Living

A recession-proof job? Elvis impersonator

Carleton Hurdle's answering machine offers callers a choice:

Press 1 to talk to him.

Press 2 to talk to Elvis.

The latter receives most of the messages, which doesn't hurt the Fort Worth resident's feelings, since he makes ends meet by performing for a fee as the King of Rock and Roll.

Like nurses and accountants – deemed "recession-proof" occupations – Hurdle's talent as an Elvis Presley tribute artist remains in demand, even in hard times.

"My wife can stay home because of Elvis," he said of his second job.

Hurdle, whose day job is with Life Outreach International, a Christian nonprofit, impersonates Elvis every Wednesday night at the Fabulous 50's restaurant in Pantego. He also appears at birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, high school reunions, bat mitzvahs and other functions.

He even sang as Elvis, in costume, at a funeral.

Although bookings fell last year when gasoline hit $4 a gallon, he's now performing as many as a dozen times a month. That, the entertainer believes, speaks to the reassuring, memories-evoking power of Elvis' music.

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