The Queen of Country comedy on the King of Rock and Roll
An interview with Minnie Pearl
By Shelly Ritter. (First published: Graceland Express, October-December edition, 1990)
"I didn't know him well" she confided. Yet, from their brief encounters she formed some very keen and insightful impressions of Elvis. . It struck me as fascinating that she, a major figure in country music history, was affected by Elvis, a major figure in rock and roll. The link between the two appears to have stemmed from her longtime friendship with the Colonel and the nature of her husband 's profession. A portion of our conversation follows.
Minnie had met Elvis before they worked together in Hawaii. She vividly remembers her first introduction:
"My husband (Henry Cannon) was a pilot. He flew Elvis when Elvis first started making appearances around the country. One afternoon he (Henry) called me and said, 'I'm coming to Memphis with Elvis - and I want you to meet him. He's going to show there tonight. Take an American, or some flight, and come down there and meet me.'
course General Stewart was big too. This was some time after WWII; but
General Stewart was still a big movie star and a big general in our service.
It was so typical of Elvis to say, 'Do you think it would be out of order?'
He was very polite.
Elvis and Minnie make their way through the crowd at their hotel.
We have boys now, and men, in the business - in our business and in the rock and roll business and all the show business forms - young men who have this reaction on women. They (the women) scream. They yell. They do all sorts of wild things. But this (the time in Hawaii) was the first that I'd ever seen and I was just horrified. I thought they were going to kill him. They would have if they could have gotten loose, I'm afraid.
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Ophelia Cannon (Minnie Pearl) born on October 25, 1912
Minnie Pearl opens for Elvis at Bloch Arena, March 25, 1961