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Posing The Pose


By Ger Rijff

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Brando, Dean or Curtis … young Elvis Presley loved them all! At age 19, Elvis found himself in the music industry instead of the Hollywood movie industry. Hollywood: a dream dating back to his early teen-age years. Elvis, not a bad looking kid himself, had studied his heroes thoroughly. The way they posed, their hairstyles (especially Curtis’), their kool clothes … Elvis learned fast! And by the beginning of 1956 he would display the influences he had picked up from the big guys. When seen for the first time on Stage Show , January 28, 1956, the shy smiling kid from from the year before had clearly transformed into a cocky, ‘move over, I’m here’, kinda guy. “No messing around with the Memphis Flash”, was his message. He had indeed learned fast!

Beefcake photography was the term used in Hollywood for men posing bare chested in front of a camera. In the history of movie making posing ‘beefcake’ style goes back as far as the 1920s. Hollywood heart throbs from the silent movie era, such as Rudolph Valentino and Ramon Navarro, regularly posed bare chested. Their fans, from both sexes, loved it. In the early 50s Hollywood would deliver a brand of new screen heroes, soon to be labeled by the media as the ‘angry young men’. Marlon Brando, James Dean, Montgomery Clift and Paul Newman were the best known (and most loved) by the younger movie crowd. Their way of posing was new. No smiling at the camera. Instead they looked angry, brooding, and at times a little dangerous. Tony Curtis was an exception to this new breed of young actors. This pretty boy could both pose a friendly smile and an angry look.

No singers before him had mixed the style of the angry young men, from the big screen, with singing. Not on record, not on a stage. Elvis was so damn different from all singers who had preceded him. Sinatra never had ‘humped’ a micro stand on stage, or rolled over on the stage floor, shaking his body like ants were up his pants. But Elvis did all that … and more! Soon magazine headlines screamed: “Mothers, keep your daughters in the house! Elvis Presley is coming to your town!”. Communism had been America’s biggest fear since the end of WW2, but by 1956 Elvis Presley solidly had taken the number 2 spot! Studying the bad boys from Hollywood had paid off big time for the kid from Memphis and Hollywood was awaiting his arrival anxiously …




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circa 1950: American actor Montgomery Clift (1920 - 1966) leaning on a fence with an intent expression. 12

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More Posing The Pose … SOON!

24 Comments Post a comment
  1. C’mon guys, what keeps you so long admitting liking these hunks posing their pose?!
    We’re broad minded here at Echoes …

    April 3, 2013
  2. r&b #

    They are my favorites also, especially Dean & Brando.

    April 3, 2013
  3. colmalk #

    Great parallels with earlier movie heart throbs, look forward to Part 2

    April 10, 2013
  4. Gerrit de Jong #

    Thanks for including Bogey.

    April 26, 2013
  5. How kool is that?! Tommy Dorsey with Frankie in the ’40s and posing his pose
    with The Memphis Flash in the 50s?! More Frankie and Elvis parallels from their
    early years will find a place in this gallery of Kool in the not too far future.
    You’re welcome to lend us a hand in finding more related material for this topic.


    May 22, 2013

    A lot of people point out that Elvis could not act like those movie icons and it’s true. But the other side of the coin is that they could not sing anything, much less like Elvis.That’s it.

    May 22, 2013
  7. Alexander #

    Looking forward to the next part. Best post so far, although that also could be the one with the Beatles memorabilia. What the heck, can’t get enough of this stuff…!

    May 22, 2013
  8. In case you are not all that familiar with the guy in the photo
    next to Elvis (as Vince shoveling coal in J R ), it’s the great actor
    Montgomery Clift , best known for his parts in From Here To
    Eternity, with Sinatra and Burt Lancaster, and opposite to Monroe
    in The Misfits. He was a troubled man during most of his life.
    He died young , at age 46 in 1966. Check out Google for a detailed
    story on the life and career of Clift. It’s worth reading.

    May 28, 2013
  9. Paul Pearce #

    The bare-chested photo’s of Elvis (the ones were it looks like he’s on a roof of some building) when and where were those taken? There defo ’56.

