Daily Quote About Elvis: Wink Martindale

Wink Martindale, Elvis Presley, June 20, 1956, Memphis. That was Elvis’ posture for the entire interview. He manages to seem both insolent, bored, shy, and amusing, all at the same time. It is the stance of a new generation, separate from the older, who stood up properly and behaved themselves. Yet Presley is never rude, just sort of lazily chewing gum and grinning to himself over some of the questions about his girlfriends. Like he has a vast wealth of sexy knowledge that he will not share. He is clearly a heartthrob, and he knows it. He also stutters on occasion, and there are long pauses where he tries to think of what to say next. He looks great, but he also looks odd. A rebellious lazy pose, but with polite stuttering conversation. It’s still riveting to watch. Who is this strange creature?

Wink Martindale, interviewed in 1992:

The first filmed interview that Elvis had ever done of any length was on Top 10 Dance Party with me. Elvis came on the show that particular Saturday afternoon. We did about a half hour, 45 minute interview, and somebody just happened to say – and remember, this was before videotape – somebody just happened to tell me, ‘Why don’t you film this? Because it might be valuable later. He’s getting pretty hot.’ And he had just come back from California, had not made his first movie yet, but at that point, I think his record was “Don’t Be Cruel” and “Hound Dog” – that was out at that time. So a guy named Bob Zimmerman, a cameraman, brought his camera in, just one man, and set up the sound and the camera and we made what was then called a kinescope, a filmed interview, which I have to this day. It was the most exciting – one of the most exciting experiences of my life because by this time I knew that I was experiencing and a small part of the birth of what has turned out to be the most exciting entertainer of our lifetime. Elvis was Memphis’ most important citizen. I think even the Mayor at that time, Henry Loeb, would say Elvis is our most important citizen because it was obvious; he brought notoriety to the city on the banks of the Mississippi River that it had never experienced or seen before, and I think most Memphians would agree with me on that. Elvis Presley was king of the whole wide world in terms of popular music and when Elvis came home to Graceland, especially after the movies were being made, it was an event. When Elvis left on the Lisa Marie, from the Memphis Airport to go back to California to make another movie, it was an event. Everything that Elvis did – from going and coming, to renting out a theatre for all-night movie sessions with his friends, that was all news that made the paper, it made headlines. Elvis brought so much PR to Memphis, of a positive nature, that … I guess he received preferential treatment in many different ways, and he deserved it, because he became a focal point of Memphis Tennessee.

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7 Responses to Daily Quote About Elvis: Wink Martindale

  1. Johnny says:

    It’s me again Sheila! I saw a tiny bit of this interview and you’re right about everything. He had this rebellious pose going on.. Did you see the whole thing ?

    • sheila says:

      I have seen most of it, yes. It’s pretty great.

      I watched it with my sister, who teaches middle schoolers, and she was laughing about how awkward-middle-school-ish his behavior is. He can’t stay still, he lolls and leans – she was telling me about talking to a kid about why he didn’t do his homework, he’s, like, 13, and she said, “He was basically lying down while standing up” and it just made me LAUGH. (She loves her kids. She wasn’t being critical.)

      I love this because you can see that TV is pretty much new at the point of this interview – or new-ish. – I mean, now even regular Joe Schmoe on the street is camera ready because everyone has seen so much television and are primed on how to people. These people aren’t there yet. So Elvis lolling about like that … just classic.

      That was a happy crazy time for him!

  2. Johnny says:

    You lucky girl! I’ve only seen a small portion of the whole thing. Where did you see it?

  3. sheila says:

    Hm, I’m trying to remember now. I have a little cheap DVD called Elvis in 1956 – about all of the crazy stuff that went on for him that year, with tons of footage – I am wondering if it was there? I’ll check.

    There’s also a little thing on iTunes called “Wink Martindale Remembers Elvis” – it’s in 4 parts, and Wink tells the whole story of his relationship with Elvis – as well as audio of the multiple interviews he did with Elvis (including one where Elvis called him while he was stationed in Germany).

  4. Johnny says:

    I’ll check it out soon! On a side note, who did Elvis look like?

    • sheila says:

      What do you mean? Like, does he look like his mother or his father?

      Your question reminds me of that scene in Jim Jarmusch’s Mystery Train (have you seen it?) – when the Japanese teenage girl shows her boyfriend the collage she’s made of images she’s found that look like Elvis – i.e.: the Statue of Liberty, statues from ancient Greece, mummies from ancient Egypt, etc.

  5. Johnny says:

    Like his parents I mean. I always thought he looked more like Gladys (eyes) but at the same time looked completely different from them.

    I did get a chance to see Mystery Train and I liked it. The story is different and the whole Elvis myth is quite funny too. The cinematography is incredible, especially how they made the mundane and the desolate look so haunting and beautiful.

    Check this out: http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/originals/42/c3/44/42c344b5e016189b35f971ca64c76d26.jpg

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