Love Me Tender

Blog 1394 – 07.14.2019

Love Me Tender

I have for all my life been a movie fan. Before I could read I would sit still for hours watching stories unfold on the big screen and the small screen. Most of the movies I saw as a boy were in black and white. Back then major movies were still released in black and white then also since my folks never had a color tv till I was grown, so any movies that I saw on tv were all black and white. In nineteen fifty-six Elvis Presley was introduced in his first movie, Love Me Tender, after the title song. Like all the Elvis movies to come it was a show case for his singing and showmanship. Elvis was no actor but his was a tender heart and it showed.

Though not the first nor the last to know the tremendous pressures of early stardom Elvis set some records hard to beat. Not many if any other young men had to get their new pink Cadillac repainted because of all the lipstick kiss prints, nor had to rent an entire movie theater just to see a first run movie. I will never forget the first time I saw a movie in a theater where I was the only one watching, I felt like Elvis. I love to sing Elvis songs both Presley and Costello. But it is the young Elvis P. that most fascinates me and much of the world still today.

I found a great buy at Big Lots in Bloomington, Indiana yesterday. It was a DVD with four movies, Love Me Tender (with Elvis), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Seven Year Itch (with Marilyn) and An Affair To Remember (with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr.)

All favorite movies that I saw first as a boy but have watched many times, first as they re-ran on tv and then more after the advent of movie rentals, VHS, DVD, cable tv, and now streaming. I still like to keep lots of CDs and Bluerays on hand for when my phone signal is too weak for streaming. I watched Love Me Tender first of the four and saw a very young Elvis that I first remember seeing on live TV on the Ed Sullivan Show many years ago. My parents let me stay up late in our home in Chattanooga, Tennessee on that Sunday November 1956 night to see a boy who had made it big from Memphis, Tennessee sing Little Richard’s “Ready Teddy” and two verses of “Hound Dog.” It was a big deal.

After Love Me Tender I watched Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with the two lovelies Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell, one famous for her bustle the other for her bra. I had forgotten that the girls opening number was Two Little Girls from Little Rock. A young Bill Clinton must have loved that one too.

But back to Love Me Tender. It is a tender movie and a tender song and I do not mean like the dating site but in a sweeter, more loving, less commercial way. Though I suppose all three were created for profit more than to promote tender love. And yet those lovely words slip past the profit motives, the hard and cynical world view, and touch the tender heart. Elvis knew how to sing, swivel his hips, put on a show, and make a buck, but he also knew how to love. His mama taught him as most of ours did us. How sad it must be to be born into a world where even your mother does not love you or want you. I think those opposed to a woman’s right to choose leave that crucial element out of their equation. To me it is paramount. I am sure adoption agencies and child services try to do their best in most cases to see that unclaimed children are cared for but they fail far too often, leaving a world full of angry hurtful hearts who never got to learn how to love themselves tenderly. Some of us with loving mothers still take a lifetime to remember or to learn how to do that. Listen to your heart of hearts singing to you – Love Me Tender.

Your friend and fellow traveler,

David White

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