By Mike Beatty (DJ Batman) (7/27/2011)
I’m here to tell you that Ocean City’s legendary “Boardwalk Elvis” is very much alive and well – and still very much enjoying his inexplicable celebrity in this town.
I have a wonderful current story about Norman. But first, a little background:
I’ve known Norman for years. Back in the 60’s, he was known as “Ninth Street Norman.”
Somewhere along the line, Norman found a boombox – and an absolutely atrocious lime-green Leisure Suit – and began singing along to Elvis songs as he walked the length of the Boardwalk in OC.
Our crowd – a bunch of high school guys from Baltimore working the Pier rides that summer – befriended Norman, and sort of made sure that no one bothered him as he did his thing on the ‘Boards.
About fifteen years ago, TIME Magazine did an article on the “last of the carnival-type ocean resorts” in the USA.
There were four towns mentioned:
1. Coney Island. And the photo with the story showed a bunch of people riding on the old Cyclone roller coaster.
2. Santa Monica Beach. And the photo was a beautiful blonde in a bikini, roller-blading along their boardwalk.
3. Rehoboth Beach. And the photo was a Yuppie family – Mom, Dad, little sister, little brother – all walking hand-in-hand down the boardwalk.
And 4… Ocean City, MD. The photo? Boardwalk Elvis!
The City Council was so impressed (amused?) by this, that the Town of Ocean City arranged Greyhound bus fare, and a couple of night’s lodging, and sent Norman and a friend to Graceland!
It was near the top of the many nice things this great town has ever done.
Now – to the current story:
I work as a DJ (DJ Batman) in Ocean City, and play the Monday Deck Party at Fager’s Island.
About two weeks ago – for the first time I can ever remember – Norman, The Boardwalk Elvis – was in attendance.
When I announced that he was on the deck, all the bartenders, out of respect for a true OC legend, started applauding.
Also on the deck that day, was the entire staff and crew of the Starboard in Dewey Beach, here for their annual Employees Party.
A little while into the party, I cued-up an Elvis song, and asked Norman if he would sing for us. He jumped at the chance, of course, and began singing “Blue Suede Shoes”.
As he was singing, I was tapped on my shoulder. I turned around and was face-to-face with Frank Raines – the legendary “Dewey Beach Elvis” – who had came down to OC with the Starboard crowd.
Frank is a well-known Elvis impersonator, and has a tremendous act that he has performed for years.
I asked Frank to go sing with Norman. And, at first, Frank said no, saying that this was Norman’s moment, not his. But I insisted, and Frank went to the front and joined Norman as he was singing.
It was amazing.
When Frank walked up, I really think that for a fleeting moment, Norman thought that Elvis had risen from the dead to come back and sing a duet with him on Fager’s deck!
Norman and Frank – The Boardwalk Elvis and the Dewey Elvis – did a quick medley of songs for us, and the crowd absolutely loved it.
So yes, Norman is very much alive and well. And still having the time of his his life singing Elvis songs, and being one of the great characters that make up this town.
About the author: Mike Beatty, better know as “DJ Batman” has been Ocean City’s most popular club and radio DJ (and booster for Ocean City) for over 30 years. Beatty’s “Hair of the Dog” radio show airs on Ocean City Irie Radio 98.1 FM.
- Boardwalk Elvis is Alive Facebook Page
- “‘Boardwalk Elvis’: An Ocean City icon” — Cecildaily.com
- “Boardwalk Elvis takes a breather” — Scott Muska