Uploaded on Oct 16, 2011
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1997 documentary made for the 20th anniversary of Elvis' death finds Americans worshipping him almost as they would a deity.
"Elvis and The Presleytarians" will say the way he has been worshipped since his death has more in common with a messiah than a singer.
The programme finds fans who believe Elvis was sent to fulfil a biblical prophecy. The BBC unearthed a previously unheard recording supposedly of Elvis' voice claiming to be on a higher plane of being than ordinary people. At the Elvis Gospel Church the programme's maker, theologian Karen Armstrong, found preachers who use fan worship to bring Elvis fans to Jesus.
Ms Armstrong also explores how, for those who want to see them, there are connections between Jesus and Elvis: both died an ignominious death and in the Christian communion service the devout imitate the actions of their messiah, just as Elvis impersonators do, and Elvis impersonators can be seen as the high priests in this quasi-religion. "People have found the sacred in Elvis," says Ms Armstrong. A fan tells the programme: "I am convinced he is a prophecy that has come true and he will come on Judgement Day. It will be within ten years or less." Todd Slaughter, president of the UK Elvis Presley Fan Club, said the 1,000 British fans heading for Memphis this weekend to mark the anniversary of The King's death are unlikely to be lured into an Elvis-based Christian cult: "We Brits find it all a bit strange. There are many things they get up to in America that take it all too far. Our members who are going to visit Graceland will probably head for the pub afterwards rather than a church." Thousands are expected in Memphis on Saturday for the anniversary.
LARRY GELLER, Elvis' Hairdresser & Spiritual Adviser
MAIA SHAMAYYIM- NARTOOMID, Co-Author "Blue Star Love: From Elvis' Heart To Yours"
Dr. VERNON CHADWICK, University of Mississippi
KAREN ARMSTRONG, Religious Historian
MADELEINE WILSON, Elvis Gospel Ministry
MARY HANCOCK HINDS
DAVID WALL, Leeds University
PATTY CARROLL, Photographer
DAVID "JESSE" MOORE, Elvis Tribute Artist
NORM JONES, Elvis Tribute Artist
Prof. GARY VIKAN, Author: "Saint Elvis"
SIMEON NARTOOMID, Co-Author "Blue Star Love: From Elvis' Heart To Yours"
GEORGE KLEIN, Elvis' Friend Since Childhood
CRICKET COULTER, Superfan
ELVIS HERSELVIS, Elvis Tribute Artist
Dr. RICHARD MADDOCK, Psychologist
ELVIS & THE PRESLEYTARIANS (Part 1 of 4)
ELVIS & THE PRESLEYTARIANS (Part 2 of 4)
ELVIS & THE PRESLEYTARIANS (Part 3 of 4)
ELVIS & THE PRESLEYTARIANS (Part 4 of 4)
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