me, you toad.

If you are so determined to get out of our contract…

You’re goddamn right I want out.

Well, I will personally loan you the money

that you owe to jamboree attractions.

Yeah, you’ll still have your claws in me.

You’ll still have me working here

like a goddamn slave in a salt mine,

you phony, no-good piece of trash!

I ought a shoot you in your fat, goddamn face!

Who are you?

I am you. And you are me.

Cut the horseshit!

Everything I’ve ever known about you has been a lie.

[Jerry] E.P., you all good?

[Chuckles] My past is the least of your problems, my boy.

Everyone else you associate with lives from you, Mr. Presley.

Even Vernon.

That’s right, even your own daddy

has looked after himself before he’s looked after you.

Yes, I have lived from you, too, but the difference is

you have also lived from me.

We have supported each other. Because we shared a dream.

We are the same, you and I.

We are two odd, lonely children, reaching for eternity.

Maybe you should fly away, my boy.

Away from all of this.

But if you do choose to leave…

Then I, for one, will be very lonely.

So would your father.

But I think you may be lonely, too.

[Taps elevator button]

Oh, you see, my boy, the…

Truth about the rock of eternity…

It is forever just beyond our reach.

[Elvis singing] Do the chairs in your parlor

seem empty and bare?

Do you gaze at your doorstep

picture me there?

Is your heart filled with pain?

Shall I come back again?

Tell me, dear

are you lonesome tonight?

Is your heart filled with pain?

Shall I come back again?

Tell me, dear

are you lonesome tonight?

Son, I know… I know, I…

I wanna try and…

I wanna try and fix this. You know…


Tell that son of a bitch…

I want things to go back to the way they were.

And, daddy…

Tell the colonel to send up Dr. Nick.

[“Suspicious minds” by paravi playing]

[Radio dj] It’s a beautiful day in Las Vegas,

with lots going on this weekend.

Those teen sensations, the Jacksons,

are causing a lot of excitement

with their residency at the mgm grand.

And for the older crowd, Elvis is back for a fifth year.

And don’t we love him.

[Reporter] In entertainment news today,

Elvis Presley is in talks to play opposite Barbra Streisand

in a remake of a star is born.

[Commentator] These days, when he’s not slurring

on stage in Vegas or playing

the same old domestic concert circuit,

the singer spends weeks at a time in his bedroom,

tormented by his growing waistline.

Sounds like it won’t be much of a stretch for him

to play the role of a washed-up singer.

Oh, look, here they come.

[Vernon] Are you all right?

[Elvis] Yep.

All right, daddy loves you.

Bye, baby.

[Vernon] Come on, baby.

Bye, papa.

Good girl.

Bye, baby.

[Vernon] Give me your hand.


[Vernon] Here she is.

Hi, baby. How you doing?

Want to say goodbye to daddy?

[Lisa Marie] Bye, daddy.

[Priscilla] You’re so good.

Hi. How are you? How you doing?

[Vernon] We’re okay.

[Jet engines whirring]



[Elvis] Hmm.

How are you doing?


Honey, there’s this place in San Diego

that you can go to rest.

To heal.

After the show, you can fly directly and be in a clinic

before anyone knows.

It’s all been arranged.

I’m gonna be 40 soon, ‘cilla.

[Whispers] Forty.

And nobody’s gonna remember me.

I never did anything lasting.

I never made that classic film that I could be proud of.

But what about a star is born?

Uh… [chuckles lightly]

Barbra… the colonel…

[Both chuckle]

[Crying softly] Please go.

For Lisa?

If you dream it, you can do it, baby.

I’m all out of dreams.

Promise me.

[Priscilla sniffles]

[Light knocking]


[Whispering] I… will always… love you.

Hi, baby.


[Jet engines revving]


[Elvis] Did you know there’s a kind of bird

that doesn’t have any legs?

So it can’t land on nothing.

It lives its whole life on the wing.

When it gets tired, it just spreads its wings

and sleeps on the wind.

If it ever does land, even but one time…

So it dies.

[Reporter 1] Good evening.

Elvis Presley died today. He was 42.

Apparently, it was a heart attack.

He was found in his home in Memphis…

[Reporter 2] President Carter has just made a statement…

[President Carter] Elvis Presley’s death

deprives our country of a part of itself.

He was unique and irreplaceable.

[Reporter 3] Thousands of mourners have gathered

outside the gates of Graceland…

[Carter] Using the styles of white country

and black rhythm and blues,

permanently changed the face of American popular culture.

[Reporter 4] The outpouring of grief can be seen everywhere.

