A Look at One of Young Elvis’ Favorite Haunts

Good Home Style Eating at the Arcade Restaurant

There are many ways in which ElvisBlog topics are generated. As you know, some are deeper looks at subjects that appear on Graceland.com/news. Also, regular readers sometimes send me a link to stuff on the internet that lends itself to a blog article.

 

Elvis Style Book Cover

And sometimes I am sent a comp copy of a new Elvis book about to be released. ElvisBlog does not make a practice of giving free publicity for things. However, if a book contains something unique that I can build a blog article around, I’ll go with it.

From the subtitle of the book Elvis Style, you would think it is all about Elvis fashion. Indeed, the 90+ pages on his clothing are incredibly complete – well written and full of great photos. But it was in Chapter 3 – Elvis Food – that I found something unknown to me a possibly to you as well.

 

Arcade Restaurant

No discussion of Elvis’ food preferences is complete without a page or two on his favorite, the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. Author Zoey Goto wrote in Elvis Style:

“The Arcade Restaurant in Memphis continues to be the Elvis sandwich temple, as fans from across the globe flock to sample their fried peanut butter and banana sandwich in the original booth where Elvis once sat.”

Elvis' Booth at Arcade Restaurant

Elvis’ Booth at Arcade Restaurant

The Arrow Marks Elvis' Favorite Booth at Arcade Restaurant

The Arrow Marks Elvis’ Favorite Booth

“Elvis was a regular visitor in the 50s, often accompanied by the Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips. The duo would sit at a booth at the back of the restaurant, conveniently located next to the back door in case Elvis had to make a dash from his enthusiastic fans.”

Elvis’ favorite booth next to back door at Arcade Restaurant

Elvis’ favorite booth next to back door

Henry Zepatos, the third generation owner of the Arcade, says that although the peanut butter and banana sandwich is one of the most popular items on the menu, when Elvis visited he would actually come in for traditional Southern cooking – meat and vegetables. He also liked black-eyed peas and mashed potatoes.

Arcade Restaurant Current Sandwich Menue

Portion of Current Arcade Restaurant Menu Showing Sandwiches

View from Elvis’ favorite booth at Arcade Restaurant

View from Elvis’ favorite booth.

The Arcade has the honor of being Memphis’ oldest restaurant, having opened in 1919. It has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Arcade Restaurant on National Register of Historic Places

 

Since 1925, the Arcade has undergone very little change. In fact, the counter was replaced only after repeated elbow rubbing wore through the plastic laminate.

Worn Counter top at Arcade Restaurant

Speros Zepatos founded the diner in 1919 after emigrating from Cephalonia, Greece. Situated at the corner of South Main Street and G.E. Patterson, the original building was a small, one story, wood framed building. Food was actually cooked on potbelly stoves. In 1925, Speros tore down the wood structure and built the Arcade Building in a Greek revival style, complete with retail stores to signify the “Arcade” name.

His son, Harry Zepatos, took the Arcade to a new level in the 1950’s. He made the cafe into the hip, fifties diner you see today. The interior design and furnishings, the spectacular neon signage, and original storefront have all stood the test of time.

Arcade Restaurant Neon Sign

As you look around this old part of Memphis, it still has the same look and feel that it did many years ago. The neighborhood buildings have been refurbished, yet the old-time charm still exists.

 

Walk the Line and Great Balls of Fire

It is interesting that movies about two of Elvis’ contemporaries at Sun Records, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis, have included scenes shot at the Arcade Restaurant. The diner’s nostalgic feeling has attracted many other movie makers. Some of the films with scenes shot at the Arcade include Mystery Train, The Client, The Firm, 21 Grams, and others.

 

Arcade Restaurant Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

This is a photo of the peanut butter and banana sandwich served by the Arcade Restaurant. There is a video on their website that shows how they make it. Next time you visit Graceland, you might want to take a side trip to order this specialty at the Arcade.

 

Elvis Presley's '68 Comeback Special Black Leather Outfit

And if you want to take a detailed look at Elvis’ wardrobe, check out Elvis Style by Zoey Goto. As said above, it also contains a section on Elvis food, plus his jewelry, his hair, his cars, and even the architecture of three Elvis homes.

The book ends with a chapter on Elvis’ legacy in modern-day fashion. Zoey has said she’s really up for me reproducing the chapter (with lots of photos) on a future ElvisBlog post. She is a famous fashion and design journalist, so she has unique insight into Elvis’ tangible and direct influence on fashion almost 40 years after his passing. You can be sure I’ll be taking her up on this opportunity.

 

 

© 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.

 

Elvis’ Fabulous Rings — Part 7

Elvis Presley's Pyramid Ring in Case

In the last two two auctions I’ve followed this year, eleven rings owned by Elvis have come up for sale. We will probably never know exactly how many he had over the years, but with this post, ElvisBlog will have covered over sixty-five in the Elvis’ Fabulous Rings series.

The first eight rings here were offered at the Julien’s Rock Icons Auction in May 2016.

 

Yellow Canary Irradiated Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Yellow Canary Irrddiated Diamond Ring

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I didn’t know what irradiated diamond meant, so I looked it up on Wikipedia. Who knew that bombardment by protons and deuterons via a cyclotron had anything to do with jewelry? These high-energy particles physically alter the diamond’s crystal lattice, producing more intense colors. We can imagine when Elvis first learned about irradiated diamond rings he just had to have one.

This one contains a 1.75 ct full-cut diamond surrounded with 16 round diamonds, approximately .65 cts. The ring is set in 14k yellow gold band weighing 16 grams.

The auction website estimated the ring would sell for $10-12,000. The bidding topped out at $10,000 plus the 28% auction house fee for a total cost of $12,800.

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Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Ring

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Here’s a beauty with 29 round full-cut diamonds totaling 1.45 cts mounted on an oval dome.  The 14k yellow gold setting weighs 20 grams.  The pre-auction estimate was $10-12,000, but the top bidder shelled out $15,360 to get it.
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Chieftain Ring:

Elvis Presley's Chieftan Ring

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Although this ring looks like silver, it is 14k gold.  The chieftain features a round emerald accenting the headdress.  Two full-cut diamonds are his eyes, and thirteen others totaling .75 cts complete the headdress.
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Elvis Presley's Chieftain Ring -- Top View
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The auction website does not state the weight of this 14k gold ring, but it is huge.  It’s hard to see it in this photo of Elvis wearing it, but you can get an idea of the size.
 Elvis Wearing Chieftain Ring
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This is the second time the Chieftain ring has sold at Julien’s Auctions.  In 2011, the buyer paid $15,360.   It sold for $19,375 in 2016, but remember, that price includes the auction house premium.  After taking that out, the seller barely broke even.
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Three-Tiered Diamond Ring with E.P. Engraved on Interior of the Band:

Elvis Pesley's Three-Tiered Diamond Ring with E.P. Engraved on Interior of the Band
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Elvis wore this ring on stage, but he had trouble keeping it on his finger.  He handed it to bodyguard Dave Hebler during a performance at the Lake Tahoe Sahara.  When Hebler tried to return it, Elvis told him to just keep it.  Elvis was very generous giving his rings away, especially stunning ones like this.  36 round-cut diamonds totaling 2.40 grams.  And mounted on a 14k gold band weighing 24.3 grams.  We can assume the engraved E.P. on the interior of the band added to its value, and it went for $20,480.  I think if this ring had been offered at the Auction at Graceland three months later, it probably would have gone for much more.
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Diamond Circular Ring:

Elvis Presley's Diamond Circular Ring
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This is another loose-fitting ring Elvis gave to Dave Hebler.  It has seven full-cut diamonds weighing 1.05 cts.  The band is 14k gold weighing 9.8 grams.  The pre-auction estimate of $10-12,000 was right on the money as the winning bid came in at $12, 800 including the auction house premium.
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Three-Channel Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's Three-Channel Diamond Ring
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This ring went for the same $12,800 price as the previous one, but it seems to be a superior ring.  It contains 25 full-cut diamonds totaling 1.25 cts.  The band is 14k gold weighing 10 grams.  The reason it didn’t go for more is hinted in the auction website description.  It says it was owned by Elvis, but makes no mention that he wore it.  Because it came from the estate of his Vernon Presley, it seems like Elvis bought this ring to gift to his father.
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Kempo Karate Ring:

Elvis Presley's Kempo Karate Ring
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Not every Elvis ring at the Heritage Rock Icons Auction was a winner.  This 14k white gold ring had a pre-auction estimate price of $20-40,000, which would mean an opening bid of $10,000.  Apparently no bidder thought it was even worth that.  There are no diamonds or other jewels.  I guess nobody was that impressed with a ring showing a dueling tiger and dragon in high-relief.
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Pyramid Ring:

Elvis Presley's Pyramid Ring
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The first photo at the start of this article is another view of Elvis’ pyramid ring.  The auction website said, “With the exception of the TCB ring, this may be the most exquisite ring Elvis owned.”  They also call it oversized, and that is no exaggeration.  The 14k white-gold band weighs a staggering 47.5 grams.  Then there is a .40ct full-cut round diamond in the top of the pyramid shape.  Finally, there are 76 pavé-set diamonds covering the concave sloping sides.  Elvis wore this ring at many performances and then gave it to Dr. George Nichopoulas.
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The pre-auction estimate was $30-50,000 which seems reasonable.  For some reason, the ring did not appear in the published results.  Surely, it couldn’t have been because nobody met the minimum bid.  More likely, the owner pulled it from the auction.  In my opinion, if he waits until the next Auction at Graceland, he will get the price he is hoping for.
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Speaking of the Auction at Graceland, the most recent was held on August 14 during Elvis Week in Memphis.  I have stated before that Elvis memorabilia goes for higher prices here than at other auctions.  See what you think about these three rings.
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Black Star Sapphire Ring:

Elvis Presley's Black Star Sapphire Ring -- Side View
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Elvis liked sapphires and coin rings in particular, and several of each have been shown in the Elvis’ Fabulous Rings series.  For some reason the auction website did not list separate stats on the stone and band, but together they weighed in at 21.6 grams.  The nugget-style setting is 14k gold.
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Elvis Presley's Black star Sapphire Ring
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The pre-auction was just $10-15,000, but when the dust settled after 25 bids, this black star sapphire ring sold for $35,000.
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 1911 Indian Head Gold $2½ Coin and Diamond Ring:

Elvis Presley's 1911 Indian Head Gold $2-1/2 and Diamond Ring
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The auction website says Elvis was known to adorn his fingers with multiple rings during his performances.  Because this one is only a size 6-1/2, it would have fit on only his pinky finger.  All the other rings covered in this article were sizes between 9 and 11.  In addition to the coin, the band contains 15 grams of 14k of yellow gold.  The face of the ring is surrounded by 24 diamonds.  The pre-auction estimate was $20-25,000, but bidding topped out at a cool $40,000.
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Horsehead Ring:

Elvis Presley's Ugly Horsehead Ring
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I featured this ring in a blog post a month ago on the Auction at Graceland.  In it, I questioned the rings visual appeal and said it looked weird.   Bidders apparently thought so, too, because it went for $12,800, well below the previous two beauties.  I see a pattern where returns are better at the Auction at Graceland, but a ring still has to look good to bring in the big bucks.
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Taking a Second Look:  Back in January, in Part 6, I said, “I think this is one of the ugliest rings presented in this series.  Well, I got an email from the man who bought the ring for $16,750 at the January 2016 Auction at Graceland.   He said, “I would like to change your mind.”  And he did.
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Aztec Ring:

Elvis Aztec Ring -- Poor Views
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These are the pictures from the auction website.  The buyer insisted. “The pictures of the auction house did not do it justice.  There was not a picture from its best angle, the front!”   He sent me this.
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Elvis Presley's Aztec Ring -- Front View
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I can’t imagine why the auction house didn’t take a shot from this angle, but that omission probably enabled the buyer to get it for less.  His email said, “There is also an enormous amount of detail in the ring. Of course we have the Maya calendar God on one side, There is a complete Maya village on the top of the ring in miniature, then a big temple with in the middle the roof for the sun worship
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I can’t see all that in the photos, but I’m sure you can looking at the actual ring up close.
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Now, If the buyer of that ugly horsehead ring would send me a picture showing it from an angle making it look good, I’ll be happy to publish that, too.
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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.

 

Live Long and Prosper

star-trek-50th-anniversary

The original Star Trek TV series premiered on September 8, 1966. Since then, we can certainly say that Star Trek has prospered.

 

elvis-lives

Although Elvis left us in 1977, we can also say he has prospered.

So what does Elvis have to do with Star Trek? There are more connections than you would think. We will celebrate Star Trek’s 50th anniversary here… Elvis style.

 

elvis-kirk

Thanks to those talented Photoshop jockeys, we see what Captain Elvis T. Kirk would look like.

 

elvis-spock

And here we have Spock Elvis. Or is it Elvis Spock?

 

spock-elvis-24-karat-hits

Well, let’s see. If this is Elvis Spock, I guess the other has to be Spock Elvis.

 

elvis-in-star-trek-the-next-generetion

Study this one for a minute. Somebody has morphed Elvis heads onto all the male characters in Star Trek: The Next Generation. How do you like bald Elvis as Captain Picard. He looks better than I would have expected. My other favorite is Elvis as Worf. And it was pretty clever to have Lisa Marie as Counselor Troi and Priscilla as Dr. Crusher.

 

elvis-kirk-standing

Here’s a nice shot of Elvis as Captain Kirk.

 

Nixon with William Shatner as Elvis

And in an opposite switch, William Shatner replaces Elvis in the iconic photo with Nixon. I now have 28 Photoshopped variations of the famous Elvis/Nixon photo. There’s more out there, but I’ll have to explore many Strange New Worlds in the Google Galaxy to find them.

 

The Elvis - Star Trek Connection

Back in 2009, I posted a two-part series on the Elvis / Star Trek Connection. It featured eight actresses who appeared in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies. Now is the perfect occasion to post them again (with a few updates).

 

CELESTE YARNALL:

Some of you may have met Celeste Yarnall at an Elvis Week, because she has become something of a regular guest there these past few years.  She appeared briefly in Live A Little, Love a Little, from 1968, just four films from the end of the Elvis movie string.  His movies were starting to get bad, but this one was so stupid it was funny.

   

                   

Yarnall played Ellen, a model he met at a party.  One of the ways Elvis (Gary Nolan) convinced her to come back to his apartment with him was by singing, “A Little Less Conversation.”

When Elvis gets her home, Bernice, another woman with an eye on Elvis, creates a ruckus while vacuuming, totally breaking the mood.  Ellen gets mad and insists Elvis take her home.

One year earlier, Celeste Yarnall appeared in a Star Trek episode titled, “The Apple.”  Instead of being hit on by Elvis, this time it was Ensign Chekov.

She escaped Checkov’s advances, and later, Captain Kirk consoled her by showing her his giant horn.

 

TERI GARR:

Teri Garr appeared in six Elvis movies:

Kissin’ Cousins  1963
Fun in Acapulco  1963
Viva Las Vegas  1964
Roustabout   1964
Girl Happy   1965
Clambake   1967

However, her screen time was not as an actress.  At this early point in her career, she was a dancer trying to break into acting.

Teri Garr in a scene from Viva Las Vegas

Blow up of Teri Garr in that scene

 

Teri Garr in Roustabout

Teri Garr in Kissin’ Cousins

Teri Garr Dancing in Girl Happy

Teri Garr dancing in Girl Happy

There has been some argument among Elvis fans about whether the girl in this and other dancing sceens was really Teri Garr.  The detail just wasn’t sharp enough to be sure.

Teri Garr in jail in Girl Happy

It was your ElvisBlogmeister that finally proved she appeared in Girl Happy. Remember how Elvis landed in the Ft. Lauderdale jail?  I found this shot while doing single frame advance to get to something else.  Note she is wearing the same top as in the dancing shot.

 

Teri Garr got one of her first acting jobs in Star Trek episode # 55 titled “Assignment Earth.”  Captain Kirk and Spock travelled back in time to 1968 Earth to stop Gary Seven, a villian who was trying to explode an orbital bomb over Asia.  Teri Garr played Roberta Lincoln, a ditzy blond in a very short mini-skirt who was hired by a henchman of Gary Seven to supposedly develop a new ecyclopedia.  In the end, she became suspicious and helped save Earth.

 

yvonne craig:

 

Most Elvis fans know she was one of the Tatum sisters in Kissin’ Cousins, but she appeared in an earlier Elvis movie in a small part.  Yvonne Craig had a small role in It Happened at the World’s Fair, released in 1963.  She played Dorothy Johnson, a love interest of Elvis’ character, Mike Edwards.  While her scene with Elvis was short, it could be called pretty hot, as you can see by these stills.


Two movies later, Yvonne Craig showed up in a much larger role in Kissin’ Cousins.  Do you think Elvis might have really liked her first performance and put in a good word for her?   Anyway, she played Azalea Tatum, who had to fight with her sister Selena for Elvis’ attention (Air Force Captain Josh Morgan).  Azalea finally ends up the winner in the Elvis sweepstakes.

 

These roles were tame compared to her character in a Star Trek episode in 1967: “Whom Gods Destroy.”  Yvonne Craig played Marta, a green-skinned inmate at the Federation asylum on Elba ll.  She was delusional, seductive and skilled in exotic dance.   The evil Garth of Izar coerced her to carry out a plot to assassinate Captain Kirk.  

She got alone with Kirk, started to seduce him, and then pulled a knife and tried to stab him.  He fought her off, and Spock arrived to help subdue her.    After the failed assassination attempt, her master, Garth of Izar, ended her life by blowing her to bits with a new explosive.


        

 

laurel Goodwin:

Laurel Goodwin  played Laurel Dodge, Elvis’ love interest in Girls, Girls, Girls.  Actually, it was more like “the winning love interest,” because Stella Stevens was a former flame that still hoped for a future with Elvis’ character, Ross Carpenter, and she kept popping up throughout the movie.

 The dance that Elvis and Laurel did (pictured above) is one of my favorite scenes from his films.  It must have been difficult to come up with a dance routine that was funny, but this one was.

On Star Trek, Laurel appeared as Yeoman Colt in an episode that contained Spock, but not Captain Kirk or any of the other familiar Enterprise crew members.  That’s because she was in “The Cage,” the one hour pilot that was produced to sell NBC on the series.  Parts of it were used for flashback scenes in a later two-part episode, but “The Cage was not broadcast intact until 1988, twenty years after the series ended.  I like Goodwin’s look in this better than in the Elvis movie.  That’s Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike.  Don’t you bet he and Laurel Goodwin would have had significantly better careers if they had kept their roles when the series went into production?

