The Night Bruce Springsteen Climbed the Graceland Wall

Bruce Springsteen Getting Readto Jump Elvis Presley's Graceland Wall

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

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

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

Elvis and Young Bruce Springsteen

Photoshopped Picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen Early in Their Careers


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

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

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

 

Photoshopped picture of Elvis and Bruce Springsteen early in Their Careers

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

 

Elvis Button Bruce Springsteen wore on Born to Run Cover

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

 

Alt Photo During Born to Run Photo Session

Another picture taken at the album cover photo shoot

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

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

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

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

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Viva Las Vegas — 2002 – Live video, poor sound

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Here are two more Bruce Springsteen quotes talking about Elvis:

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

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

 

Pensive Bruce Springsteen wearing Elvis Button

 

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

 

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Shop.Graceland.com — Picks and Pans

Mark-Downs on Shop Graceland

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

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

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

 

Graceland Black and White Plaid Lounge Pants

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

 

Elvis Presley TCB Scatter Cap

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

 

Elvis Silhouette Bead Charm

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

 

Space Creature

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

Lowell Hays Gold Plated Elvis Charm Bracelet

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

 

Elvis Presley's Heartbreak Hotel Collectible Key Key Ring

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

 

Graceland Women's Burnout Pullover Hoodie

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

 

Heart Elvis Presley Women's Black and White Plaid Pants

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

Elvis Dancing in Girls, Girls, Girls

 

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

Christine Alexander Elvis Presley Profile Women's T-Shirt

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

 

Girls Rule Youth Burnout T-Shirt

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

 

Major Trouble Camoflauge Infant Bodysuit

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

Elvis Meets Nixon – Part 3

Elvis Meets Nixon Banner

It is still a week until the premier of the new movie Elvis & Nixon. I hope to hear from some of you who watched it as well as the 1997 version Elvis Meets Nixon on YouTube. It will be interesting to read your comments, and maybe do one more blog post on the subject.

But now I want to share all kinds of miscellaneous stuff I have on this historic meeting.

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The Letter:

On the flight from Los Angeles to Washington, DC, Elvis got five pieces of American Airlines note paper and wrote a letter to President Nixon. Elvis planned to take it to the White House gate and ask the guard to see that it got delivered to the president. He thought it would convince Nixon to see him. And it worked out just like Elvis planned.

Elvis' Letter to Nixon

The letter is a classic. Here are some key excerpts with comments. If you have trouble reading Elvis’ penmanship on this next one, a text version follows.

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - The Hippie Element

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - The Hippie Element in Text

Elvis follows that with, “Sir, I can and will be of any service I can to help the country out.”

Elvis was setting the stage for his real purpose for the visit. He wanted to get Nixon to give him a Federal Marshal at Large badge (more on this later).

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - In Depth Study of Drug Abuse

Yes, it really does say, “I have done an in depth study of drug abuse and communist brainwashing techniques.” Incredible stuff, pure Elvis.

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - Love to Meet You

Say, Mr. President, I was just hoping I could pop in for a quick visit.

 

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - Phone Numbers for Return Call

Elvis wanted Nixon’s staff to call him back and set up the meeting, so it makes sense to give the phone number for the Washington Hotel where he was staying. But why the numbers for his homes in Beverly Hills, Palm Springs, and Memphis. He wasn’t at any of them. And three phone numbers for Col. Parker?

But look what it says below the hotel number – “Under the name of Jon Burrows.” If Elvis wanted to check in incognito, why would he show up like this?

Elvis' Outfit when He Met Nixon

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The Badge:

Elvis used his best powers of persuasion to convince Nixon to give him a badge as a special agent in the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.

Elvis' Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Badge

If you have taken the Graceland tour, you saw that this badge was the centerpiece of Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges.

Elvis' Badge from Department of Justic

 

The Gun Gift:

Elvis' Letter to Nixon - A Personal Gift for You

The gift Elvis referred to was a classic 45 caliber Colt pistol. It had been mounted in a glass case along with seven silver bullets and graced the walls of Elvis’ Beverly Hills home.

Elvis gift to Richard Nixon A 45 Caliber Colt pistol

Before Elvis left to go to LAX, he took the mounted gun off the wall and put it in his baggage (this was 1970, remember, before suitcases passed under x-ray scanners). The turmoil this gift caused with White House security was covered in the 1997 movie and certainly will be in the new Elvis & Nixon.

