Elvis Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977. I had to look up that exact date, but I do remember the day itself.
I was sitting atop a riding lawnmower, working my way across the yard of my then-parents-in-law. This was in southern Ohio, and the air was hot and humid. My wife, as with the in-laws now my ex-wife, came running out of the house.
"Elvis died," she said. And the world shifted.
Well, not exactly. Life isn't a TV reality show (except, it seems, if you live in the White House these days). I continued mowing the lawn, we later fixed dinner, went to bed and ultimately returned to our regular lives (which at the time was as graduate students in Eugene, Ore.).
But as with all celebrity deaths, Elvis' death did have an effect. And the effect of his passing was bigger than that of most entertainers. Not just for the the profound impact he'd had on the American music scene but also for the sad way in which it came about (at the relatively young age of 42 and during a period of steady decline).
All of which makes the most recent Fathom Events offering, the "Elvis '68 Comeback Special" so memorable. It marks that period in Elvis' life in which, following his meteoric rise in the 1950s, he was again proving to be a great entertainer. This event, which will be shown locally at two Regals Cinemas theaters — at Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium — will screen twice, at 7:30 p.m. Thursday and the following Monday (Aug. 20).
If you never knew what made Elvis special, or have forgotten, this event should prove both illuminating and educational.