 

Nancy Kovack:

Nancy Getting Elvis' Eye in Frankie and Johnny

Nancy Kovack also had a major role in an Elvis movie.  She played Nellie Bly, the “losing Elvis love interest” in Frankie and Johnny.  (Not to say Elvis’ movies were formulaic, but do you notice the pattern here?)  Nellie Bly was immortalized in the song as the girl who caused Johnny (Elvis) to do Frankie wrong.  Actually, Johnny just believed Nellie was a good-luck charm for his frequent gambling, but Frankie and the riverboat owner (Nellie’s former boyfriend) thought otherwise.  Skullduggery ensued, and Johnny discovered the real good-luck charm was the one Frankie gave him.  He carried it in his breast pocket, and it saved him from a bullet to the chest.  Of course, Frankie and Johnny got together at the end of the movie, but Nellie did okay too, as she went back to the riverboat owner.

          

On Star Trek Nancy Kovack played Nona in “A Private Little War,” and got to wear the nifty warrior witch outfit you see above.  Nona was the wife of Tyree, leader of the Hill People on the planet Neural.  However, she wanted power and betrayed him.  She stole Dr. McCoy’s phaser and sought out the leader of a rival faction, but ended up being stabbed to death.


Julie Parrish:

Julie Parrish played Joanna, an employee of the Kahala Hilton hotel in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but she did not play an Elvis love interest.  However, she was part of a scene that requires much willing suspension of disbelief.  She had Elvis’ character (a helicopter pilot named Rick) transport a consignment of pedigreed dogs to a dog show.  The dogs freaked out and Elvis lost control of the helicopter.  Before he could gain control, he ran a car off the road and into a ditch.  Well, the driver of that car just happened to be a big shot in the Federal Aviation Administration (oops).  Gee, what a coincidence.

 

Her Star Trek role was as Miss Piper, Starfleet Adjutant to Commodore Mendez on planet Talos lV in the two-part episode “The Menagerie.”  This is the show where parts of “The Cage” were shown in flashback.  Captain Pike was also in the newer plot, but he had been badly disfigured by delta rays.  Fortunately, Julie Parrish’s figure was just fine, and it was well displayed throughout the story.

Emily Banks:

The credits for Live A Little, Love A Little list Emily Banks’ character as “Receptionist.”  I know it’s hard to notice with that voluptuous stand-up occupying so much of the photo above, but look closely, there is a receptionist here.  Hey, Elvis, don’t stare.  Emily Banks fared a bit better with dialogue, as she had enough lines to be the fifth woman listed in the credits.

For her Star Trek appearance in “Shore Leave,” Emily Banks played Yeoman Tonia Barrows and got to do considerably more acting.  When some of the Enterprise crew beamed down to Omicron Delta for badly needed shore leave, a mysterious energy field (they show up at lot, don’t they?) caused strange things to happen individually to each crew member.  For Yeoman Barrows, it was a visit from Don Juan.  Too bad for Dr. McCoy, who thought scoring with her would be the perfect form of R&R.

 

Tanya Lemani:

Tanya Lemani did not appear in an Elvis movie, but she was featured in the ’68 Comeback Special.  She had significant screen time as a belly dancer in the segment where Elvis sang “Little Egypt.”

She had a much larger part playing Kara in the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold.”  Kirk, McCoy and Scotty beamed down to the hedonistic pleasure planet Argelius II, and went to a favorite café.  Kara’s dancing infatuated them all, especially Scotty.  When she came over to their table, Scotty put his best moves on her and she agreed to leave with him.  As you can see in the picture above, Scotty was really pleased with this development.  Unfortunately, Kara was attacked out on the street and stabbed to death (awww, not that again).

 

Let’s end this Elvis-style 50th anniversary tribute to Star Trek with him getting a promotion.

Star Trek Commander Elvis

If you look back at the group photo of The Next Generation above, you will note the crew had a serious uniform update from those of the original show.  Will Riker was the Commander in that series, so a photo of him was converted to this. I think Elvis looks perfect in a Commander’s uniform.

And finally, how about a shot with both Elvis and Kirk on it?

Elvis and Kirk with two lovlies

 

 

© 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 Elvis Concert I Would Most Have Liked to See

Elvis and Band Performing at New Frontier Hotel

In March 2015 and again this year, Graceland Blog has presented variations on college basketball’s March Madness betting brackets. They modified them so fans could vote their preference on different elements of Elvis’ career. Remember these?

Elvis Movie Madness:             Winner — Elvis: That’s the Way It Is

Elvis Bracket Challenge:         Winner – “Don’t Be Cruel”

Now Graceland has come up with an interactive concept allowing fans to vote their favorite of two choices in twelve different categories.

Would You Rather - Elvis Edition
You can see three of the twelve choices in the announcement box above. Fans preferred chatting with Gladys over Vernon buy a huge margin, and horses won by a hair over motorcycles. Other interesting choices were: Would you rather receive one of Elvis’ rings or a scarf he wore on stage? (The ring won 78% to 22%. I don’t know why it wasn’t 100% to 0%); Would you rather go for a spin in the Pink Cadillac, or fly in Elvis’ custom jet, the Lisa Marie? (Pink Caddy won, but I feel strongly that a ride in the jet would be way cooler.)

Vote for Elvis' '68 Special or Aloha from Hawaii

The first question in the announcement box made me think. I did vote for the winner, the ’68 Special, but I knew in my heart there was one other Elvis concert I would have strongly preferred over either of the two choices. It was a concert at 2PM on April 28, 1956. Here is the story.

Years ago while surfing the net I found an Associate Press story by Steve Kanigher on LasVegasSun.com that contained some significant facts about Elvis I did not know. The subject was his two-week engagement at the New Frontier Hotel’s Venus Showroom from April 23 to May 6, 1956. What I learned has caused me to question the prevailing belief that Elvis’ shows then were something of a bust and kept him from performing in Las Vegas for the next thirteen years.

Billboard for Elvis' Performance at the New Frontier Hotel

Elvis performed two shows a night, 8PM and midnight. The audience was older types who favored the traditional Las Vegas shows. Freddy Martin’s Band and comedian Shecky Greene fit the standard. But Elvis did not. The patrons just didn’t get him, and Elvis’ appearances were roundly panned by the Las Vegas press.

But one performance was much different. For some reason, Col. Parker decided to add an extra Saturday afternoon matinee show for teenagers on April 28. According to Elvis: Day By Day by Guralnick and Jorgesen the price was a mere one dollar, and that included one free soft drink.

Wow. Think about that for a moment. Suppose you were among the lucky teenagers who came along with Mom and Dad to Vegas that weekend. Can you imagine learning about a special Elvis show being added just for kids while you were there – and freaking out! And it only cost a buck. Sign us all up. We’re headed to the Frontier to see Elvis!

Elvis at New Frontier Hotel

Now, try thinking about how great that show was. We can tell by this description of how these young fans’ reacted to Elvis’ appearance. According to the Associated Press story, “Teens screamed with delight.” This is confirmed by a quote from D J Fontana in Scotty Moore’s biography, That’s All Right, Elvis, “The Colonel did a show for teenagers on Saturday, and it was just jam-packed, with everybody screaming and hollering.”

Scotty and Elvis on stage at New Frontier

Okay, so now we know Elvis had one Vegas show in 1956 with his real fans in attendance, and a fine time was had by all. Of course the teenage fans screamed. That was what they were doing for Elvis all over America in arenas and stadiums. But that Saturday matinee was in the intimate environment of the Venus Showroom at the New Frontier Hotel. Everybody there was up close and personal. No bleachers or nose-bleed section for this show.

Elvis on Stage at New Frontier Hotel

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Look how close those kids in the front rows were to Elvis. And those in the back weren’t very far away either. The attendance that day has been reported at a little over 1000 teenagers. This is much less than Elvis had been pulling in at arenas all year leading up to his gig in Las Vegas.

Venus Showroom at New Frontier Hotel

This is obviously not an Elvis performance, but it gives you a good idea of the intimacy of Venus Showroom audience and the performers on stage.

Elvis came to Las Vegas after performing in front of big crowds in large venues. The shrieking at all of them was so loud and so sustained that the music from Elvis and the band couldn’t be heard. I read somewhere that even the band couldn’t hear the music.

But, I doubt the volume of shrieking from the much smaller crowd in the Venus Showroom would had been enough to drown out the music. In that case, those 1,000 young Elvis fans in Las Vegas were not only close to Elvis, they could actually hear him.

Elvis Wth Scotty Moore Performing at Venus Showroom

If I could go back in time and be at just one Elvis concert in his entire career, I would pick the 2PM Saturday matinee at the New Frontier Hotel on April 28, 1956.

Elvis Performing at New Frontier

After a week of facing mature audiences that just did not get him, can you imagine what kind of performance Elvis gave in front of screaming teenaged fans? It was the same one-and-a-half show he gave every night, but the whole vibe had to be different.

Man, I wish I could have been there.

 

 

{Editor’s Note: While the photos above were snapped at the Venus Showroom, most were not actually the Elvis concert for teenagers.}

 

Elvis - Welcome to Las Vegas

 

 

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

 

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A Rare Look at Elvis Screenplays

Elvis - Change of Habit - Open Script

Movie screenplays are available from a number of different sources. They offer thousands of titles, but one thing you won’t find in their listings is an Elvis screenplay.

Script Fly

Script City

Apparently Elvis collectors long ago snapped up every available copy of the scripts of his movies. So, it was quite a surprise to see nine Elvis screenplays offered at the recent Auction at Graceland. They vary greatly in price for a variety of reasons we will discuss here. They will be presented from cheapest to most expensive.

