Elvis Presley has been awarded the honor of becoming the recipient of the latest TV Land Landmark Monument. The King of Rock and Roll follows in the hallowed footsteps of such icons of television history as Jackie Gleason, Bob Newhart and Andy Griffith. (The real Andy Griffith, not the one he’s suing for using his name to get elected sheriff in another small town.) TV Land Landmark Monuments are life sized bronze statues placed in the town that the actor made famous in his biggest television hit. For instance, there is a bronze TV Land landmark of Jackie Gleason as his iconic character Ralph Kramden outside the Port Authority bus terminal in New York. A statue of Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat into the air is situated supposedly in the exact spot in Minneapolis where Mary Richards tosses her hat into the air in the opening of every episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Perhaps the most interesting-and certainly the most controversial-TV Land Landmark monument features Elizabeth Montgomery as her most famous character Samantha from the TV show Bewitched riding a broom against the backdrop of a crescent moon in Salem, Massachusetts.
Elvis Presley marks the first entertainer to be recognized with a TV Land landmark monument for “playing” himself, rather than a character. The monument will be unveiled in Honolulu, Hawaii outside the Neil S. Blaisdell Center, where Elvis made history with his Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite concert in 1973. I can remember sitting in front of the TV and watching this when it was first aired. It was the very first concert ever seen live worldwide, beamed via satellite as the title suggests. An estimated billion and a half people watched it and the ratings indicated that half of all televisions that night were tuned in to watch Elvis Presley’s electrifying performance.
Aloha from Hawaii was probably the peak of Elvis’s career before the quick downward slide into obesity and pills. Watching that concert, no one could have imagined he would be dead in less than five years. Yes, admittedly, it was more Vegas than rock and roll, but to anyone who questions just why that fat guy that so many untalented singers insist upon impersonating was so important to rock music, this concert proves it. There was nobody before Elvis who was quite like him and there has been nobody since. And that is why is very appropriate that Elvis Presley joins the ranks of such legendary stars as Bob Newhart and Jackie Gleason in being honored with the TV Land Landmark monument.