Next monday, on the day Elvis would be 72 and the day before Nixon would be 94, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in California will open an expo that is dedicated to the famous visit from Elvis to the president. During the opening, Egil Krogh, formal assistant at the white house, will give a lecture about the day where he was an eye-witness.
The expo will show the famous picture of the two celebrities. This picture has made it to the most demanded picture from the national archives.
President Richard Nixon wore a tasteful gray suit. Elvis Presley sported well-coifed sideburns, a flamboyant black-velvet suit, boots, a wing-collared white shirt and a gold, diamond-studded belt.
The two getups were worn during the pair's legendary secret get-together at the Oval Office in 1970 - a bizarre presidential meeting that has since been the subject of a book and movie.
The clothing will be displayed at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace beginning Monday, which would have been Elvis' 72nd birthday. Nixon's presidential assistant Bud Krogh, who set up the historic meeting and later wrote a book about it, will speak about the event.
The outfits haven't been together since the famous meeting, library spokesman Sandy Quinn said. Elvis' was kept at Graceland. Nixon's was held by the National Archives.
The rock star-president meeting was held just as each was coping with professional challenges. Nixon was grappling with the Vietnam War, which had made him unpopular among youth. Presley was fixated on toppling the Beatles, who had stolen his spotlight and whom he said were promoting a drug culture.
The photo of the two shaking hands in the Oval Office is the most requested item at the National Archives.
The exhibit is a departure from some of the library's more serious displays. It will help the library fulfill one of its goals, "to show that U.S. history is not only important but provocative and fun," Timothy Naftali, who was chosen in April as the library's first federal director, said.
On the morning of Dec. 21, 1970, Presley personally delivered a five-page letter, written on American Airlines stationary, to the northwest gate of the White House to request a meeting with Nixon.
Presley, then 35, requested to be appointed a "federal agent-at-large" in the war on drugs, according to the National Archives.
"I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques, and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good," he wrote.
Nixon aide Dwight Chapin called Krogh.
"Dwight told me, `The King is here,'" Krogh, then 31 and a presidential assistant, said. "I looked at the president's schedule and said there weren't any kings on his schedule.
He said: `No, not just any two-bit king, the King of Rock. He's here!'"
Krogh arranged the meeting and made a list of talking points for Nixon, including an anti-drug message for young people.
Within two hours, Presley and his bodyguards were ushered inside the White House.
Presley gave Nixon a World War II commemorative Colt .45-caliber pistol with seven silver bullets, a gift Krogh accepted on the president's behalf since guns were not allowed in the Oval Office.
Nixon gave Elvis a specially prepared badge from the Bureau of Narcotic and Dangerous Drugs.
Both presents will also be on display.
The two spoke about Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie, and the Beatles' popularity. Elvis told the president the rock group had made disparaging remarks about America.
Some have speculated that Elvis was under the influence of drugs during the meeting.
"He was scratching himself during the meeting, but he said he had a rash that was bothering him for a couple days so I didn't think anything of it," Krogh said. "I never had any idea that he had a prescription-drug problem."