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Wild in the Country:

Elvis - Wild in the Country First Draft Script

The auction website describes this one as remarkable and a rare example of a well-used original first draft screenplay. Bidders obviously thought otherwise because no one would make the minimum bid of $600 ($750 with the Graceland premium added).

Here’s why they shied away. The shabby condition certainly was a factor. Showing signs of heavy use, it is worn along the edges and stained. It also suffered water damage, mostly confined to the cover.

Please note the date of August 7, 1958 on the cover, and the original title, The Lost Country, crossed out and Wild in the Country written in. Elvis didn’t get out of the Army until 1960, so most of the copious use this script received came before Elvis was active in the project.

Elvis - Wild In The Country Movie Poster

While this script wasn’t of much interest to Elvis fans, it may have value to students of film because it contains numerous handwritten notations and amended dialog throughout. One can see how after months (years?) of review and tweaking, an original first draft script can turn into the final version used for filming.

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Roustabout:

Elvis Movie -Roustabout Script

This script for Roustabout is the final version, so all additions, corrections, and replacements on the first working script have been incorporated. The quality is listed as near-mint.

Elvis - Roustabout Movie Poster

The auction website says this script came from a member of the film crew, so bidders knew Elvis never even touched it. The projected winning price for this Roustabout script was $1,000-1,500, but it generated only the minimum bid of $600 (plus 25%).

 

Stay Away Joe:

Elvis - Stay Away, Joe Script

The next three screenplays sold for $938 ($750 plus premium), which was a good bit below the estimate of $1,000 – $1,500. Also, there were only two bids placed on each of them, presumably by the same two people in each case.

Elvis - Stay Away Joe Movie Poster

The auction website spent more space talking about the movie Stay Away, Joe than the screenplay. They did explain that it is a later-phase final script with evolution evidenced by “the plethora of blue replacement sheets, used when changes were made, to avoid having to reprint entire scripts and actors having to transcribe their personal notations.”

Blue Pages in Elvis' Stay Away Joe Script

Blue replacement sheet on left, original white script page on right.

 

Follow That Dream:

Elvis Presley - Follow That Dream Script

Screenplays ae not usually put in a hardback book cover, but this mint-condition version of Follow That Dream was for some reason.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Movie Poster
The interior cover tells us a few interesting things. The number 172 in the upper right corner indicates the large number of copies made of this script. Any number of production and support personnel get copies, not just the actors. You can see the original title was Pioneer, Go Home, with the change to Follow That Dream (Release Title) hand-written above it.

Elvis - Follow That Dream Final Script

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Double Trouble:

Elvis - Double Trouble Final Script

This script for Double Trouble has the same tan-colored cover we will see several times in this post. We are told a sticker reading “All the King’s Things” is affixed to the inside back page, but it is not explained and no photo is included. The condition is listed as Very Good to Excellent.

Elvis -Double Trouble 3

One thing of note is the message at the top of the cover: “Please do not lose or destroy this script. Return to Script Department.”

Double Trouble - Close up

Most of the screenplay copies in the auction had a similar notation, sometimes on the inside cover. The studios tried to keep their scripts from leaking out or going missing, but whoever had copy # 133 of Double Trouble got around the rule.

 

King Creole:

Elvis - King Creole Early Production Screenplay

The next two screenplays sold for $1,500 including the premium, but there doesn’t seem to be any compelling reason for the price jump. This King Creole script did at least have Elvis’ name written on it, but it isn’t stated that he wrote it, so it’s a safe assumption that it was someone else.

Elvis - King Creole Movie Poster

As you can see on the script cover, the title was originally A Stone for Danny Fisher, the same as the title of the Harold Robbins novel it was adapted from.

A Stone for Danny Fisher

That’s not the only thing that changed.

“The story of A Stone for Danny Fisher featured Danny as a boxer in a suburb of Brooklyn, New York. The film was originally written for James Dean, but then it was shelved after his untimely death in September of 1955. In 1957, the idea of the film was resurrected and adjusted for the lead to be played by the wildly popular star, Elvis Presley. The character of Danny was converted from a boxer to a musician, changed to being set in New Orleans and the title was adjusted to King Creole.”

“This working script was truer to the original story than the final version, as Danny dies on the last page, but this was later changed for the film. Perhaps this change was a result of the reaction to Elvis’ character Clint dying in the end of Love Me Tender.”

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Clambake:

Elvis - Clambake Script

I’m not sure what made this copy of the Clambake script worth more money than others we’ve looked at, except that it is mint condition. It did get ten bids, so some additional people were interested in it compared to the previous scripts at this auction.

Elvis - Clambake Movie Poster

Elvis -Clambake Script Open

With the blue cover open, we see the kind of information script covers usually contain.

 

Live A Little, Love A Little:

Elvis - Live A Little Script

It is easy to see why the top bid on this one went to $2,500 – Elvis’ signature on the cover. The auction website states this original production script was Elvis’ personal working copy. But it also sates: “There is a secretarial Elvis signature on the front cover of this script and someone has added the handwritten notation “(I’m Coming)” under the novel’s title in pencil (it cannot be determined if this is in Elvis’ hand).”

Does that mean a secretary signed his name? If so, she did a pretty good job.

Elvis - Live A Little Movie Poster

 

Change of Habit:

1969 Change of Habit Production Script Signed by Elvis Presley

There is no question why this was the winner for top bid among the screenplays offered at the Auction at Graceland. Just under the Change of Habit title, you can see Elvis’ signature.

Elvis and Barbara McNair

This script is attributed to Barbara McNair, one of Elvis’ costars. Her name is on script cover (shown in the first image of this post), it appears she had a little signing party when filming completed. In addition to Elvis, she got Mary Tyler Moore, Jane Elliot and director William A Graham sign her script. Here’s a look at Elvis’ message to her with some of the adjacent verbiage cut out.

Elvis' message to Barbara McNair

The script and autographs had value added with the inclusion of two copies of shooting call sheets dated April 18, 1969 (the 28th day of shooting) on which sets are listed with the actors’ names and handwritten costume notes.

Elvis Movie Change of Hhabit Poster

If all that wasn’t enough, Change of Habit was Elvis’ last theatrical film, so that probably added some sentimental value and boosted the winning bid up to $4,000, well above the auction estimate.

 

 

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

 

 

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Interesting Items at the Latest Auction at Graceland

Elvis Presley Signed Guitar Case

The Auction at Graceland continues to grow and cement its position as the best place to sell your Elvis collectibles. In addition to bringing buyers and sellers together, EPE has introduced another attraction to bring folks to Elvis Week. From just 72 items at the first auction in August 2014, the list of memorabilia grew to 197 lots in the recent August 13, 2016 extravaganza in Memphis.

For the first time that I’m aware of, a nice group of Elvis movie scripts were offered to the public. We will look at these separately in another post in a few weeks. Most of the Elvis autographs, rings, and apparel sold at this auction will show up later as ElvisBlog continues its three popular series on these items of special interest. But that still leaves plenty of goodies to cover here now.

Signed and Inscribed Guitar Case:

 

Elvis' Autographed Guitar Case

This autographed hard-shell acoustic guitar case has an interesting story. Elvis loved to ride horses, and, in February 1967, he purchased a 163-acre ranch just across the Mississippi state line, naming it “Circle G” after Graceland. Later that year, an auction was held to sell off some excess equipment along with a few personal belongings of Elvis. Two young ladies named Peggy Ferrell and Diana Hoover, roommates at the time, attended this auction. Peggy bid $15 on the battered guitar case, said to be one of the first owned by Elvis.

Somehow, the girls were able to get Elvis to sign the case, “To Peggy and Diana from Elvis Presley” with a bold marker on the inside bottom felt.

Article on the girls with Elvis' Guitar Case

Article on the girls with Elvis’ Guitar Case

Forty-five years later, at an October 2012 Heritage auction, the case sold for $5,000. Fast forward four years, and this signed guitar case sold for $9,375 at the Auction at Graceland. That includes the 25% percent premium for Graceland. The net of $7,500 for the seller made a cool $2,500 profit.

This is a good example of how the Auction at Graceland has raised the bid prices for Elvis memorabilia. Still, scoring a profit doesn’t happen every time, and there has even been a few cases where the resell lost money for the owner. It must be an intriguing mystery to figure out what items are underpriced and could payoff later like this guitar case did.

 

Elvis Tonight – 8:00 p.m. Banner:

Elvis Tonight Banner

This has to be the biggest piece of Elvis memorabilia ever reported on this blog. The new owner better have a huge wall to mount it on, because it measures 4 x 19 feet. But the banner has two other things going for it. It was was produced to hang outside the Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland, Maine for Elvis’ concert on August 17, 1977. It was to be the first stop on a new tour. Elvis never made it, of course, dying the day before.

Elvis Tonight Cumberland County Civic Center, Portland ME

The second feature adding value to the banner is that it was used during the making of the 1981 film This Is Elvis. The film’s director had it hung above the door to the Civic Center just as it would have appeared on the day Elvis was supposed to play. The photo above is from the movie.

This was a high interest item with 25 total bids running the price up to $4,250.

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Huge Elvis Signatures:

Huge Elvis Presley's Signatures

While we are talking huge Elvis goodies, check out this panel with four autographs. It measures 8-3/4” wide by 17-1/4: long, plus the matting and frame. Col. Parker apparently had Elvis create them as artwork for posters, menus, photo albums, postcards, album covers, etc.

Five Inch Elvis Presley's Signature

This signature measures almost five inches wide, possibly one of the largest Elvis signatures in existence. The Best Wishes Elvis Presley inscription is almost six inches wide.

