The Wit, Wisdom and Mistakes of the Legendary American Performer
In 1964, when his recording of “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” (about the tragic end suffered by a Native American hero of World War II) received an initially lukewarm reception at radio, Cash took out a full-page ad in Billboard demanding of programmers, “Where are your guts?”
On January 13, 1968, Cash recorded his masterly live album At Folsom Prison, from which came a new #1 hit version of “Folsom Prison Blues.” This album and the follow-up 1969 live recording At San Quentin pushed his career to new heights. Taken from the San Quentin album, “A Boy Named Sue” (#1 country, #2 pop) became his biggest-selling single and the Country Music Association Single of the Year (1969). Cash was also voted the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year for 1969.
From 1969 through 1971, Cash hosted a prime time network television variety show that showcased his status as a national icon while featuring an eclectic mix of guest performers. A live cut from this show, “Sunday Morning Coming Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson), was a #1 country hit. Increasingly, Cash recorded and featured on his television show the work of new songwriters drawn to country from folk and rock music backgrounds.
Cash died in 2003. Two years later his life became the subject of a biographical film, Walk the Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Cash and Reese Witherspoon as June Carter. Phoenix and Witherspoon both won Academy Awards for their performances. American V: A Hundred Highways (2006) and American VI: Ain’t No Grave (2010), further strengthened Cash’s reputation as a cultural hero.
“Channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully”
The day before the May 15 release of Lisa Marie Presley’s album, Storm & Grace, the daughter of the most famous entertainer in history sent a social media message to the world regarding the upcoming Elvis movie.
This release, her first album in seven years, is also her Universal Republic/XIX Recordings debut. Presley is managed by Simon Fuller, CEO and Founder of XIX Entertainment. The album was produced by 12-time GRAMMY® winner T Bone Burnett and recorded at The Village in Los Angeles.
“When Lisa Marie’s songs arrived, I was curious,” Burnett said. “I wondered what the daughter of an American revolutionary music artist had to say. What I heard was honest, raw, unaffected, and soulful. I thought her father would be proud of her.”
“The more I listened to the songs, the deeper an artist I found her to be,” he continued. “Listening beyond the media static, Lisa Marie Presley is a Southern American folk music artist of great value.”
Since 2019, Lisa Marie has met several times with director Baz Luhrmann about the Elvis movie. She told Us Weekly, “I have been involved with Baz. He has come to my home and he has been emailing me… In fact, we’re going to be having another lunch at my home. He’s keeping me on top of everything. It’s been wonderful. He is a genius. I’m not getting involved with any kind of telling him what to do or how to do it or suggestions. No, no. I think this will be very stylized, very different.”
The movie follows a young Elvis, played by Austin Butler, as well as his dealings with his wife, Priscilla (played by Olivia DeJonge) and his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (played by Tom Hanks.)
When prompted about what she thought of the Colonel Parker role, Lisa Marie said, “Tom Hanks can pretty much capture anybody as far as his acting ability and how professional he is and how deep and deeply involved he gets with the character…I’m extremely pleased. I think that it’ll be very good.”
During filming, Tom spoke about a conversation he had with Priscilla, who revealed she had great affection for Colonel Tom, which is a different perception to that which many have.
He told late night host Stephen Colbert: “I was expecting to hear stories about the distrust she had for Colonel Tom Parker over these many years.”
On her post, Lisa Marie revealed she has seen Luhrman’s movie twice. Her thoughts?
“It is nothing short of spectacular,” she said. “Absolutely exquisite.”
“Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart and soul beautifully.”
“In my humble opinion, his performance is unprecedented and FINALLY done accurately and respectfully.”
“You can feel and witness Baz’s pure love, care and respect for my father throughout this beautiful film, and it is finally something that myself and my children and their children can be proud of forever.
“Elvis” will be released in theaters June 24, 2022.
Elvis Presley was flat out the world’s greatest singer. The King of Rock and Roll has been gone longer than the number of years he lived, but the truth of his legacy keeps marching on.