Gun Elvis gave Nixon on Display at Presidential Library

The Colt 45 gift from Elvis is now displayed at the Nixon Presidential Library.

Guess what the best-selling item there is.

Elvis Meets Nixon - The Official Picture

If you didn’t know, I’ll bet you guessed it.

 

Noxon's and Elvis' Suits on Display 2007 Nixon Museum

In 2007, Graceland loaned Elvis’ coat from the meeting to the Nixon Presidential library for an exhibit. They shouldn’t have the mannequin arms in the sleeves. Elvis didn’t wear it that way. It opened more draped over his shoulders, showing off that massive belt buckle.

 

Photoshopped Elvis and Nixon:

 

In 2009 and 2010, ElvisBlog presenting interesting variations on the historic photo. Here are some of the better ones.

 

Elvis and Nixon -- Heads Reversed

Heads Reversed

Elvis and Nixon' Faces reversed

Faces, but nnot hair, reversed

Double Elvis

Elvis Meets Elvis

Reagan and George Bush

George Bush Meets Ronald Reagan

Nixon, Elvis and Bubba Ho-Tep

Bubba Ho-Tep gets in the picture

Darth Vader and Elvis

Elvis meets Darth Vader

Nixon and Elvis Costello

Elvis Costello meets Nixon

 

So, that just about cleans out my file of Elvis and Nixon photos. Here’s something that is actually for sale at the Unites States National Archives:

Elvis and Nixon Snow Globes Snow Globes

 

One last thought. Rather than the official photograph of Nixon and Elvis, I much prefer this one.

Elvis Presley shakes hands with President Nixon

This one wasn’t posed. Elvis had just entered the Oval Office, still wearing his famous sunglasses and carrying pictures of Priscilla and Lisa and other stuff he wanted to show the President. Much cooler photo.

 

 

© 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 Meets Nixon – Part 2

Elvis Has Entered the White House

Last week, ElvisBlog reported that a new movie about Elvis would premier on April 22.  It is Elvis & Nixon, starring Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis.  Like all Elvis fans, I hope it will be a good film, but I expressed doubts that it could be as enjoyable as a 1997 made-for-Showtime movie titled Elvis Meets Nixon.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

Take a look at the fine print on this DVD cover.  The New York Daily News called it “The giddiest, funniest, most entertaining comedy …in years.”  I absolutely agree.

Elvis Meets Nixon follows a semi-documentary format with Dick Cavett as the host and frequent voice-over narrator.  I have only one beef with his commentary.  In the very beginning, he says Elvis was a forgotten performer in 1970, reduced to doing Las Vegas shows.  That is so wrong.  Elvis was huge in Las Vegas, setting attendance records with his concerts.  He was the hottest ticket in town.

Dick Cavett In Elvis Meets Nixon

 

From that point on, Cavett does a good job, and one statement he made captures the essence of this movie.  While talking about the short time Elvis and Nixon actually spent together in the oval office, Cavett said, “If what you are about to see didn’t happen exactly this way, it should have.”  Actually, that sentiment could be made about the entire movie.

 

Nixon and Elvis Giving Peace Signs

 

Of course, it’s all a dramatization of events, and quite a bit of artistic license has been taken with the two main characters’ personalities and the absurdity of the reality these two men lived in.  Both were so out of touch with everyday life that it could have been destiny they found each other in this truly ironic way.

 

Elvis and Nixon Hugging in Oval Office

According to Jerry Schilling, Elvis did in fact hug Nixon.  The President was caught off guard, but the scene in the movie is very endearing.

 

Here’s the story on the two actors in the key roles.  Bob Gunton showed pure genius of comedic timing in his portrayal on Richard Nixon.  You may not know him by name, but you’ve seen his face in lots of movies.

Bob Gunton as Richard Nixon

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The fellow playing Elvis is Rick Peters, and his acting career has been rather modest.  His last movie was in 2006.

Rick Peters

 

But with the wig, sunglasses, and attitude, he pulls off a great Elvis portrayal.

Elvis Smoozing the Srewardesses on Flight from DC to Dallas

This clip is from the flight Elvis took from Washington DC to Dallas.  You see, Elvis’ odyssey took him from Memphis to DC, DC to Los Angeles (via Dallas), and from LA to DC.

