We are now up to the eighth number one that Elvis has had so far (there are lots more to come.) “Teddy Bear” was written by Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe for the movie Loving You. Loving You was Elvis’ second movie and his first movie in color. It was the start of a string of forgettable movies that all had pretty much the same plot.
Here’s a little trivia you may not know. The teddy bear was created by a guy named Morris Michton in 1902. He was president of the Ideal Toy Company and it seemed like a cool toy. The President of the United States in 1902 was Theodore Roosevelt or Teddy Roosevelt. So, they named the toy bear after the president. It was an instant hit and has been ever since. The very first teddy bear currently resides in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington.
In 1956 or 1957, a rumor began circulating around the country that Elvis collected teddy bears. Not sure how it started but millions of girls believed it. So, teenage girls by the thousands sent Elvis teddy bears. If he didn’t have a collection before, he certainly did now.
Kal Mann and Bernie Lowe thought this was a cute idea for a song and so, they wrote “(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear.” It was written for the movie Loving You, but soon became a number one hit. In fact, it hit number one the day before the movie hit theaters. The movie is sort of a parallel of Elvis’ life. The character he plays, Deke Rivers, is a truck driver who sings. He’s discovered and soon becomes famous. The girls love him, their boyfriends hate him and he ends up making lots of money. (And getting the girl.)
It was while “Teddy Bear” was number one on the chart that something happened that would affect rock and roll forever. Dick Clark’s American Bandstand went from a local show being shown only in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to being nationally syndicated. On August 5, 1957, for the first time, the entire nation could see these performers. American Bandstand stayed around for decades.
Ironically, Elvis Presley never appeared on American Bandstand. Of all the major artists in rock and roll (and otherwise), he and Rick Nelson are the only two never to appear on the show.
“(Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear” entered the chart on July 8, 1957 and spent seven weeks at number one.
Here is an awesome clip from the movie Loving You which starred Elvis. The best part is watching the girls reaction in the audience.
Next: “Tammy”-Debbie Reynolds