1958-1965: Page 2
January 8, 1960
Elvis does a second phone interview with Dick Clark. A birthday party for Elvis includes 200 invited guests, including Priscilla. Joe Esposito and others present him with a trophy inscribed, "Elvis Presley. Most Valuable Player. Bad Nauheim Sunday Afternoon Football Association, 1959.”
January 12 – 17, 1960
Elvis goes on a second leave to Paris with his karate instructor, Jurgen Seydel, to study with Japanese karate teacher, Tetsuji Murakami. He takes lessons every day in the shotokan technique.
January 20, 1960
Elvis is promoted to Sergeant. He leaves on maneuvers on the 24th and will get his full sergeant's stripes on February 11, 1960.
Elvis leaves Germany on March 2 at 5:25 p.m., arriving in New Jersey the next day for a press conference. He is officially discharged from active duty on March 5, 1960, at 9:25 a.m. He boards a train for Memphis, arriving on March 8. Press and crowds of fans are everywhere for this historic series of events. He holds a press conference at Graceland in his father’s office behind the mansion on March 8. He has served his country just like any other G.I., with no special privileges his celebrity status might have afforded him. These two years away from his career have been a time to mature. He has also worried constantly that his lengthy absence might have damaged his career progress.
March 20, 1960
Elvis has his first post-Army recording session. Some of the recording work is for the album “Elvis is Back!,” which will hit #2 on the Billboard pop chart. The album includes the single “Stuck On You,” which is rushed to the pressing plant and packaged in a generic sleeve without waiting for orders. Debuting at #84, it took only three weeks to hit #1. Sessions will continue in early April.
March 26, 1960
Elvis tapes a special "Welcome Home, Elvis" edition of Frank Sinatra’s ABC-TV variety show, for which he is paid $125,000, a record sum for a variety show appearance at the time.
April 21, 1960
Elvis begins filming and recording for his first post-Army movie, his fifth film, “GI Blues,” for Paramount. This is the third of nine Elvis films to be produced (not consecutively) by Hal Wallis. “GI Blues” co-stars dancer/actress Juliet Prowse.
May 12, 1960
ABC airs “Frank Sinatra’s Welcome Home, Elvis” edition of his variety show, which attracts a 41.5% share of the national television audience.
July 3, 1960
Vernon Presley marries divorcee and mother of three sons, Davada (Dee) Stanley, an American whom he met Germany, where she had been stationed with her military husband. They live at Graceland briefly, then move to a home nearby.
July 21, 1960
Elvis receives his first degree black belt in karate, an interest he developed while in the Army. Elvis carries the certificate in his wallet until his death.
Elvis records and films for his sixth movie, “Flaming Star,” a drama with limited music. Elvis plays the son of a white father and a Native American mother, torn between the two cultures in the 1800's. The film co-stars Barbara Eden.
The soundtrack album for “GI Blues” enters the Billboard album chart and soon goes to #1. It remains #1 for 10 weeks and stays on the chart for 111 weeks. It is to be the most successful album of Elvis’ entire career on the Billboard charts. (“GI Blues” was the most successful album on the music charts. However, “Blue Hawaii” was the biggest selling album during Elvis’ life, selling 2 million copies in the first 12 months.)
November 6, 1960
Elvis begins recording and filming for his seventh film, “Wild in the Country,” which will be completed in January. “GI Blues” opens nationally on November 23 to warm reviews and big box office sales. It was #2 the first week and for the year on Variety’s list. By 1969, Variety reports it had grossed 4.3 million, equal to “The African Q.”
December 22, 1960
“Flaming Star” opens nationally to warm reviews, but unlike “GI Blues,” this dramatic film with little singing, does not set the box office on fire. It was #12 for the week. Elvis does however earn recognition from a tribal council for his positive portrayal of a Native American in this racially charged drama. The film is banned in South Africa due to its interracial theme.
February 25, 1961
Elvis appears in Memphis at a luncheon in his honor and numerous recent awards Elvis has received are shown to the press and others attending. A press conference follows. Then, Elvis performs one afternoon show and one evening show at Ellis Auditorium to benefit around 38 Memphis-area charities. Other than the Sinatra television show, these shows are Elvis’ only live performances since his Army discharge.
“Elvis Presley Day” is proclaimed by Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington. Every year after this, Elvis donates money to a list of Memphis-area charities, eventually reaching 50 or more, usually around Christmas time. Within a few years, to show their appreciation, the city gives him a massive plaque listing 50 charities.