The New Elvis Stamp

Elvis Forever Stamp

Graceland.com announced yesterday that the US Postal Service has revealed the new Elvis stamp that will be issued in August. Unlike the 1993 Elvis stamp, the image is a photograph, not a drawing, and it is in black and white not color.

Stamp Picture

The shot they chose for the new stamp was taken by professional Memphis photographer William Speer, and there is an interesting story about the photo session. I pieced it together from two old website posts. Much of it is quotations made by Speer or his wife Vacil, but there were no acknowledgements of where these originated. There is also some confusion whether the photos were shot on November, 1954 or March 1955.

During that period, local DJ and concert promoter Bob Neal acted as Elvis’ manager.

Elvis and Bob Neal

Neal decided Elvis needed some publicity stills to help launch his budding career, so he sent him over to William Speer’s studio. Elvis wore a maroon shirt and a white sport coat, but he did not bring any other change of clothes.

The first two shots were taken with Elvis wearing the coat, one a close-up of his face, and the other incorporating part of his chest.

William Speer - Elvis Photo for Stamp

This appears to be the photo chosen for the new stamp. However, you will notice there is a shadow from Elvis’ hair on his forehead. This is because Speer used what he called “Rembrandt lighting” with an overhead spotlight casting shadows downward.

Now go back and look at the stamp again. The shadows have been Photoshopped out. They should have left them in.

Speer felt the bright white color of the coat gave Elvis’ face a washed-out look. What do you think? I can’t see it, and it certainly didn’t deter the stamp selection committee.

Next, Speer tried three shots with the white coat off, just Elvis in his maroon shirt.

William Speer - Three Photos of Elvis in Maroon Shirt
At this point, Speer figured he had taken all the photos he could and the session was finished. However, his wife was mesmerized by Elvis and disagreed. She boldly urged Elvis to try “something different” – a few shots with his shirt off. She has been quoted, “We went this far, might as well take the shirt off too. He didn’t look real happy about it, but he obliged.”

Three William Speer Photos Of Bare-chested Elvis

When Elvis saw the shirtless proofs a few days later, he laughed and said, “These have got to go.”

Two William Speers Photos of Bare-Chested Elvis

 

In a 1987 column in the New York Daily News, columnist Liz Smith called one of the brooding shirtless poses “the most beautiful photo ever taken of Elvis.” I’m guessing she referred to the last one above.

Here are a few quotes by William Speer and his wife Vacil about the memorable photo session with Elvis.

William: “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, but what a place and what a time! I’d never heard of him to tell you the truth, but as soon as I sat him in front of the camera I knew he had it.”

Vacil: “It felt like an electrical charge in the room, an animal magnetism. You can tell the famous ones or the ones who are going to be famous. They stand out in a room without you even knowing who they are.”

William: “When he first stepped in front of the camera, I told him, ‘You sure would make a wonderful actor.’ [Elvis] looked like Burt Lancaster. He could have played his brother in the movies. He came off that dead film like dynamite. Either you’ve got it or you haven’t.”

Vacil: “There he stood in the doorway, long, lean, with big blue eyes and soft full lips. “I opened the doors and it was magic. I checked him head-to-toe and said ‘Wow.’”

William: “Even though he was shy, it was obvious Presley liked being photographed.”

Vacil: “Somebody said, ‘Why didn’t you take his pants off while you were at it?’ I could have been worth a fortune by now.”

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Congratulations to the folks who chose William Speer’s photo for the new Elvis stamp. ElvisBlog will present Part 2 of the stamp story next week.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

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This Post Will Self-Destruct in One Week

Elvis and Confederate Flag 1

A last look before these images disappear.

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 2

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 3

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 4

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 5

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 6

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 7

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Elvis and the Confederate Flag 8

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Elvis and the Confererate Flag 9

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©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis in the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame

Graceland Announcement

This is the total content of a recent Graceland.com news item. There is no Read More link to click on. The print may be too small for you to read, but the last paragraph says, “The hall of fame was established in 2010 and is based in Clarksdale, Mississippi.”

