Performer is king of the road in gift of pink car

Danny Vernon is a lifelong Elvis fan who makes a living impersonating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – and has the pink Cadillac to prove it.

Elvis impersonator  Danny Vernon  sits in the driver’s seat of his pink-flamed 1956  Cadillac

Elvis impersonator Danny Vernon sits in the driver’s seat of his pink-flamed 1956 Cadillac

Danny Vernon is a lifelong Elvis fan who makes a living impersonating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll – and has the pink Cadillac to prove it.

Rosa Murphy, a Vernon fan and a regular at his shows for the past four years, just gave him the pink vehicle, which Vernon said goes with Elvis like peanut butter goes with bananas.

Vernon said his impersonation of Elvis is rooted in his childhood.

“My father would play the records and I found a stack of them when I was about 6,” he said.

Vernon immediately loved the music and spent hours in his room singing and dancing along.

“He’s the reason I became a singer,” Vernon said.

In the mid 1980s, Vernon began performing karaoke, which became his first experience with public appearances.

Now Vernon performs about twice during a typical week, an activity, along with singing, he’s able to call his career.

One of his recurring gigs is the annual Music off Main concert series in Sumner’s Heritage Park.

He said his performing in Heritage Park originated from his mother’s role as director of the senior center, where he would perform occasionally.

“I would come in and sing a few Elvis songs,” he said.

He said word eventually spread about his performances, which encouraged him to perform at Heritage Park.

Vernon said the connection to the audience is the best part of his job.

“I really enjoy the camaraderie of the audience. I like sharing the moment, seeing them respond in a positive way,” he said.

The hardest part about it is making a living and not knowing what’s next, he said.

Summer is the busiest time of year for him with five or six shows a week, which provide more opportunities due to the abundance of outdoor festivals and fairs, he said.

The job takes him out of Washington a few times a year, but he’s able to schedule most of his jobs close to home.

“There are so many avenues to perform in the state,” Vernon said.

Living and working in the same region allows him to foster relationships with his audience members.

Murphy and her husband were among the fans Vernon had this type of relationship with.

“I’ve had a few fans who became really close. She’s been coming to the show for about four years,” Vernon said.

Murphy drove the Cadillac to the venues where Vernon performed.

“Of course it would be the center of attraction and the talk of the day,” Vernon said.

She mentioned to Vernon she and her husband probably wouldn’t be driving the car much longer and she made a comment about giving it to him.

Vernon said he didn’t take the comment seriously and was surprised when over dinner one night, Murphy said she wanted him to have her pink 1956 Cadillac, which received so much attention over the years at his shows.

“It’s a completely generous gift,” he said.

Vernon isn’t sure what to do with the car just yet.

“I’m trying to brainstorm different ideas of what to do,” he said.

One idea is to have the car be part of wedding ceremonies with an Elvis theme.

He’s heard of such theme weddings performed in Las Vegas and people have asked him if he would ever do a wedding ceremony as Elvis.

Vernon imagines himself dressed as Elvis driving newlywed couples around in the Cadillac.

In the meantime, he’s continuing to schedule appearances, and entertain audiences of all ages. He said there are always new fans because Elvis music is carried down through families.

“Grandma heard it and the kids like it, and grandchildren hear it on “Lilo and Stitch,” he said, referencing a scene in the animated movie in which a character does an Elvis impersonation.

Vernon said he loves the way music can reach audiences and liven their moods.

“It’s been one of the pleasantly surprising things in this business. When you want to lift them emotionally, you never know how you’ll reach people,” he said.

Reach Chaz Holmes at cholmes@courierherald.com or 360-802-8208.


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