On This Day … 08 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1908 – William Hartnell, English actor (d. 1975).
  • 1923 – Larry Storch, American actor and comedian (d. 2022).
  • 1934 – Roy Kinnear, British actor (d. 1988).
  • 1935 – Elvis Presley, American singer, guitarist, and actor (d. 1977).

William Hartnell

William Henry Hartnell (08 January 1908 to 23 April 1975) was an English actor. He is best remembered for his portrayal of the first incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966. In film, Hartnell notably appeared in Brighton Rock (1949), The Mouse That Roared (1959) and This Sporting Life (1963). He was associated with military roles, playing Company Sergeant Major Percy Bullimore in the ITV sitcom The Army Game (1957, 1961) and Sergeant Grimshaw, the title character in the first Carry On film Carry On Sergeant (1958).

Larry Storch

Lawrence Samuel Storch (08 January 1923 to 08 July 2022) was an American actor and comedian best known for his comic television roles, including voice-over work for cartoon shows such as Mr. Whoopee on Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales and his live-action role of the bumbling Corporal Randolph Agarn on F Troop which won a nomination for Emmy Award in 1967.

Roy Kinnear

Roy Mitchell Kinnear (08 January 1934 to 20 September 1988) was an English character actor. He was known for his roles in films such as The Beatles’ Help! (1965), Clapper in How I Won the War (1967) and Planchet in The Three Musketeers (1973). He reprised the role of Planchet in the 1974 and 1989 sequels, and died following an accident during filming of the latter. He played Private Monty Bartlett in The Hill (1965), Henry Salt in the 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, and cruise director Curtain in Juggernaut (1974), The Dick Emery Show (1979-1981), and in the sitcoms Man About the House (1974-1975), George and Mildred (1976-1979) and Cowboys (1980-1981).

Elvis Presley

Elvis Aaron Presley (08 January 1935 to 16 August 1977), or simply Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Dubbed the “King of Rock and Roll”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural figures of the 20th century.

In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work.

Military Service

On 24 March 1958, Presley was drafted into the United States Army at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas. His arrival was a major media event. Hundreds of people descended on Presley as he stepped from the bus; photographers then accompanied him into the installation. Presley announced that he was looking forward to his military stint, saying that he did not want to be treated any differently from anyone else: “The Army can do anything it wants with me.”

Between 28 March and 17 September 1958, Presley completed basic and advanced military training at Fort Hood, Texas, where he was temporarily assigned to Company A, 2d Medium Tank Battalion, 37th Armor. During the two weeks’ leave between his basic and advanced training in early June, Presley recorded five songs in Nashville. In early August, his mother was diagnosed with hepatitis, and her condition rapidly worsened. He was granted emergency leave to visit her and arrived in Memphis on 12 August. Two days later, she died of heart failure at the age of 46. Presley was devastated and never the same; their relationship had remained extremely close – even into his adulthood, they would use baby talk with each other and Presley would address her with pet names.

On 01 October 1958, Presley was assigned to the 1st Medium Tank Battalion, 32d Armour, 3d Armoured Division, at Ray Barracks, Germany, where he served as an armour intelligence specialist. On 27 November, he was promoted to private first class and on 01 June 1959, to specialist fourth class. While on manoeuvres, Presley was introduced to amphetamines by another soldier. He became “practically evangelical about their benefits”, not only for energy but for “strength” and weight loss as well, and many of his friends in the outfit joined him in indulging. The Army also introduced Presley to karate, which he studied seriously, training with Jürgen Seydel. It became a lifelong interest, which he later included in his live performances. Fellow soldiers have attested to Presley’s wish to be seen as an able, ordinary soldier, despite his fame, and to his generosity. He donated his Army pay to charity, purchased TV sets for the base, and bought an extra set of fatigues for everyone in his outfit.

While in Bad Nauheim, Germany, Presley met 14-year-old Priscilla Beaulieu. They would eventually marry after a seven-and-a-half-year courtship. In her autobiography, Priscilla said that Presley was concerned that his 24-month spell as a G.I. would ruin his career. In Special Services, he would have been able to give musical performances and remain in touch with the public, but Parker had convinced him that to gain popular respect, he should serve his country as a regular soldier. Media reports echoed Presley’s concerns about his career, but RCA Victor producer Steve Sholes and Freddy Bienstock of Hill and Range had carefully prepared for his two-year hiatus. Armed with a substantial amount of unreleased material, they kept up a regular stream of successful releases. Between his induction and discharge, Presley had ten top 40 hits, including “Wear My Ring Around Your Neck”, the bestselling “Hard Headed Woman”, and “One Night” in 1958, and “(Now and Then There’s) A Fool Such as I” and the number-one “A Big Hunk o’ Love” in 1959. RCA Victor also generated four albums compiling previously issued material during this period, most successfully Elvis’ Golden Records (1958), which hit number three on the LP chart.

Presley was promoted to sergeant on 11 February 1960.

Presley returned to the United States on 02 March 1960, and was honourably discharged three days later. The train that carried him from New Jersey to Tennessee was mobbed all the way, and Presley was called upon to appear at scheduled stops to please his fans.

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