Graceland Auction Creates New Fan Experiences (and Funds Charity)

Jan 2019 Graceland Auction

I’ve written seventeen articles covering the Graceland Auctions since they began during Elvis Week 2014. I like to pick out items that catch my interest or have an unusual back story and report on them.

However, this post on the January 8, 2019 auction will cover the first thirteen lots. These are all brand new fan events they’ve created for folks to bid on. And these are some really desirable packages. Here’s the list:

Annual Pass for Unlimited Visits to Graceland

Private Graceland Evening Tour and Dinner With Up To 24 Guests

Graceland Romantic Weekend Getaway

Be a Graceland Archivist for a Day

1-Hour Outdoor Photo Shoot at Graceland Mansion

Photo Shoot of Your Classic Car or Motorcycle in Front of Graceland Mansion

Private Tour of the Graceland Stables

2-Hour Private Tour of Graceland Archives

Tour of Graceland with Elvis’ Cousin

Private Movie Screening In The Guest House Theater

Hidden Graceland Private Tour

Co-Host a “Gates of Graceland” Episode

Graceland’s Chapel in the Woods Wedding or Vow Renewal

 

That is a very impressive list. Some fun stuff. Let’s look at a few in detail.

 

Graceland Romantic Weekend Getaway:

Graceland Romantic Weekend Getaway

Here is the text from the Graceland Auction website as written by Jeff Marren and Laura Pickett.

Bring your favorite Elvis fan on a very special romantic getaway to Graceland and the Guest House at Graceland.

The winning bidder and one guest will spend two nights in one of our unique, luxurious two-bedroom king suites that feature a living room, dining room, kitchen and bar area.

Champagne, chocolates and flowers will be waiting in your room upon arrival.

While at Graceland, be treated to two Ultimate Graceland VIP Tours, plus dinner for two at Delta’s Kitchen and a private movie screening of your favorite Elvis movie at The Guest House Theater.

Delta’s Kitchen in the Graceland Guest House

Delta’s Kitchen in the Graceland Guest House

This terrific package went for $2,750, which seems like a pretty good deal. I can’t help thinking it would be better if the winning bidder could bring three guests, because it’s a two-bedroom suite. It looks like Party Central, so it would be great fun for two couples to share together.

It might also feel weird to be just two people in the theater watching an Elvis movie.

Movie Theater In the Graceland Guest House

 

If I had bid and won this package, I think I’d I open the theater doors and let in anybody that wanted. Of course, I don’t have $2,750, so that’s just a dream.

 

Private Tour of the Graceland Stables:

Graceland Stables

Again, from the auction website:

Throughout the years, Elvis could often be seen riding his horses around the Graceland property and would ride down to the front gate to sign autographs for fans.

The winning bidder and a guest will receive the opportunity to tour the Graceland Stables and meet the current Graceland horses. The 90-minute tour will also include an up-close look at saddles used by Elvis and his entourage, personal western wear including chaps, hats and boots all worn by Elvis, and even Elvis’ handwriting on the wall where he wanted the tack and harnesses of each horse.

This would certainly be a good way to add a unique treat to your Graceland visit. It went for $1,500, significantly above the estimate.

 

Photo Shoot of Your Classic Car or Motorcycle in Front of Graceland Mansion:

Photo Shoot of Your Classic Car or Motorcycle in Front of Graceland

Elvis had a passion for everything with wheels, including cars and motorcycles, and now those who share his passion will get a unique opportunity to drive their car or motorcycle through the famous musical gates at Graceland just like Elvis did.

The winning bidder will receive a 15-minute photo shoot of their car or motorcycle in front of Graceland Mansion by our Graceland photographer. Winning bidder will receive digital file of all photos following photo session for private use.

This cool deal had 23 bids, the most of any item in the group. It went for $2,825, approximately three times the estimate.

I have an idea for this one, too, if I was the winning bidder. I’d rent a ’59 Caddie convertible to use in the photo. That way I’d have a picture taken were you can actually see the faces of me and my friends in the car.

 

Private Graceland Evening Tour and Dinner With Up To 24 Guests:

24 People Outside Graceland

Invite up to 24 guests for the ultimate Graceland experience as they enjoy an after-hours tour of Graceland Mansion led by a member of the Graceland Archives team.

Followed by a private dinner and a screening of your favorite Elvis movie at Presley Motors Automobile Museum, surrounded by some of Elvis’ most iconic cars, including his Pink Cadillac, 1975 Dino Ferrari and 1973 Stutz Blackhawk. Dinner will be catered by Vernon’s Smokehouse.

