Eighty three days fall between two of the biggest events of the summer 1977. On May 25th of that year Star Wars opened. Then on August 16th, at the end of the summer, Elvis Presley died.
Those 83 days were when two sets of generations overlapped. The Elvis generation was my parents' generation. Years later we still see those aging Elvis fans devoted to collecting the Elvis memorabilia and making pilgrimages to Graceland. After all 50,000 Elvis fans can't be wrong.
Sure, you can visit Graceland; sign your name on the wall outside; and weep at the gravesite. At one time you could even attend a concert which would show Elvis on a large screen and have a live band playing with him. Elvis the Concert they called it. But there is nothing bringing back Elvis himself after the summer of 1977. As time goes by, like the Civil War widows of yesteryear, those who have seen Elvis live in concert are slowly dying out. No one born after 1977 knows what it is like to see Elvis in concert for the first time.
On the other hand, one can still experience the same reaction from seeing Star Wars for the first time in a movie theater. This one particular movie has spawned a whole generation of fans. The sequels, prequels, TV specials, the McDonald's Happy Meal Toy tie-ins...Star Wars is sometimes everywhere, depending on your chronological proximity of the opening date of the latest Star Wars movie.
Star Wars is from my generation. We all remember seeing it for the first time. We remember collecting and playing with our action figures. It was a major part of our childhood experience.
So I wonder, did Elvis ever see Star Wars? It was a well known fact that sometimes Elvis and the Memphis Mafia rented out Memphis cinemas for late night showings of movies of Elvis' choosing. Could it be that during those 83 days Elvis saw the biggest movie of that summer...or even that decade? If it did happen, it would have been a real life Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
And if he did see it, what did he think of it? Did he relate to Han Solo's independent attitude and how he was able to take care of business in a flash? Or did Elvis identify with Luke Skywalker who had an older man telling him what to do...much like how the Colonel told Elvis himself what to do? Skywalker and Presley did have their rural backgrounds in common. Elvis grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi and started out as a truck driver, while Luke grew up as a farmer on Tatooine, a dusty desolate planet. Both found fame and fortune through their unique abilities.
After seeing C-3P0 say "We're doomed" did Elvis have some premonition about how his own life would end weeks later on an upstairs toilet of Graceland?
Or perhaps the more appropriate question is, did George Lucas ever see Elvis in concert? The King had been wearing capes long before Darth Vader. Did the caped jumpsuits inspire the costumes in Star Wars? Was the color white "in" for jumpsuits as well as for Stormtroopers' uniforms?
1977 was a year of titanic icons. One icon's life was slowly coming to an end, while another icon was just getting started. If these two titans ever met in a darkened Memphis movie theater is anybody's guess.
http://www.elvis.com/concert/ - Elvis The Concert