Fit For a King

Most music fans who happen to love Elvis Presley probably carry one of two distinct images of the King of Rock and Roll in their minds. The first is of young Elvis-skinny, hair slicked back, leather jacket, twisting and gyrating his way into music history as the artist most often credited with bringing a new kind of music to the masses.The second image of the King is quite a bit different-older, heavier, clad in outlandish jump suits and belting out versions of his hits on a Las Vegas stage. Every other possible aspect of Elvis' life has been covered in books or film, so why not those jump suits? The documentary "Fit for a King," now appearing on the Documentary Channel, tells the story of B&K Enterprises, which manufactures recreations of Elvis' costumes.

The film also features extensive interviews with the late Bill Belew, Elvis' personal designer, and Gene Doucette, who designed some of Presley's most famous and recognizable stage outfits. In case any Elvis fans were curious, "Fit for a King," marks the first time either talked in great detail about clothing the King.The film brings those Vegas days back in all their glory with video footage and archival photos of the jump-suit clad Elvis, karate kicking and belting out songs despite his ever increasing waistline.

The film also takes us inside Graceland, Elvis' Memphis mansion, and offers insider dish on some of the more famous garments associated with Presley.

Included is the robe Elvis gave to boxing legend Muhammad Ali, whose former trainer Angelo Dundee talks about meeting Elvis.

No film about Elvis and his stage costumes would be complete without a look at some of the many impersonators, or "tribute artists." "Fit for a King," speaks to a handful of the better ones.The film was released on DVD in August, but is now airing on the Documentary Channel. So even if your fondest recollections of Elvis come from 1956, the year he was unleashed on the world, "Fit for a King," offers a different look at E's latter era, and the stories behind those fancy clothes.

by Chris Dortch
Documentary Channel