The third paragraph lists the 2015 induction class:

Elvis
The Bar-Kays
Al Bell
Willie Clayton
Millie Jackson
Dorothy Moore
Sam Moore
Little Richard
Bobby Rush
Stax Records
The Mad Lads
Ike Turner
Muddy Waters
Radio station WDIA

There are some folks on here whom I don’t know. In addition to Elvis, I’m glad to see Sam Moore (Sam and Dave), Little Richard, Ike Turner, and Muddy Waters on the list. I wondered why Little Richard was not already in, not a charter member like he is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Who had they already inducted prior to Little Richard and Elvis being recognized? So, I clicked on the only link in the news release and went here.

 

R&B Hall of Fame Website Homepage.

This is where I started to get confused. Why would a Hall of Fame based in Clarksdale, MS have museums in two other cities? So, I clicked on the Museum tab and here’s what they are calling museums:

The 20 Grand in Detroit

This is a juke joint and restaurant in Detroit. The website states, “The 20 Grand Juke Joint Rhythm & Blues Restaurant will give you that old historic feeling of the juke joints of yesterday with pool tables, juke boxes and rhythm & blues memberilia from posters and showcases with outfits from The O’Jays, The Temptations, The Whispers, Gene Chandler, Chubby Checker, James Brown etc.”

That sounds like a long way from a museum to me. Also, how unimpressive is anyone who spells memorabilia wrong? Memberilia?

 

National Blues Music Experience Center - Memphis

Well, at least the logo for their Memphis museum is pretty cool. The National Blues Music Experience Center website says it “will tell the history of blues music from the beginning of its unsung heroes to its legends. The story will be told thought a timeline of photos, music, virtual reality and hologram exhibits.”

Note the wiggle words will tell and the story will be told. Apparently, this center does not yet exist. There is no address, hours of operation, or ticket prices listed.

 

So, I started to have some doubts about the R&B Hall of Fame and did some more looking around on the site’s links. This came up.

R&B Hall of Fame 2015 Induction - Clarksdale

Okay, a poster for the 2015 induction ceremony. There’s Elvis at the top on one side of the Highway 61 sign, Muddy Waters on the other. You can see little Richard there, too.

A couple of things on the poster are interesting. It looks like the only place in Clarksdale to buy tickets was at Delta Keepsakes down on Yazoo Ave. The other point is that the date of the ceremony was this past June 6. So Graceland waited until eleven days later to mention the ceremony in their news feed. A strangely late and surprisingly brief announcement.

Anyway, I clicked around on the site some more and found the lists of the first two classes of inductees. Here are the highlights – from my perspective, anyway.

2013: James Brown, Sam Cooke, Four Tops, Otis Redding, Supremes, Temptations, and Jackie Wilson.

2014: Michael Jackson, B.B. King, Whitney Houston, Marvin Gaye, and Chubby Checker.

All worthy folks, but after three years of inductions, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, and Chuck Berry are still not in. I don’t get it. Maybe they are trying to save some big names to hype with future induction ceremonies.

I continued to click on things on the R&B Hall of Fame website. What I found next totally blew my mind.

R&B Hall of Fame 2015 Induction - Detroit

Wow, here’s a poster for a second 2015 induction ceremony – next October in Detroit. I guess it’s an effort to generate more money for the Hall. But strangely, Elvis, Muddy Watters, and Little Richard aren’t featured on the poster. Instead we see Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Chuck Jackson, and Jerry Butler. Not one of these singers were on the list of those chosen in 2015, nor any year for that matter.

So, I’m starting to guess why Graceland gave such belated and minimal press to Elvis going into the R&B Hall of Fame. The website does not even list biographical material on the inductees. The other music halls of fame Elvis is in do it very nicely. Here is a taste of what they’ve got to say.

 

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

Elvis Bio - Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

This biography goes on for another three long paragraphs.

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Country Music Hall of Fame:

Elvis Bio - Country Music Hall of Fame

This is less than 1/3 of Elvis’ bio on the Country Music Hall of Fame website.

