Legend has it that in his struggling years Elvis Presley aspired to appear on the Ted Mack Amateur Hour (the American Idol of the 1950s), but flunked the tryout.
A writer named Lea Brandenburg included the story in a list of inspiring factoids for the Web site creativityforlife.com. Her version goes this way: In the 1950s, one of the best ways struggling new talent could start on the road to fame and fortune was to appear on a nationally televised program called the Ted Mack Amateur Hour. A singer from Tennessee tried out for the show, but failed the audition. Today few people under 50 remember the Ted Mack Amateur Hour or any of the winners" of the audition the singer failed, but every year the legend of the young man from Tennessee, Elvis Presley, grows.
For comparisons sake, some of those who did win on Macks highly rated TV show were Pat Boone and the Rock n Roll Trio, a Memphis group that included Tommy and Dorsey Burnette and Paul Burlison, all of whom became well-known in their own right.
True or not, the question took on a quirky relevance last week when American Idol sent its four remaining competitors to Graceland for some instruction from record exec Tommy Mottola. Proving that in pop music as in life, what goes around comes around. Sooner or later.