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AP Writer Remembers Elvis' Birthday Celebration on "American Bandstand"

April 20, 2012

A photo taken over half a century ago paints the picture of an Elvis fan, now Associated Press writer, who pulled out all stops to keep Elvis' music and image fresh while he served in the United States military.

The late Dick Clark revolutionized American teenagers with the hit show "American Bandstand." He even let one teenager's love of rock 'n' roll and Elvis Presley overtake his 90-minute program.

According to her recent AP article, 15-year old Linda Deutsch was determined to keep her hero from being forgotten after entering the Army in the height of his fame. The New Jersey native was the president of an Elvis Presley Fan Club and started a petition to ask "American Bandstand" to dedicate the entire 90-minute program to Elvis' music on his 24th birthday.

After getting 3,500 signatures, Deutsch's father drove her and her best friend to deliver it to Dick Clark in person. Once they arrived, a crowd of Elvis fans greeted them outside the studio and Clark's staff ushered them inside.

Dick Clark rolled out the 16-foot long petition for his audience to see and the next day he announced on-air he had spoken with Colonel Tom Parker to arrange an entire show of Elvis music in honor of his birthday.

On January 8, 1959, Dick Clark and "American Bandstand" dedicated the entire show to Elvis. Elvis sent a telegram to Dick Clark thanking him for the birthday wishes and had Colonel Tom Parker deliver a birthday cake for the staff to enjoy. He also asked that Dick Clark thank his fans for their loyalty.

Read more of Linda Deutsch's article at the Washinton Post. Also, Basic and Plus Elvis Insiders can now view the original thank you telegram from Elvis to Dick Clark by visiting the MEDIA page on Not an Insider? Learn more about joining!