Some well-heeled Elvis autograph collector shelled out $6,000 for this unique collectible.

 

1971 Colt Lawman MKIII .357 Magnum Revolver:

Elvis' 1971 Colt Lawman MKIII .357 Magnum Revolver

What would an Elvis auction be without at least one firearm? The bidding on the Colt .357 Magnum topped out at $20,000. The auction website says, “Perhaps never again will one see such a mountain of evidence attesting to a gun being owned and used by Elvis Presley.”

Federal Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Record for Elvis' Colt Magnum

This proof of Elvis’ ownership is the Federal Firearms Acquisition and Disposition Record completed by Frontier Gun Shop when Elvis bought the pistol. It contains the gun’s model and serial number, plus Elvis’ name and Beverly Hills address. This is so solid it makes the accompanying letter of authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost superfluous.

 

Horsehead Ring:

The Auction at Graceland Horse Head Ring

Elvis must have really liked horse head rings, because at least three have been reported here after sales at auctions. To my eye, this one has nowhere near the visual appeal as the other two. See what you think.

Horse Head Ring - Christie's 2001 !8,000

Sold at Christie’s Auction in 2001 for $18,800

 

Elvis' Horse Head Ring - Julien's oct 2010

Sold at Julien’s Auction in 2010

While these other rings were loaded with diamonds, the one at the Auction at Graceland had just a single ruby for the horse’s eye. Unfortunately, there was no photograph offered taken. from the top, which might have given a better idea of what the ring looks like.

Elvis' Horsehear Ring - Alt View

This view doesn’t do much except reinforce the idea that it’s a very weird ring. No wonder Elvis gave it away to bodyguard Sam Thompson. It sold for $12,500, but two other outstanding rings at the Auction at Graceland sold for $35,000 and $40,000.

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Elvis Presley Birth Record Document from Delivering Physician:

Elvis Presley Birth Record Document

This item is so unique that the auction website offered a short video from the previous owner to tell the story of how he acquired it back in 1994. The person is actor John Corbett, who made reference in the video to his roles in Northern Exposure and My Big Fat Greek Wedding. He did not relate how much he paid for it, but it certainly had to be less than the $80,000 it sold for this time. Note that Elvis’ name is spelled wrong.

Article of Elvis Presley's Birth Doctor

Included with the birth record was a newspaper article on Dr. Robert Hunt, who was primarily a birth doctor for the poor rural families of northern Mississippi from 1913 until the early 50s. He brought 1,845 babies into existence, and Elvis was number 920. The delivery cost $15.

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1973 American Express Card:

Elvis' American Express Card

This is another item John Corbett put up for sale at the auction, but he did not make a profit on it. The website says he paid nearly $60,000 for it in 1994, but brought only $37,500 this time. On the video, Corbett admits he got carried away bidding against the Hard Rock Café who had considerably deeper pockets than his.

Elvis' American Express Card - Back

Of course, the card had Elvis’ signature on the back, but as we have seen, the value of his autograph varies widely depending on what item he signed.

 

Loving You Pants:

Elvis' Loving You Pants

Elvis apparel is always popular at the auctions, especially if photos are available showing Elvis wearing an item of clothing. That is certainly the case with these western-style pants he wore in the movie Loving You.

Double Elvis in Loving You Outfit

Elvis Seated Wearing Loving You Pants

It also helps if the clothing has labels sewn in that have Elvis’ name on them. Although ELVIS PRESLEY is faded here, it can be made out with the naked eye.

Nudie's Label with Elvis' Name inside Loving You Pants

The website made it a point to say that Elvis actually wore these pants during filming. I suspect this was because the wardrobe department produced extra back-up pairs that didn’t get worn. One of these showed up at the Heritage Ultimate Elvis Auction in 2010, and it sold for over $20,000. Now the pair of pants he actually did wear just went for $42,500.

 

Cuff Links:

Elvis Cuff Links

Elvis’ cufflinks do not show up at auctions very often, so this pair generated heavy bidding and topped out at $8,750. I am perplexed at this high price because the cuff links are not the kind of fine jewelry Elvis usually bought. The metal is not gold; it is called goldtone. The inlay is faux mother-of-pearl, and the stone in the center is a rhinestone, not a diamond.

Maybe the bidders were encouraged by a cute story concerning the cuff links. Over the years, Elvis gave many gifts to friend and back-up singer J.D. Sumner. Some were serious valuable items, others were just for fun. Sumner had so many of these that ultimately he hung them on a faux ficus tree in his office. It became known as the Elvis Tree, and these cuff links dangled from it for years until Sumner passed away.

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Hilton Hotel Hanging Banner:

Hilton Hotel Blue Elvis Hanging Banner

We opened with a banner, so we’ll close with another. At 6-1/2 x 36 inches (12 x 44 framed), it is much smaller, but it sold for more money. There were 31 bids placed on this banner, more than any other item, and it topped out at $6,000.

Elvis Hilton Hotel Show Invitation

The banner was a clever invitation to Elvis’ concert that night, and it had a RSVP envelope enclosed. I wonder what it took to be on the guest list of those who received this banner/invitation.

 

The Auction at Graceland

Next week we’ll take a look at Elvis movie scripts from the auction. Down the road, we’ll cover the autographs, rings, and clothing.

 

 

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

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Touching AP Wire Stories after Elvis’ Death

Newspaper Headline of Elvis' Death

Elvis’ incredible rocket ride to superstardom coincided exactly with my high school years. I have always felt fortunate to have been a teenager when Elvis burst on the scene and changed everything. It was an exciting time for those of us lucky enough to be around then. Sometimes I marvel at all the folks who have become Elvis fans in spite of never experiencing the Elvis phenomenon in real time.

This week I realized there are also current Elvis fans who never experienced another momentous event – his death. It was a brutal shock to us fans, and the pain and sorrow we felt over his loss was staggering.

To honor the 39th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, I would like to reprint some of the sentiments expressed by Associated Press writers in the days after his death. These went out to hundreds of subscribing newspapers along with assortments of photographs. They are not straight news stories, but rather narratives on the effect Elvis’ passing had on the fans.

I think you may find these stories a welcome addition to your celebration of Elvis Week 2016.

 

Fans at Gates of Graceland august 18, 1977

The throng of grieving fans who descended on Graceland the day after Elvis died is well documented. Less known are the pilgrimages fans made to other of Elvis’ former homes, like the one at 144 Monovale Street in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.

Elvis Home -- 144 Monovale, Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles

 

August 17, 1977:  (Author attribution not given)

As a light rain fell, fans of Elvis Presley sat outside the black iron gate of the Holmby Hills mansion once owned by the dead star. They waited, but they didn’t know what for, and they didn’t really know why they had come.

A tour bus stopped Tuesday, and after telling his tale, the driver leaned out to the damp visitors and said, “You know he doesn’t live there anymore.”

They knew.

Dany Frye said it was like being shot when he heard that the king of rock and roll was dead. Almost without thinking, he and his wife made a pilgrimage to the house where Frye and other fans often visited to catch a glimpse of Elvis. “He was Mr. Music to me,” said Frye. “I don’t think anybody will ever take his place. I used to come out here and wait by the gate, along with a hundred other people.”

The 29-year-old Frye had seen Presley once. “You know, he meant a great deal to people my age. The Beatles came along and he wasn’t so hot for a while, but his true fans loved him.”

Frye occasionally peeked through the hole in the fence at the expansive Tudor-style mansion capping grass-knolled lawns. He ran his hands through his hair, pacing back and forth.

Frye knew the trees that dotted the estate, knew the tennis court, but didn’t know why he was there.

[Editor’s note: We know.]

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Fainter Coming through the Gates of Elvis' Graceland

The dedication and anguish Elvis fans endured in Memphis the day after his death is probably not known by many of the folks in town for this year’s Elvis Week. Any who read this story will probably be less inclined to complain about the Memphis heat.

August 18,1977: by Eric Newhouse

The bouquet of red roses, meant to adorn the coffin of Elvis Presley, wilted in the sun.

“The girl standing next to us originally brought flowers,” said Margaret McCasland of Memphis. “We picked them up and decided to deliver them when she fainted.”

Hundreds fainted Wednesday as they waited in the stifling heat outside Graceland mansion for a last glimpse of the king of rock ‘n’ roll. After treatment by paramedics inside the mansion’s gates, many doggedly continued their pilgramage to Presley’s seemless copper coffin.

Police said 25,000 to 30,000 people passed the open coffin just inside the doorway to Presley’s white-pillared home for a two-second glimpse of the singer.

Presley was burried today after a private ceremony. At 5:55 p.m. a policeman announced over a megaphone that “gates will be closed at 6:30. No one will be admitted after that.” No one moved.

At 6:30 sharp, another announcement: “The family has requested that the gates be closed. They are sorry you couldn’t make it.” Still no one moved.

“It is not our doing,” pleaded the policeman. “The family has asked us to stop the visitation.”

The huge crowd responded with a chant: “One more hour, one more hour.” But the gates adorned with dancing musical notes opened only to admit a last-minute surge of children and fainting women.

Thousands were turned away.

“I think it’s terrible. I’ve waited six hours,” said Ms. McCasland, holding the wilted bouquet.

“We came all the way from New York,” said Donna Griffin. “We stood there for five hours and they shut the door in our faces.”

One man denied entry said he had flown from Switzerland. Another said he had come from Baltimore. A woman said she had come from California.

Sheriff Barksdale said he had been in law enforcement in Memphis for 27 years, “and I’ve witnessed many events, including the assassination of Martin Luther King,” he said.  “I’ve never whitnessed anything like this.”

