The alphabetical exploitation of Elvis

BOOK REVIEW

September 15, 1990|By RAFAEL ALVAREZ | RAFAEL ALVAREZ,Mr. Alvarez is a reporter for The Sun.

"E" Is for Elvis: an A-to-Z Guide to the King of Rock and Roll.

Caroline Latham and Jeannie Sakol.

North American Library.

301 pages. $19.95.

This ridiculous book is a tub of fun.

An alphabetical series of inane footnotes to the biggest chapter in the history of rock 'n' roll, "'E' Is for Elvis" is quick, easy reading, the kind of entertainment that might prompt you to call up your Aunt Hilda and say: "Did you know that Caroline Kennedy covered Elvis' funeral for Rolling Stone?"

The book, hard-bound in pink cloth with a black spine, gives no acknowledgement for its information, which is defined without shame in a publisher's press release as "facts, minutiae, and gossip."

But clearly the authors harvested these truths and pseudo-truths from previously published Elvis biographies, of which there seem to be enough to fill a small branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

The following are just a few of the areas in which "E is for Elvis" attempts to provide the public with honest poop:

*The Elvis movies Ed Asner appeared in.

*The plot to steal Elvis' body.

*The Master Bedroom at Graceland.

*The Elvis Presley Midget Fan Club.

*The short story about Elvis written by Alice Walker.

It does not, however, include the latest item orbiting the Elvis universe: How much Elvis would have weighed on other planets.

For purposes of a second edition, authors Latham and Sokol, who also co-wrote an A-to-Z guide to the Kennedy family, should know that Elvis would weigh 648 pounds on Jupiter and 13 pounds on Pluto.

On Earth he weighed 255 pounds at the time of his death on Aug. 16, 1977, which is listed here under the heading, "The Weight Problem."

"He struggled to get his weight down, but many of his dieting strategies were unsuccessful," say the authors. The heading "Mealtime at Graceland" helps explain why.

One of my favorite entries is under K with the title "Kidnapped by 'Elvis.'"

The text reads: "In November 1988, a Tampa teenager was kidnapped by a man who looked like Elvis Presley. The Elvis impersonator forced the girl at gunpoint to drive with him to Birmingham, Ala., where she was able to make her escape. The kidnapper sang along with the radio the whole way, provoking the victim to comment, 'He looked like Elvis, but he sure didn't sing like him.'"

Who did?

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