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The Laughter


Elvis on Laughter: "It’s pure freedom, like being a kid again.

Elvis’ drummer in the 1970's Ronnie Tutt:

"....he loved to laugh as much as he loved life. He had a great sense of humor - you could see his eyes sparkle when something funny was going on, which however, was most of the time, if he had anything to do with it, and he usually did! It was great to play music together, but it was also great to laugh together."

In the Tarot, the Trickster is represented by the Major Arcana of ‘The Magician’. From ‘The Merlin Tarot,’ by R.J. Stewart, we read:

"One of the major paths to enlightenment is through humor; the face of The Magician is full of joy and good humor, discovery and enthusiasm. He is not a somber, pompous ‘adept’, dictating occult dogma....To relate to The Magician we must become aware of the difference between humor as a spiritual or liberating power, and its inverse or shadow which is that of the malevolent...."

Elvis loved to shake up people’s illusions of him in a playful way. There was never any malice connected to his pranks, only an impish spirit. He was a man of contrasting mood who could be very mature, intelligent and serious in his deep understanding of Spirit and Life. Yet, in order to remain sane in the atmosphere which had collected around his ‘image,’ he sought relief through humor. I believe unconsciously he wielded it as means of teaching others the true joy in living.

Larry Strickland, former base singer with the ‘Stamps’ Quartet, who sang as backup with Elvis in the 1970's, commented to ‘Elvis International Forum on Elvis’ marvelous sense of humor:

"He’d rather laugh than eat, I guess....A lot of times he would keep you laying on the floor laughing....I’ll never forget Tony Brown who was Elvis’ piano player after Glen Hardin left. The first session that we did that Tony was there playing piano, Tony just sat there with his mouth hanging open. He couldn’t believe what was happening because Elvis was laying right on the floor right beside him, just rolling, holding his sides laughing. I mean here is Elvis laying on the floor. I think that particular night we were talking about Roadrunner cartoons; everybody was telling about different cartoons they had seen."

John Lennon: "It was his sense of humor that stuck in my mind. He liked to laugh and make others laugh, too."

In referring to a 1969 live stage recording of Elvis laughing through nearly the entire song of ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’, Gordon Stoker commented: “There’s a disc jockey in London who told us, ‘I never was an Elvis fan until I heard him laugh on ‘Are You Lonesome Tonight’. I knew then that any man who laughed like that was to be a super guy.’”

Wanda Hill recalled a close encounter with an aquatically armed and dangerous Elvis when she worked in the MGM mail room in the 1960's. Elvis came in with a water pistol and decided that Wanda made an easy target. As she later wrote about the incident in her book, ‘We Remember, Elvis’:

"....he took aim and fired a blast in my face. I stared at him, shocked, and then without thinking who he was, I picked up a paper cup with melting ice from a Coke and tossed it in his direction. It got him, right in the chest, and splattered up his face. The look on that face would have been worth millions on film! He was stunned and speechless. For a few seconds I thought surely he would kill me, as his expression changed from shock to surprise, then anger. Then he slowly relaxed and his handsome face began to smile. He tossed back his head and laughed. Then, brushing off the ice and slowly raising his water pistol, feet spread apart, hip out, he turned slightly and with the meanest and most deadly look I’ve ever seen he drew aim at my heart and fired his water pistol. Well, it was nearly empty and the stream sort of dribbled at me. That was too much; we fell all over the office laughing. Elvis went off to refill and I went back to work, wet, but totally sure Elvis was something else - just what I hadn’t yet decided."

A few more ‘Elvis moments’ as told by Wanda Hill in ‘We Remember, Elvis’:

"One day while I was staying at the Hilton Hotel (in the 1970's), I was outside for some fresh air when I noticed a group of people staring up at the top of the hotel. Curious, I walked over and looked up. Sailing through the air were several little paper airplanes, and way up on the 30th floor was a tiny figure of a man, waving to us below. It was Elvis, curing his boredom flying paper airplanes and watching the people running after them - after all Elvis Presley had touched them!

"What I did not know was that he also put messages on the airplanes, written in baby talk, and he laughed as the people found them and read his messages while he was observing through his binoculars. It was just silly Elvis putting people on again!"

Then Wanda tells about the time a certain female Hollywood reporter was determined to get into Elvis’ suite in the Las Vegas Hilton to spy on the ‘wild parties’ she had heard (and hoped) he was having up there. She disguised herself, as that was the only way she would have been allowed in. However, Elvis had been told she was coming. He decided to have some fun. As Wanda tells the story:

"Well, Elvis had a great sense of humor and when he learned of her plan he had an idea. He hired some Las Vegas girls to come over and had them dress or undress for various roles....He also warned friends who were at the party.

"When the reporter, in disguise, arrived at his suite, Elvis staggered from his bedroom with a naked woman hanging onto him. He pushed her away, staggered to the coffee table, and said, ‘clear off the table; who’s up next?’ and he grabbed the reporter.

"She was horrified (or pretended to be) and told him off. Elvis couldn’t keep a straight face. He cracked up. The whole room exploded in laughter."

I (Maia Christianne) personally remember Elvis in 1975 on stage in Las Vegas, holding an enormous gold fish bowl filled with slips of paper. He informed us that the names to many of his songs were in the bowl. They had been collected from the audience before the show. He was going to sing a few of them, by drawing the song names out of the bowl at random. He went through a whole discourse about how he was going to sing whatever song was revealed on the slip of paper which he would draw from the bowl, as these were the songs his fans desired to hear. The audience was in suspense as Elvis reached into the bowl and carefully swirled his hand around. He paused. Then moved his hand around some more. Finally, he drew out a piece of paper. Everyone was quiet, as Elvis stood there with the big glass bowl encircled in one arm, and holding the tiny bit of paper in the other hand. He stared down at the paper as he read to himself in deep concentration. The fans bent slightly forward in their seats. Then Elvis frowned. Without even looking up at the audience, he threw the slip of paper over his shoulder and thrust his hand back into the bowl. He came up with another slip, only to shake his head and toss it away, too. After several attempts, Elvis finally found a song he wanted to sing. The audience chuckled as if they were one large entity, at this display of ‘pure Elvis.’

It is ironic that in much of the media coverage of Elvis, most especially the screenplays, and the derogatory books written on him, he is depicted as a brooding figure shut away from the world in his own deep misery. Certainly a man who was terminally ill for many years, who had a difficult marriage with a heartbreaking ending, and who was threatened and held captive by the ‘mob,’ would have more than a few moments of depression. But for the most part, despite his extreme hardships Elvis was a man of joy and laughter, no matter how bleak the picture of his life seemed to be.

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This is a website created strictly as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Elvis, Elvis Presley, Graceland and TCB are all registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises. I make no claim to Elvis Presley Enterprises, Elvis Presley, his music, videos or voice.

All flash presentations, creative art and text is copyrighted by Maia Nartoomid (and in some instances with text and documents, Wanda June Hill and JoAnna McKenzie) - all rights reserved.

This is a website created strictly as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Elvis, Elvis Presley, Graceland and TCB are all registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises. I make no claim to Elvis Presley Enterprises, Elvis Presley, his music, videos or voice.

All flash presentations, creative art and text is copyrighted by Maia Nartoomid (and in some instances with text and documents, Wanda June Hill and JoAnna McKenzie) - all rights reserved.