[Carter] He was a symbol to people the world over,

of the vitality, rebelliousness…

[Parker] What killed my boy?

Them doctors say it was his heart.

Others, the pills.

Some say it was me.

No. I’ll tell you what killed him.

It was love.

His love for you.

[Faint applause, cheering]

You know, a few weeks before he died,

I saw him sing for the very last time.

He could barely stand up.

“Unchained melody.”

From an album called unchained melody.

Makes a lot of sense. Okay. [Light chuckle]

[Parker] But that night, he sang as he always did.

With all his heart and soul.

How you like it so far?

[Crowd cheering]

[Parker] That old voice rang out,

and he sang with all his life.

[Piano piano]

Oh, my love

my darling

I’ve hungered for your touch

a long, lonely time

time goes by

so slowly

and time can do so much

are you

still mine?

I need your love, ooh

I need your love

god speed your love

to me

lonely rivers flow to the sea to the sea

to the open arms of the sea

[crowd cheering]

Lonely rivers cry wait for me wait for me

I’ll be coming home

wait for me

my love, my darling

I’ve hungered for your kiss

a long, lonely time

[Presley] When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen,

I was a dreamer. I read comic books

and I was the hero of the comic book.

I saw movies and I was the hero in the movie.

So every dream that I ever dreamed

has come true a hundred times.

Are you still mine?

I need your love, ooh

I learned very early in life that…

“Without a song, the day would never end,

without a song, a man ain’t got a friend,

without a song, the road would never bend,

without a song.”

So I keep singing a song.






[Song crescendos, ends]

[Crowd roaring]

[Crowd noise fades]

[Monitor beeping faintly]

[Breath rasping]

[Monitor flat lining]

[Announcer, faint] Elvis has left the building.

[“In the ghetto” by Presley playing]

As the snow flies

on a cold and gray Chicago mornin’

a poor little baby child is born

in the ghetto

and his mama cries

’cause if there’s one thing that she don’t need

is another hungry mouth to feed

in the ghetto

people, don’t you understand

the child needs a helping hand

or he’ll grow to be an angry young man some day

take a look at you and me

are we too blind to see?

Do we simply turn our heads and look the other way

well, the world turns…

[Presley reciting] “You never stood in that man’s shoes

or saw things through his eyes

or stood and watched with helpless hands

while the heart inside you dies

so help your brother along the way

no matter where he starts

for the same god that made you made him, too

these men with broken hearts”

and his mama cries

and a hungry, little boy with a runny nose

plays in the street as the cold wind blows

in the ghetto

and his hunger burns

so he starts to roam the streets at night

and he learns how to steal and he learns how to fight

in the ghetto

then one night in desperation the young man breaks away

he buys a gun, steals a car

tries to run, but he don’t get far

and his mama cries

[“product of the ghetto” by nardo wick playing]

On a cold and gray Chicago mornin’

another little baby child is born

in the ghetto

And his mama cries

[“Summer kisses, winter tears” by Presley playing]

Summer kisses, winter tears

summer kisses, winter tears

that was what she gave to me

never thought I’d travel all alone

the trail of memories

[“the king and I” by eminem and ceelo green playing]

Don’t tiptoe, stomp my ground

gotta let ’em know we’re comin’

just stay there, woman

engine still runnin’

get dressed like the whole world watchin’

god bless gotta leave ’em shooken

girls goin’ wild, too cray

look at what you made

always come correct there’s no turnin’ back

takin’ bigger steps

that’s all I can do

that’s all for the moment if that’s all right with you

that’s all right, mama

that’s all right with you

that’s all right, mama

anyway you do, that’s all right

that’s all right

that’s all right now, mama anyway you do

we can’t go on together

with suspicious minds

and we can’t build our dreams

on suspicious minds

[“If I can dream” by maneskin playing]

There must be peace and understanding sometime

strong winds of promise

that will blow away the doubt and fear

if I can dream of a warmer sun

where hope keeps shining on everyone

tell me why, oh, why,

oh, why won’t that sun appear

We’re lost in a cloud

with too much rain

we’re trapped in a world

that’s troubled with pain

but as long as a man has the strength to dream

he can redeem his soul and fly


Deep in my heart, there’s a trembling question

still I am sure that the answers

the answers gonna come somehow

out there in the dark, there’s a beckoning candle

and while I can think, while I can talk

while I can stand, while I can walk

while I can dream

please let my dream

come true

right now

let it come true right now

oh, yeah

[Audience applauding]

[Presley] Thank you. You’re fantastic. Thank you very much.


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