The Wild Story Behind The Famous Photo of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley
Elvis Pretty Much Convinced Nixon To Back Off On The War On Drugs Because Of His (Elvis's) Drug Problem
Taken on December 21, 1970, this photo could be from another dimension. It could be Photoshopped. It could be a figment of your imagination, something you thought you saw in passing, but it's entirely too real. To the culture at large the men in this photo couldn't be any more different. One of them was a hunk-a-hunk-a burning love. He swiveled his hips on live television and made an entire generation melt. The other is Richard Nixon, possibly one of the most despised presidents of all time, but to Elvis Presley he was a rock star.
Wearing a purple velvet suit, a gold belt and enough jewelry to pay for a college fund, Elvis Presley couldn't be more at home than he is here with Richard Nixon. Why does this exist? And how does one gain an audience with the President of the United States? If you're Elvis you just write him a note and show up at the White House.
It was Christmas time and Elvis was unhappy. He was in the middle of a comeback. Las Vegas was in the palm of his hand thanks a series of sold out shows and he was nominated as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men by the United States Junior Chamber, which is quite the achievement for a 35-year-old. But his family wouldn't get off his back. His father, Vernon, and his wife, Priscilla, thought that he was spending too much on Christmas presents. He'd already dropped more than $100,000 on guns and cars for his friends and family but no one was happy with him. He had to get away.
Elvis went to the Memphis airport and bought a ticket on the first flight out of town. After landing in Washington D.C. he checked into a hotel room and realized what he'd done. He walked out on his family at the most wonderful time of the year and traveled to the nation's capitol. He flew to Los Angeles at three that morning, at least he had a mansion on the west coast. A day later he realized something, if he returned to Washington D.C. and spoke with the president he could get his hands on a badge that listed him as a federal narcotics agent, and then he could carry drugs through an airport. Elvis flew back to Washington D.C. on the red eye. Sitting in first class, he wrote a letter to President Nixon.