Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Canoga Please! Your Canoga Park Questions Answered! This Week: The Elvis Connection!

Staff photo.
Canoga Please! I’ve noticed the King of Rock & Roll proudly depicted on a mural at the corner of Sherman Way and Owensmouth, in Canoga Park’s tight-knit Shermsmouth neighborhood. It’s now or never — my curiosity won’t wait: What’s Canoga Park’s connection with legendary singer Elvis Presley? —MacLean Pratt, Gifford Street

Dear MacLean,
Canoga Park’s influence on the career of Elvis Aaron Presley cannot be overstated. 
In 1956, Elvis was living in a suite at Canoga Park’s Super 8 with songwriters/sushi chefs Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. All three met while working at the adjacent 2 Die For Sushi, and became friends when they found they shared a common interest in music. One of Elvis’ earliest hits, ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ was written in their room, although recently uncovered evidence suggests that it was originally titled ‘Heartbreak Motel.’ (A second hit, ‘Blue Suede Shoes,’ originally titled ‘Blue and Orange Striped Suede Bowling Shoes with Black Laces,’ was written at the Canoga Park Bowl in nearby Winnetka when the three were waiting for their turn during League Night.) 
Detail of original lyrics to 'Heartbreak Hotel' before an M was turned into an H
and rock & roll history was made. Photo courtesy Elvis Memorabilia While-U-Wait.
The King maintained close ties to Canoga Park all his life, insisting many of his movies be filmed here in town. (“Blue Hawaii” was shot entirely at the Lanark Pool.) Elvis maintained a luxurious vacation home known as “Graceland SFV” that still exists at Kona Kai Village Mobile Estates on Eton in Canoga Park's tight-knit mobile home district, and was known to frequent Sid’s Seafood House with good friend (and “Stay Away, Joe” co-star) Henry Jones, where the two would put away plate after plate of cheese toast and Byram River oysters, flown in fresh from Connecticut specifically for Presley.

In 2013, Elvis Presley Enterprises commissioned a local artist to create the public mural seen behind the bus stop on Sherman Way at Owensmouth, “to continually shine a beacon on the legacy that is Elvis” and which has been keeping those waiting for the 162 “all shook up” since its unveiling.

This wise man says only fools won’t rush in, over to see the masterpiece in person.

Correction: We have recently received information that the mural in question actually depicts a character from a 1970s television sitcom and Elvis Presley has no discernible connection with Canoga Park. We regret the error.

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Canoga Please! I finally got a date with Paula Petralunga and I need a new set of whitewalls for my vintage Ford Roadster pickup by Saturday night. But I don’t have a lot of money!  What do I do?  —R. Malph, Milwood Avenue 

Dear Ralph,
Head over to local business leader Discount Tire Centers (The Seemingly Pluralizing ‘S’ On The End Of 'Centers' Stands For ‘Savings!’™) at Owensmouth & Sherman Way, in Canoga Park’s tight-knit Owensway neighborhood. They’ll treat you right with prices most everyone can afford. If money’s still an issue, ask to speak with finance manager Arthur Fonzarelli who can set you up with a reverse mortgage to make up the difference.

—Burton Cantara

Do you have a question about Canoga Park? Email it to us at and it may be answered here. Questions may be edited for brevity or to accommodate photos we've been looking for an excuse to run. Sorry, due to the volume of mail we receive, we cannot respond to every inquiry.

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