Presley’s body was discovered Tuesday afternoon. News of the 42-year-old singer’s death swept the country.

“I heard on the radio that he was dead and then they started playing ‘I Can’t Help but Love You,’” Rita Hambrick of Texarkana, Ark. said.

“I couldn’t help it – I broke out crying and cried until I went to bed. And I woke up crying again to the radio playing ‘Love Me Tender.’”

Miss Hambrick and her friends drove 130 miles to Memphis Wednesday morning and spent six nightmarish hours waiting in the heat.

‘Seven people fainted around me. The lady in front of me and the lady behind me had to be caried out on stretchers.’

“It was horrible,” she said, “but I’d do it again, because it was our last chance to see him.”

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I always enjoy reading about how Elvis changed things for the teenagers of the late 50s. But many kids of that age in 1977 knew little about Elvis.

Woman Crying

 

August 19, 1977:  by Linda Deutsch

To little kids and teenagers, it must be a strange spectacle: a world of adults grieving the death of a rock ‘n’ roll singer.

“Who was this Elvis Presley, anyway?” they wonder. “Why did Mama cry when she heard he’d died? And what’s this got to do with me?”

How do you explain?

If there had been no Elvis, we might still be wearing crewcuts and saddle shoes. We might be humming ballads and saying nothing about sex.

“If there had been no Elvis,” says music publicist Paul Wasserman, “there would have been no Beatles, no Rolling Stones. Elvis was a pioneer.”

Like George Washington?

Well sort of. He was a revolutionary for sure, but he carried a guitar, not a musket, and his message was a different kind of freedom.

He was a “culture hero” and it seems just now that he should be compared to another man in this century: Rudolph Valentino. They were American originals – “The Shiek” and “The Pelvis.”

In the 1920s, Valentino danced the Tango on a movie screen and women swooned.

In the 1950s, Elvis wigglesd his hips on TV and girls fainted.

 

Screaming Elvis Fans

Elvis’ death shocked and stunned his fans around the world. Did you know that so many of them flocked to Graceland the next day that president Carter had to send in 300 National Guard troops in to maintain order? It has been written that 500,000 people and 1,000 police officers lined the streets of Memphis for Elvis’ funeral procession on August 18. That seems incredibly high, but such is Elvis lore.

Elvis Presley's Funeral Procession

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To those of you who weren’t around then to experience the anguish of the fans mourning for Elvis, hopefully these three AP wire stories will give you a new appreciation for it.

 

Have a great Elvis Week.

 

 

© 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.

 

Fun and Games on Elvis’ Movie Sets

Elvis Tossing Football off Set on 'Follow That Dream'

Three months ago I shared a few excerpts from the new book Elvis Humor by Bo Keeley. Bo had a unique concept for producing a successful book about Elvis. He went out and bought 43 other books on Elvis, and searched through them to find 290 anecdotes about his humor and love of fooling around and pulling stunts on others.

Elvis Humor

 

Elvis Humor is organized into many categories like the three in the subtitle: Girls, Guns, and Guitars. Last time we looked at a few from the Graceland section, but this time the stories of fun and games take place in the Movies category. Bo Keeley precedes each story with a little background and follows with the original source information.

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Wet Shirt

The Memphis Mafia was a mobile family that accompanied Elvis wherever he went, including onto Hollywood movie sets. Each had a specific duty such as bodyguard, valet, sport trainer, scheduling logistics, or playing in the bands. In Hollywood, the function of the group was to make sure Elvis had a good time. The boss always said that when making movies stopped being fun, he would stop making movies…

Elvis on Motorcycle in Clambake

I walked on the set of Clambake one morning. A bucket of water hit me from way up on one of the high catwalks. Elvis had a dressing room trailer that they pull from different locations. And I was there waiting for somebody to come out. Well, Red West had taken two buckets of water and crawled to the top of that studio. And I’m sitting there waiting. All of the sudden, a bucket of water hit me all over my head. And, when I looked up, the second one got me right in the face. Then I went to wardrobe and got a dry shirt. I hung my shirt up. And I went over there about 30 minutes later, it was still ringing wet.

Wet Shirt

We broke for lunch, and when we came back, it was still wet. About an hour later, I came back, it’s still ringing wet. Well, this time I shot around the trailer, and I stopped and looked back where my shirt was hanging. And Elvis had one of those pumps, you know, that they use to keep the greenery looking good on the set. Every time I’d walk away, he’d go pump it and drown my shirt again. But that’s the type of thing we’d just for fun.

(Attribution missing on this one)

 

Wigged Out In Kissin’ Cousins

An Army officer returns to the Smokey Mountains and tries to convince his kinfolk to allow th Army to build a missle site on their land. On Arriving, he discovers he has a lookalike cousin…

Elvis - Kissin Cousins Poster

Elvis played twins in the movie Kissin’ Cousins for MGM in 1963. Although he got a kick out of seeing two of himself on the screen, before filming started he became quite uncooperative with the director. He was required to wear a blond wig as one of the twins, and because he though the hairpiece made him look stupid, he refused to come out of his dressing room. The studio heads contacted Colonel Parker, who came down to the set to try to coax Elvis out. He told Elvis he was wasting the good money the studio was paying him, as well as hurting the other actors and prolonging everyone’s day.

Elvis with Black and Blonde Hair in Kissin' Cousins

When Elvis finally emerged with the wig on his head, he was startled to see everyone on the set wearing blond wigs. Even the Colonel, with his ever-present cigar poking out of his mouth, was sporting a curly blond wig on top of his bald head. Elvis rolled over laughing. He forgot his nervousness and apologized to the cast and crew for his behavior.

Jim Curtin, Elvis:Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.84

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Frightening, Isn’t It?

Elvis found out by watching movies that Tony Curtis wore mascara, so that on film and when they took photos, his eyes would be more defined. So, Elvis started doing it also when he performed. He was one of the very few men, with those Roman chiseled features, who could get away with it…

Young Elvis wearing eyeliner.

Young Elvis wearing eyeliner.

He was eagerly looking forward to one particular film, Harum Scarum (1965), seeing it as a chance to create a genuinely interesting character.

Elvis - Harum Scarum Soundtrack Album

He identified his role with Rudolph Valentino’s in The Sheik. At last, he thought, a part he could sink his teeth into. He saw a physical resemblance between himself and Valentino, especially in profile.

Rudolph Valentino

During production, he came home darkened with makeup, dressed in white harem pants and a white turban. He looked extremely handsome, much more so than Valentino.

Elvis Wearing Turban in Harum Scarum

Tilting his head down, with a piercing gaze, he asked rhetorically, “Frightening, isn’t it, how much I look like him? How does this get to ya?” He took me in his arms Valentino style and dipped me a la the famous poster of The Sheik.

Rudolph Valentino The Shiek

Night after night he kept his makeup and turban on all through dinner and up until bedtime.

Priscilla Presley, Elvis and Me. P.211.

 

Just Plain Ol’ Elvis

Elvis blamed his fading popularity in the 60s on his humdrum movies, and yet the silver screen gave many of his fans around the world their only opportunity to view him. He stayed sane through the decade with pranks on the sets involving the Memphis Mafia, sports, and girls. In 1962, he played Walter Gulick, who is returning from his military service to his birthplace where he was orphaned as an infant, and grew up elsewhere, but always wanted to return to where he was from. Walter is happy to take any kind of work, but his devastating right hook send him down a different path as Kid Galahad…

Elvis - Kid Galahad Poster

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During the filming of Kid Galahad in the winter of 1961, Elvis’ friends ordered a custom-made director’s chair as a prank gift. The chair had “Mr. Presley” stamped on the back of it. They presented it to the star on the first day of filming in mid-November. Elvis turned to the crew, the director, and the producer and asked, “Mr. Presley? Why so formal?” Director Phil Karlson said, “Only the best for our star.”

Elvis in Director's Chair

Elvis hated the formality of it. He wanted to be treated like one of the boys, and the chair destroyed the illusion. The next day a new chair replaced the formal one. The bright red canvas sported bold print that read “JUST PLAIN OL’ ELVIS.” Elvis laughed out loud and plopped into the chair.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.98

 

Memphis Mafia on Set

Robert ‘red’ West was a close friend of Elvis and the first member of Presley’s inner circle, known as the Memphis Mafia. He first met Elvis in high school, where he was a year behind him, and defended Elvis in a bathroom brawl. After Elvis’ discharge from the Army in 1960, West was employed as one of Elvis’ bodyguards, and not only was quick to his boss’ defense, but strong on the practical jokes. West also became a movie stuntman appearing in 16 of Elvis’ films in the 60s, usually playing extras or bit and supporting parts…

Red West Before Swinging at Elvis - Tickle Me

Red West remembers that there was so much playing around on Clambake [four of the stories in this post are from that movie]. We sure did cut up on Clambake, but I don’t think we held up production any. There were pie-throwing, firecracker fights, and water bombardments.

“In one scene,” Red remembers, “Bill Bixby was before the cameras, which were rolling, and Elvis walked in and hit him with a cream pie.”

Cream Pie in the Face

“Up until that time, director Arthur Nadel hadn’t been hit. I thought he felt a little bit left out of it. So on the last day of shooting, he was dressed in a raincoat and rain hat, virtually inviting us to hit him. We didn’t. But that night as we had the end-of-movie party, he changed into a suit. After the party, he was going to a meeting. Well, we all made a little speech about how we love him and what a great guy he was to work with and what a great guy he was. Well, he gets choked up and begins to say thanks, and that’s when we hit him with a pie right in the face. At last he got the pie he wanted, but he was fully dressed.”

Red West, Elvis: What Happened, P.273

 

Boom Truck

After graduating from high school, Elvis took a full-time job driving a truck for Crown Electric Company. His pay was $1 an hour. Elvis enjoyed driving a truck for 14 months until the fall of 1954. His truck driving career was interrupted by a phone call from Sam Phillips inviting Elvis to record at Sun Studio. It was resumed in 1965 on a Hollywood set…

Girl Happy Poster

Elvis was in a restless mood during the filming of Girl Happy. In order to get in Elvis’ good graces, as well as to lift his mood, one of the cameramen offered Elvis the chance to drive the camera boom truck around the studio lot. Excited at the prospect, Elvis ran over to the truck before the cameraman could change his mind. Elvis maneuvered the vehicle slowly at first, familiarizing himself with the gadgets. Within minutes, he was driving like an expert.

Elvis on Camera Boom

Elvis began to get restless and drove the truck all over the lot much too fast. The cameraman ran after him, shouting at him to slow down, but Elvis would not listen. As he manipulated the large vehicle around the sets, he came within inches of knocking down permanent light fixtures and several backdrops. Panicking, the cameraman started to direct Elvis and prayed that the actor would listen. Elvis slowed the vehicle down and drove it around the lot at a reasonable speed. Fifteen minutes later, he parked the truck and shut off the engine. He thanked the cameraman for the opportunity. Relieved that nothing terrible happened, the cameraman had nonetheless learned his lesson. He never allowed the King to ride in the boom truck again.

Jim Curtain, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.86

 

Sidecar Singers

Elvis waterskied on McKeller Lake, Memphis as a teenager, so he was a natural in the 1967 musical Clambake. He is heir to an oil fortune who trades places with a waterski instructor at a Florida hotel to see if girls like him for himself, rather than for his father’s money…

Elvis on Camera Boom

We were in Nashville cutting the soundtrack or Clambake with the Jordanaires, and Elvis told them, “Y’all sing on the chorus with me.” Well, the director of the picture was there, and he said, “Elvis, I don’t think you understand where the song’s going in the picture. In this particular scene, you’re riding down the highway on a motorcycle singing this song.”

Elvis Singing on a Motorcycle in Clambake

“The voices can’t sing along with you. Where would we put the singers?”  Elvis thought for a second and said, “Put ‘em the same damn place you put the band.” That was the end of that.

Rose Clayton, Elvis Up Close, P.226

 .

Cricket Interlude

Filming for the musical Follow That Dream began July 6, 1961 in the summer heat of Florida. Recording sessions had taken place at RCA studio in Nashville. Six songs were recorded for the movie, and a distressed Presley insisted the worst song “Sound Advice” be omitted from the soundtrack. However, to director Gordon Douglas, the worst recording of the film was the crickets on location…

Follow That Dream Poster 2

The film crew had a difficult time recording the soundtrack for Follow That Dream. Filming took place in Florida from July through August 1961, and the crickets caused major problems. The crickets seemed to have an uncanny instinct to congregate at the exact location of Elvis’ movie set. Every time Elvis’ voice was heard, the crickets began to sing; every time he stopped, silence filled the set.

Lots of Crickets

Director Gordon Douglas yelled at the crickets to shut up, which they did. He turned to Elvis and asked him why the crickets were making so much noise. Elvis smirked and blurted out, “Maybe they’re Pat Boone fans.” Elvis started to sing with the crickets and remarked that it even sounded like they were chirping a Pat Boone song. Everyone laughed.

Douglas had to postpone that day’s filming. To make sure that the crickets would not cause further delays, he called an insect specialist.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.98

 

Firecracker Battle

When Elvis lit a firecracker, it was to ease tension, make a point, or bring people together. When he lit dozens of them…

Stash of Firecrackers

In March 1967, Elvis was working on the movie Clambake. While he was having his make-up done by make-up man Dan Greenway, one of the crew members tossed a lit firecracker into the trailer. An all-out firecracker war was soon under way.

Elvis lit a firecracker to toss under a crew member’s chair. He misjudged, however, and the cracker landed on top. As the crew member sat down, the firecracker blew a hole in his pants. Elvis laughed so hard he did not hear one of his bodyguards behind him until a larger cracker popped right under his own read end. He quickly ran to his dressing room and retrieved his own stash of fireworks. The firecracker fights continued for several days. The set looked and sounded like a war movie. Even director Arthur Nadel got involved in the action; he eventually appeared on set sporting a German war helmet.

German Army Helmet

Rear ends were singed and fingers were burned, but by the time some action was finally caught on film, everyone was in a great mood and it showed.

Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, P.100

 

 

Elvis Humor on Amazon

My thanks to Bo Keeley for agreeing to let me use excerpts from his book in this post. If you are interested in getting a copy of Elvis Humor – Girls, Guns & Guitars, 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.

 

Joe Petruccio — Official Elvis Artist

Joe Petruccio Elvis Artwork Avilable at Graceland

I was pleased to see this announcement on Graceland.com. Joe Petruccio’s paintings of Elvis have been famous for over a decade, and his enormous body of work now numbers in the thousands. The website cites a quote by Elvis’ good friend Jerry Schilling: “Joe Petruccio has a unique ability to capture the essence of an individual like no other artist today.”

So, I eagerly clicked on the link to see the artwork and what the costs are. We’ll take a look at all of them, and then veer off on some tangents about Joe Petruccio’s other Elvis paintings.

Elvis, Just Pretend by Joe Petruccio

JUST PRETEND

Let’s start with the largest and most expensive item in this new offering — $1,495. The canvas print measures 30” x 40”, and the framed image is 40” x 50”. This is a new offering for Elvis Week 2016, and there are only twenty-five of this limited edition available. I’d be surprised if they don’t sell out. Joe Petruccio had this to say about the inspiration for his creation:

“I tried to depict the last moment we got to see Elvis on stage as he walked off, and the last of the bright lights bathed the back of his beautiful figure as he walked into the darkness of the night. Just Pretend is Elvis saying to us, ‘Just pretend this wasn’t the last time you got to see me.’”

In case you are curious, Elvis’ last concert was in the Indianapolis Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977.

 

Elvis, Graceland Mansion by Joe Petruccio

GRACELAND MANSION PORTRAIT

This is the least expensive offering at $20, and there does not seem to be any limited quantity available. It is unframed and measures 11” x 14”. Although this seems like a modest offering, the website gushes with praise: “This portrait style art print captures the statuesque and soulful brilliance of the King’s castle via Joe’s signature techniques—subtle contrasts and surface styles, amazing depth and an understanding of highlights and line placement like no other.”

If you are wondering about the “portrait” reference for a painting of a building, Joe Petruccio explains it as follows:

“I love painting portraits. That is my ‘thing.’ But there is something about the Graceland mansion that inspired me to paint it. So I decided, if I was going to paint it, it would be a portrait. A portrait of the home of a man I admire and adore. Like the lights that lit its owner as he took the stage, I would paint Graceland basking in that same light. Even though it’s painted in black and white, I love how you can feel the warmth of the sun and his light shining on this amazing treasure.”

 

Elvis, Really Big Show by Jpe Petruccio

REALLY BIG SHOW

I’m not too excited about this one. The four pictures are inside a 9” x 12” box, so they are really small. Overall size with matt and frame is 20” x18”. However, this is an Elvis Week 2016 limited edition of just fifty-six, and it costs $480, so Graceland and Joe Petruccio think highly of it. He has a nice explanation for the title Really Big Show.

“I thought I’d pay homage to the first time Elvis was on the Ed Sullivan Show. It was 60 years ago. What a night. I thought I’d combine my advertising background and recreate that moment in a storyboard. It’s the way I design TV commercials before I actually shoot them. Here is the first piece I’ve done in fine art that combines my passions. Painting, advertising, and Elvis.”

 

Elvis, Surrender Eyes by Joe Petruccio

SURRENDER EYES

I just love this one. You know an artist is good if he can paint only someone’s eyes and we instantly recognize who it is. The print measures 12” x 25”, the framed image is 22” x 32”. It sells for $495, and the quantity is not limited, so they will sell lots of this one. Joe Petruccio had this to say about it.

“During the years that I’ve been drawing and painting Elvis, the one thing that becomes evident is that the magic is in his eyes. As a matter of fact, I was sure that if you just saw his eyes you would know who he is. This is one of my personal favorites.”

 

Elvis, Welcome to My World by Joe Petruccio

WELCOME TO MY WORLD

Here’s another look at Graceland, but this time it includes Elvis and there is some color in it. The 18” x 12” print is presented in a matted frame measuring 28” x 22”. It is an Elvis Week 2015 limited edition, and the last fifty-seven pieces sell for $475. Joe Petruccio has an interesting take on what this painting represents.

“There are often times I look at the house sitting there so big and lonely, and it’s kind of sad to me. It was a house filled with song, love, laughter and all of the other things that fill our own homes. I can’t help but picture Elvis standing outside the door, just wondering what it would be like to be on the other side of that big wall around Graceland. This painting is how I picture this moment. Is Elvis welcoming us into his house? Or is he welcoming us into the world he created by being so idyllic?”