Elvis Mingling on Plane -- Nixon Visit


This is a photograph a passenger took of Elvis mingling with folks on the flight to Dallas.  He wore the same outfit that he did when he went to the White House a day and a half later.

 

Elvis in Donut Shop

This clip is from a scene when Elvis stops off at a donut shop (in a rather seedy part of town) on the way from the airport to the Washington Hotel.  He actually did this, but the “artistic impression” of what happened is one of the most amazingly surreal moments I’ve ever seen on film.  Take a few minutes and watch this.

 

Here’s another clip that takes even more creative license, but it’s a riot.  The set-up is that Elvis had time to kill in Los Angeles before the flight back to DC, so he went down to the Sunset Strip.  His friend Jerry Schilling (they used the name Bobby Bishop in the film for some reason) urged him to walk around and see if he was relevant to people on the street.  Elvis wanders into a record store and goes through some hilarious culture shock.  Rick Peters does this bit so well, you will think you are watching archival film of the real Elvis.  You definitely want to click on this.

Elvis Meets Nixon is 140 minutes long, but the scene of Elvis and Nixon together in the Oval Office lasts just 11 minutes.  That was plenty for these two very different men to bond together.  Before the movie gets to Elvis’ visit, there are three scenes of Nixon and H.R. Haldeman in the Oval Office.  They aren’t funny like the Elvis clips, but they are still fascinating.  One warning — if you were were offended by the profanity in the donut shop clip, you might want to skip the one below.

 

There is one more thing I suggest you click on.  It is the full movie on YouTube.  You can buy it for $7.99, or rent it like I did for $1.99.  I wasn’t able to get it to stream onto my smart TV, but maybe you can.  If not, it’s still a blast watching it on your computer screen.  Check it out here.  I guarantee you will be happy you spent the two bucks.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

 

There is enough stuff left in my Elvis and Nixon file to squeeze out one more article in this series next week.  Stay tuned.

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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An Elvis Fan’s Farewell to Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis Album

By now you all know that country music superstar Merle Haggard died yesterday on his 79th birthday. But did you know the he was so moved by Elvis’ death in 1977 that he paid tribute to the King by recording an album titled My Farewell to Elvis?

Here is the list of songs:

From Graceland To the Promised Land
In the Ghetto
Don’t Be Cruel
Jailhouse Rock
Love Me Tender
That’s All Right (Mama)
Heartbreak Hotel
Blue Christmas
Blue Suede Shoes
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Merle’s Farewell To Elvis

 

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis CD

In 1995, My Farewell to Elvis was released on CD with a different cover. Both vinyl and CD versions are available on Amazon.

 

Goodbye Merle Haggard. You will be missed. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 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 meets NIXON

Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.

 

Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?

 

President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.

 

Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.

 

Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.

 

Elvis & Nixon Title Block

 

 

© 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.

 

50th Anniversary Elvis Movie Pictorial – Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny Movie Poster

Frankie and Johnny opened on March 31, 1966, and was Elvis’s 20th film. Although the quality of his films had fallen off during the previous few years, the fans had kept the box office numbers respectable. But Frankie and Johnny followed a real clunker in Harum Scarum, and attendance dropped about 1/3 from the usual average.

It’s too bad, because this is an enjoyable little firm. And speaking from the male perspective, it had the greatest amount of cleavage of any Elvis movie.

Sue-Ane-Langdon-Donna-Douglas-Nancy-Kovack-in-Frankie-and-Johnny

The pretty blonde in the center is Donna Douglas, talking a break from the Beverly Hillbillies to play Frankie opposite Elvis’ Johnny. The redhead is Nancy Kovak playing Nellie Bly, the woman Johnny believes brings him good luck at the gambling casino in the riverboat where they all work as performers.

SS Mississippi Queen Riverboat from Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnnt Starring on the SS Mississippi Queen

By the way, Elvis’ character has no last name in this picture. He is just Johnny. And he has two problems. Although he’s Frankie’s man, he has a wandering eye for the ladies.

Elvis Checking out the Ladies in Frankie and Johnny

And he has terrible luck at gambling.

Elvis Playing Poker in Frankie and Johnny

 

Naturally this causes many uncomfortable moments with Frankie.

Donna Fussing at Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

But there are lots of fun, happy moments for them, too.

