Recently I've been rereading Peter Guralnick's double volume Elvis biography. Right now I'm close to the end, where Elvis doesn't want to record anything new and his concerts have become drugged out spectacles, where he'd give long, rambling speeches or forget the words to songs or just walk off stage after a couple minutes.
One of the things the King did seem to get excited about, however, was screening then-current blaxploitation flicks. He watched "Shaft," "Black Belt Jones," and "Across 110th Street" repeatedly, boring his hangers-on as he discussed these awesome movies over and over.
Elvis was so impressed with these movies that he wanted to star in his own action flick, which, as opposed to 80% of the movies he had starred in, he would have actually give a crap about.
"I want to be the baddest motherfucker there is," said the King, according to Guralnick.
The Colonel wanted him to do a semi-documentary on karate, then convinced him not to do any movie at all and Elvis died a few years later, brokenhearted.
Now here's the movie that should have been made.
Elvis and Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite himself, run competing karate studios on different sides of town. Elvis' school is mostly white, Rudy's is mostly black. There is some tension between the two schools, but the King and Dolemite respect each other's martial arts abilities and bad-ass fashion sense, so they have a wary understanding.
Meanwhile, The Man (played by a dead ringer for Richard Nixon) is scheming to take over the youth center where the two schools meet for tournaments and use it to get kids hooked on dope. Nixon uses his Southern Strategy to divide the two races into fighting against each other rather than working together to fix their city.
Then Elvis and Rudy have to team up together and unite the city to take down The Man with their kung fu.
The soundtrack would be '70s Elvis, with assists from Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. Oh, I should probably put in "Trouble Man" by Marvin Gaye, even though that was the title song for another movie, just 'cause it's so bad-ass. We'll have it in the scene where Rudy and Elvis ride around looking for information. They're both sort of weary, especially since the comic relief has just been killed (I'm picturing Jerry Reed, Burt Reynolds and Isaac Hayes), and they're steeling themselves for the big showdown.
Final scene would be Elvis and Rudy standing on a pile of rubble as the sun rises after the big battle. Elvis' "American Trilogy" is playing. As the "Glory, glory, hallelujah" line rises, Elvis and Rudy shake hands. In the digitally remastered version, we can have the ghost of JFK embrace Barack Obama off on the side.
What would have happened if this movie were released? For one, with our country's racial problem fixed, America could put our energies elsewhere and I would be dictating this to my sexy robot secretary from my flying car.
For Elvis, it would have rejuvenated his sagging spirits, he would have fired his manager, kicked out all his sycophants and hangers-on, dumped the pills, and started making music again. His 1980 tour with the Clash would be seen as a high point in both his career and the history of awesomeness.
President James Brown would have led us into an unprecedented new age of peace, prosperity, and funkiness. George W. Bush, freed of the expectations of having a Presidental father, would have stayed in Kennebunkport, running businesses into the ground, terrorizing the help at the club, and living off his parents. He would gain fame as the model for Ted Knight's grandson in "Caddyshack."
Terrorism, hippies, conservatism and fundamentalism of any stripe would never gain a toehold in America, because nobody wanted to be the dick that wrecked the place that gave the world that awesome movie where Dolemite and Elvis fought crime.
Me? Well, for bringing this outline (well, I guess my parents would have had to do it, since I would have been in grade school) to Elvis' attention, I become one of the richest men in the world, regularly recieving loving tribute from all the nations in recognition of my gifts.
Man, I gotta get working on that time machine, quick.