 

Elvis, Unfinished Symphony by Joe Petruccio

UNFINISHED SYMPHONY

I’m no art critic, but I don’t get the presentation of this one. The print of a raw sketch measures just 9” x 9” inside a 21” square frame. It is an Elvis Week 2015 edition and only 25 are available at a cost of $295. Here’s what the artist had to say about it:

“It’s called Unfinished Symphony because it is a metaphor for his unfinished life. All of my paintings usually start with sketches like this. This one never went further. I felt there was such emotion in his eyes and the lines of the drawing had such power, that I felt this was done as ‘Unfinished’ as it was. Sometimes in art, less is more. In a drawing and in a life.”

 

Elvis, His First Steps by Joe Petruccio

HIS FIRST STEP

This is some really cool artwork, but it doesn’t say Elvis to me. When I see white bucks, I think of Pat Boone. Why not some blue suede shoes?  I do love the way it is presented.  It is called a gallery wrap canvas print, so it has depth without a frame. It measures 11” x14” x 2”. His First Step was unveiled at the 2014 Elvis Week, and there are just 15 copies left at a price of $650. Joe Petruccio explained his thinking on the white bucks:

“I wanted to do something to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Rock ‘n Roll as special as I did for the 50th. Every huge accomplishment, discovery, or invention all started by someone taking a first step. So, I thought, what better shoes to show taking that first step into a whole new generation and style of music. I wonder if Elvis ever imagined just how far those white bucks would travel. 60 years and they still look brand new.”

 

The Graceland.com website contains a great deal of information on each of these pieces of art. Click here to read more – and place an order if you are motivated.

 

Joe Petruccio’s artwork has been mentioned on ElvisBlog seven times over the years. Here’s a quick look.

Collectible Graceland Cellars 2005 Etched Elvis Wine

This image appeared in a November 2008 post on Graceland Cellars wine. It is a bottle of 2005 Limited Production Cabernet Sauvignon. That Joe Petruccio Elvis image is actually etched on the bottle. The wine sold for $119.99.

 

Elvis, Love Me Tender Poster

This appeared in a July 2010 article on the 12 Days of Christmas in July from ShopElvis.com. The 20’ x 16” poster is titled Love Me Tender. I wasn’t real crazy about it because it was pink and looked washed-out, but for just $11, it figured to sell well with the ladies.

 

Elvis Heartbreak T-shirt

This T-shirt image appeared in a September 2010 ElvisBlog post on Ladies Tees. It is titled Elvis Heartbreak. The Joe Petruccio artwork is from Elvis’ first 1969 concert appearance in Las Vegas as he returned to live performing. The shirt is accented with Swarovski Crystals. They must be pretty special, because the price for this T-shirt was $130.

 

Elvis, King Me T-shirt

The June 2011 ElvisBlog T-shirt review included two Joe Petruccio designs. This one titled King Me shows his skill in painting Elvis’ eyes. It’s quite an achievement to depict just a portion of Elvis’ face and have it instantly recognized. I really like this shirt.

 

Elvis, Stars and Bars Ladies T-Shirt

The second shirt was a ladies model titled Stars and Bars. Seems like a strange name because there are no stars in the image. Both of these Joe Petruccio design shirts sold for $25.

 

Elvis Star T-shirt

Another Ladies Tee, this time from a June 2012 ElvisBlog article. It is titled Star and contains three strong elements: black leather, a guitar, and Elvis. The website at T-Shirts.com said there was another image on the reverse side but didn’t show it. I wonder if it was more Joe Petruccio.

 

Elvis Rock n Roll Tank Top

In a May 2016 ElvisBlog post, I included a tank top in the T-shirt review. It is called Rock and Roll Racerback Tank, and believe it or not, it originally sold for $120, but was on sale for $18.97. The original price was because it was created by fashion designer Susan Fixel, and it featured original artwork by Joe Petruccio and hand-applied crystals. The drop to the low discount price was because the only size left was X-small.

 

Joe Petruccio - Art That Rocks Website

If you would like to see an extensive display of Joe Petruccio’s Elvis artworks, go to JoePetruccio.com. Click on “The King” at the top of the Home Page. This is not a site where you can buy them. For that, you can try www.ShopElvis.com.

 

By all means, be sure to check out www.MyElvisJournal.com. Joe Petruccio started it on August 17, 2012. Here is how he explains it:

“I wanted to do something special this 35th year after his passing. So, I created this journal. This is My Elvis Journal where I will create a year in the life of the king by revisiting his life a day at a time. I hope you enjoy it and whatever that special date you hold so dear.”

Here are the first few entries:

Elvis, August 17, 1977

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Elvis, August 18, 1977

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Elvis, August 19, 1977

How amazing is it that Joe Petruccio could turn out new paintings like these day after day. Unfortunately, the effort paused after four months, but it did come back for two more months in 2014. I hope he will someday be able to complete the project and give us 365 of these wonderful images.

 

 

© 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.

 

Elvis’ Karate Gi — Pictures and Stories

Elvis Pose Used in McCormick Decanter

Elvis auctions often lead to some interesting, but generally unknown, tid-bits. Sometimes it is contained in an item description, and sometimes my curiosity is inspired, leading to a Google search. And, sometimes these lead to a discovery like this.

McCormick Distilleries Elvis Decanter

This is a McCormick Distilleries commemorative Elvis decanter. There are dozens of different Elvis whisky decanters on eBay, but I couldn’t find this one. If you see it at a flea market, snap it up.

 

Posing for McCormick Decanter

Based on the first two pictures, you’d think the decanter was designed using the Elvis photograph. Nope, they had another guy model the Gi so they could get the depth, side, and back design right.

That’s three pictures in a row that are pretty much the same, so here’s a change of pace.

Back of McCormick Elvis Decanter

The back of the decanter makes it look like Elvis is sitting on a drum. The tax seal is pretty ugly, too.

There are two different circular images on the decanter. These are reproductions of embroidered patches that Elvis had on his Karate Gi.

Elvis' TCB Patch on his Karate Gi

This Elvis-designed TCB emblem adorned the left chest side of his Gi jacket.

Elvis' Karate Gi Crown-Fist Patch

Elvis had this so-called crown/fist patch on his lower left sleeve. Here’s a good look at their placement

Elvis and Karate Gi withTwo Patches

 

Elvis had a few other designer elements personalizing his Karate outfit. Much like a jumpsuit, the flared legs are secured with three braided buttons in red, black, and white (not visable). Flare vents are visible when the buttons are unhooked.

Side View of Elvis in Karate Gi

 

But the belt is especially interesting. It is cotton with a satin overlay. The end of the sash changed as Elvis advanced through the progression of Black Belt degrees.

Elvis Presley's 7th Degree Black Belt

There are seven red tabs indicating that Elvis had achieved 7th degree Black Belt. His Karate nickname was Tiger. It started out as Panther, but there was some bad stuff going on back then with the Black Panthers, so Elvis changed it.

 

Elvis Outside in his Karate Gi

This is a rare view of Elvis outside wearing his Karate Gi. They were stored at the training facility. Here Elvis is heading to a Karate demonstration he held for teenagers.

 

Elvis Presley's 7th Degree Black Belt Card

Elvis received this card when he achieved the 7th degree mark in August 1974.

He also received certificates for each new degree.

Elvis Presley with 7th Degree Certificate

 

8th Degree San Black Belt certificate

This one is for 8th degree, and it is dated just a month later than the 7th degree card. It is interesting that somehow Elvis managed to have his TCB logo incorporated into the certificate design.

 

Elvis With Kang Rhee

The name on the card is Ed Parker and the name on the certificate is Kang Rhee. Elvis started Karate training while stationed in Germany during his time in the U.S. Army. After completing his service and returning to the United States, he began to study with Grand Master of American Kenpo Karate, Ed Parker. In 1970, Parker suggested Elvis train with Rhee, a martial arts instructor of great reputation. Elvis trained under Rhee for the next four years.

Kang Rhee Patch

Elvis had six of his white sailcloth cotton Karate Gi’s with red satin trim on the lapels and hems, but there were slight variations. This Kang Rhee patch appeared on the back of some.

EP Back of Elvis' Karate Gi

At least one jacket had the letters E P on the back.

 

Elvis' Karate Gi that did not sell at June 2016 Heritage Auction

This is the photo of the Elvis Karate Gi that started me on my rambling Google search. It was part of the June 2016 Heritage Music Memorabilia Auction, but it failed to generate the minimum bid of $10,000 ($12,500 with auction house premium). This surprised me because I remembered some of the other versions selling at other auctions.

Here’s what I found:

Julien’s Auctions, May 2015 — $23,125
Gotta Have Rock and Roll Auctions, August 2012 — $7,986
Julien’s Auctions, December 2011 — $15,300
Guerney’s Auctions, May 2008 – 15,000

I studied these results trying to understand why there was such divergence. All I can conclude is that the winning bidder last year at Julien’s paid way too much.

 

Now, we’ll have fun looking at some of the stuff inspired by Elvis’ Karate Gi.

Karate Elvis figurine

Yes, sir. A Karate Elvis figurine. There’s even a button on the back of the stage which turns on a light at the top.

Elvis Presley Karate Figurine

To me, this figurine wins the award for the little plastic head that looks the most like Elvis. There are some crummy ones out there.

 

Liam Ghallager with Elvis' TCB Logo

This is a guy named Liam Gallagher from the rock band Oasis. He had Patsy tattooed on his arm until he got divorced from her. Then he covered it with Elvis’ TCB Karate design.

 

Elvis Karate T-Shirt

This looks like a kid T-Shirt sporting a cartoon Elvis doing a Karate kick. Actually, it’s an adult size large. Here’s another shirt that is obviously for adults.

 

Elvis Kicked My Ass T-Shirt

Elvis Kicked My Ass Back in ’72.         Great shirt.

 

© 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.