Elvis and Donna Douglas in Dream Sequence in Frankie and Johnny

This is kind of like a dream sequence the film morphs into as Johnny sings a song to Frankie called “Beginner’s Luck.” If you study Elvis’ position for a moment, doesn’t it look like the most unnatural and uncomfortable one possible? Fortunately, he didn’t have to hold it for long.

Elvis and Donna Douglas Dancing in Frankie and Johnny

Frankie and Johnny looked like they really enjoyed doing this dance routine to the song “Petunia, the Gardeners Daughter.” That title might be one of Elvis’ worst, but the song is surprisingly good. I’m going back to my 2012 blog article called Dancing Elvis (in the Movies) to add this shot. And this one, too.

Elvis Dancing with Nellie in Frankie and Johnny

This shot is part of the Showboat’s production number “Frankie and Johnny”. The lyrics say, Johnny was doing Frankie wrong with Nellie Bly. The plot sets this situation up in real life (although mostly in Farnkie’s mind), and also has it as the theme of the production number. In the show, Frankie has had it with Johnny interest in Nellie, and she grabs her gun and shoots him.

Elvis and Riverboat Owner in Frankie and Johnny

This guy is Johnny’s boss, the riverboat owner who has claimed Nellie as his own and sees Johnny as a threat. The word gets to his goon who decides to put a live bullet in Frankie’s gun,

Blackie Puts a Real Bullet in Frankie's Stage Gun

So, when Frankie pulls the trigger, Johnny goes down and it looks like he’s bought the farm.

Donna about to Shoot Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

But, no. Johnny carries a good luck charm from Frankie near his heart, and it stopped the bullet.

Elvis' Lucky Cricket Pendant in Frankie and Johnny

We’ve seen this gimmick before, but it works here. Johnny is not hurt, and the near catastrophe makes them realize their love is meant to be. Happy ending.

 

Here are some additional pictures and my random thoughts.

Frankie Throwing Money Away

This is Frankie in costume for a nightime Mardi Gras party. She has just thrown $10,000 of Johnny’s gambling winnings out the hotel window. Tension and conflicts are necessary for a good movie, and this scene had them big time.

Elvis Singing Hard Luck in Frankie and Johnny

Johnny expresses his loss by singing a blues song “Hard Luck” accompanied by this young harmonica player. Of course, an invisible band of piano, bass, drums, and even trombones is soon heard. Those invisible bands are a staple of Elvis movies.

Elvis Fighting with his Boss in Frankie and Johnny

Another staple of all Elvis movies is a fight scene. Here he is slugging it out with his boss the riverboat owner.

Red West in Frankie and Johnny Cameo

One of my favorite things to do when watching an Elvis movie for the fifth or sixth time is to try to spot some of his buddies in the background. See Red West at the table? Supposedly, George Klein had a cameo in the movie, too, but I couldn’t find him. Maybe I will when I watch for the seventh time.

Frankie and Nellie in Same Costumes in Frankie and Johnny

One of the plot points of the story had Frankie and Nellie wearing identical Madam Pompadour costumes to the Mardi Gras party. Frankie wanted to test Johnny by pretending to be Nellie. After about 30 seconds of coaching, Frankie carries on a substantial dialog with Johnny where she sounds exactly like Nellie. Of course, it was Nancy Kovak dubbing her lines. This was the second time it happened to Donna Douglas in this movie. All of her singing parts were dubbed by someone else.

Elvis in his Gambling Clothes in Frankie and Johnny

One thing I noted was all the different outfits Elvis wore in the movie. We have already shown six or seven. Here are some more.

Leading Parade in New Orleans

 

Frankie & Johnny

 

As usual, we will end this Elvis movie pictorial with him kissing his leading lady.

Elvis Kissing Donna Douglas in Dream in Frankie and Johnny

This kiss took place in the dream sequence and was sweet and tender.

Elvis Gets a Surprise Kissing Donna Douglas in Frankie and Johnny

Elvis’ surprised look here is because he thought he was kissing Nellie but he quickly realized it was Frankie.

Elvis Kissing Donna Douglas in Frankie and Johnny

Here they are later when Frankie’s mask is off and they both enjoy it much more.

 

Editor’s notes:

Donna Douglas died on New Year’s Day 2015. Click here to read more about her.

Nancy Kovak was featured in a 2009 ElvisBlog article titled Star Trek Elvis Connection — Part 2 about actresses that starred in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies.  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.

Elvis and the Grammy Awards — Revisited

Grammy Awards

Something weird happened on ElvisBlog two days ago. I can’t figure out why, but I’ll sure take it. Thursday, March 17, 2016, will forever rank as the day when the most people came to the blog – 11,370 visitors!!!

 

ElvisBlog March 17,2016 Stats

This chart shows the ElvisBlog visitors for the past month. Look how March 17 dwarfs the others (which represent the normal daily totals of 700-900 visitors).

 

ElvisBlog March 17, 2016 Pages Viewed

My blog software showed that about 95% of the total came from searches for “Elvis won only three Grammy Awards,” which is the exact wording in the first line of a 2006 ElvisBlog article. The search results had the article, Elvis and the Grammy Awards, at the top of the list.

I did some research to see if there was something in the news about Elvis’ Grammies that would have sparked this spike in interest. I found nothing.

Then I realized a lot of todays’ regular readers might not have ever read the post from 2006, so I am reproducing it here. Several formatting changes and new pictures have been added to bring it up to the style used today.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

 

Elvis Presley's Three Grammy Awards

Most fans are aware Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, and that they were all for Gospel recordings. There’s a lot more to the story.

How could the King of Rock & Roll not win any Grammys for his rock & roll records? One big reason is that the Grammy awards did not start until 1958. In 1956 and 1957, Elvis changed the sound of popular music and had hit after hit. If there had been Grammy Awards for those years, Elvis surely would have won a cabinet full of trophies. There is no way he could have been denied the award for these categories:

Best Vocal Performance, Male

Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist

The same goes for his hit singles. An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record of the Year in 1956 with choices like:

“Heartbreak Hotel,”
“Love Me Tender,”
“Hound Dog,”
“Don’t Be Cruel.”

The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.

 

In 1957, there would have had to be a winner in this list for Record of The Year:

“Too Much,”
“All Shook Up,”
“Teddy Bear,”
“Jailhouse Rock”.

Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year in 1957.

 

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations. However, the next year he received three.

 

Elvis Hit - A Fool Such as I

“A Fool Such As I” was a 1959 nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.

 

Elvis Hit - A Big Hunk of Love

“A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations in 1959. However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A Day Makes.”

 

Elvis Hit - Are You Lonesome Tonight

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations: Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist. “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories. He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

 

Elvis presley - G.I. Blues Album

Elvis also had two album nominations in 1960, both for GI Blues. However, Ray Charles beat him again. The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album. The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

 

Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii Album

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with the nomination of Blue Hawaii. Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

For the next five years, Elvis’ priority was making movies, and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations

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Elvis Presley - How great thou Art Album

In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.

In 1968, he was nominated again in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” This was ironic because Hess had been a big influence on Elvis.

As the lead singer for the Statesman Quartet, Jake Hess made an impression on young Elvis at the monthly “All-Night Gospel Singing” at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Elvis particularly admired Hess’ powerful voice and unique styling. One year before beating Elvis in the singles category, Hess was part of The Imperials who did backing vocals during the recording session for Elvis’ Grammy winning album How Great Thou Art. In 1977, Jake Hess was part of an elite group of Gospel music stars to sing at Elvis’ funeral service.

 

Elvis Prslet - He Touched Me Album

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.

 

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis

In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy. But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.

 

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

 

If you would like to read more about Elvis’ Grammy Awards, you can check out the Elvis Awards section on Graceland.com. or the Graceland Blog article Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards.

 

 

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

 

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Living Like a King at the Guest House at Graceland

Guest House at Graceland Entrance

Last week we looked at the 430 regular one and two-bed rooms available when the Guest House at Graceland opens in October. Today, we’ll take a peek at the four choices in special, luxurious suites. Warning, they’re budget busters, especially the eleven suites on the top floor, nicknamed “The Upstairs.”

The first step up is the Living Room Suites, and all four of them have a courtyard view. Although they feature only one bed, their open floor plan is touted as the special attraction of these suites. They all have a view of the courtyard.

TCB Suite and Living Room Suites at Guest House at Graceland

It’s hard to tell in this rendering (and the reservations lady had no idea), but it looks like that might be the king-size bed behind the partition holding the TV. If that is the bed against the back wall, we can assume there is another TV on the opposite side of the partition.

