Elvis has left the building
"Elvis has left the building" is a phrase that was often used by public address announcers at the conclusion of Elvis Presley concerts in order to disperse audiences who lingered in hopes of an encore. It has since become a catchphrase and punchline.
- Origin 1
- Popularization 2
- See also 3
- References 4
The phrase was first used by promoter Horace Lee Logan on December 15, 1956, near Shreveport, Louisiana, to plead with concert-goers not to remain in a concert hall in hopes of seeing Elvis, as he had already left. The full quotation was:
"All right, all right, Elvis has left the building. I've told you absolutely straight up to this point. You know that. He has left the building. He left the stage and went out the back with the policemen and he is now gone from the building."
"Elvis has left the building" is also heard at the end of Elvis' March 1961 Pearl Harbor Memorial benefit concert, after Elvis exits at the end of "Hound Dog" and a short coda from the band.
Throughout the 1970s, the phrase was captured on record several times, spoken by Al Dvorin. In later years the phrase would be spoken by some of Presley's backup singers to calm down the audience after concerts.
The phrase has since become a catchphrase and punchline, used to refer to anyone who has exited in some sense. For instance, it might be used when someone makes a dramatic exit from an argument, to relieve tension among those who remain. Baseball announcers on radio or television sometimes use the phrase as a humorous way to describe a home run, which is typically hit over the outfield fence and into the stands, leaving the field of play. Pittsburgh Penquins' hockey broadcaster Mike Lange uses the phrase when a goal is scored late in the game, signalling that the game is out of reach.
Frank Zappa used the phrase on the opening track of the album Broadway the Hard Way, which satirised numerous contemporary figures. It is referred to in the Dire Straits song "Calling Elvis." In the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, one of the film's main characters says "Elvis has left the building" as a code to indicate the beginning of their final job had started. In the film Independence Day, Will Smith's character says "Elvis has left the building", which is followed by Jeff Goldblum using another Elvis-related catchphrase "Thank you very much." When singing the closing theme to the television series Frasier, Kelsey Grammer sometimes followed the last line with the statement "Frasier has left the building!"
- George Plasketes (1997-07-18), Images of Elvis Presley in American culture,
- The Straight Dope - What is the origin of "Elvis has left the building"?
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
- The Elvis Encyclopedia. Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. 2008. p. 133.
- NYTimes blog mentions Mike Lange
- "The Usual Suspects (IMDb)". IMDb. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 12 September 2015.