If you follow Elvis at 21, Photographs by Alfred Wertheimer on our Facebook or Twitter pages, you'll no doubt be aware that the popular traveling exhibition is currently at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas. It's an appropriate pairing--president and icon. Of course, Bill Clinton was only ten years old when Elvis Presley burst onto the national musical scene in 1956, but it was a grand entrance that Clinton would never forget. In his 2004 autobiography, My Life: Bill Clinton, the author cites his early affinity for Elvis: "I loved Elvis. I could sing all his songs, as well as the Joranaires' backgrounds," he recounts. "We watched his legendary performance on The Ed Sullivan Showtogether and laughed when the cameras cut off his lower body movements to protect us from the indecency. Beyond his music, I identified with his small-town roots. And I thought he had a good heart."
Decades later, after Clinton became president, he amassed a substantial collection of Elvis-related swag, some of which will be view at the Clinton Library, in conjunction with the large-scale photographs that make up the traveling exhibit.
If you want to get a true insider's view of both Elvis and Clinton's fascination with him, be sure to make a stop in Little Rock before August 21, 2011, when the Smithsonian's exhibition jets off to its next setting, the Mobile Museum of Art in Arkansas.
Here's a look back at the opening events at the Clinton Library: