Ever learn something that just absolutely blows your mind? I sure did. Turns out Elvis – one of the undisputedly coolest guys on the planet – loved ‘Monty Python.’ This is true.
I headed over to the dentist this morning to have a chipped tooth looked at. I thought it was going to be a simple cavity fill, but I ended up need the ‘ol root canal treatment. It’s not a particularly painful procedure, and I got numbed up well, but it sure took it out of me. I was absolutely beat.
I got home, had a milkshake and plopped down on the couch to give my poor sore face a rest. It wasn’t a great feeling, but it was a bit like being home sick from school. I took the day off of writing, aside from this blog entry, and did what any self-respecting nerd would do. I watched a six hour documentary on ‘Monty Python.’
‘Monty Python: Almost the Truth‘ is everything you could possibly want from a documentary. It covers the group from the beginning to the end, the happy times and sad, and offers perspectives from just about everyone involved. It’s available on Blu-ray or streaming on Netflix.
Right near the end of the fourth disc, during the coverage of ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail,’ my mind was blown. According to Jerry Shilling, a friend of Elvis Presley, the king absolutely loved the movie. He’s said to have watched it upwards of 45 times.
Even more fascinating than his love of the movie was the fact that he quoted it. “We played a lot of football,” says Shilling. “One time we were playing and he literally broke his finger. ‘Oh, you okay Elvis?’ The response? ‘Merely a flesh wound.'”
Sure, there were plenty of famous people that loved the films. George Harrison bankrolled ‘The Life of Brian,’ and both Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin were involved in getting ‘Holy Grail’ off the ground. That’s not as shocking as this, though. They’re British, a little strange, and appropriate for the time period. Elvis just comes out of left field.
Part of the reason this revelation messes with my mind is that it challenges my assumptions about time. In my mind, Elvis is an entity that existed in the ’50s and ’60s. He seems like an ancient legend, even though he really died just three years before John Lennon did, and just five years before I was born. Realizing that he was alive until 1977 messes with the timeline I’ve got in my head.
The other reason is much more self-serving. When I first discovered ‘Monty Python’ in 8th grade, I became obsessed. My friends and I rushed home from school every day to watch the end of ‘Benny Hill,’ ‘The Kids in the Hall’ and ‘Monty Python.’ We quoted the show and the movies incessantly.
We weren’t cool by any stretch of the imagination. Elvis, though, Elvis was and still is just about the coolest guy ever. He’s the epitome of the word. All the pop icons in the world can come and go and they’re not going to touch his status.
This guy – this insanely cool guy – was the same as us in some way. He did the Black Knight bit, and probably quoted The Knights Who Say Ni. He was a dork, just like us, but somehow infinitely cooler. Call me pretentious, but there is some appeal in that.