All the President's Men

in Nixon at the Movies

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print November 2004 | ISBN: 9780226239682
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226239705 | DOI:
All the President's Men

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“Suspicious Minds” is not a movie, but a song, Elvis Presley's seventeenth, and last, number-one record that topped the charts on November 1, 1969, two days before Richard Nixon went on national television to deliver an address invoking “the great silent majority of Americans.” As a presence in the American psyche, Elvis had no show business rival; yet his movie career, while certainly a part of his fame, was more a tribute to his popularity than a major contributor to it. In his autobiography, Starmaker, Hal Wallis, who first signed Elvis to a movie contract and produced nine of his films, nicely illustrates Mordden's Old Cinema/New Age dichotomy. Like most of the characters he played onscreen, Elvis came from just the kind of patriotic, working-class, southern background that Nixon saw as the foundation of the new majority he successfully brought together in 1972, the new majority he hoped would replace the one Franklin Roosevelt had made the dominant factor in presidential politics forty years earlier.

Keywords: Suspicious Minds; Elvis Presley; Richard Nixon; Starmaker; Franklin Roosevelt

Chapter.  12902 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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