The Wild Story Behind The Famous Photo of Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley

February 25, 2021

Elvis Pretty Much Convinced Nixon To Back Off On The War On Drugs Because Of His (Elvis's) Drug Problem

Taken on December 21, 1970, this photo could be from another dimension. It could be Photoshopped. It could be a figment of your imagination, something you thought you saw in passing, but it's entirely too real. To the culture at large the men in this photo couldn't be any more different. One of them was a hunk-a-hunk-a burning love. He swiveled his hips on live television and made an entire generation melt. The other is Richard Nixon, possibly one of the most despised presidents of all time, but to Elvis Presley he was a rock star.

Wearing a purple velvet suit, a gold belt and enough jewelry to pay for a college fund, Elvis Presley couldn't be more at home than he is here with Richard Nixon. Why does this exist? And how does one gain an audience with the President of the United States? If you're Elvis you just write him a note and show up at the White House.

source: marina maral

It was Christmas time and Elvis was unhappy. He was in the middle of a comeback. Las Vegas was in the palm of his hand thanks a series of sold out shows and he was nominated as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men by the United States Junior Chamber, which is quite the achievement for a 35-year-old. But his family wouldn't get off his back. His father, Vernon, and his wife, Priscilla, thought that he was spending too much on Christmas presents. He'd already dropped more than $100,000 on guns and cars for his friends and family but no one was happy with him. He had to get away.

Elvis went to the Memphis airport and bought a ticket on the first flight out of town. After landing in Washington D.C. he checked into a hotel room and realized what he'd done. He walked out on his family at the most wonderful time of the year and traveled to the nation's capitol. He flew to Los Angeles at three that morning, at least he had a mansion on the west coast. A day later he realized something, if he returned to Washington D.C. and spoke with the president he could get his hands on a badge that listed him as a federal narcotics agent, and then he could carry drugs through an airport. Elvis flew back to Washington D.C. on the red eye. Sitting in first class, he wrote a letter to President Nixon.

Jailhouse rock

source: richard nixon presidential archive

Elvis was obsessed with badges, not just how they looked but what they could accomplish. He felt that if he had a badge that was actually from the federal government he'd be unstoppable, or at the very least more credible while carrying thousands of dollars worth of drugs and handguns from place to place. He hoped to be named "Federal Agent at Large."

On the plane from Los Angeles Elvis wrote an impassioned plea to the president. He wrote of drugs and his distaste for Communism, and most of all he wrote that he was the one person who could save the youth of America:

I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good... I would love to meet you just to say hello if you’re not too busy.