Even now, the recorded voice of Elvis has been heard by more people on earth than any other human being in history.
With his amazing versatility, he mastered and broke records (no pun intended) across music barriers.
Jack Dennis polled Elvis fans across the world from August 1-December 1, 2017 and again for CleverJourneys from January 3-May 1, 2022 to find out which songs they believe or wished he should have recorded. Over 3,400 fans (3,421 to be exact) responded.
Note: Jack Dennis (Texasjackson) was the president of the Texas Chapter of the Official Elvis Presley Graceland Fan Club in the late 1970s and at the time of Presley’s death in August 1977. He continues to maintain friendships with Elvis’ friends, family and fans globally.
Here are the top 50 songs Elvis fans wished he would have recorded.
I Will Always Love You
Originally written and recorded by Dolly Parton in 1973, “I Will Always Love You” is the number one song Elvis fans wished he would have recorded. The song won an Emmy for Best Recording of the Year by Whitney Houston in 1992 (from the movie “Body Guard”). Other notable covers were by Kenny Rogers in 1983 and Connie Talbot in 2007.
Old Rugged Cross
“The Old Rugged Cross” is the number two choice of Elvis fans. It is a popular hymn written in 1912, the year Elvis’ mother Gladys was born, by evangelist and song-leader George Bennard.
In order of Elvis fan choices here are the other 48 songs they wished he would have recorded:
In 1968, many years after they first met backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, legendary singer Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter on stage during a performance in front of an audience of 7,000 in London, Ontario. June urged him to keep singing, but Johnny refused to continue the show until he received an answer.
June said yes and the couple married on March 1, 1968, in Franklin, Kentucky.
Through thick and thin, they were married until June’s death in 2003. Johnny dedicated his final live performance to her, and passed away within four months after her.
The results of a British poll designated a note, written to June by Johnny, as the “Greatest Love Letter of All Time.”
Here is the letter in its entirety:
Happy Birthday Princess,We get old and get use to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.
But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me.You influence me for the better. You’re the object of my desire, the #1 Earthly reason for my existence. I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess.
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In 2020, defying lockdowns and wearing masks, we took a 32 day roadtrip from the Texas Hill Country to Washington DC and back.
Our first stop was near Fort Hood in a central Killeen Texas neighborhood. If the walls of the circa 1950 ranch-style house at 605 Oakhill Drive could talk, they’d sing!
It’s a nice house but doesn’t have any visual features that dramatically set it apart from the other homes in the area not far from Conder Park. It’s a one-story, brick home with a rather large mailbox out front.
As big Elvis Presley fans, we thought there might be a landmark sign designating it as the house the most famous entertainer in history lived while going through Army training.
At the height of his early fame, the Army drafted Elvis in 1958, and at the Memphis induction center, he received his shots, his buzz cut, and his orders. On March 28, he and others were sent by military bus to Fort Hood, the Second Armored Division, General George S. Patton’s “Hell on Wheels” wild bunch.
Enroute the new troops stopped for a restaurant lunch break in Hillsboro causing “a small riot” when teenage customers recognized him.
Elvis didn’t want any special treatment offered. His desire was to be just another G.I. His fellow soldiers saw that in him and Elvis became one of the guys.
Private Simon Vega recalled, “I thought he was gonna get special treatment but he did KP, guard duty, everything, just like us.”
When basic training was completed, the Army allowed soldiers to live off base as long as they had dependents living in the area. It was not long before Elvis’ parents, grandmother, and a friend traveled to Killeen where they found a three-bedroom home to rent from Chester Crawford, an attorney who charged an outrageous $700 a month.
Soon crowds began showing up on Oakhill Drive to catch a glimpse of Elvis. It was common for him to stand outside and talk to fans for hours. Occasionally, he detoured through neighbors’ backyards to avoid the crowds, and according to neighbor Janie Sullivan, the clothesline in their yard once caught Elvis and the dog bit him.
