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Elvis Presley, center, during his second appearance on ''The Ed Sullivan Show,'' Oct. 28, 1956. His manager, ''Colonel'' Tom Parker, is at left; at right is Ed Sullivan. (CBS Photo Archive / American Press)

Elvis Presley, center, during his second appearance on ''The Ed Sullivan Show,'' Oct. 28, 1956. His manager, ''Colonel'' Tom Parker, is at left; at right is Ed Sullivan. (CBS Photo Archive / American Press)

Elvis: Grace and Grit’ features early photos of cultural icon

Last Modified: Thursday, June 13, 2013 11:08 AM

By Jordan Gribble / Special to the American Press

Thirty-five large-format photos taken during Elvis Presley’s appearances on CBS’ “The Ed Sullivan Show” are on display at Lake Charles’ Historic City Hall. The exhibit, titled “Elvis: Grace and Grit,” will open with a free reception 5:30-8 p.m. Friday.

“Elvis is just so universal that he has become not only someone who has a huge fan base, but a historic icon in the music world that is loved by kids and their parents,” said Denise Fasske, the city’s director of cultural affairs.

“We’re expecting a huge audience from pop culture fans to older original fans who were actually in Elvis’s audiences, in the movie theater to see him on the big screen, as well as those who have visited Graceland who want to come and admire the king of rock ’n’ roll for all of his accomplishments.”

Local audiences will likely consider the photographs to be tame, but Elvis came under fire for his appearance and actions on the show, Fasske said.

“In the era that these photos were taken there was an order imposed on the cameramen at CBS that they were not to photograph Elvis from the waist down because of his gyrating hips,” she said.

“These photographs from these appearances show his whole figure and are from the CBS archives, many of them candid shots.”

Opening alongside the Elvis exhibit will be “The Dopamine Chronicles,” an exhibit that provides a look at a local man’s struggle with Parkinson’s disease through the cartoons he’s drawn nearly every day since his diagnosis.

McNeese State University professor Marty Bee was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2011 and began drawing cartoons to work out his feelings — a plan that Fasske said has resulted in an exhibit that shows great humor and optimism.

“ ‘The Dopamine Chronicles’ are all about Bee’s sense of humor, which he used to sort of carry him through the time after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease,” she said.

“He said he drew a cartoon almost daily, and we’ve got all of them on display. His offbeat sense of humor sheds light on his suffering and brings a light-hearted aspect to anyone coping with disease.”

The gallery is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday.

Online: www.cityoflakecharles.com.

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