    June 4, 2013
  10. These photos date from August 18, 1956, on the roof of the
    Knickerbocker hotel in Hollywood, LA.
    But there are quite a few made that day with his shirt on…
    The photographer was one Ed Braslaff. The photos from
    the roof top and in his hotel room, premiered in the ‘Elvis
    Answers Back’ ( with The Truth About Me record attached
    to the magazine cover) a couple o’ months later.
    A few years ago the complete Braslaff Elvis photo shoot
    appeared in a big hardcover book.
    Anyone who can fill in the book title, please? My copy is not
    at hand… Any info on Ed Braslaff is welcome as well.

    June 4, 2013
    • Josep #

      Ger, I think you´re talking about “Elvis – 1956 Reflections” (Morgin Press, 1991), by Morrie and Virginia Kricun.
      My girlfriend bought it for me when it came out.
      I´ve Googled it, and it´s still available.

      June 23, 2013
  11. Jesus and Elvis…They had different jobs… Dare I say ( yes I do) :
    Elvis was the better of the two in belting a song , and a better hair
    style to match.

    For those born too late to know : the singer screaming into the
    Columbia recording mike was Johnny Ray. A half deaf crooner
    with many hits in the early to mid fifties. One such hit was
    Such A Night…

    June 20, 2013
  12. Alan White #

    Brilliant photo comparisons, keep up the good work, brilliant.

    June 23, 2013
  13. Jove #

    Very original idea! As for the Jesus comparison, unfortunately we don’t have a picture of Elvis hanging on a cross.

    June 26, 2013
  14. Unfortunately or fortunately?
    I mean, would you have liked to see one of Elvis nailed
    to a cross? There are many holes in my English, but reading
    what you say it sounds kinda weird…? Anyway, it’s a bit of a
    touchy subject for some, the whole Jesus thing. Not for me,
    that’s why we put it up…tongue in cheek.
    Elvis doing this pose is clearly a crucifixion pose. Dean had
    done one as well, on the set of Giant…though a little less
    obvious. As for our original ideas: nobody on the internet can
    compare to what we put online. We’re pretty exclusive guys,
    with fresh ideas that’s missing on most Elvis sites elsewhere.
    There are a few exceptions, but you can count them on the
    fingers of one hand.

    June 26, 2013
  15. No doubt the Elvis and Judy image was done by MGM for
    promotinal purposes… But photographs of our hero with
    his own camera slung around his neck do exist. Mainly
    from the years 1955-56. I wonder whatever happened
    to the photos he took back then?! It’s known Family photo
    albums from the Presley family ‘disappeared’ from
    Graceland, shortly after his death… There’s a wealthy lady
    out in California who owns some of the albums. She had no
    intentions so far to sell them back to the Presleys.
    Well, can’t blame her really. I doubt I would return them
    myself have I had the chance to buy them back in 1977?!

    August 19, 2013
  16. Josephine Woodward #

    Love these beefcake pics … shame none of the others are anything like as sexy as Elvis!!

    October 15, 2013
  17. Not as sexy as Elvis?! That’s a matter of taste, babe.

    October 15, 2013
  18. Alan White #

    Brilliant iconic poses.

    January 8, 2014
  19. Ms M Memphis #

    Thoroughly enjoyed this article, especially the comparison photos. Jesus and Elvis…a definite chuckle from this gal!
    Thank you!

    March 13, 2014
  20. Excellent find, the 3 photos with their 4 legged friends!

    March 22, 2014
  21. Alma #

    I absolutely believe this amazing site needs far more attention!

    January 16, 2015
  22. Dadie #

    Great website. I like it!

    August 21, 2019
  23. Csuri #

    Nem kell életrajz, sok katyvasz, süket duma, mellé beszélés, az a rengeteg okostojás, azon az őrült sok weboldalon. CSAK ezt kell végig nézni és mindent megtudsz, a mi imádott ELVIS-ünkről . EZ Ő! Fantasztikus, szép munka! Gratulálunk! Mi aki örökre a szívünkbe zártuk. Óriási látni ezeket a fotókat. Olyan jó megint mosolyogni azon, amit Ő vált ki belőlünk, egy életen át és azon túl is, örökre. Köszi.

    December 20, 2020

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