Beach Boy – (Uncredited)

Special Guests Added to Elvis WeekSpecial Guests At Elvis Weekk 2016

Did you get this email from Elvis Insiders like I did? The heading caught my eye. “Special Guests Added to Elvis Week.” So, I eagerly read on to find out who these special people might be.

As you can see, the first name is Christopher Riordan, identified as Elvis’ co-star. Now, I’m a big fan of Elvis movies and have books listing the entire cast and crew for each one. I have read them all several times, but I just couldn’t remember Christopher Riordan in any of them.

 

Christopher Riordan Bio

So, I clicked on Read More which brought up this bio. It does say he had roles in several Elvis movies, but there is no longer any mention of co-star status. Still, roles in six Elvis movies, plus the ’68 Special, is something to be proud of. You and I would be thrilled if we had been in six Elvis movies, no matter how small the parts.

(One side note: It seems EPE wants to phase out reference to the ’68 Comeback Special. The official preferred name is now Elvis ’68 Special.  Sort of like how they prefer Elvis Tribute Artist over Elvis Impersonator.)

Anyway, I was curious about Christopher Riordan’s participation in Elvis movies. So I decided to go to the best source for any and all information about movies – The International Movie Database. IMDb is a subsidiary of Amazon, and has 3.7 million movies and TV episodes in its database. Plus 7 million actors and other personalities.

IMDb Selections

I love this website. Look at the list of links available under the Movies, TV & Showtimes tab. There are two more tabs with tons more stuff. Check it out.
I typed Christopher Riordan into the Search box and confirmed his presence in those six Elvis movies and the ‘68 Special. Here is the summary of his roles:

1964 – Viva Las Vegas                    Dancer (Uncredited)
1964 – Roustabout                          Carnival Worker (Uncredited)
1965 – Tickle Me                             Dancing bit (Uncredited)
1965 – Spinout                                Party Guest (Uncredited
1967 – Double Trouble                    Young Englishmen (Uncredited)
1967 – Clambake                            Beach Boy (Uncredited)
1968 – Elvis (TV movie)                  Dancer.

Christopher Riordan and Elvis in Spinout

Christopher Riordan as Party Guest with Elvis in Spinout

I started to feel a little let down. Christopher Riordan seemed a little over-hyped – not a co-star, not in roles with character names and lines of dialogue. But, I checked out what else Riordan had appeared in, and found he has scored 101 credits in both TV and movies. The bulk of these were uncredited bit parts in dozens of movies each year 1964 through 1967. During this busy period, he also had recurring credited rolls in two TV shows – Ozzie and Harriet in 1964 and Many Happy Returns in 1965. Ironically, his character’s name in both series was Ronnie.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

For some reason, Riordan’s appearances dropped off drastically in 1968 through 1971, and he had no credits at all in 1972-1974, and none in the decade from 1978 to 1988. Maybe nobody was looking for a guy with immense hair for their movie or TV projects. Obviously, Riordan was supporting himself with some other line of work during that time.

During the 90s, he resurfaced with bit parts in one movie, one short, and three TV show episodes. In the 2000s he appeared in seven TV episodes of House of Carters and Ugly Betty.

AjayMehta and Christopher Riordan in Outsourced - 2010

Christopher Riordan (right) on set of Outsourced – 2010

Then suddenly he showed up in 2010 in 21 episodes of the TV show Outsourced acting as the Call Center Supervisor. Wow, where did all the hair go? He’s had a few credits in the years since, and so far in 2016, he has appeared in five episodes of the NBC TV series Superstore.

 

Conversations on Elvis

So, the questions are why did Christopher Riordan get selected for the Conversations on Elvis panel, and will he have anything to add to the conversation. The sad truth is that many people close to Elvis have died, and it is obviously getting harder to fill the stage with suitable panelists.

I would prefer to think that Riordan was a young good-looking party guy and probably did have some chances to hang out with Elvis. He very well could have been around for some crazy antics, and if he shares these during Elvis Week, I think the fans will love it. My bet is that Christopher Riordan will be one of the most interesting people on the stage.

 

 

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It’s the Busy Season for Auctions of Elvis Memorabilia

Elvis Wearing Painted Leather Coat

In spite of the outstanding success of the Auctions at Graceland in January and August, there are good opportunities to purchase Elvis collectibles in between. Julien’s Auctions had one in May, Heritage has one coming up in June, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll has one scheduled for July.

Julien's Music Icons 2016

All three of these are general rock & roll memorabilia auctions featuring many artists, but they have great selections of Elvis goodies for serious collectors to bid on. The recent Julien’s Music Icons Auction had 84 Elvis items, and we will look at some of the more interesting ones here.

 

Painted Leather Jacket:

 

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket

 

If I were rich, this is the Elvis collectible I would most love to own. It is cool beyond belief, both front and back, and it comes with a photo of Elvis wearing it.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket - Back

Starting with a silver leather jacket, which is pretty cool by itself, an artist commissioned by the East West Musical Instrument Co in 1974 added multicolor flame, rainbow, and star designs. Plus a hawk on the back. My twisted mind even sees ascending sperm. Absolutely fantastic, and it sold for $50,000 (including the 25% fee the auction house adds).

 

1961 Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros:

Elvis Presley Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros

Here’s more Elvis clothing. Not as splashy, but there is much photographic documentation of Elvis wearing it on formal occasions in 1961: a luncheon at the Hotel Claridge in Memphis when he was presented with a plaque from RCA for record sales in excess of 75 million; in Nashville when he addressed the Tennessee state legislature; and in Oahu, Hawaii while there for the USS Arizona Memorial benefit concert. It sold for $28,125.

 

Waltham Pocket Watch:

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch

 

This 21-jewel pocket watch is set in 14k gold and is attached to a gold-filled chain with fob and locket.

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch - Inscription

As you can see, the inscription on the back is To… Elvis from Michele. This is Michele Carey, his co-star in Live A Little, Love A Little. There’s no telling what she paid for it in 1968, but it sold at auction in 2016 for $8,320.

 

Medieval Knight Figurines:

Medieval Knight Figurines from Elvis Presley's Graceland

These are plastic figurines that were displayed somewhere in Graceland. There are no photos showing them on a table or shelf in one of the rooms. All that was offered as proof that they once were in Elvis’ house are Letters of Authenticity from two collectors who previously owned the pair of knights. That wouldn’t be enough for me, but somebody paid $1,600 for them.

 

Decorative Stone Egg:

Stone Egg from Elvis Presley's Graceland

Here’s another cute item that’s a little light on verification. The auction website says, “The orange, brown and white oval stone is believed to have been displayed in the living room in Graceland.” Believed! Just a Letter of Authenticity from one of the two collectors mentioned above with the knights. Still, it was worth $625 to somebody.

 

Gibson Dove Guitar:

Elvis Presley Gibson Dove Guitar

Without question, this was the star of the show. I can’t tell the story of this guitar any better than the auction website did, so here it is:

Gibson Dove Guitar Text

The pre-auction estimate was $200-300,000, but the bidding beat that and topped out at $334,000. The guitar has a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, custom ebony finish with Kanpo decal, and gold-plated tuners. The most distinctive feature is the 21-fret fingerboard with customized Elvis Presley pearlized inlay.

Elvis Playing Gibson Custom Guitar Dove

If you look back at the first picture of the guitar, you can see pearlized dove’s heads on either side of the bridge, thus the model name Gibson Dove.

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley Brown Leather Jacket

This three-quarter length brown leather jacket went for $5,120. It would have certainly gone for more money if it had been accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing it. The auction website says Elvis gave the coat to Memphis Mafia member Dave Hebler when he helped Elvis clean out his closet. Hebler should have photographed Elvis wearing it before taking possession.

 

Baby Browning Semi-automatic Pistol:

Elvis Baby Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol

This Belgium–made pistol is only 6.35mm caliber, and has a two-inch barrel, so, the Baby Browning name is a good choice. According to the auction website, Elvis carried this gun in his boot during his Las Vegas engagements. It exceeded the pre-auction estimate by a lot, topping out at $7,680.

 

Personalized Sunglasses:

Elvis Presley's Personalized Sunglasses

It seems like a pair of Elvis sunglasses shows up at just about every auction. He certainly did have a bunch of them made over the years. These are a bit different than most because they are chrome, not gold, and I don’t remember seeing this treatment before. Perhaps that (plus the accompanying photo of him wearing them) is why they sold so well, bringing in $28,000.

Elvis Preslet Personalized Sunglasses - Wearing

 

Can of Suede Spray:

Elvis Presley Used Suede Spray

We will end this post with four examples of what fans on a budget will pay for Elvis memorabilia. The four items all were originally obtained from Nancy Rooks, the maid and cook at Graceland from 1967 until Elvis’ death. According to her LOA, Elvis used this spray can. Somebody was willing to pay $256 for something that Elvis actually touched.

 

Ballpoint Pen:

Elvis Presley Used Pen

The website says Elvis gave the pen to Nancy Rooks when it ran out of ink. It also brought $256.

 

Hawaiian Lei:

Elvis Presley Hawaiian Lei

Elvis brought this lei made of artificial flowers back from one of his trips to Hawaii and gave it to Nancy Rooks. The auction house estimated it would go for $6-800, but nobody else thought it was worth that.

 

The Worst Elvis Memorabilia Ever:

Elvis Presley Jockey Underwear

Yes, it’s true. People will pay good money for Elvis’ underwear. The action website says they were a gift from Elvis’ Aunt Delta, and they are size 36. Note that ELVIS is written on the waistband, presumably so they don’t get mixed up with anybody else’s. I’m just guessing, but I can’t imagine Elvis allowing the underwear of any other male to be washed with his. Anyway, it sold for $2,560.

 

The Julien’s Rock Icon Auction contained nine Elvis rings and a bunch of autographed items. We will look at all them all at a later date,

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Virtuoso of Hootchy-Kootchy

Elvis Shaking Those Hips on Milton Berle Show

Last week the Graceland Blog celebrated the 60th anniversary of Elvis’ earth-shaking second performance on the Milton Berle Show. It was a good article with lots of photos, but there is much of the story they barely touched on.

Graceland Blog - Elvis on the Milton Berle Show
As the Graceland Blog explains, by 1956 standards, Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” on the show was scandalous. Actually, Elvis’ leg shaking and hip thrusts freaked out the entire country. The next day, a huge national backlash started, and Elvis rocketed into the entertainment stratosphere. Some day it might be fun to chronicle the worst of the press attacks on Elvis, but for now let’s start with what the New York Times had to say.

New York Times Review of Elvis on Milton Berle Show
Jack Gould was the king of TV critics during his 35-year career with the New York Times. He was there when the new medium was born, and he was its most notable commentator for the next two decades. Like the rest of America, he saw Elvis’ second appearance on the Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956. The next day, Jack Gould’s pen dripped with disdain for Elvis. It’s fun to look at some of his statements, line-by-line. And now that we have the historical perspective, I will add my thoughts on them. And also mix in some photos not shown on the Graceland Blog.

 

Elvis in Colorized Pink Coat on Milton Berle Show

Pink Coat Colored Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on the Milton Berle Show

 

“Elvis Presley is currently the entertainment world’s most astonishing figure.”

So far, so good, but Mr. Gould gets no special credit for this statement. Whether people liked or disliked Elvis in early June, 1956, nobody disputed he was the most astonishing figure in show biz.

Milton Berle and Elvis

Milton Berle and Elvis

 

“Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability.”

This is the first indication that Mr. Gould just didn’t ‘get’ Elvis. And, we can safely assume Mr. Gould never went out and bought any Elvis records.

Elvis Combing Hair Backstage at the Milton Berle Show

Elvis Combing Hair Backstage at the Milton Berle Show

 

“His specialty is rhythm songs, which he renders in an undistinguished whine.”

Oh, come on. Elvis’ whine is very distinguished.

 

Elvis during Rehearsal for a Skit on the Milton Berle Show

Elvis during Rehearsal for a Skit on the Milton Berle Show

 

“His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub.”

Say what??? Certainly not the simplest and clearest metaphor Mr. Gould ever wrote. A less erudite blog writer might say “like a kid singing in the shower.

Elvis Singing in a Shower

 

“For the ear, he is an unutterable bore…”

You want boring? How about “stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub”? Maybe Elvis was a bore to Jack Gould, but he could make the girls cry at his concerts. Elvis was anything but boring to them.

 

Elvis and Milton Berle walking on his Ankles

Milton Berle Doing His Ankle Walk Routine

 

“From watching Mr. Presley, it is wholly evident that his skill lies in another direction. He is a rock-and-roll variation on one of the most standard acts in show business: the virtuoso of the hootchy-kootchy. His specialty is an accented movement of the body… identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway.”

Berlesque Queen

At the end of “Hound Dog” on the Berle Show, Elvis sure did do some classic bump-and-grind. Mr. Gould’s loquacious pontification took a long while to get to Elvis’ moves, but, you will note, he didn’t say he disliked them.

 

Blue Coat Colorized Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on Milton Berle Show

Blue Coat Colorized Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on Milton Berle Show

 

“The gyration never had anything to do with the world of popular music and still doesn’t.”

Boy, did Mr. Gould get that one wrong. It’s a good thing he passed away before music videos showed up on MTV. He’d probably roll over in his grave if he saw one now. Today’s popular music is synonymous with sensual gyrations.

 

Elvis and the Band on Milton Berle Show

Elvis and the Band on Milton Berle Show

 

Jack Gould was a middle-aged man when he watched Elvis perform on TV on June 5, 1956, so he can be excused for ‘not getting it.’ But millions of American teenagers saw the show and got it. Got it big time. Elvis’ career shot into overdrive, and all of the bad press from TV critics and others could not stop it.

 

Shots of Elvis on Milton Berle Show

 

In fairness, Jack Gould did not accuse Elvis of poisoning the minds of America’s teenagers as did many other entertainment critics, clergymen, disk jockeys, and high school administrators. He didn’t rant that Elvis would create a nation of juvenile delinquents. If you read the paragraph where he called Elvis a virtuoso of hootchy kootchy, it almost sounds like he enjoyed watching those Elvis moves that enraged so many others.

Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” on the June 5, 1956 Milton Berle Show has become one of the most iconic events in Elvis’ career.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Muhammad Ali and Elvis

Ali wearing the robe that Elvis gave him. March 31 1974

Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, died June 3 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. at age 74.

The above photo was taken in a boxing ring on March 31, 1974. Notice anything familiar about the rhinestone and jewel design? Looks like what Elvis had on several of his jumpsuits, doesn’t it? Well, it should. Elvis gave it to him the year before.

 

Elvis with Ali in his Suite at the Las Vegas Hilton 1973

Here they are in Ali’s suite in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1973. It is reported that Elvis gave the robe to him on February 14, 1973 shortly before Ali’s fight with Joe Bugner. Ali did not wear it at the Las Vegas Convention Center that night, but he won the fight.

 

People's Choice Robe Elvis Gave to Mohammed Ali

Here is the back view of the robe. According to some sources, Elvis had directed it to say People’s Champion, but somebody screwed up and did People’s Choice. Naturally, Elvis was very upset about the mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it. The robe cost a reported $3,000, and Ali was thrilled to receive it.

He did wear it to the ring for his next fight on March 31, 1973 against Ken Norton. Ali lost the fight, which made him decide the robe was bad luck, and he never wore it again. The 1974 photo above was a staged shot.

 

Mohammod Ali wearing and holding picture of robe Elvis gave him

So was this one taken at the Hard Rock Café in 1988.

 

Glove Muhammad Ali gave to Elvis

Here is another example of the Elvis Presley/Muhammad friendship: Elvis. You are the Greatest Fan. Muhammad Ali. Peace 1973.

 

Muhammad Ali and Elvis

 

“Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d want to meet.”

 

Muhammad Ali BackStage Pass to an Elvis Concert

Although I cannot find anything to corroborate it, it seems likely Ali used this backstage pass at an Elvis concert in Las Vegas.

 

Ali, Parker, and Vernon

It looks like Vernon and Col. Parker got to spend some time with Muhammad Ali as well.

 

Muhammad Ali and Jack Snoden in the Memorial Garden 1984

Muhammad Ali came to Graceland in 1984 and paid his respect Elvis at the Meditation Garden.

 

“People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley.”

 

Robe Elvis gave to Ali on display at the Ali Center, Louisville KY

The robe Elvis gave Muhammad Ali is now on display in the Ali Center in Louisville, KY.

 

Elvis and Ali in boxing pose

At one point, Elvis and Ali were the two most recognizable human beings on the planet. Even in death, they may still be.

 “I was the Elvis of boxing.”

 

We’ll miss you Muhammad Ali.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis T-Shirt Review — Summer 2016

How an Elvis T-shirt should be worn

The Memorial Day Weekend is here, the official start of summer. Time for ElvisBlog to present its seventh annual Elvis T-Shirt Review. ShopElvis.com obliged by offering a Memorial Day Savings event, including a Spring Cleaning Clearance of some items they would like to move.

So the 2016 T-Shirt Review will have two parts. First, my picks for the best of the new shirts added this year. And, second, a look at the clearance shirts worthy of being snapped up.

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Elvis Karate:

Elvis Karate T-Shirt

There have been a few Elvis T-Shirts with a karate theme over the years, but I like this one the best. This picture doesn’t show the image very well, but this blow-up does.

Elvis Karate Blow-Up

I like the look on Elvis’ face, the concentration in his blue eyes. And the ying-yang symbol and the way they did his name with a pseudo-oriental look is an eye-catcher. This shirt goes for $24.99, and is also available in youth sizes for $2 less.

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Elvis Now Playing:

Elvis Now Playing T-Shirt 34.99

I have always favored double-sided T-Shirts, and this is a good one. I wish the single Elvis image on the back was the one on the front, but oh, well. You do pay extra for double-sided shirts, and this one goes for 34.99.

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Elvis Simple Face Longsleeve:

Elvis Simple Face Longsleeve Shirt 29.99

Long-sleeve T-Shirts are another personal favorite of mine, but the artwork on this one is what really appealed to me.

Elvis Simple Face Blow up

The lines and shadowing are so clean and minimal, but this image of Elvis’ face really jumps out from the black background. A very good deal at $29.99.

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Elvis It’s Good to be King:

Elvis It's Good to be King 24.99

Someone looking at this from a distance might not be able to make out the theme, but close-up the image is definitely young Elvis. Covering the shirt with Elvis signatures is a clever idea, and we can hope that continues around to the back side. $24.99.

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Elvis is King Ladies Scroop Neck:

Elvis is King Ladies Scroop Neck T-Shirt

I’ve never liked T-Shirts with the image of posters, album covers, or movie placards on them. But the poster here is on a black background so it blends into the rest of the shirt. And it has kind of a retro look. However, the main reason it made the select list is that it costs only $14.99. As far as I can tell, this is a new arrival, not a clearance item. Also, I don’t know ladies fashion terms, but I’m pretty sure they meant scoop neck, not scroop neck.

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Elvigyle T-Shirt:

Elvigyle Elvis T-Shirt 24.99

I loved this T-Shirt the second I first saw it. I thought it was a tie-dye. But it is an argyle pattern in two shades of light blue. So, of course that strange name makes sense: Elvis Argyle = Elvigyle. For you fans who aren’t familiar with Elvis’ preference for argyle socks as a young man, check out this picture.

Elvis Wearing Argyle Socks

Fortunately, the image on the T-Shirt is Elvis wearing the black leather outfit on the ’68 Comeback Special. I like that it is muted, I like the vine design curling around it, and I even like the big E in an ornate font. Well worth $24.99.
Before looking at the clearance items, I would like to mention something positive about the new batch of Elvis T-Shirts from ShopElvis.com. The word Graceland does not appear on any of them. Nor are any pictures of it blended into the backgrounds. These are all just Elvis T-Shirts, and I like that. I have been getting frustrated with the offerings from ShopGraceland.com. It seems like they were pushing Graceland as much as Elvis. I still don’t know why we have both online Elvis vendors. If anybody knows, please let me know in Comments.

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Elvis Love Me Tender Woman’s T-Shirt:

Elvis Love Me Tender Women's - X-small - orir 64.99

You might wonder, like I did, why this nice looking T-Shirt is marked down so much. The answer is that the only size left is X-small. So, if you’re a tiny Elvis fan, this is a deal for you. Or, if you have a six-year-old daughter that you’d like to have share your love for Elvis, snap up one of these.

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35th Anniversary Ladies T-Shirt:

Elvis 35th Anniversary Ladiis T-Shirt - Medium -originally 24.99

This one has been marked down twice since 2012– from $24.99 to $14.00 to $4.97. There’s nothing special about the design, but it does come in size medium, so it might work for the Elvis fan on a budget.

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Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil Women’s T-Shirt:

Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil Women's - Small and Medium - Orig 29.99

This one is colorful, available in small and medium, and originally went for $29.99. You need to see a blow up of the artwork to appreciate it.

Elvis Cirque du Soleil Blow UP

To me, it looks like Elvis is surfing through space on a comet trail of gold records. If you don’t mind that little reference to the defunct Viva Elvis show at the bottom, this is a pretty good deal.

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Elvis Youth Studio Session:

Elvis Youth Studio Session Fleece Al Wertheimer, Youth small and Youth Large, Orig 39.99

If you have a child who shares your passion for Elvis, this is a steal. Long sleeves, great Alfred Wertheimer photo, originally $39.99. It is available in youth large, so if you are a ladies small, this just might fit you. Snap it up.

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Rock and Roll Racerback Tank:

Elvis Rock n Roll Tank - Extra Small - originally 120

Believe it or not, this tank top originally sold for $120. Created by fashion designer Susan Fixel, it featured original artwork by Joe Petruccio and hand-applied crystals. Described as “Light and airy with a chic, edgy feel.” It even has two side-panel pockets. The only size left is X-small, so they obviously moved the larger sizes at the big ticket prices. Treat you little daughter to this fashion statement Elvis tank top.

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Alfred Wertheimer T-Shirt:

Elvis Al Wertheimer T-Shirt - all sizes

See anything strange about this mark-down? They corrected it a couple of days later, but not before I snapped this screen grab. Now $19.99.

 

 

Elvis and American Flag on Memorial Day

Have A Great Memorial Day

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Elvis – The King of Celebrity Hair Auctions

Elvis Heads Celebrity Hair Auction Market

Did you know there are folks who collect celebrity hair? I guess it’s a popular enough activity to motivate Forbes magazine researchers to find the highest prices paid for valuable hair at auction. You probably can’t read the results in red above, so here is the ranking, including the years when the auctions occurred.

Elvis Presley             $115,000     2002
Che Guervara           $100,000     2007
Mozart                       $53,000      2015
Justin Bieber             $40,668      2014
Abraham Lincoln       $38,837      2012
Willie Nelson             $37,000      2014
John Lennon             $35,000      2016
Napoleon                  $13,000      2010

I can’t conceive how Justin Bieber hair would sell for more than Abraham Lincoln or Napoleon. He’s a young man with many more haircuts to come in his life. Lincoln and Napoleon are long gone, so there is a limited, finite quantity of their hair for collectors. Maybe Bieber’s sale went to a rich young fan with more money than sense.

The top bid for Elvis’ hair occurred at 2am on November 17, 2002, at an on-line auction by MastroNet, a Chicago-based company. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the hair had been saved by Elvis’ personal barber Homer Gilleland.

Homer Gilleland Cutting Elvis' Hair

Homer Gilleland Cutting Elvis’ Hair

 

The newspaper article referred to a “black hairball” with hundreds, if not thousands, of strands of Elvis’ hair.

Enormous Quantity of Elvis Hair

Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article:

“Gilleland, who traveled with the singer to shows, would color the King’s sandy-blond hair black, then cut it into a towel around Presley’s neck… He bundled up the towels with the hair inside and took them home. Then he put the hair into a plastic bread bag, where it stayed until Presley died in 1977. Shortly after, friends said Gilleland began selling strands of the hair at a souvenir shop across the street from Presley’s Memphis home, Graceland.

Before Gilleland died in 1995, he gave a bag of the hair to a friend, Tom Morgan. Morgan, 61, a municipal employee in Memphis, decided to sell the hair this year for his retirement.”

With a winning bid of $115,000, we can assume Mr. Morgan had a very nice retirement indeed.

 

One other thing in the Chicago Tribune article turned out to be prophetic:

“Some have speculated the hair could be resold, strand by strand, for a profit.”

Heritage July 1011 - Authentic Strands of Elvis Hair

I decided to check out the sales since 2002 for Elvis’ hair at two auction houses that sell a lot of Elvis collectibles, Julien’s and Heritage. The strands above sold for $418 at a July 2011 Heritage auction, and it came from the Homer Gilleland treasure trove of Elvis hair.

 

Here are samples of other results.

Elvis Hair Sold for $1,195 August 2010 Heritage

This went for $1,195 at an August 2010 Heritage auction.

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Elvis Hair Heritage Oct 2008 $1,782

This went for $1,782 at an October 2008 Heritage auction.

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ELVIS PRESLEY VIAL OF HAIR June 2012 Julien's $4,160

This went for $4,160 at a June 2012 Julien’s auction.

 

It should be noted that all of these offerings of Elvis hair had nicely-done, framed displays with additional photos and text to enhance them. The auction websites stated that the hair was all originally saved by Horace Gillebrand, but do not state if they came from the $115,000 “black hairball.”

There were also additional offerings of Elvis hair from his Army induction haircut at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, from haircuts while on duty in Germany, and other places. Plus, there are many other auction houses I didn’t check into. Suffice it to say, there has been a lot of Elvis hair sold in the last four decades.

 

Elvis Presley's Army Haircut at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas

Let’s finish with an interesting story about locks of Elvis’ hair. Col. Parker ordered that all of Elvis’ hair clippings from his Army induction haircut be gathered up and sent to his fan clubs. One lock ended up at the Tulsa World newspaper, and they used it in a contest. Winner Sybil Coughman completed this sentence “I think the US Army can make the best use of Elvis by…

… letting him give hip exercises to the soldiers to keep them trim and in good shape like he is.”

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Celebrating Elvis on National Limerick Day

National-Limerick-Day-May-12

There is no end to the special days, weeks, or months that celebrate something. They are all marked on the National Day Calendar at:

 http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/

For some reason, May 12 is observed annually as National Limerick Day. Of course, Elvis has been the subject of limericks, just like he has been in every other form of expression. Here are a few Elvis limericks I’ve collected.

 

Elvis Presley would answer his calling
With the charm of his smile and his drawling
Both his presence and voice
Made promoters rejoice
Though some thought his gyrations appalling

Elvis Doing his Moves

 

 

There once was a man named Elvis
Who had a gyrating pelvis
He moved it every which way
Dynamic was its swiveling display
His pelvic moves sent women into a groove

(Editor’s Note:  I know his violates the limerick rule that the 5th line rhymes with the 1st and 2nd, but it’s a good excuse to show this very cool photo.)

Girls Reaching for Elvis

A man that we knew as The King
Moved the world with the way he would sing
He had roots in the South
And the sounds from his mouth
Would provide him a lot of ka-ching

Elvis and Handfuls of Money

 

He was born in northeast Mississippi
Where moonshine is drank when it’s nippy
Where much gospel is sung
As the church bells are rung
He was always polite, never lippy

Elvis' Lip Snarl

 

 

The boy from Memphis could sing,
Soon girls called him “The King.”
He died too young,
The last song was sung,
But the fans kept doing their thing.

Candlelight Vigil for Elvis

 

His recording debut ‘That’s All Right’
Turned him in to a star overnight
In July ‘54
With his foot in the door
His career was about to take flight

That's Alright, Mama

 

 

Elvis made a lot of dough,
Didn’t keep much of it though.
Colonel Parker’s
50% marker
Came off the top, you know.

Col. Parker and Elvis

 

 

So with fame he was suddenly rife
Then the army came in to his life
He completed his hitch
Putting off getting rich
And he made Miss Priscilla his wife

Elvis with priscilla at Release from Army

 

Later on several movies he made
And for that he was handsomely paid
Though each picture was crap
With less substance than pap
Off the set he would often get laid

Elvis and Two Babes

 

 

Elvis drove a large, bright, pink Caddy.
Popping pills and smoking a fatty.
Wearing suits that were white,
He shot his TV one night.
He was the original pimp daddy

Elvis Pimp Daddy

 

There once was a singer named Elvis
Who sure could shake his pelvis.
This has to end.
We can’t pretend,
That some other word rhymes with Elvis.

Elvis in Perspective

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Graceland Milestone – Elvis Humor at Graceland

Graceland Plaque

Elvis Presley Enterprises never misses a chance to celebrate a new milestone relating to Elvis.  For example, the 50th anniversary of the release of his first hit, “That’s All Right, Mama” in 2004.

EPE also marks milestones involving Graceland.  On May 3rd, they announced that Graceland officially welcomed its 20 millionth paid visitor since opening to the public on June 7, 1982.

Graceland Celebrates 20 Million Visitors

 

So, EPE is now giving us fans a chance to celebrate with 20 days of events.  Until May 22, you can sign up for a giveaway:

Graceland 20 Million Fan Giveaway

There will be winners every day, but the grand prize is a getaway to Memphis including a private tour of Graceland, a three-night stay at the new Guest House at Graceland, tickets to other Memphis music attractions, and the Elvis Presley limited-edition 60-CD box set.  Click here to enter.

 

Graceland Fan Mosaic

You don’t win any prize with this one, but if you submit a photo of yourself it may end up in a mosaic photo of Graceland.  They now have an app where you can locate your photo in it.  Of course, you will be encouraged to buy a copy of the final photo, but no price has been listed yet.

 

I like to tie an ElvisBlog post in with these Elvis milestone events, but celebrating Graceland is a little harder.  I have a great file of photos, but I want to use the best ones next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ purchase of the mansion and fourteen acres.  EPE hasn’t announced a celebration yet, but you can bet there’s one coming.

 

Elvis Humor

Then I discovered Elvis’ Humor, a book of 290 humorous Elvis anecdotes, divided into distinct categories.  Like the three in the sub-title, girls, guns, and guitars, and dozens more… including Graceland.  When I saw that, it registered on me that stories of Elvis antics at Graceland would make a great blog post to join the 20 million visitors celebration.  I contacted the book’s author, Bo Keeley, and asked for his permission to use a few, and he kindly said “yes.”

 

So here are five excerpts from Elvis’ Humor.  Bo Keeley proceeds each story with a little background information and follows with his original source book, the author, and the page number where it appears.

 

Looking Up

Elvis flails fins on the movie poster of the 1967 musical comedy ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’. He plays Lieutenant Ted Jackson who is a former U.S. Navy frogman who divides his breaths between twin careers as a deep sea diver and nightclub singer. His actual background for the role was swimming and waterskiing as a teen, and many movie sets on ocean beaches. Graceland also had a kidney-shaped pool on a cut-stone patio. In the summer of 1973, recalling his fantasy frogman days, E threw a scuba party on the Graceland patio…

  Swimming Pool at Graceland

Elvis got into snorkeling and scuba diving. He rented equipment for everyone. Of course there was nowhere to go snorkeling around Memphis so Elvis just invited a lot of people over and we used Graceland pool. The whole entourage got involved and, as usual, there was a lot of local talent, pretty young girls in scanty bathing suits, all vying for Elvis’s attention.

Elvis in Scuba Gear

When Elvis got in the water so did everyone else, but the Graceland pool wasn’t that big. It looked kind of like an underwater fight scene from a James Bond movie with all of them trying to navigate around in there. Elvis just like to sit at the bottom of the pool and watch the girls swimming above him.

– Billy Stanley, Elvis, My Brother, 288

 

Switcheroo

The Presley family moved to Graceland in the spring of 1957, between ‘Loving You’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’. One of the reasons Elvis bought the 14-acres estate is because his earlier neighbors found, despite the perks of having a famous celebrity living nearby, the constant gathering of fans and journalists was a nuisance. At the time, the property was located several miles beyond the Memphis main urbane area that, in later years, would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties. The King immediately spent in excess of $500,000 for renovations, including the $35,000 wall around every inch of the property, and musical gates. After returning from Hollywood, Las Vegas, or a concert tour, his favorite getaway place was back home…

The Gate at Graceland

Fans were always down at the front gate at Graceland. At night they gathered to watch the lights go on and off in the different rooms.

Some nights, Elvis would call out to the barn and have Mike McGregor saddle up Rising Sun so he could ride down to the gate and sign autographs and talk.  He felt safer on a horse.

One night he called down to the gate. His uncle Harold Lloyd was on duty down there.

“Open the gate,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come inside.”

“Come inside?” Harold echoed.

“Just hold on,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come on inside, then shut the gate after then and lock it.”

“Lock ‘em inside?” Harold echoed again.

“That’s right,” Elvis said.

So Harold opened the gate and the fans came on inside.  They looked up at the mansion, expecting to see Elvis coming out the front door.

A car honked behind them in the street.

They turned around.  It was Elvis, driving along the boulevard, smiling and waving at them.

They all ran back to the gate.  It was shut.  Elvis drove on out of sight.

They didn’t know what to do.

Then they saw Elvis’ car swing in the back gate.  Elvis got out and walked down the winding driveway toward them.  They were so stunned they didn’t move.

They dissolved when he walked in among them and smiled.

“Hi, gang.”

– Charlie Hodge, Me ‘n Elvis, 139

 

 

Jungle Room

In the mid-1960s, Presley enlarged the house to create a den that came to be called the Jungle Room. It was originally a screened in back patio that sat behind the kitchen, which he incorporated into the main house complete with a waterfall of cut stone on the far wall. It leaked and flooded, which created a steamy atmosphere in the summer in the Jungle Room full of exotic plants, animal prints, and floor-to-ceiling shag carpet in an African motif.  One day in 1968, Elvis heard Vernon laughing and went downstairs to investigate. Vernon snickered that he had just stopped by a furniture store to have a look at a new style of home furnishing. It was hilarious, he said, and belonged in a jungle. The enormous price tag made him laugh too. Why would anyone spend that kind of money to live in a jungle?…

Rock Waterfall in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis was inspired. He called the store and ordered the entire set. He spent much more than he would have normally dared, but it would be worth it to see the expression on his father’s face.  The furniture was delivered the next day while Vernon was out of the house.  Elvis and his men set the furniture up in the downstairs den. When everything was in place, Elvis found that he actually liked the ambiance the furniture gave the room.  He felt calm and at ease. The oversized animal-print chairs were set low and wide; the coffee table was a slab of giant cypress tree heavily lacquered with polyurethane.

Cypress Plank Table in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis installed a rock waterfall fountain which dripped water from a pump on top, and even the lamps had an African motif.  Elvis could not express how he felt in that room, but whatever it was, he liked it.

When Vernon returned to the house, Elvis called him downstairs.  The younger Presley almost dropped to the floor with laughter at the sight of his father’s amazed face. Elvis explained that the room had originally been intended as a gag, but now he liked it and wanted to leave it as it was.

–  Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, 43

 

Golf Cart Plunge

Elvis Presley’s response to difficulty, anxiety, nuisance, insult, and troubles was often humor. One day in the summer of ’75, the Stanley brothers were fooling around at the pool and wouldn’t stop. Elvis was trying to read at the poolside and they kept splashing him. He growled that if they didn’t’ stop… the splashing continued…

He walked off in a huff and we forgot about it. We were still in the pool about half an hour later when we saw Elvis coming over the hill in the golf cart.  He stopped, stood up, and yelled for us to get out of the pool.  We just yelled, splashed, and taunted him.

Elvis on Golf Cart

So he came driving straight toward the pool with 300-pound Lamar Fike sitting next to him on the cart.  We thought he was just trying to scare us but he came busting up and drove right into the pool.  Of course we scattered, but Lamar had trouble getting out of the cart.  So we all jumped back in to make sure he made it to the surface.  Vernon came out yelling at everyone to get out.  The cart was electric powered by batteries, and he was afraid we’d all get electrocuted.  Vernon made us drain the pool before pulling the cart out.

–  Billy Stanley, Elvis My Brother, 288

 

 

Elvis' Humor - Front and Back Covers

My thanks go out to Bo Keeley for providing these humorous Elvis stories.  If you would like to get a copy pf Elvis’ Humor, click here.

 

 

©  2016    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

The Night Bruce Springsteen Climbed the Graceland Wall

Bruce Springsteen Getting Readto Jump Elvis Presley's Graceland Wall

Today is the 40th anniversary of the night Bruce Springsteen tried to climb over the Graceland wall and see Elvis. It is an interesting story.

It has been often written that seven-year-old Springsteen watched Elvis on the Ed Sullivan Show and was moved to pursue a career in music. In fact, he has been quoted saying:

“…it was like he came along and whispered some dream in everybody’s ear, and somehow we all dreamed it.”

Elvis and Young Bruce Springsteen

Photoshopped Picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen Early in Their Careers


On April 29, 1976, Bruce Springsteen performed in concert in Memphis. It was called his “Born To Run Tour,” named after his first Top 40 hit and his first hit album that had reached # 3. After the four-hour concert ended, Springsteen was still wired, so he and E Street Band guitar player Steve Van Zandt decided to visit to Graceland. They took a cab, and at 3am on April 30 they arrived at the gate which was locked.

But Springsteen saw lights blazing inside the mansion, so he climbed the wall and ran to Graceland’s front door. Just as he was about to ring the doorbell, he was intercepted by security. Explaining his newfound rock fame and about recently being on the covers of both Time and Newsweek, Springsteen cajoled and begged to be let inside. Instead, the unimpressed guards told him that Elvis was out of town (true – on tour in Lake Tahoe) and escorted him promptly off the premises.

“Later on, I used to wonder what I would have said if I had knocked on the door and if Elvis had come to the door.”

 

Photoshopped picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen early in Their Careers

This is the cover of Springsteen’s Born To Run album. I have drawn a line to point out something on his guitar strap. It is a fan club button from the King’s Court Fan Club of NYC.

 

Elvis Button Bruce Springsteen wore on Born to Run Cover

Visual proof that Springsteen was still a big Elvis fan twenty years after that first Elvis epiphany.

 

Alt Photo During Born to Run Photo Session

Another picture taken at the album cover photo shoot

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“Elvis is my religion. But for him, I’d be selling encyclopedias right now.”

Springsteen performed a number of Elvis songs in concerts over the years. You may want to click on these:

Jailhouse Rock – 2009 Giants Stadium – Live sound but not video. Stock photos

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All Shook Up – 2009 The Spectrum, Philadelphia — Full song video in color, guy gets up on stage in white jumpsuit and sings.

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Viva Las Vegas — 2002 – Live video, poor sound

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Here are two more Bruce Springsteen quotes talking about Elvis:

“That Elvis, man, he is all there is. There ain’t no more. Everything starts and ends with him. He wrote the book.”

“I remember later when a friend of mine called to tell me that he’d died. It was so hard to understand how somebody whose music came in and took away so many people’s loneliness and gave so many people a reason and a sense of all the possibilities of living could have in the end died so tragically.”

 

Pensive Bruce Springsteen wearing Elvis Button

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Shop.Graceland.com — Picks and Pans

Mark-Downs on Shop Graceland

Just about every time you log on to Graceland.com/news, you don’t have to scroll down very far to find an announcement for some kind of sale going on at Shop Graceland. I clicked on this one because I wanted to see what else was being marked down to $14.99. Unfortunately, these were the only two items.

I might have been interested in the T-shirt if it had said “WILD about ELVIS.” You have to look really close at the fine print on this shirt to see his name. Under the large–font Graceland it says The Home of Elvis Presley. What’s the deal with so much merchandise coming out with the emphasis on Graceland and not Elvis?

I decided to scroll through the Shop Graceland offerings to see what other items generated a reaction.

 

Graceland Black and White Plaid Lounge Pants

Here’s a worse example of the increased emphasis on Graceland. These plaid lounge pants don’t bother with any mention of Elvis. Do they really think the fans would buy more of these saying Graceland rather than Elvis Presley? I wouldn’t, especially at $32.99.

 

Elvis Presley TCB Scatter Cap

Now, this is something I like. The TCB/Lightning Bolt symbol is showing up on a lot of Elvis merchandise. I actually own the original version of this baseball cap. It doesn’t have the mosaic of little TCBs across the front, or the Elvis Presley signature on the side. I wear my cap all the time, and I love it when someone sees the TCB and says, “You’re an Elvis fan, huh.” Realizing that they know what it means, I know I have encountered a kindred spirit, and conversation follows easily. When I finally wear out my cap, I’ll be glad to shell out $17.99 for this new model.

 

Elvis Silhouette Bead Charm

Here’s something I hated the first time I saw it. It struck me as the worst Elvis silhouette ever, especially the hands and feet. It reminded me of an alien creature.

 

Space Creature

Then, I read the fine print. The photo was a huge blow up of a charm for a bracelet.

Lowell Hays Gold Plated Elvis Charm Bracelet

Viewed at its actual size, you hardly notice that Elvis’ head is replaced with a loop. The bracelet goes for $99, or you can buy all the charms (and additional designs) separately for your own bracelet.

 

Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel Collectible Key Key Ring

Here’s something they better unload quick. Once the Heartbreak Hotel is torn down, how much demand can there be for this key charm? But, maybe if you’ve stayed there over the years, it would be worth $8.99 to get one of these mementos. One thing is the item description confuses me. They are made with simulated enamel. What the heck is that?

 

Graceland Women's Burnout Pullover Hoodie

Here’s another item that mentions only Graceland. Actually, this thing is so ugly I’m glad it doesn’t mention Elvis. The item description talks about the burnout print, slight distressing, and raw edges like that is something good. Really? No wonder the price on this pullover hoodie has been dropped from $25 to $20.

 

Heart Elvis Presley Women's Black and White Plaid Pants

I like these lounge pants much more than the Graceland style earlier. Somehow this image reminds me of this screen grab from the kitchen dance scene in Girls, Girls, Girls.

Elvis Dancing in Girls, Girls, Girls

 

Here’s something I think would look cool on the female Elvis fans. I’m not familiar with the name of the designer, Christine Alexander, but the item description says she is “the leader in embellished apparel and accessories.” And that she elevated this T-shirt from an apparel piece to a work of art.

Christine Alexander Elvis Presley Profile Women's T-Shirt

Who would mind shelling out $60 for something where “Elvis’ sultry gaze is exquisitely defined by rows of Swarovski Elements that stand out from the black background in a celestial glow.” That has to be the best pitch-line I’ve ever seen on Shop Graceland.

 

Girls Rule Youth Burnout T-Shirt

I never thought I’d see something like this from a web store selling Elvis merchandise. It is a young girl’s T-shirt, but with the A-line styling it looks like a dress. The colorful tie-dye floral design is pretty, but where’s the Elvis reference? How about removing Girls Rule and changing it to Elvis Rules and making it in sizes for women. The youth model must not be selling so well, because the price has been marked down to just $12.

 

Major Trouble Camoflauge Infant Bodysuit

I usually scroll past the few infants offerings on Shop Graceland, but this one caught my eye. Camo designed clothing for babies is a pretty bold move. But, I had to study the rest of it to realize it is a play on words. We Elvis fans know that T.R.O.U.B.L.E was an Elvis song, and we can see that the silhouette image came from a familiar photo of Elvis in his Army dress uniform. It’s kind of a stretch, but a rug-rat crawling around in this bodysuit and getting into everything could qualify as major trouble. On the other hand, if anyone thinks the whole concept is bizarre, I can see their point.

 

Elvis Kissing Guitar Love Me Tender Women's V-Neck Nightshirt

Ladies nightshirts have not been featured much on Shop Graceland, but I think they have a winner here at a price of just $26.69.  The item description says, “This classic and comfy nightshirt makes the perfect gift for the Elvis loving lady in your life.”

What female Elvis fan wouldn’t appreciate receiving something that has red heart accents and Elvis’ face on it? But I can’t help thinking the guy who gives it might prefer to see Elvis kissing Ann Margret instead of a guitar.

 

 

We covered a few T-shirts in this article, but there are many more left for the annual ElvisBlog review of Elvis T-shirts in early July.

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© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.