Graceland Car Museum - Dinner Tables

 

I like this one – a package for 25 people. It went for $2,500, so for $100 per person, you get the special tour of the mansion, followed by a party at the automobile museum where you see the cars, watch a movie, and eat some good food. A fine value for somebody with a lot of money and a lot of Elvis fan buddies.

 

Annual Pass for Unlimited Visits to Graceland:

Graceland VIP Tour Pass

Experience Elvis Presley’s Graceland all year long with an exclusive Graceland Annual Pass for two.

The Graceland Annual Pass will offer unlimited Elvis Experience Tours + Planes for 12 months for the winning bidder and one guest. The Experience Tour + Planes includes a tour of Graceland Mansion, access to all Elvis Presley’s Memphis attractions and exhibits plus tours of Elvis’ two personal airplanes.

I’m surprised that nobody put in the minimum bid of $1,000 on this. Maybe it’s a logistics thing — getting back to Memphis multiple times in one year could be hard to pull off. Maybe seeing the mansion and airplanes over and over makes it get boring.

 

 

Now, I want to report on something that has been underplayed in the media reports about this Graceland Auction. It is the amount of money these newly created packages are bringing to The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation.

Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation Logo

100% of the auction hammer price on them will be donated to the Foundation. The hammer price is the winning bid when the hammer comes down on the high bid. It is before the 25% buyer’s fee is added.

The total funding generated by these thirteen fan experiences came to $25,700. Not bad, but EPE does so much more. The company underwrites all the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation’s administrative expenses, so all the Foundation’s funds are used for donations to charitable causes.

If you are not familiar with the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation, it was formed by Graceland/Elvis Presley Enterprises in 1984 to continue Elvis’ own tradition of generosity and community service and to honor his memory.

The Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation receives a portion of the overall business income of Graceland/EPE, with additional funding from the company’s royalties on specially licensed products and from special benefit events the company stages.

A meaningful amount of the funding also comes from donations made by Elvis fans from around the world. Some Elvis fan clubs hold drives to raise money for the foundation.

It has created the Elvis Presley Endowed Scholarship Fund at the College of Communication & Fine Arts at the University of Memphis to assist students majoring in areas that relate to Elvis’ own career: music, film, television, theater, etc.

Also, the Foundation has a long-standing relationship with one of Elvis’ favorite charities, Goodwill Homes, a Memphis facility that provides counseling and services for abused children and their families.

 

Elvis fans have grumbled about some of the things EPE has done, but let’s give credit where it’s due. Their support of the Elvis Presley Charitable Foundation is commendable.

 

Let’s finish up with one more of the fan experiences won at the auction.

 

2-Hour Private Tour of Graceland Archives:

2-Hour Private Tour of Graceland Archives

The Graceland Archives collection consists of over 50,000 photographs, 3,000 textiles, thousands of documents and a large collection of furniture, musical instruments, awards, automobiles, and other artifacts associated with the personal life and career of Elvis Presley and has been visited by a very few select guests, including Oprah and Paul McCartney.

The winning bidder of this experience and one guest will go beyond the ropes into the coveted Graceland Archives at an undisclosed location for an exclusive two-hour private tour with Graceland’s Vice President of Archives & Exhibits, Angie Marchese.

The private tour will feature exclusive white glove experiences, including holding artifacts, looking in archival boxes of special collections, seeing many never-before-displayed items, and a photo opportunity with an artifact taken by the Graceland photographer.

This sounds interesting, but I never thought anyone would bid the $5,000 minimum (which means a total payout of $6,125). I was almost right. One person thought it was worth it. For that kind of money, the tour ought to go on all day, with a break for lunch at Vernon’s Steakhouse, and a private movie screening afterward.

 

Photographs and text by permission, copyright 2019, GracelandAuctions.com

 

© 2018 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.

 

Some Elvis Birthday Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before

I picked this one because it said something other than “Happy Birthday Elvis.”

They certainly have a big birthday celebration going on right now at Graceland. EPE came up with enough things to do to make it a four day event. Seems like they did a good job.

 

There’s the same appeal with this message. I like “Happy Happy Birthday Baby,” and that Elvis shot is a strong one.

 

This is the most unique message I found. I had to do a screen grab from a video on YouTube to get it. Don’t split those pants, Elvis.

 

Here we go with the traditional greeting. This sure looks like Elvis doing a song in Fun in Acapulco.

 

I believe this picture comes from one of the Dorsey Bros TV Show

 

Joe Petruccio keeps creating wonderful Elvis art. I love the way he’s got birthday cake candles in the lenses of Elvis’ famous shades.

 

I don’t get this one at all. What does Tinkerbell have to do with Elvis’ birthday?

 

This is clever — putting Happy Birthday vertically. You know, I think I might have used this one ten years ago. Oh, well.

