Boardwalk Elvis leaves Ocean City a fine legacy
Norman Webb of Showell is better known as Ocean City's Boardwalk Elvis. Wochit
Boardwalk Elvis, arguably the most well-known entertainer on Ocean City's iconic Boardwalk, was loved by generations of visitors and locals who enjoyed seeing and hearing Norman Webb enjoy his life's work.
Yes, Webb's Boardwalk Elvis persona was the man's claim to fame and will be his legacy on Delmarva and beyond. It is a rare man who garners such universal affection.
A kind and simple man, Boardwalk Elvis was never controversial but always colorful, a unique character who entertained the resort for half a century or more. As Mayor Rick Meehan said after Webb's death, he was truly a local icon.
Riding his bicycle daily from his Showell home to Downtown Ocean City, he would stroll up and down the boards, all decked out as "The King," music player propped on his shoulder as he belted out Elvis tunes.
In 2013, Boardwalk Elvis lost the electric bike he'd been riding daily daily since October 1996, when he was struck by a car on Route 589 while on his way home from church.
Mike Beatty, aka DJ Batman, a longtime friend, managed to raise $700 for a new bike for Boardwalk Elvis in just 30 minutes of airtime.
"You couldn't come to Ocean City and not see Norman," DJ Batman said of his friend. "He is just the greatest character."
Was he an accidental icon, or did he seek to earn fame and fortune? It seems more likely he just enjoyed doing what he did — meeting and greeting people, singing and being Boardwalk Elvis. And people loved it — people of all ages and several generations.
Webb did achieve some degree of fame during his lifetime, although the fortune never materialized. In the 1990s, a photo of Boardwalk Elvis was featured in a Time magazine story about Ocean City.
Born in Showell, Webb was living in the same house at the time of his death. He was fortunate to have been surrounded by loving family members who were always there for him.
While the boards give a great view of the sand and surf, it's also the place to fill up on sinful treats. Produced by Megan Raymond
"RIP Mr. Norman. I knew this man my whole life, not as Boardwalk Elvis but as a neighbor to my parents. He was a kind soul. May God accept him into his loving arms," wrote Facebook user Mary Warren Williams.
Others posted about his kindness and his music — the two things Norman Webb was known for.
Whether he ever realized it, Boardwalk Elvis will live on in the hearts and memories of thousands of people who had the good fortune to encounter him — and the imaginations of those who never will.