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Elvis has not left the building

It was 25 years today...

Chris Puglia
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Aug 16/02) - If it is true that a person's spirit lives on through those who remember them, then Elvis will never die.

Twenty-five years ago today -- Aug. 16 -- the world bid a tearful goodbye to the man who changed the face of rock and roll.

A quarter of a century later the Elvis phenomenon is alive and well.

James Miller is one of the millions world-wide keeping the legend of Elvis alive.

His Yellowknife collection includes stacks of records, magazines, books, videos and an assortment of other Elvis paraphernalia.

Ironically, Miller says he wasn't even all that big of a fan of Elvis' when the King rocked the stage.

"The first record I bought was an Elvis record, but I wasn't that big a fan," he says. "It wasn't until after his death that I became a fan. The phenomenon that surrounded his death, the thousands of people at his funeral fascinated me."

Like many back in 1977, Miller says he can remember clearly the day Elvis died.

"For the generation that came before me it was Kennedy. For me it was Elvis," says Miller.

"I must have been 15 years old (in Whitehorse). We were in the backyard at a friend's house and it was a scorching hot day... when I heard the broadcast I jumped on my bike and raced home. I was in disbelief," says Miller.

Although today Miller admits he's become a diehard Elvis fan, he doesn't subscribe to some of the more outlandish antics derived from the post-Elvis phenomenon.

"There's a guy in the Yukon who says the spirit of Elvis was implanted in him by aliens," laughs Miller. "t's getting ridiculous."

But stories like that are not uncommon, nor are stories of Elvis sightings.

Even Miller admits to experiencing an Elvis sighting, one day when he spotted who he thought was the King himself pumping gas.

Today Yellowknifers will likely hear more on the Elvis phenomenon.

No definite plans have been made for local Elvis tributes, but there are ideas floating in the air.

Kent Schumaker of CJCD Radio says the station is considering a call-in show for Elvis impersonators or entertaining listeners with a program they've dubbed Mowing Elvis. The Mowing Elvis's idea will have a group of Elvis impersonators out in a yard mowing the grass.

40 Below Golf isn't planning a Karaoke tribute, according to Brenda Lowen, but she says during the year she gets a lot of requests for Elvis music.

"During Halloween and Christmas we get a lot and we maybe get three a week," she says.