 

When I first saw this, I thought Elvis was opening a present from Priscilla. But, no. It’s Debra Paget on the set of Love Me Tender. And what was in the box?

 

OK, a hound dog. Elvis was going to get a lot more after that.

 

Here one last variation on the greeting. Sandi Fox Norton did a nice job.

 

We Elvis fans send birthday wishes, as well.

 

 

Happy Birthday, Elvis. We miss you.

 

 

Some ElvisBlog Stuff

At the end of this month, ElvisBlog will enter its 15th year. That’s a long time, but I’m still posting every weekend.

 

I hope you’ll be happy to learn that I am committed to keep my blog going for three more years. That should give me enough time to reach 1000 posts. The tally now is 822, counting this one you are reading.

So, that’s my goal. Get to 1,000 posts (without padding the count too much with one-picture posts, like the last one on New Year’s Eve).

 

Here’s another stat for you. 393 people are now subscribers to ElvisBlog. 2018 was an active year for new people signing up.

My blog platform says 393 people are following ElvisBlog, utilizing the terminology seen on social media sites. I like the sound of that better than subscribers. I tend to think of these 393 folks as the most loyal readers, although I know they aren’t the only ones.

So, these subscribers/followers get a new post delivered to their email inbox every time I post one online.

It comes in like this:

The recipients can either scroll down and read it right there in email, or click to open it up in web view.

 

I am thinking about a change for ElvisBlog. No details now, but it might be a good idea for anyone who likes the blog, but  isn’t already following it, to go to the Subscriber box at the top right and sign up. Think about it.

 

I was very happy with the support I received last October when I did the first promotional post on my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN. I asked you to buy enough copies so I could use the profit to pay for my blog platform and URL. You did, and I thank those of you who bought books, either through Amazon or direct with me. There were two people who came through really big. Very special people. Thank you.

 

However, I must say I was disappointed by the minimal support I got in early December, the last promotion for BIG E and the SANTA MAN. I needed to sell seven more books to hit my Amazon royalty threshold. And it didn’t happen. I’m disappointed.

I even thought about buying the last two copies myself to get over the hump so I could get my royalties.

But, I decided, that’s stupid. I’ll bug the ElvisBlog readers one more time. So, here it is.

You have read all my promotional posts, all of the validation of this book’s quality. I won’t go through all that again. This is a great story, and if you are an Elvis fan, you will enjoy it. You will be reading about a man called Big E, but you’ll be visualizing Elvis in all the heroics and action. He is a perfect protagonist.

 

OK, here’s the Amazon page for BIG E and the SANTA MAN.

I’d like to point out two things. See the 5 star reviews. There’s more on Amazon UK and Amazon France.

And, finally… the price. Just $7.99. This is such an inexpensive treat.

So, would a few of you fine readers who didn’t get enough Elvis stuff for Christmas please click HERE and order a copy of my book.

Thank you,

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister (2005-2019)

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 9

Elvis Backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens ~ Toronto ~ April 2, 1957

This shot shows Elvis’ disdain for the pants of the famous Gold Lamé Suit. He is clowning around in them (and the gold shoes) on a prop dolly backstage at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto on April 2, 1957.

Look how baggy and stiff they are. No wonder Elvis didn’t like them.

 

Elvis at Arcade 1956

This is Elvis and his cousin Junior Smith at an arcade in 1956. He had an entourage of one back in the early days. In the later years, this room couldn’t have held all the guys hanging around Elvis.

 

Elvis wiith Diana Goodman in the back of his limo July 19, 1975

This is Elvis with Diana Goodman in the back of his limo on July 19, 1975. We can’t see any of the rings he surely was wearing, but check out the gold bracelet and the gold chain around his neck. That is some serious weight of gold. On the downside, it was time for Elvis to give this coat away to Charlie Hodge, or one of the other guys. He had definitely outgrown it.

 

 

Long White Fringe Suit...Elvis only wore one time. The fringe got all tangled up when he danced.

This is a jumpsuit Elvis wore only one time. His jumpsuits all had cool names like Black Butterfly, Inca Gold, or King of Spades. This one is simply referred to as ”the Long White Fringe Suit.” Elvis wouldn’t wear it again after the fringe got all tangled up when he danced.

I think the whole thing is pretty ugly, and I’m surprised Elvis even put it on. Anyway, the Long White Fringe Suit joined the baggy gold pants in the Elvis wardrobe rejects hall of fame.

 

oks like Charlie Hodge and Elvis are Dancing

All you good fans recognize this as Charlie Hodge on stage with Elvis. At first glance, they seem to be dancing together.

