On This Day, Oct. 21, 1957 – Elvis Rocks the Jailhouse

1957 – “Jailhouse Rock“, the Elvis Presley film, premiered.

Some of the characters named in the song are real people. Shifty Henry was a well-known L.A. musician, not a criminal. The Purple Gang was a real mob. “Sad Sack” was a U.S. Army nickname in World War II for a loser, which also became the name of a popular comic strip and comic book character.

Gender studies say that the song is also known for “its famous reference to homoerotics behind bars”.[2] Indeed, according to Garry Mulholland, ” ‘Jailhouse Rock’ was always a queer lyric, in both senses.

According to Rolling Stone, Leiber and Stoller’s “theme song for Presley’s third movie was decidedly silly, the kind of tongue-in-cheek goof they had come up with for The Coasters. The King, however, sang it as straight rock & roll, overlooking the jokes in the lyrics (like the suggestion of gay romance:

‘Number 47 said to number 3

You’re the cutest jailbird I ever did see

I sure would be delighted with your company

Come on and do the jailhouse rock with me.’ ”

Douglas Brode, author of over 30 books on film and the mass media including Films Of The Fifties, and most recently two books on Walt Disney for University of Texas Press, From Walt To Woodstock and Multiculturalism and the mouse,  thinks it “amazing that the sequence passed by the censors.”

The single, with its B-side “Treat Me Nice,” was a US #1 hit for seven weeks in the fall of 1957, and a UK #1 hit for three weeks early in 1958.

 In addition, “Jailhouse Rock” spent one week at the top of the US country charts, and reached the No. 2 position on the R&B chart.


1797 – “Old Ironsides,” the Navy frigate Constitution, was launched in Boston’s harbor.

1805 – The Battle of Trafalgar occurred off the coast of Spain. The British defeated the French and Spanish fleet.

1879 – Thomas Edison invented the electric incandescent lamp. It would last 13 1/2 hours before it would burn out.

1917 – The first U.S. soldiers entered combat during World War I near Nancy, France.

1918 – Margaret Owen set a typing speed record of 170 words per minute on a manual typewriter.

1925 – The photoelectric cell was first demonstrated at the Electric Show in New York City, NY.

1925 – The Treasury Department announced that it had fined 29,620 people for prohibition (of alcohol) violations.

1945 – Women in France were allowed to vote for the first time.

1950 – Chinese forces invaded Tibet.

1959 – The Guggenheim Museum was opened to the public in New York. The building was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

1964 – The movie musical “My Fair Lady” made its world premier in New York.

1977 – “Bat Out Of Hell” was released by Meat Loaf.

1977 – “1980 – The Philadelphia Phillies won their first World Series.

1983 – The Pentagon reported that 2,000 Marines were headed to Grenada to protect and evacuate Americans living there.

1986 – The U.S. ordered 55 Soviet diplomats to leave. The action was in reaction to the Soviet Union expelling five American diplomats.

1991 – Jesse Turner, an American hostage in Lebanon, was released after nearly five years of being imprisoned.

1994 – North Korea and the U.S. signed an agreement requiring North Korea to halt its nuclear program and agree to inspections.

 

Source: On-This-Day.com; Wikipedia.org; imdb.com