The hotel website says there is a separate living room area, and you can see two chairs or maybe it’s a chair and a couch, plus a coffee table. Hopefully there is more seating that we can’t see beyond the area shown in the rendering. The reservations lady said the suite also included a Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator. I guess they are over near the bathroom, which is out of frame.

The cost for Sunday through Thursday bookings is $349 (plus $30 more for weekends, and that hefty 21% taxes). This compares to $179 for the basic room with the view. It seems like a big premium for a rather small living area. You certainly couldn’t do much hanging out with friends with so little seating.

 

Lobby at Guest House at Graceland

Artist’s rendering of the Lobby at the Guest House at Graceland

 

Next, we take a big jump up to the TCB Suites. Big price jump, anyway. The Guest House website shows the exact same rendering for these eleven suites as for the Living Room Suites above. The reservation lady could offer no explanation for this, and to be fair, she hasn’t seen any rooms yet, as they are still under construction.

So it could be that the TCB Suite picture is correct, and that there is much more space beyond what it shows. The website says it contains a separate living room with a sofa and dining table and is perfect for entertaining. There is no kitchenette to prepare meals, however, just the Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator.

Considering the price, we can probably assume there is much more floor space and seating than is shown. The tab is $549 plus $30 for weekends, and the taxes. That’s $370 more than the basic room. They will probably book out early for Elvis Week and other big occasions at Graceland, because they work well as hospitality suites. But, on the off days, especially in the middle of week, it’s not hard to imagine many of the TCB Suites sitting empty. Who knows?

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Now, if you want to do some serious entertaining, the choice for you could be one of the two Vernon and Gladys Suites. These look like party central.

Vernon and Gladys' Suite at Guest Guest House at Graceland

Again, there is just one bedroom, but surely there is at least one extra bathroom. You can host a lot of people in 1,100 square feet. So, there must be more space we can’t see in this rendering. The website says there is a dining room table, which we can immagine holding a big buffet spread of food. You can see the wet bar on the left. Needless to say, there is a view of the courtyard.

The décor is inspired by the colors in Elvis’ parents’ room at Graceland. What do you think? I think the lobby picks up the colors better. Scroll back and check it out.

Elvis' Parents' Room at Guest House at Graceland

The tab for a night in a Vernon and Gladys Suite is $1,049 (plus 21% taxes), so booking it for a few days will cost a bundle. Wouldn’t you love to go to Elvis Week or the Birthday Celebration and get invited to a party here? That would be so much fun.

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Finally, the top of the line are the two King’s Suites, one styled after Elvis’ bedroom, and the other with a Las Vegas theme. The hotel website describes them as luxurious and one-of-kind.

King's Suite - Las Vegas Style at Guest House at Graceland

This picture shows the Las Vegas design. The website says it features “a royal blue and purple color palette with plush fabrics and furnishings, vintage touches and contemporary twists.” I guess I’m too decorating-challenged to appreciate how this reflects a Las Vegas vibe.

That really doesn’t matter because the suite looks so great. There are two bedrooms with king-size beds, a dining room (visible behind the couch), and a living room. A separate wet bar is not shown. Naturally, these suites have a view of the courtyard.

So far, there is no rendering of the Elvis’ Bedroom option, which “draws inspiration from Elvis’ master bedroom at Graceland and features rich red and black tones with metallic gold and silver finishes and a custom draped canopy bed, with TVs overhead.” I’ll bet that will be spectacular. Because it “provides guests with an unparalleled opportunity to live like The King,” I predict it will be way more popular than the Las Vegas version.

The King’s Suites contain 1,540 square feet (that’s more than my first house with three bedrooms and two baths). They could certainly be used for entertaining, but I envision them as the place where a well-healed guest wants to stay in maximum luxury while on an Elvis pilgrimage. And he will have to shell out $1,379 a night to do it.

 

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

 

I’ve been to Graceland five times in the last twenty-three years (four times were during Elvis Week). I’ve stayed at the Days Inn just down from the Car Museum, Wilson’s World Hotel (before it became Heartbreak Hotel), the Peabody Hotel downtown twice and the Holiday Inn Airport once. If I ever get back, I’m staying at the Guest House at Graceland. And I’m going to hang around the Vernon and Gladys Suite to see if there is a party going on I can crash.