 

February 12, 1977 - Elvis Presley Palm Beach International Airport 3

This is Elvis during his best interpretation of Bo Diddley.

 

Bo Diddley

If you are too young to know about Bo Diddley, look him up. There’s a lot more to the Bo Diddley story than that square guitar.

 

Elvis Presley & Gene Vincent

Here’s Elvis with Gene Vincent. I loved all three of his hits, and wish he had made more. Gene Vincent is another early rocker with an interesting story. Look him up, too.

 

Elvis On stage at 68 Comeback Special

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the main three outfits Elvis wore in the ’68 Comeback Special. Here is a fourth one. It’s not up to the brilliance of the white (If I Can Dream) suit, the black leather outfit, and the burgundy gospel suit.

 

Young Lisa and Elton John

This is an interesting photo of young Lisa and Elton John. Compare it to one many years later.

 

Lisa and Elton John - Later

 

This is from Stay Away Joe, and there’s a lot of girls in that car with Elvis.

Elvis and Girls in Car in Stay Away Joe

 

But this is from real life.

Elvis in a Car with Three Girls

How about that look on his face? Elvis, you lucky dog.

 

 

© 2018 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.

 

Christmas Greetings from ElvisBlog

First Christmas at Graceland 1957

This photo was taken in December 1957, Elvis’ first Christmas at Graceland.  It appears that his first outside decorations included a life-size model of Santa’s sleigh containing lots of presents, including two guitars.  Behind that was a huge Santa Claus, which appears to be about 12 feet tall.

The woman and child are not identified, but it is said that Gladys can be seen to the left of the sleigh heading toward the Graceland  front door.

 

Here, Santa and the sleigh are incorporated into the Christmas scene and message that endures at Graceland to this day.

 

The tag on this photo says that this is Elvis in front of Graceland in March 1957 while renovations were going on.  He and his parents moved in on May 16.

 

I’m not promoting a Photoshop make-over here, but how nice would it have been if somebody had snapped Vernon, Elvis, and Gladys in front of Graceland with Santa and his sleigh ?

 

 

A Merry Christmas to all,

 

Phil Arnold,

Original ElvisBlogmeister

 

Many thanks to reader Karen Middleton for sending me the first photo above.

 

 

 

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 25

Elvis Traffic Lights in Friedberg, Germany:

 

Here are some clips from a EuroNews video on YouTube.

Elvis Traffic Light - in Germany - Green

Elvis Traffic Light - in Germany - Red

Friedberg is a town about 2-1/2 miles from Bad Nauheim where Elvis served in the Army. I believe the next picture was taken in Bad Nauheim.

Elvis Sign in Germany

After I cropped this picture, the sign doesn’t appear as large as it really is. I like the way they cut Elvis’ silhouette out of the center of the sign and made a separate stand-up of him. Wonder why they used a Jailhouse Rock outfit. It seems like the uniform from G.I. Blues would be more appropriate.

 

Young Donald Trump Looked Like Elvis?

 

At a November political rally in Tupelo, MS, Donald Trump said.

“Tupelo, home of thousands of hard-working American patriots, and the proud birthplace of the king of rock n’ roll, Elvis. Elvis! We love Elvis.”

“I shouldn’t say this, you’ll say I’m very conceited, because I’m not, but other than the blonde hair, when I was growing up they said I looked like Elvis. Can you believe it? I always considered that a great compliment.”

Young Donald Trump

What do you think?

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Remember When I Told You About All the Companies that Want to Advertise on ElvisBlog?

 

This is one of the more recent ones I’ve heard from.

idilvice Elvis fashions

They don’t just do Elvis fashions, but they have dozens of them. Here’s a few that got my attention.

 

Elvis Fashion - Cowboy Prairie Sunset Turtleneck Sweater

This is the “Elvis Cowboy Prairie Sunset Turtleneck Sweater.” It looks pretty good… until you see the price tag of $249.

 

Elvis Fashion - Cowboy Ranch A-Line Skirt.

If you’re involved in the effort to restore Elvis’ Circle G Ranch, here something for you – “The Cowboy Ranch A-Line Skirt.” Just $89.

 

Four Elvis Floating Heads

This is the art work on another item. I was intrigued with the image of four floating Elvis heads, all with his famous shades, so I saved it for my files. However, on a long-sleeved turtle neck sweater, it looks horrible. Especially at $259.

 

Elvis fashions Vegas Glam Fringe Satin Scarf

It’s better on the “Vegas Glam Fringe Satin Scarf.” $149

 

Elvis fashion - Groovy Afrique Pattern Midi-Dress

And finally, we have the “Groovy Afrique Pattern Midi-Dress.” $298

 

National Cupcake Day is this Saturday Dec 15:

 

 National Cupcake day

 

I did a little surfing on Amazon and found these samples of Elvis Cupcakes.

