If you’re old enough to remember The King, you’ve probably seen this famous picture of him shaking hands with President Richard Nixon.
Maybe you thought it was a joke, or some kind of fake photo, but it’s 100% real and the true story behind this famous meeting is impossible to imagine.
Elvis famously collected cars and guns, but he also had a passion for police badges.
The singer had been given badges from police departments across America, but always dreamed of having a badge from the federal bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
According to his wife Priscilla, Elvis was under the impression that if he could get his hands on one of these badges, he would be allowed to carry guns – and even drugs – anywhere he pleased.
To try and get one of these badges, Elvis wrote a letter offering to help President Nixon any way he could, and hand-delivered this note to a White House guard.
By lunchtime that same day, December 21, 1970, Elvis got the chance he was hoping for.
He was invited to meet Nixon, and showed up dressed for the occasion in a purple jumpsuit with a huge gold belt buckle.
He also brought a handgun, a present for Nixon, which was confiscated by Secret Service agents.
The two only had a short meeting, but they covered a lot of hot topics.
Elvis complained that The Beatles were stirring up “Anti-American spirit.” The King claimed he had been studying drug users and “Communist brainwashing,” and offered to help keep America safe – if Nixon would only give him a badge.
Nixon agreed, and the singer was so grateful he actually hugged the president.
The meeting stayed secret for years (at Elvis’s request) and only leaked to the press long after.
The famous photograph didn’t appear publicly until after Elvis’s early death in 1988.
Since then then National Archives have received over 8,000 requests for it, and to this day they still sell merchandise of the famous meeting.
(Source: Smithsonian Magazine)
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