Elvis (1990)

This ambitious TV series, which was originally going to cover Elvis’s life from 1954 to 1958 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army, didn’t even make it to 1955 before it was cancelled due to poor ratings. Though the ten half-hour episodes that aired contain almost as much padding as one of Elvis’ latter-day jumpsuits, it redeems itself by capturing the youthful exuberance of the singer’s early performances.

Predominantly set between July and October 1955, the series depicts Elvis’ first recordings at Sun Records, the success of his first single, his failure at the Grand Ole Opry and his debut performance at the Louisiana Hayride.  These seminal events in Elvis’ early career are accompanied by an abundance of less significant scenarios from his life, be they real or imagined: Elvis studies to be an electrician; Elvis gets caught cheating on his girlfriend; Elvis catches us with a childhood friend; and so on. Mercifully, each episode is saved by at least one rocking rendition of an Elvis classic.

Michael St Gerard, who previously portrayed Elvis in Great Balls of Fire (1989) and Heart of Dixie (1989), may only bear a passing resemblance to the King, but when he gyrates on stage while lip-syncing to Ronnie McDowell’s vocals, the illusion is complete. He is ably supported, on and off stage, by Jesse Dabson and Blake Gibbons as Elvis backing band. The camaraderie and petty squabbling between these three lend an authenticity to the series’ more mundane moments.

cast,  Michael St Gerard, Elvis Presley
Michael St. Gerard
Michael St. Gerard

as Elvis Presley

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Despite consulting on the series, guitarist Scotty Moore did not like the way his fellow band member, bassist Bill Black, was depicted.

 

Mattie Walker, though a fictional character, is based on Elvis’ high-school girlfriend Dixie Locke.

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Series takes place before Elvis' movie career. 

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