This article was originally in NOISEY.
Elvis Presley has been spotted alive many times since he died on August 16, 1977. In 1984, he was photographed leaving a hospital with his friend Muhammad Ali in New York City, allegedly. In 1991, he was seen dining at a restaurant in Clyde, Ohio, supposedly. And just this May, he was found in a t-shirt and jeans, cleaning the grounds at Graceland, his Memphis, Tennessee, estate where he died of a heart attack almost 40 years prior, purportedly. But one of the oddest post-mortem sightings by those who believe The King to still be walking the earth is an appearance in the 1990 holiday classic Home Alone.
There is a scene midway through the film, where Catherine O'Hara's character, exhausted from unsuccessfully trying to get back to Chicago to reach her son whom she forgot at home (hence the title), is bartering with an airline employee over a ticket counter in a Scranton airport. A bearded man in a sports coat and turtleneck hovers over her left shoulder, occasionally expressing his impatience with his body language. This man, many believe, is played by Elvis.
Here is a freeze-frame of the scene in question:
And, to make it more conspiracy theory-y, here is the same shot but zoomed in all blurry, with lots of incriminating arrows pointing to the suspicious fella.
So why do people think this uncredited background extra with only a minute of screen time and no speaking lines is Elvis? Well, strap on your blue suede shoes, mama, because we are about to dig in deep here, and we don't plan on coming out until we have answers or have LOST OUR FUCKING MINDS.
For starters, appearance. Were Elvis alive in 1990 when the movie was filmed, he would have been 55, making him age appropriate to be the man in this scene, roughly. There is some resemblance between the two around the eyes, for sure. The man also has a full head of brown hair that, from the looks of it, has likely felt the touch of a bottle of Just for Men. "But Elvis had jet black hair," you're saying, very naively. WRONG. Elvis had dirty blond hair which he dyed black.
Since none of this proves much, aside from the fact that both men have hair that they may or may not have dyed, let's move on to the next piece of evidence…
Beards, let's talk about them. The man in Home Alone dons a pretty thick beard. Though Elvis became famous for his boyish clean-cut good looks, he was still able to grow a beard, as he did for the 1969 western Charro!, pictured below:
But let's look at both of these beards a little closer. As anyone who has grown one can tell you, there are two types of beards: The first is the type where hair on the chin grows right up to the lip, hiding the mouth beneath a layer of hair like a Muppet. In the second type, the chin hair grows only to the jawline and soul patch. Elvis could grow a fine beard, sure, but his facial hair clearly stopped well below his bottom lip. The man in Home Alone, on the other hand, is able to go full Galifianakis, with his mouth tightly outlined in brown hair. Let's examine these two side by side:
Clearly, we're dealing with different beard shapes and thicknesses here which might lead us to believe that these are not in fact the same man. But below this beard lies another important piece of evidence…
The neck. In May, 1979, two years after Elvis's (supposed!) death, McColl's Magazine ran a feature on his widow Priscilla Presley, in which she hinted that Elvis was self-conscious about his long neck, hence his penchant for oversized, popped collars. And what do we find our bearded Elvis lookalike wearing in this scene? A turtleneck. That's right, a shirt so hideous and impractical that it would only be worn by someone trying to cover their disproportioned, deformed, or otherwise unsightly neck. Interesting. Let's move on…
Mannerisms. One video floating around on YouTube, which has racked up an impressive 1.6 million views and will only continue to grow until the lid is ripped off of this massive cover-up, points to the similarities between the two men in one peculiar mannerism. The bearded man, frustrated by his wait time on line, cocks his head back and to the left. The video juxtaposes that with performance footage of Elvis where he makes this exact same motion, his famous hunka hunka head-jerk. Again, back and to the left.
Back… and to the left. It might not be his trademark pelvis gyrations, but from the neck up, he's sure got the moves like Elvis.
Beyond the physical similarities, let us move on to the circumstantial evidence placing Elvis in Home Alone (which, by the way, many people think is loosely based on the Sylvester Stallone movie First Blood, but that's an investigation for another day). Home Alone was directed by Chris Columbus, who has since directed hits like Mrs. Doubtfire, two Harry Potter movies, and the adaptation of Rent. But the last movie he directed before making Home Alone was a 1988 film called Heartbreak Hotel, the plot of which centers around a teenager and his friends kidnapping Elvis to make him fuck his mom. (Yes, the plot sounds creepy and implausible, which is probably why it failed to reach the success of Home Alone, a film about an eight-year-old warding off burglars with blow torches and paint cans.) Actor David Keith plays Elvis in the movie. We think. Who can even tell what is real anymore?
So what does this connection tell us? Possibly nothing. Possibly EVERYTHING. Perhaps Elvis saw Heartbreak Hotel and, being still alive and all, called up Columbus and asked to be placed in his next movie. The least we can conclude is that it seems highly coincidental that Columbus would immediately follow up a movie about Elvis-mom-fucking with a movie in which a man who looks a lot like Elvis stands directly behind the film's maternal figure. What does Columbus want us to know here? Where is he leading us?
Columbus addressed this in the director's commentary of Home Alone, in which he told the film's young star Macaulay Culkin about it.
"They are convinced, these people, that this is Elvis Presley," Columbus said during the scene. "That he's faked his death, and because he still loves show business, he's an extra in Home Alone."
"Oh my God," laughed Culkin.
"Look at this guy," he said of the bearded man. "He's not Elvis Presley!"
The two shared a hard chuckle over it, maybe too hard. Almost as if they're covering something up. This begs another question: If this is a conspiracy propagated by Columbus, is Culkin in on it, too? Does Culkin know? Well, let's see…
Not ten minutes earlier, in the most famous scene of his career, Culkin lip syncs to The Drifters' version of "White Christmas" in front of the mirror while slicking his hair back with a comb, giving himself a very Elvis-esque hairdo. This is a blatant homage to The King himself. I know what you're wondering: Did Elvis ever cover "White Christmas"? You bet your sweet dick he did. Right on his first holiday record, 1957's Elvis' Christmas Album. Culkin knows. He knows.
Moving along, let's examine a character in this scene we haven't mentioned yet, the late John Candy. Candy's character introduces himself as the "Polka King of the Midwest."
Is Columbus tipping his hand here, placing the King of Polka shoulder-to-shoulder with the King of Rock and Roll? There may not be any clear-cut answers here except for this one: Yes, absolutely he is. 100 percent.
And finally, the last nail in the coffin on this evidence: If you take the name of Culkin's character, Kevin McCallister, and rearrange the letters, you get a coded message: "I, Mr. Elvis, act." And then I had a few letters left over. But if I had more time to work this anagram out more fully, certainly, you could see where this was headed.
So there you have it. The pile of evidence is very high and fairly conclusive. But perhaps we'll never know the whole truth. Ultimately, the choice is on you. Either you can choose to believe that The King met his untimely demise 40 years ago at the age of 42, and that his body rests beneath the soil in Memphis, or you can believe that he's still out there, living among us. Perhaps he roams the grounds of Graceland or the streets of New York City. Or maybe he's standing on line in a Scranton airport, waiting to catch his ride home.
Dan Ozzi is interested in any and all information you have on Elvis's whereabouts on Twitter - @danozzi