Elvis Cupcake (4)

Elvis Cupcake (2)

And my favorite:

Elvis Cupcake (1)

 

How Come Bill Clinton Didn’t Award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Elvis?

Music stars Getting Presidential Medal of Freedom

I published this list a few weeks ago. George W Bush honored two music stars, Barack Obama honored thirteen, and Donald Trump honored Elvis. Notice what name is missing? Bill Clinton. He honored lots of folks in other categories, but no musicians.

I can’t figure out why Clinton didn’t jump at the chance to pick Elvis. During the 1992 Presidential campaign, the press corps started comparing Bill Clinton to Elvis, although the candidate never did this himself. The press even made references to Clinton’s campaign plane as “Air Elvis.”

 

Clinton Playing Heartbreak Hotel on Sax

It has been said that one of the late boosts to Clinton’s campaign in 1992 was when he played “Heartbreak Hotel” on the Arsenio Hall Show.

 

Elvis and George H. W. Bush:

I didn’t have a good place to post this picture when President George Bush 41 passed away a few weeks ago.

Elvis and George H W Bush

Elvis met George H. W. Bush before he became President. Bush was the Ambassador to the UN when he was the Keynote Speaker at the 1970 awards dinner for the “Ten Outstanding Young Men” by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce, or the Jaycees.

 

George H. W. Bush was Bill Clinton’s opposition in that 1992 campaign. He felt compelled to respond to this linking of Clinton and Elvis, by stating this in a campaign speech:

“Clinton is on all sides of every issue. He’s been spotted more places than Elvis Presley. I guess you’d say his plan really is ‘Elvis Economics’. America will be checking into Heartbreak Hotel.”

Noted Elvis author Greil Marcus contends that an Elvis reference in any politician’s campaign speech is a guaranteed sound-bite on the evening news, although there is no guarantee what the public’s response will be. This quote is said to have lost votes for former President Bush in his re-election campaign:

“I finally figured out why Clinton compares himself to Elvis. The minute he takes a stand on something, he starts wiggling.”

 

 

© 2018 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.

 

Elvis, Santa, and Kurt Russell

Last week, I read a USA Today review of the new Netflix movie titled The Christmas Chronicles. It stars Kurt Russell, one of my favorites, as a wonderfully different Santa Claus.

Title - Christmas Chronicles

 

But I panicked when the review talked about him zooming around in muscle cars. I thought, “Ah, man, they’ve got Santa flying in something like the jet sled in my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN.”

Big E and Santa in Jet Sled

 

To my relief, Kurt Russell’s radical sleigh still had reindeer pulling it.

Christmas Chronicles Sleigh with Reindeer

Interesting design, but it can’t fly without reindeer like the Big E’s jet sled can.

 

Santa's Sleigh with Wings

The closest it comes is when the reindeer are accidentally untethered, and wings pop out to glide it down to safety. Unfortunately, one wing clips a water tower, and the sleigh crashes.

You might notice that the next picture shows a different design than the first one. When the sleigh crashed, the elves rebuilt it, and for some unexplained reason, it came out different. That’s why the USA Today writer referred to muscle cars, not just one.

Santa in front of Christmas Chronicles Sleigh

Yes, that’s Kurt Russell as Santa Claus

 

Santa’s sleigh also crashed in my book, and because the elves had just one hour, they did urgent repairs that got it flyable, but looking rather makeshift. After Christmas they rebuilt it just like it had been.

Another interesting comparison between The Christmas Chronicles and BIG E and the SANTA MAN is the people who got to ride in the sleighs/sled so central to the task of saving Christmas.

Santa with Kids on Christmas Chronicles Sleigh

Kurt Russell’s Santa sleigh carries a brother and sister who had discovered it unoccupied while Santa was depositing presents down local chimneys (He doesn’t go down chimneys in this fantasy, but the presents do). The kids climbed in the sleigh and hid in the back. Santa took off without realizing they were there.

In Part 2 of BIG E and the SANTA MAN, two elves get to pilot the jet sled; the oldest elf standing on the seat steering, and the head elf on the floor pushing the accelerator. Deeper into the plot, the old elf gets to fly Santa’s sleigh. One of the cool parts near the ending has him do a buzz dive directly at the bad guy and scare him and his henchmen so bad they run away from Santa’s castle in a frenzied retreat. After that, he was like a folk-hero to the young elves.

Santa's Sack of Presents

Santa’s sack of presents actually factors into the plot of both the movie and my book. When Kurt Russell’s Santa sleigh has its violent crash, the sack is tossed to some unseen place.

