Elvis Impersonators started appearing during his lifetime as a result of his legendary performances with the first recorded Elvis Impersonator being a young boy by the name Jim Smith in 1956. The most notable early Elvis Impersonator is probably Andy Kaufman who began his career in the mid 1970’s whom even Elvis said was his favorite impersonator.
After the death of Elvis the number of Elvis Impersonators increased and Elvis Impersonation became a mainstream career. To become an Elvis impersonator you will have to put in a lot of hard work because it is a highly competitive field. Acquiring the right look is not very hard as there are several companies that mass-produce duplicates of the original rhinestone studded jumpsuits. You can also get a great Elvis wig and an assortment of jewelry for one’s fingers and neck at affordable prices. The real work involves getting the moves, voice and facial expressions to go with the look right. Elvis impersonators have to perfect the trademark snarl, pout, the hip shake, rattle and roll.
Becoming an Elvis impersonator is open every male irrespective of their age or race. There are some lesbian Elvis impersonators but they are yet to get full acceptance from some of the more conservative Elvis impersonators. This was demonstrated by the event in 1996 where a lesbian Elvis impersonator who had been invited to participate in the second international Elvis Presley conference held in university of Mississippi was banned from the event by the conservative sponsors of Elvis Presley Enterprises.
There are different types of Elvis Impersonators;
• Elvis look-alikes who put more emphasis on the Elvis look
• Elvis- sound-alike who specialized in training their voice to sound like Elvis when talking or singing
• There is also a type that combines the look and the voice for a complete package.
The levels of impersonation also vary with three levels existing;
• Professional impersonators-these are Elvis impersonators who do it on a full time basis to earn a living.
• Amateur impersonators–this group consists of Elvis fans and enthusiasts who impersonate him during Elvis impersonator competitions or as a hobby
• Fun/comedy impersonators- this group imitates Elvis as part of a parody.
Elvis Impersonators play a wide range of very important roles in the society.
They entertain- they stage energized shows which recreate the sound and feel of the original Elvis shows. There are also Elvis impersonator cirque acts, comedians, impersonators, magicians, production shows and showgirls.
Elvis impersonators have also been part of various television shows, fairs, festivals and corporate events. Some of the television shows in which they have featured in include The Twilight Zone, Father Ted, and Sledge Hammer, How I Met Your Mother and Digimon Adventure. Some the films in which they have featured include 3000 Miles to Graceland, Honeymoon in Vegas and Bubba Ho-tep. They have also featured in a number of plays the most popular being cooking with Elvis which was produced in 1999.
Couples who are looking for an out-of-the-ordinary wedding can have their wedding solemnized by an Elvis Impersonator in Las Vegas. Other accompaniments for this kind of wedding include a pink Cadillac ride and photo shoot.
There are also various Elvis impersonators contests in which Elvis fans and enthusiasts can participate in and win cash prizes.