Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely baby daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
The following is a special edition of my regular feature, Week-ends commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.
HEROES OF THE WEEK
The fans around the world who keep Elvis’ music, films, legacy, and spirit alive.
VILLAINS OF THE WEEK
Those who needlessly and cruelly feel the desire to constantly make heartless jokes about this great performer. And the idiots who insist that Elvis is still alive.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“ I don’t sound like nobody.”
Elvis, to Sun records secretary Marion Keisker when she asked him who he sounded like.
Elvis was told to return to being a truck driver.
Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny after Elvis performed in 1954 for the first and only time at the Opry. Elvis swore he’d never go back. Years later, Garth Brooks commented in a television interview that one of the greatest thrills of playing the Opry was that he got to play on the same stage Elvis had.
“Rockin’ on music, if you like it, if you feel it, you can’t help but move to it. That’s what happens to me. I can’t stand still. I’ve tried it and I just can’t do it.”
Elvis, on Elvis.
”His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
Frank Sinatra, in Elvis’ early days. The two would later become good friends.
”I wanted to say to Elvis Presley and the country that this is a real decent, fine boy."
Ed Sullivan to Elvis during one of Elvis’ appearances on Sullivan’s popular Sunday night variety show.
”Elvis was the king. No doubt about it. People like myself, Mick Jagger and all the others only followed in his footsteps."
”A Presley picture is the only sure thing in
Producer Hal Wallis.
”A lot of people have accused Elvis of stealing the black man's music, when in fact almost every black solo entertainer copied his stage mannerisms from Elvis.”
”There have been a lot of tough guys. There have been pretenders. And there have been contenders. But there is only one king.”
”When I first heard Elvis' voice I just knew that I wasn't going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.”
”Elvis is the greatest cultural force in the twentieth century. He introduced the beat to everything, music, language, clothes, it's a whole new social revolution… the 60's comes from it.”
”There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis' talent and performances through the years, all of which I agree with wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”
”Elvis Presley's death deprives our country of a part of itself. He was unique, irreplaceable. More than twenty years ago, he burst upon the scene with an impact that was unprecedented and will probably never be equaled. His music and his personality, fusing the styles of white country and black rhythm and blues, permanently changed the face of American popular culture. His following was immense. And he was a symbol to people the world over of the vitality, rebelliousness and good humor of this country.”
President Jimmy Carter after Elvis’ death
”Before Elvis, there was nothing.”
”If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead."
”Elvis taught white America to get down.”
”We’ll never know what an old Elvis Presley would have been like. He’ll just always be the King.”
”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 I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times. These gentlemen over there, these are the type who care, are dedicated. You realize if it´s not possible that they might be building the kingdom, it´s not far-fetched from reality. I´d like to say that 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.Good night. Thank you.”
Elvis in his acceptance speech in 1971 for being one of the Top Ten Outstanding Young Americans by the national Junior Chambers of Commerce (the Jaycees).
OUTRAGE OF THE WEEK
A Mason Jar full of hair became a last-minute addition to Saturday’s "Ultimate Elvis Auction" at The Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Valued at more than $20,000, the hair was collected by Elvis' colorist and stylist, Homer Gilleland.
Think that’s weird? Doesn’t even come close to this.
MOST UNDER-REPORTED STORY OF THE WEEK
Elvis’ lavish gifts are legendary. He thought nothing of giving cars, motorcycles, jewelry, cash, even houses to close friends or people he just met for the first time.He kept his many charitable donations very private, true acts of kindness rarely reported.From Elvis.com:
”Each year, for many years, Elvis gave $1,000 or more to each of fifty Memphis-area charities, but also continually made many other charitable donations in Memphis and around the country.Most of Elvis’ philanthropic endeavors received no publicity at all. Throughout his adult life, for friends, for family, and for total strangers, he quietly paid hospital bills, bought homes, supported families, paid off debts, and much more.
Elvis' legacy of generosity continues through the work of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, which is the philanthropic branch of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc. and the creator of the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the University of Memphis. The tradition of giving also continues through the work of the Elvis fan clubs worldwide, most of which are heavily involved in charitable endeavors in Elvis' memory. "
There were other monumental examples of Elvis’ kindness, again, from Elvis.com:
”In 1961, Elvis gave a benefit concert at Bloch Arena in Hawaii that raised over $65,000 toward the building of the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. The resulting publicity gave new life to the fund-raising effort, which had, by then, lost its momentum. The memorial opened a year later.
Audience tickets for his 1973 Aloha from Hawaii television special and its pre-broadcast rehearsal show carried no price, as each audience member was asked to pay whatever he or she could. The performances and concert merchandise sales were a benefit raising $75,000 for the Kui Lee Cancer Fund in Hawaii.”
MOST OVER-HYPED STORY OF THE WEEK
Elvis impersonators. Just too damn many, and not enough who are any good. I can count on less than one hand the Elvis impersonators I have liked. The rest of them do more harm than good to the Elvis legacy, some intentionally.
STRANGEST, MOST UNUSUAL STORY OF THE WEEK
Elvis shooting out his TV’s? Elvis stopping his limo on a busy street in Madison to break up a fight at a gas station and then sign autographs? How about when Elvis, without an invitation, got into the White House in late 1970 and met with President Nixon.
The fact that he pulled it off is one thing. He had Nixon scrambling around, fumbling through an Oval Office desk trying to find mementoes for his entourage. When the President did, Elvis looked at Nixon and said, “You know, sir, these men have wives.” The President responded, “Of course, let’s see what we can find for the ladies.”Here’s what is really strange about this often-told story. As famous as that encounter was, Jerry Schilling, who was also at that meeting, writes in his book, “Me and a Guy Named Elvis”:
”I found it a little curious that our recent trip to the White House hand managed to stay secret. …...The biggest summit meeting between the worlds of politics and rock and roll wouldn’t be reported on at all until it turned up in a Washington Post column almost a full year after it happened.”
That, of course, would never happen in today’s world of breaking news, cable news services, and the Internet.