But in my story, Santa has lots of sacks of presents and is forced to throw them all out of his sleigh (it’s too long to explain why here). Then, Big E and Santa have to go back in the jet sled to rescue the presents in a race against the villain who’s trying to ruin Christmas.

 

That’s about it for comparisons between The Christmas Chronicles and BIG E and the SANTA MAN. So let’s talk about Kurt Russell as Santa Claus. This is a good photo of him.

Kurt Russell as Santa in The Christmas Chronicles

This is not the popular image of a chubby, ruby-cheeked old Santa. In fact, the USA Today review calls him a “real action hero,” and another review on Polygon.com says “Santa is hot.” They also say, “He’s styled as something of a bearded Elvis, introducing himself by saying, ‘Live and in person, one night only.’”

Santa in Jail singing Santa Claus is Back in Town

In another twist that makes The Christmas Chronicles  unique holiday movie, here we have Santa singing while in a jail cell. You might recognize the tag line as a lyric from the terrific Elvis blues song, “Santa Clause is Back in Town.” The movie soundtrack also includes the Elvis’ classic “Here Comes Santa Claus.”

 

Kurt Russell is 67 years old, and he is terrific as a bearded older Elvis, but look at this:

Kurt Russel in Elvis the Movie

Here he is at 28 in front of Graceland in the 1979 made-for-TV movie that appeared on ABC.

Kurt Russell in Elvis the Movie

 

Kurt Russell Young Elvis

 

Elvis the Movie is available on YouTube if you don’t mind watching it in sections.

The Christmas Chronicles is available on Netflix any time you want to watch it, and I hope you do. It’s a lot of fun, and Kurt Russel is perfect as hot, action hero Santa.

And BIG E and the SANTA MAN is available at Amazon. In my stories Big E is the action hero, and Santa is the willing sidekick.

A strong case could be made that The Christmas Chronicles is the most unusual holiday movie ever made. Well, for three years I have been saying that my book is the most unusual Christmas novel ever written.

And, to make it especially good for you fans, Big E is in it to give you a huge booster shot of Elvis.

Big E Bust

If you have no trouble envisioning Elvis as a brave, daring and resourceful hero, then you will like following Big E in his adventures. This guy is cool, and he and Santa make a heck of a team.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Scroll

 

You also remember me asking for your help by buying copies of BIG E and the SANTA MAN. I’m happy to report your response was so good that the costs of my blog platform and URL have been covered. Thank you very much. I really appreciate it.

But I don’t see why I should stop promoting my book while there is still time for delivery before Christmas. For one thing, I need to sell seven more books to reach the Amazon threshold for withdrawing my royalty money.

So, could I ask a few more of you to get a copy of my book. It’s a great well-written story, Elvis fans have really liked it, and it costs only ten bucks.

OK, I’m going to do one more last thing about Kurt Russell and Elvis, then hit you with the closing pitch on BIG E and the SANTA MAN.


Many of you already know about this, but for the rest of you, this is young Kurt Russell kicking Elvis in the 1964 movie, It Happened at the World’s Fair.

Kurt-Russell Kicking Elvis in It Happened at the World's Fair

 


 

We’ll end with a pretty low-key final pitch for my book. Maybe just a few more tidbits about what makes BIG E and the SANTA MAN so interesting.

Elves Playing Guitars in Big E and the Santa Man

There are no pictures in my book, but this one comes pretty close to depicting the elves that Big E teaches how to play rock and roll. The four little guys form a tight back-up band and rock out with Big E. You’ll love the concert they put on for Santa and Mama Claus the night after Christmas.

 

Scrooge's Space Station in Big E and the Santa Man

The villain in my story resides in a space station hoovering over the North Pole. His henchmen are bad elves that Santa had kicked out for shoddy workmanship on the presents and constant trouble-making. They hold a grudge and are happy to help in a plot to ruin Christmas.

Big E Close-up

Here is Big E again. Look at his eyes. He’s sending you a telepathic message:

“Buy a copy of this book about me and Santa.
You’ll be glad you did.”

 

Here’s where to get them:

BIG E and the SANTA MAN – Amazon.com webpage

BIG E and the SANTA MAN – Part 2: Amazon.com webpage

 

 

Thank you,

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister (2005-2013)

 

Note: If anyone knows Clay Kaytis, the director of The Christmas Chronicles, please email him a link to this post.

 

’68 Comeback Special – A Wardrobe Review

Celebrating the 68 SPECIAL 50TH ANNIVERSARY

When I realized that December 3, 2018 would be the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ incredible TV special, I knew I had to post an article to commemorate the occasion.

I also knew every other Elvis website and blog would be doing the same thing. I wanted to come up with something different, and I have. We are going to learn what a leading British fashion design journalist has to say about what Elvis wore on the show.