Not everyone was thrilled by Elvis’ presence in the neighborhood. Some Oak Hill residents called the police to complain about the clouds of dust stirred up by the cars and the carnival-like atmosphere.
While completing an additional ten weeks of advanced tank training, Elvis had to take emergency leave to fly to Memphis to be with his mother, Gladys, who had returned home to be hospitalized. She died two days later on August 14.
After his mother’s funeral, Elvis returned and put in long days at Fort Hood learning to be a tanker. During his final days at Fort Hood, large crowds gathered outside his house, and some nights a hundred people kept vigil. The last night, on September 19, 1958, Elvis and his gang gathered at the home to make the drive to the troop train that would take him and 1,360 other G.I.s to Brooklyn to sail for Germany.
Biographers and friends reported that Elvis’ time at Fort Hood and in the Army was among the happiest of his life. For a time, he was almost “just another soldier.” Everyone agreed that Elvis was a good soldier, one of the best in the company.
His longtime girlfriend, Anita Wood, said, “he had finally found himself.”
Elvis said later, “I learned a lot about people in the Army. I never lived with other people before and had a chance to find out how they think.”
In 1958, longtime Killeen resident Edith Carlile lived four doors down from the house Pvt. Elvis Presley lived in with his parents, Vernon and Gladys. Presley rented the home for seven months from a local lawyer when he was stationed at Fort Hood.
“The street was extremely crowded with cars going by,” said Carlile, who lived next door to the house Presley lived in before she passed away a few years ago. “People were standing in the yard, wanting to touch him, kiss him.”
Carlile was a mother of four at the time, and wasn’t really into the rock ’n’ roll music that Presley is famous for.
“I’m not a fan of music of that age,” Carlile told a local news reporter, adding she was more into the tunes of the big band era.
Her children did get autographs from Presley, but Carlile said she threw the signed pieces of paper away years later.
She said the rock ’n’ roll king dated a few of the local girls when he was here, and his presence made a big impact, especially in the Oakhill Drive neighborhood, which in 1958 was home to lawyers, business owners and other upper-middle class families.
More than 64 years later, the house is still standing, and although it’s aged, the outside doesn’t look dramatically different from when Presley lived there.
Surprisingly, more recent owners of the Presley’s rental house indicated they didn’t even know the house had once been lived in by Presley when they bought it some years ago.
To this day Elvis fans regularly pop by the house to take a video, some puctures or inquire about the former home of the King.
Some drive hundreds of miles to do so. Others want to peep inside or look at the backyard.
Although there has been updated renovations (exterior windows and roof) owners are reluctant to offer details.
In November 2006, the 2,400-square-foot house was placed for purchase on eBay.
The owner at the time, Myka Allen-Johnson, a sales representative for CenTex Homes, said she wanted to sell the home to someone who would understand the historical significance.
“I didn’t buy the house with the intention of selling it on eBay,” Allen-Johnson told the Killeen Daily Herald in 2006. “I just don’t want people to forget that he lived here in Killeen.”
Penny Love was 3 or 4 years old and lived around the corner in 1958. She recalls her family seeing Presley sneak through her backyard to avoid the crowd that waited out front. She said she would sometimes sit on Presley’s father, Vernon’s lap on the front porch.
The community has missed out on any significant tourism and marketing opportunities over the years. In August 1958, Presley fans petitioned the Killeen City Council to change the name of Oakhill Drive to Presley Drive, bringing nationwide publicity to the area. Today, however, Oakhill is still the name of the street.
The owner said she allows Presley fans to take a quick picture of the front of the house. But those who try to pry closer are not totally welcome.
The backyard has a steep incline, she said, which can be dangerous, and a German shepherd patrols back there, too.
Johnny Cash started a massive ring of fire on June 27th of 1965. It was in California’s Los Padres National Forest.
According to Cash’s FBI file acquired via the Freedom of Information Act, the music icon said his camper shot sparks out of its faulty exhaust system after getting stuck along the side of the road. Cash tried to gun the engine and accidentally lit the forest ablaze.
