Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 19771997: The Mystery Terrain

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9781560238614: Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 19771997: The Mystery Terrain

Was Al Gore only half-kidding at the 1992 Democratic Convention when he compared Bill Clinton to “the King?” Why does Elvis's name and image still pop up in so many movies, television shows, and songs? From black velvet paintings, comic books, and postage stamps to impersonators, movie characters, and sports stars, Images of Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977--1997 provides a surprisingly broad vista from which to view American popular culture. An insightful exploration of America's overwhelming and enduring cultural fascination with the expanding and elusive Elvis myth, this book combines historical, textual, and sociocultural analysis with a wide range of resource materials to examine the many images of Elvis in American culture.

Focusing on the period following his death in 1977 up to the present, Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977--1997 informs and entertains popular readers and academicians in American studies, popular culture, radio/television/film, sociology, music, and 20th-century American history. Elvis fans (“Elfans”) and collectors of Elvis Presley materials and memorabilia also need to add this perspective-enhancing book to your personal libraries. Author George Plasketes shows us how representations, reflections, responses, and references to Elvis in art, artifacts, film, video, television, music, performance, literature, memorabilia, and alleged sightings, continue to make American culture a “mystery terrain” of endless “Elvistas.” The repetition of these images is a link to our cultural identity. Elvis Presley in American Culture, 1977--1997 provides the necessary critical analysis and the resource guide to the various representations of Elvis during the past 20 years, to give readers an engaging and informative way to pursue and interpret the expansive and ever-evolving Elvis myth and its importance to American popular culture.

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What could be left to say about Elvis? Well, consider, as Plasketes does, this question: Does the New England Patriot football emblem resemble the King? If so, is it intentional? E-worship is by now an accepted fact of American culture, but just how ubiquitous E-iconography has become is this entertaining study's subject. Comprehensive, well documented, possessed of a fine bibliography and filmography-videography, the book is a pleasure for fan and critic alike. Presleyphiles will revel in it, of course, and Presleyphobes (e.g., Spike Lee, whom Plasketes cites for whining, "I wish [Elvis had] never died . . . so I wouldn't have to hear about him every single day") will derive perverse pleasure as Plasketes helps legitimate their worst fears. A special treat needs mention: the discography, composed of songs about Elvis, from Adrenalin A. O. D.'s "Velvet Elvis" to Frank Zappa's "Elvis Has Just Left the Building." Elvis-intensive collections, take this hunka-hunka burnin' read. Mike Tribby

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Hoffmann, Frank; Plasketes, George; Ramirez, Beulah B
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