Zoey Goto regularly writes about fashion in Elle, Numero, GQ, and GQ Style. She gets to report from the front row of London Fashion Week. And she has written the delightful book Elvis Style, where we get all of the text to follow.

 

Burgundy Suit from the Gospel Sequence:

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Gospel suit

You might expect this photo-essay to start with the Black Leather Outfit, but be patient. It’s coming up.

Elvis sang a three-song Gospel medley wearing this burgundy suit:

“Where Could I Go but to the Lord”
“Up Above My Head”
“Saved”

lvis - 68 Comeback Gospel Suit

Here is what my friend, Zoey Goto had to say about the Gospel suit. (I asked her to write it on just six days’ notice, and she really came through).

The burgundy suit is so very of its time – the earthy colour, the sheen of the fabric, the slim cut of the suit, and the exaggerated double breasted lapels all scream late 60s/early 70s menswear! Perhaps this is why the outfit is often overlooked when we think about the legendary ’68 Comeback Special. Because this style was so fashionable at that time, it now looks more dated than for example the leather suit, which was not such a part of the zeitgeist.

The most effective part of this outfit was the styling of the white shirt, with its elongated collars worn over the top of the suit jacket, teamed with the apache tie scarf, which really framed Elvis’ face. From the chest upwards he looks fantastic! However, in comparison to the white suit – which is roomier and has a nipped in waist – the tight, straight up-and-down cut of the burgundy suit is unforgiving. Yet Elvis is in such good shape physically, that he still manages to pull this outfit off with panache!

Elvis 68 Comeback Dancing in Gospel Outfit

 

Well done, Zoey. That was great. And the passages from your book coming next are even better.

 

The white suit she mentioned is this one.

White Double-Breasted Suit from the “If I Can Dream” Finale.

 

Elvis 68 Comeback White Suit in front of Big Red Letters

Again, here is Zoey Goto’s review:

Out of the darkness, Elvis steps forward, his white suit instantly illuminated under the stage lights. He clutches the microphone between his hands almost as if praying, while behind him the word ELVIS is emblazoned in red lights.

It is the grand finale of his ’68 Comeback Special television program, and Elvis is giving an emotional rendition of the song “If I Can Dream” wearing a white double-breasted frock coat with a deep, single vent flap running down the back of his jacket – a signature of traditional American tailoring – which also allows Elvis to move with ease and to throw his arms wide at the end of the performance.

Six buttons run down the centre of the jacket, white slanted front pockets and a nipped-in waist emphasize his broad shoulders. Although the double-breasted jacket can add inches to the torso, the slim-line Elvis with his 32” waist, carries it off with grace.

Elvis - 68 Comeback White Suit

His coordinated front pleated pants graze his ankles without a break, creating a pleasing line from the hip to his white leather ankle boots. To complete the look, Elvis wears a deep red scarf in the style of an Apache tie – an accessory that had become synonymous with Country & Western fashion, where a colourful scarf or hanky is secured at the neck with a scarf ring.

Elvis - 68 Comeback White Suit Closeup-

As a fashion statement, Elvis’ white suit is all about the Deep South. Stepping on stage, Elvis looks every inch the Southern plantation owner, a choice that initially seems incongruous, given that Elvis has borrowed so heavily from black music and is currently on stage singing a song about brothers walking hand in hand.

However, look at his costume again and it becomes a sartorial symbol of his success – Elvis has been elevated from his humble sharecropper origins to finally becoming the Big Boss Man, as he had been previously singing that evening. In essence, his outfit can be seen as a take on upward social mobility – one of the key factors of the American Dream, which Elvis had long been associated with.

Elvis 68 Comeback White Suit Standing

 

And now, the one you’ve been waiting for.

Legendary Black Leather Outfit:

 

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Back

Earlier in the ’68 Comeback Special performance, Elvis had performed a medley of his earlier hits while wearing fitted black leather trousers and jacket, with a black low neck t-shirt underneath. The outfit was a nod to Elvis’ rebellious 1950s image, but this time a more aggressive, sexual presence was evident. Black leather had long been strongly associated with motorcycle gangs, as illustrated by Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953).

Marlon Brando - The Wild One

In his youth, Elvis had admired James Dean, but back in the 1950s, Elvis’ own rockabilly image and flashy Lansky Brothers clothing belonged to a very different tribe of rebellion.

