When Elvis Performed On an Aircraft Carrier

The USS Hancock was built in 1943 and was almost immediately put to work in the Pacific Theater of World War II. When Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu formally surrendered on board the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945, the Hancock’s planes circled overhead.

A decade later, she bore witness to another, much different moment in history: one of Elvis Presley's first national TV appearances.

It was 1956—Elvis’s breakout year. By the second week in April, the 21-year-old had recorded several hit songs (including “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Blue Suede Shoes”), released his first album, and signed a film contract with Paramount Studios. He also made his national TV debut on January 28 on CBS’s Stage Show. He went on to guest five more times through February and March.

On April 3, he made his NBC debut on The Milton Berle Show, hosted by the man dubbed “Mr. Television.” That night, the show made the unorthodox move of broadcasting from the deck of a U.S. Navy ship docked in San Diego, with sailors and their dates as the show's audience. That ship was the Hancock, which had been decommissioned, renovated, and then recommissioned.

Berle hosted the show in an oversized admiral’s uniform. “This is the first time the Hancock is going to rock and roll while still anchored,” he punned while introducing Elvis. “Here is a young man who, in a few short months, has gained tremendous popularity in the music business.”

Elvis and his three-man backup band ripped through “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and a snippet of “Shake Rattle & Roll.” (The website of his guitarist, Scotty Moore, has extensive documentation of the Hancock gig.) Berle also enlisted Elvis in a sketch. “Now, I got a little surprise for you,” the singer joked, “Here, for his very first public appearance, I’d like you to meet, my twin brother, Melvin Presley!” Berle appeared in a suit to match Elvis’s, playing a bumbling Southerner who misreads the name of the ship and takes credit for Elvis’s trademark dance moves.

Unbeknownst to Berle, Elvis’s actual twin brother died at birth, which always haunted him. However, he never objected during the planning of the bit, writes Wilborn Hampton in his biography Elvis Presley. “If Elvis felt any resentment over the skit, he never showed it.”

On June 5, Elvis returned to The Milton Berle Show to play his new single, “Hound Dog.” At Berle’s suggestion, he sang it without his guitar (“Let ’em see you, son,” Berle reportedly said), exposing 40 million viewers to an unimpeded look at Elvis's gyrating hips in a scandalizing performance.

As for the Hancock, she went back on duty. In 1962, she first appeared in the waters off Vietnam and dedicated the rest of her years to that war effort, before her final decommission and scrapping in 1976.

Banner images via vsbonvenutoep, YouTube.

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The Most Popular Netflix Show in Every Country
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most popular Netflix show in each country map
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If you're bored with everything in your Netflix queue, why not look to the top shows around the world for a recommendation?

HighSpeedInternet.com recently used Google Trends data to create a map of the most popular show streaming on Netflix in every country in 2018. The best-loved show in the world is the dystopian thriller 3%, claiming the number one spot in eight nations. The show is the first Netflix original made in Portuguese, so it's no surprise that Portugal and Brazil are among the eight countries that helped put it at the top of the list.

Coming in second place is South Korea's My Love from the Star, which seven countries deemed their favorite show. The romantic drama revolves around an alien who lands on Earth and falls in love with a mortal. The English-language show with the most clout is 13 Reasons Why, coming in at number three around the world—which might be proof that getting addicted to soapy teen dramas is a universal experience.

Pot comedy Disjointed is Canada's favorite show, which probably isn't all that surprising given the nation's recent ruling to legalize marijuana. Perhaps coming as even less of a shock is the phenomenon of Stranger Things taking the top spot in the U.S. Favorites like Black Mirror, Sherlock, and The Walking Dead also secured the love of at least one country.

Out of the hundreds of shows on the streaming platform, only 47 are a favorite in at least one country in 2018. So no hard feelings, Gypsy.

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Roadside Bear Statue in Wales is So Lifelike That Safety Officials Want It Removed
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Wooden bear statue.

There are no real bears in the British Isles for residents to worry about, but a statue of one in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has become a cause of concern. As The Telegraph reports, the statue is so convincing that it's scaring drivers, causing at least one motorist to crash her car. Now road safety officials are demanding it be removed.

The 10-foot wooden statue has been a fixture on the roadside for at least 15 years. It made headlines in May of 2018 when a woman driving her car saw the landmark and took it to be the real thing. She was so startled that she veered off the road and into a street sign.

After the incident, she complained about the bear to highways officials who agreed that it poses a safety threat and should be removed. But the small town isn't giving in to the Welsh government's demands so quickly.

The bear statue was originally erected on the site of a now-defunct wool mill. Even though the mill has since closed, locals still see the statue as an important landmark. Llanwrtyd Wells councilor Peter James called it an "iconic gateway of the town," according to The Telegraph.

Another town resident, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Telegraph that the woman who crashed her car had been a tourist from Canada where bears are common. Bear were hunted to extinction in Britain about 1000 years ago, so local drivers have no reason to look out for the real animals on the side of the road.

The statue remains in its old spot, but Welsh government officials plan to remove it themselves if the town doesn't cooperate. For now, temporary traffic lights have been set up around the site of the accident to prevent any similar incidents.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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