 

Tip on Making Reservations.  The listed number is 800-238-2000, but this is the regular Graceland number.  To save time listening through the series of prompts about tickets, gift shop, Elvis Insiders, etc, simply push O,O,O. 

 

 

© 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.

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First Look – -The Rooms at the Guest House at Graceland

GuestHouse at Graceland

Back in July 2014, ElvisBlog reported EPE’s announcement that they would be building a 450-room luxury hotel in Memphis. It was be located across Elvis Presley Blvd from the Graceland Crossing shops and Heartbreak Hotel.

For some reason I never followed up with any additional news as construction went on. The photo below shows the progress on the Guest House at Graceland as of December 2015.

Guesthouse at Graceland under construction

We can be sure EPE had hoped it would be completed by Elvis Week this year, but they must have recently accepted the reality that it wasn’t possible. So, last Thursday they made the official announcement that the Guest House will open on October 27. They also posted on Elvis.com/news renderings of what the rooms would look like and what they would cost.

 

King Size Bed in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is the basic room for two people. You can see the king-size bed with two small night stands on either side. Between the bed and the window there is a chair, ottoman, floor lamp, and a small modernistic table with a square glass top. The rate on Sunday through Thursday nights is $159. For an additional $20 you can get a room with a view of the courtyard.

Pool Area at Guesthouse at Graceland

The Courtyard is this area between the two wings in the back. It seems like it would be worth the extra $20. The first picture above shows that the other rooms look out over the front parking area or wooded areas on each side.

 

Wide View of Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s a view of the basic room as you come in the door. There is a Keurig coffee machine and lots of beverage choices on the left. At the end of the room you can see the back of a desk chair at a desk with a Bluetooth-enabled media hub. The room rate for Friday or Saturday nights is $30 higher.

 

More Desk in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is a picture from the opposite direction with a better view of the desk. There is a smart-phone charger just out of sight. As you come in the door, there is the closet on your left and the bathroom on the right. There is nothing unusual about this room floor plan. Pretty standard. For $10 over the base rates you can get connecting rooms.

 

Bed and Chair in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

I like the jumpsuit picture on the wall. I wonder if every room has the same one.

 

Elvis Inage on Shears in Basic Foom at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s another image of Elvis printed into the window shears.   It copies the one on the gates of Graceland.  Very nice touch.

 

Bathroom in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

And here is the bathroom featuring a terrific looking walk-in shower with a Kohler overhead rain shower and wall-mounted body spray that features 120 jets of water.

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There are four taxes added to the room rates – state tax, local tax, tourism tax, and occupancy tax – totaling another 21%. Man, everybody gets a cut. So that weeknight rate for the room without the courtyard view at $159 actually costs you $192. And the weekend rate with a view jumps from $219 to $265.

 

Two Bed Basic Room

However, if you take kids with you and want everyone to stay in the same room, you can get one with two queen-sized beds. You get an extra chair and a bigger night stand between the beds. On weeknights (Sun – Thurs) the rate is $189 plus the 21% taxes. Just like the one-bed room, add $30 for weekends, $20 for the view and $10 for connecting.

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There is one more goodie you can add to your room reservation. For $20 per person more, you can have the Breakfast Package. If that is supposed to save you something compared to just paying at the restaurant, meals must be pretty pricey at the Guest House.

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 A price break is available to all senior citizens, whether AARP members or not. It is just $7 for the rooms with one bed and $8 for the rooms with two, but it helps a little. You can also save $15 if you want the Advanced Deposit Rate. But, if you cancel your reservation, you get no refund. That extra $15 in the regular rate allows cancellation up to 6pm the day prior, so if you make your reservation many months in advance, this might be good insurance to have in case of unforeseen circumstances.

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In addition to the 430 regular rooms, there are nineteen specialty suites, eight of which are on the top floor called “The Upstairs,” a name inspired by the part of the Elvis’ mansion we aren’t allowed to see on the tour – Upstairs at Graceland.

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Next week we will take a look at these fabulous suites what kind of money it takes to stay in them.

 

Guest House at Graceland Logo

For more information on the Guest House, click here.  (Disreguard the lobby picture. omebody screwed up.  That is the one for Heartbreak Hotel.)  To make room reservations, 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.