Aside from owning a couple of leather jackets, Elvis had never been a devoted leather wearer, but given the luxury of revisiting his youthful image, Elvis embellished and reinterpreted history. Up on stage, as Elvis gyrates his way through a string of nostalgic hits, he instantly acquires the toughness and potency that his leather outfit lends.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Lip Curl

Look carefully at Elvis’ leather outfit, though, and it differs considerably from Brando’ Perfecto motorcycle jacket. Rather than the traditional studded biker jacket, with zippers running across the torso and a belted waist, Elvis’ version is essentially a denim jacket shape, but made in leather. This was not accidental – the designer Bill Belew was at the time finding inspiration in the blue jean outfits that the kids on the street were wearing.

Knowing that Elvis avoided denim as he associated it with the poverty of his childhood, Belew decided to have a denim jacket and trousers traced and remade in black leather, adding a few touches such as a front seam running down the trousers and hand stitching the yoke.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather Seated

Here are some other tidbits Zoey Goto shares with the readers:

This outfit marks the first time Elvis wore the high, Napoleon-inspired collar, which later became a signature of his jumpsuits and was employed to frame his face.

Close Up of Elvis' Black Leather Suit

On each wrist is a leather cuff. Although leather cuffs had been worn by cowboys to protect their wrists for over a century, Elvis’ buckled cuffs looked more like precursor to the leather wristbands worn by the punks in the mid-seventies.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Reproduction Elvis Black Leather Cuffs

Reproduction

Elvis’ ’68 comeback Special jacket and trousers were made from cordovan leather, the thick hide of the rump of the horse which is usually only used to make shoes. Elvis became so sweat-drenched in this rugged material that he had to literally be peeled out of the costume at the end of the performance.

 

Zoey meshed her thoughts with those of Japanese-born designer Atsuko Kudo to sum it all up nicely:

We all dress for sex appeal and attention, and this look does that in a very big way – he was like a peacock. This was Elvis’ comeback performance, the pressure was on to make a big statement and to dress in a way that empowered him. This outfit did that.

Elvis - 68 Comeback Black Leather - Arms Raised

 

I am so thankful Zoey Goto went along with me repeating part of her wonderful book Elvis Style. I’ve covered parts of it twice before in ElvisBlog:

A Look at Elvis’ Taste in Hats

Elvis’ Fashion Legacy

 

But Elvis Style covers so much more than just Elvis’ wardrobe. As the back cover says,

“Zoey Goto investigates why Elvis was, and continues to be, an icon of style, focusing on his wonderfully expressive hairstyles, clothes, cars, and interiors.”

This is such a uniquely different Elvis book. I highly recommend you get a copy.

Elvis Style - Cover

 

 

 

©  2018    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.

 

A Blog Without Pictures (not cool, but necessary)

I had a pretty busy Thanksgiving, so I didn’t get the problem with uploading pictures fixed. But I still want to keep up with the tradition of regular weekend posts. Let’s see if I can write a text-only article that isn’t too boring without photos.

 

Presidential Medal of Freedom:

Award picture added later

You all saw the news that President Trump honored Elvis with a Presidential Medal of Freedom award. I looked up the history on Wikipedia. What a great honor. Here is the explanation of what it is awarded for:

“especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”

So, Donald Trump chose Elvis because of his significant cultural endeavors. Good choice.

There were lots of music notables like Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald in the earlier years, But George W. Bush was the first to honor a rock & roll artist with the award — Aretha Franklin in 2005.

So, the Queen of .Soul was honored thirteen years before the King of Rock & Roll.

Award List Added Later

Barack Obama honored eleven music artists, including Bob Dylan, Diana Ross, and Stevie Wonder. He awarded a total of 123 Medals in all categories, the most by any president. Trump is gonna have to step up the pace if he wants to beat Obama on Presidential Medal of Freedom awards.

 

Book Sale Trivia:

I was reminded again that one-third of the ElvisBlog readers are in countries other than the USA. The first four orders for BIG E and the SANTA MAN came in from:

England
Canada
USA
France

Three out of the first four. I was surprised.

Thanks to all you folks who have supported me with a book(s) purchase.

There will be another promotion as soon as I can post pictures again.

 

Graceland Store Doesn’t Let off the Gas:

Last week I mused on the frequency of the Graceland Store promotions and their different themes. Here are the six of them in twelve calendar days from November 5 to November 16

Nov. 5: Elvis Bling
Nov. 8: Elvis Christmas
Nov. 9: Elvis New Releases
Nov.11: Veteran’s Day
Nov. 13: Elvis Gifts for Her
Nov. 16: Elvis Apparel

Well, they’ve stayed active since then with these new promotions:

Nov. 19: Home Décor
Nov. 22: Black Friday Specials

I thought there would be another one waiting for me in my inbox this morning (11/24), but there wasn’t. Of course, there is still plenty of day left for another promotion to come in.

Happy shopping.

 

 

© 2018 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.