It was coming up to Christmas 1970 and Elvis Presley was well and truly back focused on his singing career following the success of his 1968 comeback special. Aside from his Las Vegas residency, The King had political concerns of the late sixties drugs culture and hippie movement in the USA. Using his celebrity, Elvis managed to orchestrate a meeting with President Richard Nixon in the White House’s Oval Office on December 21, where he offered his assistance in combating the social issues.
The meeting was adapted into a 2016 movie called Elvis & Nixon in which Michael Shannon played The King and Kevin Spacey portrayed The President.
The comedy film features fun moments of fantasy like Elvis demonstrating karate moves to Nixon and drinking his Dr Pepper.
But also portrayed Elvis’ real-life request for a Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs badge.
This might sound eccentric, but the King often collected honorary badges of law enforcement groups, many of which are on display at Graceland.
Nixon aides Dwight Chapin and Egil Krogh helped set up the meeting between the two.
And according to Peter Guralnick’s Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, Nixon found the meeting quite awkward.
After all, the two were quite different personalities, which certainly is seen in their contrasting dress senses in their famous photo together.
However, The President went ahead with the meeting believing Elvis could be positive influence on the young and Nixon felt that he needed to “retain his credibility”.
In the first year of his presidency, and the last year of Elvis’ life, Jimmy Carter took a phone call from The King.
According to The New York Times, Carter said: “When I was first elected President, I got a call from Elvis Presley.
“He was totally stoned and didn’t know what he was saying. His sentences were almost incoherent.”
The phone call took place in the summer of 1977, shortly before the King died on August 16.
Elvis was on barbiturates and had called the White House from his Graceland home to seek a Presidential pardon for a sheriff he knew having legal problems.
Carter recalled: “I talked to him for a long time, and I finally extracted that from him.”
The President found himself trying “to ease Presley out of his paranoid delusions.
“Calming his fears that he was being ‘shadowed’ by sinister forces and that his friend was being framed.”