Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley (December 21, 1970)

Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley

By Neel Anil Panicker

“Mr Prez, I want to be a federal agent at large at the service of America, combating the menace of drugs.”

Nixon straightened his back, burrowed his heavily lined forehead, and stared out amusingly at the man who was attired as befitting a king, the strikingly royal purple velvet cape and the mop of long curly hair on his chiseled face serving further attenuating his majestic bearings.

“Drugs, our young are getting hooked on to it, killing themselves, and we are to be blamed for all this including to a large extent the Beatles”.

As the last word, uttered with more than a trace of venom, ricocheted off the high ceilinged walls of the Oval Office, the  two men as different from one another as chalk is to cheese, locked eyes for what seemed an eternity.

A while later, Richard Nixon, the 37th President of the United States of America, stepped forward and shook hands with Elvis Presley, the King of Pop.

America’s mega war against drugs had truly begun.

©neelanilpanicker2017  #wordcount :166  #historical fiction  #sixsentencestories


Richard Nixon didn’t exactly have a rock and roll persona, which is why the bizarre photograph of the president and “the King” getting all shook up in the Oval Office has become such a cultural icon. The handshake between the odd couple came about after Elvis Presley walked up to a security guard outside the White House that morning with a handwritten letter scribbled on American Airlines stationery. In the note to Nixon, Presley requested a presidential audience and expressed his desire to become a federal agent at large to combat drug abuse in America. A hastily arranged meeting was granted, and the King arrived in appropriately royal garb—a purple velvet cape—carrying a Colt .45 revolver as a gift for Nixon. The two men talked about drug policy, and the president nodded in agreement as Presley badmouthed the Beatles as anti-American. Before leaving, according to a White House memo, Presley, “in a surprising, spontaneous gesture, put his left arm around the President and hugged him.” That afternoon, Presley, who died of a drug overdose in 1977, received a badge from the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.


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