Cash’s nephew, Damon Fielder, was on the fishing trip with Cash when the fire started. According to his story, Uncle John was just drunk and allowed their campfire to get out of control. The blaze burned 508 acres of forest, spread across three mountains, and 49 of the area’s 53 California condors disappeared.
After feigning illness to avoid a court date, the “Ring of Fire” singer eventually paid a fine of $82,001 in damages.
🔹Throughout his career, Cash would often perform in prisons and recorded two live albums during those performances — Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison in 1968 and Johnny Cash at San Quentin in 1969.
🔹Cash was actually arrested seven times total for charges including reckless driving, drug use and public drunkenness, though he never spent more than a few nights in jail.
🔹One of his arrests was for picking flowers in Starkville, Mississippi, when he drunkenly took flowers from someone’s yard at 2 a.m. At the Starkville jail, he kicked the door so hard he broke his toe and later recorded a song about the experience.
🔹In 1981, Cash was attacked by his pet ostrich, Waldo. The big bird left him with five broken ribs and internal bleeding. The attack happened on the grounds of the exotic animal park Cash had established behind the House of Cash offices in Tennessee.
🔹In his book Cash: The Autobiograph, the musician wrote that Waldo was “not happy” to see him one day and that he swiped at the animal with a stick to show him who was boss.
“I missed,” Cash wrote. “He wasn’t there. He was in the air, and a split second later he was on his way down again, with that big toe of his, larger than my size-thirteen shoe, extended toward my stomach. He made contact — I’m sure there was never any question he wouldn’t — and frankly, I got off lightly. All he did was break my two lower ribs and rip my stomach open down to my belt, If the belt hadn’t been good and strong, with a solid belt buckle, he’d have spilled my guts exactly the way he meant to. As it was, he knocked me over onto my back and I broke three more ribs on a rock — but I had sense enough to keep swinging the stick, so he didn’t get to finish me. I scored a good hit on one of his legs, and he ran off.”
In the history of music, Johnny Cash definitely is one of the best-known names in the industry.
Barbara Eden will make her first-ever appearance at Elvis Week 2022 on August 15 at Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee as a special guest at Conversations on Elvis. In memory of the 45th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s passing, she will share some of her favorite memories of co-starring alongside Elvis in the 1960 film “Flaming Star.”
Throughout her illustrious career, Barbara Eden has starred in over 25 feature films, five network TV series, and 19 top-rated network made-for-television movies. Her iconic “I Dream of Jeannie” NBC Television series, launched in 1965, became an instant hit.
In addition, Barbara is a New York Times bestselling author with her memoir, Jeannie Out of the Bottle. She most recently released her debut children’s book, Barbara And The Djinn.
Barbara also guest starred on Nickelodeon’s #1 animated Pre-School series Shimmer & Shine lending her voice, for the first time, as Empress Caliana. Barbara keeps busy acting, making personal appearances, touring, participating in numerous charity events and home life, all of which are a part of her regular agenda.
Just one month after CNN bragged about the launching of CNN+, their new streaming service, they announced as “one of the most significant developments in the history of CNN,” they will be shutting it down on April 30.
They has less than 10,000 people using CNN+ on a daily basis.
Chris Licht, CEO of CNN Global said CNN+ workers will “continue to be paid and receive benefits for the next 90 days to explore opportunities at CNN, CNN Digital and elsewhere in the Warner Bros. Discovery family. At the end of that period, any departing CNN+ employee will receive a minimum of six-month severance (depending on length of service at CNN).”
Andrew Morse, who led the streaming service, is reportedly leaving the company.
2022 did not start out so well for CNN as they learned their 4th quarter primetime viewership dropped by an enormous 73% (from quarter 4 of 2020) to only 642,000 viewers on average.
2021Q4 PRIMETIME: TOTAL VIEWERS/25-54 AGE DEMO VIEWERS
Fox News: 2.366 million / 366,000
MSNBC: 1.163 million / 138,000
CNN: 642,000 / 138,000
The network continues to drown in their own fake news reporting and on-air personalities scandals.
