(Dec.12, 2014) An Ocean City legend, “Boardwalk Elvis,” was one of the guests of honor during the 21st Night of 100 Elvises in Hunt Valley, Md. last weekend. Worcester resident Tim Gilbert accompanied the 75-year-old, also known as Norman Webb, to the convention after calling organizers to see if they would give Webb recognition at this year’s event.
Longtime friends, Gilbert had hoped to take Webb to the popular Elvis event for a number of years, thinking attendees would recognize Webb from their vacations to Ocean City. The show’s director called Gilbert back within minutes, letting him know they were sending all-access and backstage passes, and teasing the idea of bringing the performer on stage.
“It was magic and unreal. I’ve known the man since way before you were born. It was indescribable. Norman was the bell of the ball,” Gilbert said.
“Norman was the most photographed Elvis in the joint,” Gilbert continued. “Even the other Elvises were asking to take pictures with him. It took 25 minutes to get 30 yards because there were so many people stopping us to take pictures.”
When they first set foot into the Hunt Valley Inn, the host venue, Gilbert said an Elvis who was performing in the lobby stopped mid-song to give Webb a shout-out.
Webb ate up the attention, letting everyone know how many Facebook friends he currently had and handing out cards with the web address and his picture to hot women.
“He’s a gift that keeps on giving,” Gilbert said.
Organizers brought Webb on stage in between acts, and the crowd kept screaming his name. Webb, a prolific showman, couldn’t stop waving and posing for the delighted audience.
“The crowd was kind and generous. They were sincerely happy to see him,” Gilbert said. “He did not sit down. He was up interacting, dancing and taking pictures. He kept asking everyone, ‘you know me?’”
Webb even received a nod in the program welcoming him to the event.
“It was almost like he expected people to recognize him, like this happens to him all the time,” Gilbert said.
Before becoming “Boardwalk Elvis,” Gilbert would see Webb walking on his hands down the Boardwalk, or singing popular songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s, including plenty of Elvis Presley numbers.
The day Elvis died, Gilbert went to find Webb, figuring his friend would be understandably upset.
Webb’s reaction was, “they really need me.” He felt, since Elvis was no longer around to entertain, it was his job to step up.
The pair’s relationship transformed one evening, when Gilbert came across several people bullying Webb at bar.
Gilbert walked up to the performer and asked if he had anywhere to go. When Webb said no, Gilbert welcomed him into his home.
Gilbert said he has “endearing memories” from the days when Webb would show up at his house every weekend.
Their closeness is apparent when Gilbert talks about a “Christmas with the King” video shot of Webb and Gilbert’s children. Webb made sure Gilbert had 25 copies prepared to share with friends and relatives.
“He looks dark if you just glance at him, but in reality he is one of the sweetest human beings I’ve ever known,” Gilbert said.
- Life of the party and Ocean City legend,
- Boardwalk Elvis was one of the guests of
- honor at the 21st Night of 100 Elvises in
- Hunt Valley, Md. last weekend.
Photo Courtesy of: Tim Gilbert