There are many American icons throughout history. Perhaps none so famous as the King of Rock & Roll himself, Elvis Presley. On this day 64 years ago, the infamous ‘Jailhouse Rock’ appeared in theaters in 1957. At the time, Presley was at the peak of his career. A heartthrob as well as a cultural figure, he defined an age.
As an actor, songwriter, and singer the legend was leading the charge in a cultural change. He is responsible for coining much of early rock & roll and defining an era.
“Jailhouse Rock” centered around a troubled man who was sentenced to jail after a manslaughter charge. Vince Everett, played by Presley, became mentored by music while he served his time. Following his incarceration, the young man utilizes his newfound musical abilities to pursue a job as a club singer, wooing young women as he rises to stardom.
“Jailhouse Rock” initially premiered in Memphis, Tennessee in October before premiering November 8, 1957 nationally. Though the film is currently recognized as an iconic moment in history, it initially was released to mixed reviews.
Further, the black and white movie grossed about $4 million at the time. In 2004, “Jailhouse Rock” was established in the National Film Registry as being culturally and historically significant by the Library of Congress.
Elvis Presley Fondly Rememebered
While Elvis Presley is a generational icon, remembered by millions and loved by more, his reach touched many of those he worked with.
Of those is “Murder, She Wrote” actress Angela Lansbury remembers fondly working with Presley during their time filming “Blue Hawaii.”
Of her experience, she had this to say about the actor:
“Well obviously I was awed by being in the presence, but he was an awfully nice young man in those days. He always was a wonderfully nice young man, a very caring person. [Presley] had terrible problems of a very personal nature, but in those days he’d just come out of the Army. He was fit, he was slender, and he was top of his form. And he couldn’t have been nicer to me,” Lansbury said of working with Elvis Presley.
The actress also loved being a part of the cast. Her time spend in Hawaii filming is something she fondly remembers. Lansbury went on to say about the experience playing her role:
“We had a lovely time, it was a wonderful location. We were on Kauai in the Hawaiian islands. I’ll never forget it, it was really wonderful,” Lansbury said. “And she was such a funny character! Her whole reaction to her son who she didn’t understand at all. [Elvis] loved it, he thought it was terribly funny. He was very sweet,” she added.