Uncle Sam wanted Elvis

Everyone loves a man in uniform and Elvis Presley was certainly no exception. Presley and his family were spending their first Christmas at Graceland in 1957 when, on Dec. 20 – a little more than a week after being notified that he was up for the next military draft, Presley received word from the Memphis Draft Board; he was to report for duty with the Army on Jan. 20, 1958. 

The 23 year-old was handsome, healthy and famous – a fact not lost on Army, Navy, and Air Force recruiters who offered Presley special enlistment opportunities if he signed up before being drafted – he declined but it was another story when it came to Paramount. The studio had invested heavily in King Creole, which was scheduled to start filming the very same day as enlistment. The studio, Presley’s management, not to mention fans angered by the singer’s draft, put a lot of pressure on the draft board, ending in a two month deferment that allowed Presley to finish filming before basic training.

It is said that all things happen for a reason and perhaps, in retrospect, Presley may have felt his enlistment was pre-destined. After all, he met a young United States Air Force officer’s daughter during his two-year tour of duty in Germany – his future wife, Priscilla Ann Beaulieu.

-Tara Losinski