Revisiting the time Quentin Tarantino impersonated his hero, Elvis Presley
Sometimes we all need to get our big break, right? We all need to start off small, work our way up, build a reputation and, at the end of it, we become one of the wealthiest filmmakers of all time?
Well, it worked for Quentin Tarantino so why not?
Back in 1987 Tarantino had just released his first film and directed, edited, co-wrote, co-produced and starred in My Best Friend’s Birthday. The black and white film—which has now been partially lost—told the story of a young man who continually tries to do something nice for his friend’s birthday, only to have his efforts backfire.
Unfortunately the film failed to become a major hit and, one year after its release, Tarantino had landed a cameo appearance on an episode of The Golden Girls in a way to keep the money coming in.
“Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job,” he once explained in a 1994 interview with Playboy. “I was one of 12 Elvis impersonators, really just a glorified extra. For some reason they had us sing Don Ho’s Hawaiian Love Chant. All the other Elvis impersonators wore Vegas-style jumpsuits. But I wore my own clothes because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis. I was the hillbilly cat Elvis. I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.”
It was an easy gig for Tarantino who has never hidden his love for Elvis and, in an old interview with Howard Stern, once described himself as the second coming: “When I was about eighteen-years-old, I got waaaay into rockabilly music,” Tarantino said. “I was like the second coming of Elvis Presley. I dyed my hair black. I wore it in a big ole pompadour.”
Below, enjoy Tarantino’s big break. The skit starts at around 4:30 and you’ll see the main man on the back row of Elvis’ wearing a beige suit: