Jumpsuits, Jewelry, and Junk — Revisited

Over the years, I have reported on dozens of Elvis auctions.  But I went back to my early years in the archives to find one that was unique in format. Instead of covering just the stars of the show, this 2010 post also featured some items that bombed, and even some that were pulled from the auction before bidding started.


Four weeks ago, this blog discussed the upcoming auction of Elvis items presented by Gotta-Have-Rock-and-Roll.  Although I didn’t express it in print, I did wonder how it would fare in these shaky financial times.  The results are in, and, with the exception of Elvis’ jewelry and clothes, you could not call it a huge success.  Thirty-three items received no bids at all, including four out of five of the items with the highest required minimum bids.



Let’s look at some of the successes first.  In all Elvis auctions, the jumpsuits get the most media attention, but it helps when they have a famous name, or at least, a cool sounding name.  Over the years, Elvis’ designers, friends and fans have come up with tags like the Chinese Dragon, Blue Phoenix and Mexican Sundial.  The jumpsuit in this auction was called by the uninspired name of Elvis Presley’s Madison Square Garden Jumpsuit.  Yes, that is descriptive, because he did wear it for one of his four shows in New York City in June, 1972.  But, it has no zing like the King of Spades or Burning Love jumpsuits.

I did a little research to see if the suit at this last auction actually had a name, and it did – the Wheat jumpsuit.  No wonder they didn’t use that name in the auction catalog.  As you can see in the picture below, that’s a weak description of this design.

          image         image

For one thing, wheat doesn’t grow on curvy vines, but It’s doubtful anything else would better describe this design.  The pre-auction estimate for the suit was $150-200,000, and it brought in $212,000, so you could call it a success.  However, the Peacock jumpsuit, which sold last year, went for $300,000.


And just the cape from the famous American Eagle jumpsuit that Elvis wore on the Aloha from Hawaii special went for $150,000 back in 1999.


The big stars of this most recent auction were the jewelry items.  Elvis’ 14KT gold and diamond owl ring had a pre-auction estimate of $7-8,000, but it went for $40,388.  




The 14KT gold diamond and Pavé bracelet did even better.  It had the same estimate as the ring, but it pulled in $44,427.  The successful bidders on these items also get 8”x10” color photographs showing Elvis wearing the jewelry.





Another over-achiever was a black pants and shirt set that Elvis wore off stage.  This splashy casual wear brought in over $33,000, well beyond the $9-10,000 estimate.



Here is how several other items mentioned in the March 15 ElvisBlog article fared in the auction:

Estimate           Bid
Seventh Degree Black Belt Karate Card        $13,000    21,000
Graceland View-Master                                  $75              $150
Set of Sixteen Elvis Buttons                            $75             $330
Between Takes Album (the one I own)            $25              $40


So, what were the big busts, the high priced items that received no bids at all?  The highest pre-auction estimate was for Elvis’ White grand piano, but nobody thought it was worth the minimum starting bid of $500,000.  In retrospect, that does seem rather over-priced.  The same problem plagued the three Elvis oil paintings by Ralph Wolfe Cowan.  He is the artist who did the Elvis paintings in the Smithsonian and Graceland.  When he did a third Elvis portrait, it brought $45,000 at the 1999 auction in Las Vegas.  I guess he went to the well too often when he produced three more.  That may have resulted in a glut-on-the-market feeling, because no one would even pay $25,000 for them.

The other items that no one bid on probably would have sold for something less than the minimum starting bid, but auctions don’t work that way.  Among the items that couldn’t fetch a $25 bid include an Elvis pencil, several movie still photos, movie press books, and various pamphlets, folios and advertising manuals.  There were even four magazines with articles about Elvis that failed to get the modest $10 minimum.  However, the magazines with Elvis on the cover all sold well.


There were a few items pulled from the auction before bidding started.  Probably due to ownership disputes, I guess.  I would have been interested to see what these sunglasses went for.  Note the variation on the standard TCB lightning bolt design.

image    image


Here’s a strange item that got pulled —  a placard advertising Elvis’ gold Cadillac that went on tour around the country in 1959.  With Elvis away in the Army in Germany, Col. Parker found something else to promote. 



And finally, here is the item that surprised me the most.  It is a hand-written poem that Elvis composed, and it went for over $20,000.  If you don’t want your image of Elvis sullied a bit, please do not read it.



©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net


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


The Dick Clark/Elvis Phone Calls

I was so happy when I deep dived into the Archives and found this 2012 post about Elvis and Dick Clark.  You will find it fun to read these old phone conversations.


When Dick Clark died two weeks ago, one fact revealed was that he never had Elvis on American Bandstand.  This actually is not too surprising.  Until August 1957, Bandstand had been just a local show on a Philadelphia TV station.  When ABC picked it up and broadcast it nationally as American Bandstand, Elvis was already in a situation where Col. Parker refused to let Elvis appear on TV.  Parker’s reasoning was that the fans should not get free looks at Elvis on television.  If they wanted to see him, they had to go to his concerts or watch his movies.

However, Elvis was soon drafted into the Army.  Once he got shipped off to Germany, Dick Clark used his well documented business savvy and set up phone calls to Elvis.  The audio from these calls were rebroadcast on American Bandstand, and they were a good PR move for both the show and Elvis.  Here are the transcripts, with a few minor sentences deleted.

Phone Call # 1 — from Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany – February 1959

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello, Dick, How are you?

Clark: Fine, thank you.  Where on earth are you at this minute?
Elvis: The town I’m in is Freidberg, Germany; however, I live in a place called Bad Nauheim, just north of Freidberg.

Clark: Tell me a little bit about your activities.  What did you do, say, today?
Elvis: Mostly classroom work.

Clark: What are you studying?
Elvis: Map reading and then how to grease my Jeep.  Just the regular things.

Clark; Do you have time for music anymore?
Elvis: Only at night.  You see, I get off work at five o’clock in the afternoon, and I have a guitar up here in the room… I don’t want to get out of practice, if I can help it.

Clark: I should hope not.  Let me tell you some good news.  In the annual American Bandstand Popularity Poll you walked away with a couple of honors this year.  The Favorite Male Vocalist Award and the Favorite Record of 1958 Award.  The kids voted you top man all around.
Elvis: Well that’s sure tremendous, Dick.  It’s really great, boy.

Clark: Do you have any idea when you’ll be travelling back home?
Elvis: No, I don’t, Dick.  I wish. I really did know.

Clark: How about it, do you miss home?
Elvis: Oh, boy, I can’t hardly talk… I mean, I’m glad that I could come in the Army and do my part, but you’ll never know how happy I’ll be, boy, when I can return to the entertainment world, because once you get a taste of show business, there’s nothing like it.

Clark: You know it.  Elvis, thank you ever so much for talking to us.  We look forward to your return.
Elvis: Well thank you very much.  I’d just like to tell all those wonderful kids that they’ll never know how happy they made me, and I’m longing for the time I can come back out and entertain them again, travel around and make movies, records, and things like that.


Phone Call # 2 — from Elvis in Germany to Dick Clark – August 1959 (2nd Anniversary of American Bandstand)


One of Dick Clark’s questions below makes it sound like Elvis called him, but that seems improbable.  Surely, Elvis didn’t just happen to call on the 2nd anniversary of American Bandstand, so Clark’s staff probably set it up.  Plus, why would Elvis’ gold record for “A Big Hunk of Love” be in Clark’s hands before Col. Parker’s?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello Dick, how are you.

Clark: I would imagine they’ve got you kind of busy these days, don’t they?
Elvis: Oh yeah, well we’re getting’ ready for a big inspection.  A new inspection, so we’ve been workin’ pretty hard for that.

Clark: Elvis, so many of us here are interested in your activities and I think probably the big question on most people’s minds these days are when and if everything goes right, you’re out in February, what will be your plans?
Elvis: Well, as you know, I have a contract with ABC… for some television.  I don’t know what Colonel Parker has arranged… And then I have the three pictures to make; one for Mr (Hal) Wallis, and then the other two for Twentieth Century-Fox

Clark: Elvis, I’ve got some good news.  I imagine by now they’ve passed the word along to you.  With the latest RCA Victor recording out, “A Big Hunk of Love” and “My Wish Came True,” you got yourself another Gold Record to add to the collection.
Elvis: That’s great, Dick.  That sure is nice.  I was surprised to hear it, really.

Clark: I’ll tell you what.  We’re gonna show it to the folks here on American Bandstand, and then I’ll forward it down to Colonel Parker, and he can save it for you when you come back.
Elvis: Okay, that’ll be fine.

Clark: Elvis, do you have any idea of how many Gold Records you have now in your collection?
Elvis: To my knowledge, Dick…this one will make thirty-one, I think.

Clark; Boy, that is a fantastic record.  There’s no getting away from it.
Elvis: I’ll ask my daddy to go down and (laughs) and count them.

Clark: Elvis, one more quick question that might interest the gals in this country.  I know probably you don’t have much time to yourself but when you go out amongst the German people, what is the thing that strikes you as most interesting?  Are they very different than the people back home?
Elvis: The main difference is naturally the language barrier.  It’s kinda hard to talk to most of ‘em, especially older ones because a lot of ‘em don’t speak English at all and I don’t speak any German.

Clark: How do you find the reaction of young people toward you, mainly the girls,,, [Do] they go crazy for you?  Do you get along well with them?
Elvis: Yeah, I get along real well. Every day when I finish work and come in, well there’s always a crowd at the gate from all over Germany… And they bring their families.  Especially on weekends, I have a lot of visitors here from all over Germany, all over Europe in fact.  They come here and bring pictures and take pictures and everything.

Clark: You’re kind of a man torn between two careers, both of which are very, very important.  Elvis, I did want to thank you very much for calling this day.  As you probably know, this is our special anniversary day.
Elvis: Oh, well, congratulations.

Clark: And many, many thanks and we all look forward to your return.
Elvis: Thank you very much… Bye-bye, Dick


Call # 3 – From Dick Clark to Elvis in Germany, January 8, 1960 (Elvis’ 25th birthday)

As the year 1960 began, there was much speculation in the press that Elvis would soon return to the United States.  Dick Clark certainly realized that if he wanted one more phone conversation with Elvis, he’d better hurry up.  What better time than on Elvis’ birthday?

Clark: Hello, Elvis.
Elvis: Hello.

Clark: Hi.  We had no idea we could catch a-hold of you today.
Elvis: Oh, yeah, well I just came in the door, Dick.

Clark: What were you doing?
Elvis: Well, I just came in from the day’s work.  It’s about five-thirty here.

Clark: You know, Elvis, I called Colonel Tom and had words with his assistant and say, gee, do you suppose there’s any chance we could talk to Elvis on his birthday, and they seemed to think you ought to be off on maneuvers.  Have you been pretty busy?
Elvis: Yeah, we’ve been pretty busy.  I don’t go on maneuvers until the twenty-second.

Clark: Oh, I see.  What is the situation regarding your release from the army?  Do you have any word on it?
Elvis: The only thing definite, Dick, as far as the way it stands now, I leave Germany somewhere between the twentieth of February and the second of March.

Clark: When you come back, I understand you’ve got a television show with Frank Sinatra and a few movies to make.  How are you gonna squeeze ‘em all in?
Elvis: Well (laughs), I’m told Colonel Parker will have everything arranged.  I know the first picture is for Mr. Wallis.  It’s called G.I. Blues, I think.  The other two’s at Twentieth Century-Fox, and I don’t know exactly when the television show will be.  In fact, I don’t even know what’s gonna happen, really.

Clark: Elvis, what is your general feeling about doing your first television show upon your return with Frank Sinatra?  You two fellows have sort of different musical stylings.  Do you have any thoughts on that?
Elvis: Well, I really do.  I consider it an honor, really, Dick, because this man…he’s really proven himself.

Clark: He’s somewhat of a legend, I guess.
Elvis: He is, and I admire him very much, and I really am honored.

Clark: Let me ask you about your Christmas and New Year’s.  How did you celebrate the holidays?
Elvis: We had a Christmas party here.  I had a lot guys from all over the post.  I had as many of the boys here as possible at my house…try to make ‘em feel at home around Christmastime.  Then on New year’s night we had another little party.  This one was pretty nice, but it was better last year.

Clark: Elvis, I want to thank you very, very much for taking the time out from your busy schedule, to reassure you once again that we’re all awaiting your arrival back home, and on this day to wish you a happy birthday.
Elvis: Thank you very much, Dick, and I’m kinda lookin’ forward to it.  Yeah, there’s still a lot of stuff in print about my getting out early and all that stuff.

Clark: It’s not true, as far as you know, uh?
Elvis: Well it’s been in print and I had a lot of people ask me about it.  The only time I heard about it is when I read it.

Clark: Elvis, all the best.  We’ll see you on your return.
Elvis: Okay, thanks a lot, Dick, and tell everybody hello from me.



Elvis’ service in Germany officially ended on March 2, 1960.  He resumed his recording and movie careers, and never did appear on American Bandstand.  The photos above are stock images, not the actual shots taken during the Elvis/Dick Clark phone interviews for American Bandstand.


©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights

Elvis Shades… on Him… and Other Celebrities

Shades of Elvis Cover 

Are you aware of this book? It came out in 2013 as collaboration by famous celebrity photographer Christopher Ameruoso and Priscilla Presley. It’s a big coffee-table book priced at $110.95 at www.shadesofelvis.net.  I looked for a used copy on Amazon and eBay today, but couldn’t find one.

Any way, back in 2013, the concept for Shades of Elvis appealed to me, so I posted a blog about it, and a week later added a follow-up post.  After a little editing, here are both of them.


Forward by Priscilla

Priscilla had this to say about the book.

“The idea was to photograph (in classic black-and-white portraiture) artists, icons, and legends while they were wearing Elvis’ original sunglasses, which came from the Memphis archives.


Elvis Wearing Classic Shades


Talent featured in Shades of Elvis include:

Adam Lambert, Alice Cooper, Billy Gibbons( ZZ-Top), Billy Ray Cyrus, Bo Derek, Buzz Aldrin, Carmen Electra, Celine Dion, Charlie Sheen, Cher, Chuck Garric, David Arquette, David Copperfield, Def Leppard, Eddie Van Halen, Elton John, Elvira, Fran Dresher, Frances Fisher, Gene Simmons, Helen Mirren, Henry Winkler, Holly Madison, Jaclyn Smith, James Tupper, Jillian Michaels, Joe Mantegna, John Corbet, John Stamos, Johnny Depp, Jose Feliciano, Juliette Lewis, Ken Howard, Katherine Ross, Kevin Sorbo, Larry Flynt, Lionel Richie, Lita Ford, Mac Davis Martin Sheen, Meat Loaf, Michael Bubble, Michael Des Barres, Michael Madsen, Mike Tyson, Orianthi, Ozzy Osbourne, Pamela Anderson, Peter Fonda, Rick Springfield, Rob Lowe, Robert Plant, Ron Pearlman, Ronn Moss, Peter Beckett, Rudy Sarzo, Sam Elliott, Sammy Hagar, Scotty McCreery, Shawnee Smith, Snoop Dogg, Stan Lee, Steven Tyler, Steve Perry, Steve Valentine, Taryn Manning, Ted Neeley, Thomas Gibson, Tim Burton, Tom Jones, Tony Hawk, Valerie Bertinelli, Virginia Madsen, Weird Al, Willie Nelson and more.


Out of all those folks in the book, the ones I would have been most interested in seeing were the photos of Steven Tyler, Elton John, and Elvira.  Ultimately, I found Tyler’s photo on line, but not the other two.


Elton John

Elton John has worn glasses and sunglasses of every conceivable style, but Elvis’ shades would be a completely new look.


Any picture of Elvira is striking, but one wearing Elvis’ shades would be a gas. Plus, she is probably the only celebrity in the book who had an up-close and personal experience with Elvis, so it would be interesting to see what she says in the quote accompanying her photo.


Here are two celebrities wearing their Elvis shades in an advertisement for the book.

Helen Mirren and Valerie Bertinelli


Speaking of photographs, check out this one of photographer Christopher Ameruoso on the book’s From the Author /Acknowledgements page:

Notice he is holding the Elvis sunglasses in his hand and is staring intently at them. My first thought when I saw it was how similar it is to this:

ELO Album Cover

Probably just a coincidence.


And here is a concept inspired by Shades of Elvis that I posted a week later.


Last week, the new book Shades of Elvis was discussed. The shades are of course, the iconic sunglasses Elvis preferred in the Seventies. However, before he settled on that classic design, Elvis wore several different styles of sunglasses in his younger years.

 Elvis Wearing Early Sunglasses

Most of the photos shown here came off the internet with no historical context, so we’ll just has to make our best guesses. This looks like circa 1956 to me.


Elvis in Army Sunglasses

Okay, he’s in the army here, so these sunglasses were part of Elvis’ look in 1958 and 1959.


Elvis in Early Sunglasses

This one is tougher to figure out. I’m thinking post-Army, but who knows.


Elvis in Blues Brothers-looking Sunglasses

Same thing on this one. Elvis looks like one of the Blues Brothers.


Once Elvis’ sunglasses became part of his persona, he seemed to have a little fun with it. Check out some of these oversized glasses he wore on stage.


Elvis -- August 18, 1975 Vegas

This shot was taken on August 18, 1975.


Elvis Wearing Big Blue Sunglasses

Here’s a nice oversized pair with blue frames.


Elvis Wearing Big White Glasses

Uh, oh, they’re getting bigger.


Elvis Holding Giant Sunglasses

Now this is getting ridiculous.


Finally, here’s Elvis wearing a few unusual sunglasses.


Elvis on his Aspen holiday 1976

This photo was shot during Elvis’ vacation to Aspen, Colorado in 1976. Maybe he wore them snowboarding around.


Elvis Clowning Around During Filming TWTII

Here is Elvis clowning around during the filming of Elvis: That’s The Way It Is in 1970.


Elvis Sunglasses With Lisa Reflections

This is an incredibly clever Photoshopped Elvis picture. I wish I could remember where I got it so I could give proper photo credit.


© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net


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Elvis Name Artwork

I have always liked the images graphic designers have created using Elvis as the focal point.  I have a file with dozens of them in it.


But I also have a file of the artwork people have created using just Elvis’ name.  I hope you like these.






Blue Script Elvis


Colorful Elvis


Elvis Hilton Summer Festival Banner


ELVIS in Red Lights


Elvis in the 60s


Elvis Postcard


Elvis the legend


Elvis with Sihloutte


Flames Elvis


Genuine Elvis


Guitar Pick Elvis


Matinee Majesty Elvis


Multicolor Elvis


Multi-color Elvis


Oriental looking Elvis


Patriotic Elvis


Red Script Elvis


Shiney Blue Elvis


Sparkly Elvis


I hope all of you watched as much 9-11 programing as I did yesterday.  It was nice – made us feel united for a change.


©  2021    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net


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Charlie Watts Promoted DJ for Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

DJ and Charlie Watts in July 2015

DJ and Charlie Watts in July 2015


I’m a little late with this post because Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away four days ago at age 80.  It stuck in my mind that I had written about him in ElvisBlog years ago, so I did some searching.  Here’s the history that I found connecting Charlie Watts and D J Fontana.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame created the Sideman Category in 2000, and Scotty Moore was one of the first five inductees that year. The group included two drummers – but not DJ.  Many Elvis fans wondered why.

In 2003, the Hall added a third drummer.  This is when the fans of DJ Fontana started to really get upset with the selection process.  Rumblings of ”let’s get DJ into the Hall of Fame” were heard at Elvis Week and other gatherings, and on Internet chat groups.  Hundreds of letters and petitions went to the Hall extolling the praises of DJ and cheerleading for his inclusion.

In 2004, four of the world’s most famous rock drummers formally approached the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Sidemen Nominating Committee about DJ Fontana’s qualifications.  They were: 

Charlie Watts of the Rolling Stone

Ringo Starr of the Beatles

Levon Helm of the Band

Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band

In spite of this intervention by all-star drummers with Hall of Fame credentials, the selection committee ignored DJ again for five more years until he and Bill Black were inducted in 2009.


Copyright 2021    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net






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

Continuing Our Look at a Big Elvis Scrapbook

After our break for Elvis Week posts, it’s back to part 3 of my 2011 series on Elvis scrapbooks.


Did you know there is an Elvis scrapbook in the Smithsonian Institution?  Back in January 2010, the Smithsonian opened a special Elvis exhibit titled One Life: Echoes of Elvis in the National Portrait Gallery.

The scrapbook they displayed was created just after Elvis died. It was found in a warehouse in Chicago, and the fan who assembled it is unknown.  A Smithsonian spokesman stated, “The devotion with which it was collected and labeled indicates how shocked Presley’s fans must have been at his early death.”  He also said he had confirmation that there were thousands of similar Elvis scrapbooks.


They didn’t let you flip through the pages of the Smithsonian scrapbook, but we can do it with the Elvis scrapbook we’ve been looking at for the last couple of weeks.

So, let’s check out five more pages.

Page 11 has all late 50s photos.  The top one may be hard for you to figure out, but this is a photo of Elvis in the Army.  He is tying his shoes while getting dressed in his fatigues.  That’s his belt hanging over his neck.  The picture to its left is from one of the Ed Sullivan shows in 1956.

The bottom photo is obviously from Jailhouse Rock.  I like the text below the shot, because it states that many people think it was Elvis’ greatest all-around performance.  I’d put it number 2, right behind King Creole.


Page 12 has three unexciting photos of Elvis.  The right one is of Elvis leaving a concert and getting in a limo.  The driver had to sneak past the fans to get back to the hotel.

The two articles are interesting.  The top one came out just after Elvis’ death, and according to the hand-written note, it is from a Catholic newspaper in September 1977.  The article contains the usual biographical information found in every Elvis news account after he died.  But, this also talked about Elvis’ faith.  “He was a young man of good intentions, a kind of man who had spiritual yearnings and a love of Jesus Christ.”  I like how the Catholic newspaper gave Elvis a pass on his assorted discretions because he had good intentions

The bottom article is a hoot.  It appeared in a February 28, 1977, issue of Newsweek magazine, and it is not complimentary.  Here are the title and selected quotes:

Rock ‘n’ Roly-Poly Elvis

“The entertainer’s cult shows no more signs of thinning out than its hero does.”

“The King – a jowly, raunchy figure…”

Fistfights broke out in the scramble for autographed scarves that Presley flung as he sang…”

Well, even though Elvis was on the decline six months before his death, the fans still came to his shows, and they still got rowdy, just like in the early days.  Elvis still had it.


Page 13 has two photos of Elvis holding guns.  The one on with the rifle should have had the caption:  “OK, fat man, now we’re gonna rewrite that rotten contract that gives you a 50% cut.”  The one with the pistol actually has this caption: “Elvis… and his boys liked shooting guns during parties, ranging from hand guns and rifles to Browning Automatic Rifles.”   Well, it’s a good thing there were never any drugs or alcohol at those parties.

The bottom section is an ad for a set of three Elvis eight-track tapes.  Sign of the times.


Page 14 has two color pictures of Elvis in jumpsuits.  Looks like old Elvis could still put a charge in the fans, although he’s got quite a gut in the smaller picture to the right.  I didn’t know Elvis threw pink scarves to the fans, but what else could he be holding?  Definitely doesn’t look like a bra or panties.

The bottom photos show younger Elvis with an unidentified woman, and a shot taken in Hawaii in 1972.


Page 15 is the third large color photo of Priscilla, but with cute little Lisa Marie in it, too.  Lisa looks to be about four-years-old.  If so, that would put the date around February, 1972, the month Priscilla left Elvis.  Based on all the pictures of Priscilla I have seen, I would say that whole breaking-up period was the least photographed time in her life.  So, this is a rare picture.  Priscilla would have been twenty-seven then, and I’ve decided she was at her peak of beauty in these scrapbook pictures.  Too bad they are all so badly aged and discolored.


©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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


We Still Miss You, Elvis

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 3

This is the last post in my trilogy of Elvis Week 2007 memories.  I have added some photos that weren’t in there originally. 

Elvis Week has changed significantly with the Graceland Guest House, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and the Graceland Soundstage affording new experiences. But, I’ll tell you, even without them, we had a ball back in 2007.


More Stories from Elvis Week 2007

If you were willing to allocate a bunch of time and money for Elvis Week, you would come back from Memphis with one terrific experience. Over the course of ten days, there was a wonderful array of Elvis stuff for you to do and see, and most people tried to cram in several every day.

Good for them. I didn’t get to do many, but what I did was a super intense Elvis experience, so I’m happy. And, I did pick up a few stories that will be fun to pass on.

While talking with Millie Kirkham backstage, I asked her about once wearing a mini-skirt on stage with Elvis, and she brightened up and got very talkative. Here’s the story. Back in 1970, Elvis, along with the TCB Band, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations and Millie traveled to Las Vegas for the filming of Elvis, That’s The Way It Is. Millie went to one of the better clothing stores on the strip and bought an evening gown to wear during the concert filming. When everybody showed up, Millie saw the Sweet Inspirations were all wearing mini-skirts. Millie thought she would look out of sync with them, so she hurried out and bought a mini-skirt.

In the film, they show Elvis and everybody walking briskly from backstage toward the International Hotel concert stage. The clip lasts a few seconds, and you can clearly see Millie moving along on in the group. The mini-shirt is plainly visible.

Millie says she didn’t have mini-skirt legs, and she cringes every time she sees that footage. What really bugs her is that so many new Elvis DVDs have come out in the past twenty years, and they all seem to include that clip.

Another story is about a rumor that floated around the mezzanine level of the Peabody Hotel. Two days before the finals of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the word was that Shawn Klush already had it wrapped up. One reason offered was that he was already signed up to perform on The Elvis Cruise in September. But the big reason was supposed to be that Shawn had done the Elvis part in the filmed helicopter trip that would be the lead-in for Elvis, The 30th Anniversary Concert.

Well, it turned out that Shawn Klush was crowned the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. I don’t have a clue if there is anything to the rumor, and I don’t care. I were a judge, he’d get my vote. Shawn Klush is a terrific talent and the ideal package of Elvis looks, voice and moves. I don’t know what Darwin Lamm paid him this year to perform in his Spirit of The King concerts, but he’ll never get Shawn for that price again.

If you went to Scotty Moore’s tribute concert, The Last Man Standing, you were treated to a fine vocal performance by Billy Swan. Billy is good. He was very approachable, and autographed my mint-condition 45 record of his hit “I Can Help.” He also gave me a copy of his 1990 CD, Billy Swan’s Best. It is excellent, and I just love his cover of “Don’t Be Cruel.” Billy does it real slow, and it’s like a different song.

Billy has done this sort of thing before — his 2000 CD of Elvis covers called Like Elvis Used To Do. That’s a strange title, considering that Billy doesn’t do any of them the way Elvis did.   “Mystery Train” gets speeded up and gets some heavy guitar work,   “Viva Las Vegas” is done as a gospel number, “Too Much” become a blues song, “That’s All Right” is done as reggae, and “Jailhouse Rock” and “King Creole” are combined into a speeded-up medley. It is a very clever and most refreshing change from the usual. If you can’t top Elvis, you might as well put a new spin on his songs. The CD is available on Amazon, and I recommend it highly.


Me as Fill-in Security Guard for Joe Esposito and DJ

When Joe Esposito came to our sales tables to sign books and photos, he quickly drew a crowd. Part of the security staff was unavailable then, so I was asked to put on a security shirt and fill in. When I showed the above photo of me  ‘guarding’ Joe and DJ to a real security man, he said one thing was wrong: “Security guys never smile.” Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

The last Elvis Week story is about Scotty Moore. There was also a rumor about him. His traveling group showed up at the sales tables with 1000 CDs autographed by everybody in The Mighty Handful band. Everybody, including Scotty Moore. Well, we wondered how Scotty could have signed all of them, considering his arthritis problem. The rumor was that he was OK with the repetitive motion of signing his name. It was the salutations, like “To Rosemary,” or “To Katherine” that were the problem. The 1000 CDs had just his name, so it sounded pretty logical.

Scotty Moore and 63 Gibson Super 400

My wife’s name is Bev, and she admonished me to bring back some autographed pictures of Scotty and DJ addressed to her. I probably broke protocol when I asked Scotty to sign for Bev. I provided an article I wrote in the Birthday Tribute ’07 issue of Elvis…The Magazine. It contained a sharp color photo of Scotty, in his mid-forties, holding his beloved Gibson Super 400 guitar. Scotty had absolutely no trouble signing “To Bev,   Scotty Moore.” I have to admit, I kind of wish that one said “To Phil.”


© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net


Editor’s Note: If I could go a a time-machine trip, I’d head back to Elvis Week, 2,007, for sure.

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 2

This is the second post of my personal Elvis Week 2007 story.  Reading it again brought back so many good memories for me.  I hope you enjoy it.


So, How Was Elvis Week?


If it is possible for an experience to be both a letdown and an exhilarating success at the same time, then that is the summary of my Elvis Week 2007. I’m not real happy about never getting over to Elvis Presley Boulevard and soaking in some of the Graceland aura.   It’s hard to believe I never got down to Beale Street to party… and it was only two blocks away. But the worst thing was that I never left the Peabody Hotel for four days, except to walk across the street to restaurants each night.

Wow. Sounds like a bad Elvis Week for sure. On the other hand, I don’t know how anyone else in Memphis could have had a more Elvis-connected experience than I had. Over a three-day period, I had breakfast with Joe Esposito, sat ten feet away from Priscilla at the restaurant in the Peabody, and hung around in the Grand Ballroom backstage area with Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, the Jordanaires, and the TCB Band. Nobody else did that.

I got people to take 30 photos of me with these music legends, and I got dozens of autographs from them, signed on articles I had written about them in Elvis…The Magazine. My mission had been to use this unique opportunity to gather a treasure trove of memorabilia, and it worked out perfectly.

Darwin Lamm, Publisher of Elvis…The Magazine certainly got plenty of work out of me at the tables selling concert tickets, magazines, books, DVDs and T-shirts.

I’m not used to standing on my feet for eight hours a day, so my legs got plenty sore. For some reason, our sales group had the same club sandwiches and fries brought in for lunch all four days, and that was pretty lame.

The trade-off for the other workers was free tickets to three great concerts. The trade-off for me was unlimited backstage access. The reason I got the better deal is because of all the articles I had provided Darwin for the magazine and various promotional pieces.

The TCB guys got their performer badges from me, so they were comfortable around me from the start. When everybody got backstage, they seemed fine with me sitting around the table with them in one of the two rooms. I mostly just listened and laughed at their stories. They all seem to genuinely like each other, and backstage is fun for them. When the subject of Elvis impersonators came up, they called them “impersonators,” not “tribute artists.” As you might expect, the TCB guys are not too fond of Elvis impersonators. That figures; they were around the real thing and have the best possible basis for comparison.

Jerry Scheff got some grief about thinning hair, but James Burton avoided the same fate. He wore a black TCB baseball cap all week. In 2004, he had very little hair left, so the hat is a good look for him. Ronnie Tutt has been wearing a ball cap for years, but I’m betting he’s got plenty of hair. He certainly has plenty of beard.

DJ Fontana looked so smart in his shiny grey suit and red shirt and tie. He complained about his favorite men’s store in Nashville closing down. We spoke about his upcoming performing schedule. He has a continuing tour with Shaun Klush, who is probably the top ETA right now. (I have no trouble calling them Tribute Artists.) We spoke about his new podcasting venture. I want to follow up on that, because it sounds like some interesting stuff he talks about. And, all his recorded conversations so far have been with special Elvis people.

I have enough stories from Elvis Week to fill up several articles, so I’ll save some stuff for future posts. One thing I have to write about now is my wonderful experience with Scotty Moore. Everybody loves this man, and I got to experience hanging out with him for almost half-an-hour. Again, I mostly listened to Scotty and the other guys in the Mighty Handful band talk around the table.   But every three minutes or so, I slid something over to him, along with an open Sharpie pen. I knew his arthritis problem was the reason he wouldn’t be signing autographs after the show, so I didn’t want to be a pest. But after a three-minute rest, I figured his hand was OK for another one.

I ended up with five Scotty Moore autographs: two on photographs, two on my magazine articles, and one on a reprint of an article I wrote that is posted on Scotty’s website.  He is always gracious and accommodating to fans, but this was something special he did for me.


The photo above is Scotty Moore as he exited the stage after “The Last Man Standing” concert. The future will determine if Scotty ever chooses to do another live performance. If not, maybe I caught Scotty’s last two seconds on a concert stage.

I guess I can give up Graceland and Beale Street for one year. Not a bad trade.


© 2007 Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net


Editor’s Note:  Some of you are still sending comments even though I can’t get them to post after the blog articles.  I read them all and appreciate the personal messages.



Elvis Week Flashbacks

We are right in the middle of Elvis Week 2021, so I’d like to repost something from 2007 to celebrate the event.

If you are a long-time reader, you know I went to Elvis Week four times. My experience in 2007 was outstanding. I knew it would be, so I did a post in anticipation of going, and two more after I got home.

I think you will enjoy reading them for the next three days, back to back to back.


I’m Going to Elvis Week!

Lately, I’ve been walking around saying (practically singing), “I’m going to Elvis Week.” I’d better cut it out, or my wife is going to get mad. Being gone for four days is problematic enough, so there is no point in broadcasting how much fun I’m going to have.

This will be my fourth Elvis Week, and it may be a while until I take in another. After this year, there won’t be any more “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concerts from Darwin Lamm, Editor of Elvis… The Magazine. That’s been the connection that brought me to Memphis each time, but he says this is the last. He has been host to concerts in most years from 1992 on, but 2007 will be end the  run of great Elvis Week shows for Darwin Lamm.

Elvis fans from all over the world have regularly supported his concerts, and they’ll be glad they made the trip this year. For his grand finale, Darwin is presenting a incredible six shows. I’m excited; being a ‘gofer’ backstage is a great job.

I also have a sad, personal story about this Elvis Week. Five months ago, I bought a bunch of albums and 45s from an old guy, and it included a near-mint copy of Boots Randolph’s Christmas promo release “Sleigh Ride/White Christmas.” I was planning on taking it to Memphis and getting Boots to autograph it. That won’t happen now. We’ll miss you, Boots. But, we’ll carry on.

I recently sent e-mails to eight people I expect to see during Elvis Week. One of them is a musician coming in from Nashville to perform during the festivities. The thing that struck me was his enthusiasm. He is as excited as a fan.

Who wouldn’t be, in his situation? He said, “It will be nice to see many old friends, including many of Elvis’ friends we have become close to over the years.”

How would you like to have that going for you next week? The quote comes from Steve Shepherd, who will be playing keyboard at two Scotty Moore tribute concerts. The last time I saw Steve play behind Scotty, Steve also served as stage manager and ran rehearsals, so he will probably do that again this year.

The concerts where Steve will appear are called Scotty Moore: The Last Man Standing. There’s a code word in the title. If you can find a Las Vegas bookie who will give you odds that this will not be the last time Scotty Moore is up on stage, it might be smart to put a little money on the bet.

I know another person who is going to Elvis Week and is super happy about it. She gets to celebrate her 50th birthday in a bar across the street from the Peabody Hotel. Kathy DeNike booked the “Big Foot Lodge” for the blast, and it is shaping up to be great fun. I’m going with two lovely ladies, Judy and Shirley, wonderful friends from near Toronto.

Kathy DeNike is a talent manager for a gang of Elvis Tribute Artists, and several will perform in Memphis. She has a huge e-mail list of contacts and Elvis fans, so it must have been a chore to pare it down to the short list of the people who got invitations. The invitations were e-mailed, and must be printed out and presented at the door. What a great touch. It will be fun to come up to the door with my invitation clutched tightly in my hand. I even printed it in color.

For a lot of reasons, I’m pumped to be going to this Elvis Week. I’m prepared to experience some bittersweet moments as I get an up-close view of aging artists performing. Maybe, that will make it more special.

Any way,  “I’m Going To Elvis Week. I’m Going To Elvis Week.”


© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net


Editor’s note: Sorry there were no photos in this.  I wasn’t very good at posting them back in 2007