In 2018, their ratings troubles became noticeably obvious as CNN constantly pushed the bogus narrative of collusion between Russians and the Trump campaign, which panned out to be totally false.
During Trump’s presidency, CNN’s ratings continued to plummet as Americans’ trust in the network dissolved.
More recently, their extremely leftist and biased host Don Lemon was caught providing strategy advice to disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.
Left-wing Chris Cuomo, who regularly bashed Trump supporters and conservatives, was unethically using network news sources and caught lying about it as he advised his brother, then New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. The CNN host was terminated.
CNN, like many mainstream media outlets, is universally known as a biased fake news network that has been frequently called out by America’s 45th President, Donald J. Trump.
Paul Le Mat, 76, the Golden Globe winning actor famous for his roles in American Graffitti, Aloha Bobby and Rose, Melvin and Howard and other memorable movies of the 1970s-1990s, has fallen on hard times. Hundreds of fans around the world are helping.
“If you are a fan of American Graffiti you will want to help this actor,” a GoFundMe account set up for the 76-year-old Vietnam War Veteran states. “PaulLeMat played the award winning character ‘Milner,’ and his quiet retirement is being threatened with eviction.”
“For the last 20 years, Paul has been ill & quietly living in a rented condo in the San Fernando Valley. However, the owner must now sell immediately, and contrary to social media stats, Paul is struggling financially and he only has a few weeks to vacate. He needs our help financially.”
“This is a difficult time for everyone and like Paul, no baby-boomers, Veterans nor actors are exempt from the pandemic’s plight,” the fund manager, CR Cochrane, wrote. “Due to Paul’s illness, he has not been able to perform in an arena he loves so much.”
“We all remember being drawn into American Graffiti’s iconic cast, including the mysterious lure of “Milner’s” dark eyes as he summons Harrison Ford’s character and then leaves him in the dust; or perhaps you remember Paul’s innate camaraderie with Jason Robards in “Melvin and Howard”.”
“Paul fondly remembers those days and says he would work forever if he could, but the reality is: he cannot, and he needs our help. Let’s ensure that Paul is not left homeless & on the streets. Let’s give him the dignity he deserves, by donating what you can, and sharing his plight with friends and family. Thank you CR Cochrane (former Social Worker).”
Marc Sorger, who immediately donated $800 as soon as he heard, responded, “It goes without saying that you’ve inspired millions of people throughout your career. Even more importantly though, you’ve inspired people with your kindness as a good man. This world needs a lot more kindness right now. I’m paying it forward for all you’ve done and saying thank you sir, your kind heart has not gone unnoticed. ♥”
“Like so many kids growing up in the 70s Paul LeMat as John Milner was the coolest of the cool,” said Christopher Tiernan. “As I watched his other film roles I learned what a spectacular actor he is. In the age of social media I’ve been able to follow him and learn what a kind and gracious person he is. He is appreciative and responsive to his fans and quite obviously leads the life of meaning and purpose consistent with a strong faith. I’m glad to do a teeny part to help him out and wish I could contribute more.”
“It’s not much, but I hope it helps.” commented Tina Curtis. “I’ve loved your work since I was a kid. Much love from Minnesota!”
“Nobody should be homeless and Paul should be safe,” wrote donater Mark Seek.
“I loved Paul Le Mat in American Graffiti and More American Graffiti and bought and read all his books,” said Della Patton. “Now he needs help, and I want to help him.”
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The Fiesty Actor at 75 Doing What He Does Best Off the Big Screen
Actor James Woods, after a ten month ban from Twitter because of his conservative views in 2020, came back roaring:
“I was on vacation awhile, avoiding the news. How’d the #Mueller thing work out? The #impeachment scam? Who won the #Iowa caucuses? Is #MichaelAvenatti still a contender for the Democratic nomination for President? How’s #JeffreyEpstein doing?”
On his 75th birthday, April 18, 2022, we salute Mr. Woods for his patriotism, intelligence and telling it like it really is. Here are some of his best.