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Rockabilly Hall of Fame:

Rockabilly Hall of Fame Elvis Picture

Before he was the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley was a country musician known as “The Hillbilly Cat from Memphis.” But the transition wasn’t easy. In his first appearance at Nashville’s famed Grand Ole Opry, the producer told him, “If I were you, I’d just go back to driving a truck and forget about being a singer.” Crushed, Presley might have quit if he hadn’t been given a second chance at a slightly less prestigious country radio show called the Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana. Presley tweaked his country and gospel roots with rhythm and blues, even adopting a rhythmic swagger in his hips. Growing up in the Memphis region of the Mississippi Delta, he played and recorded with many black musicians. In general, country music from that region had more influence from jazz and blues than from other parts of the South. When the producer of the Louisiana Hayride first heard Presley’s tape, he pointedly asked the talent manager who’d brought it if the singer was black or white. “Oh, he’s white all right,” the manager replied. “He’s just got a different sound, that’s all.” That different sound came to be called “ROCKABILLY,” a true mutt of music–a blend of everything from bluegrass to western swing to pop crooning. Rockabilly meant working-class boys ready to rock, decked out in checkered suits and bow ties, juiced on rhythm and blues. Rockabilly and “the Hillbilly Cat” were among the central influences of early rock ‘n’ roll, and both came directly from country music.

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Blues Hall of Fame:

The Blues hall of Fame did not have a bio, but the Elvis link included this Certificate and a wonderful quote:

Elvis Certificate - Blues Hall of Fame

“They say, The Blues had a child and they called it Rock n Roll.
Elvis Presley personifies this Rock n Roll child.”

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© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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50th Anniversary Movie Pictorials — Tickle Me

Tickle Me Movie Poster

Tickle Me premiered nationally on May 28, 1965.

As I said last month in the Girl Happy article, I now rewatch each movie on my laptop to get inspiration for these 50th anniversary posts. I make heavy use of pause, single frame advance (or reverse), and screen grab. You can discover a lot of fun shots this way.

 

Elvis -- 4 Film Favorites

First, let me give a word of praise for the DVD four-pack above. You can get a used copy for under $5 on Amazon, and I consider it the best deal on Elvis movies out there. I love all four of these movies and can watch them over and over again. Yes, I know Live A Little, Love A Little is stupid and far-out, but to me, it’s so bad that it’s cool. And they’re all fun.

 

Women Oogling Elvis in Tickle Me

Here is an example of one thing that makes Tickle Me work for me. This shot happened when Elvis first arrived at the Circle Z Ranch. I could have selected another fifteen or twenty similar pictures of beautiful girls ogling Elvis from other scenes in this movie.

 

Shot from Clambake

Oops, this one is from Clambake. How’d that get in here?

 

Jocelyn Lane's First Look at Elvis in Tickle Me

Okay, back to Tickle Me. This is Elvis’ love interest, played by Jocelyn Lane, one of my favorite Elvis costars. This is how she first sees Elvis as he starts work at the Circle Z health ranch.

 

Elvis Enjoying the View - Tickle Me

And this is a few seconds after he first sees her. Don’t the students usually face the instructor when doing exercises? Oh, well, that wouldn’t be as much fun.

 

Elvis Falling Over Table

The view gets Elvis so shook up he tumbles over a patio table. It’s one of the best physical humor bits Elvis did in his movies. There wasn’t a stunt double. He did it.

 

Elvis Singing in Local Bar - Tickle Me

In addition to Jocelyn Lane and a bevy of beautiful women, Tickle Me also has pretty good music. Elvis is backed up by three different bands, including this one in a bar the night before he reports to the ranch.

 

Elvis - Band at Ranch Party

Then there is this band at a luau at the ranch. Elvis must have liked that jacket. He wears it in a lot of scenes.

 

Elvis - Band in the Saloon

And finally, Elvis is backed by these guys in a dream sequence. Actually, it should be called a joint-daydream sequence, because both Elvis and Jocelyn are wide awake and see the same flashback to a saloon a hundred years earlier. This is not the only wonderfully ludicrous element of the film.

 

Elvis -- Another Song with Invisable band

Like this scene where Elvis sings and an invisible band provides the musical accompaniment.

 

Lovely Girls Following Elvis - Tickle Me

Same deal here. Lots of sound coming from that invisible band again.

Here’s an interesting tid-bit about the music in Tickle Me. Elvis did not record any new songs for it. Instead, the movie featured songs culled from these old Elvis albums: Pot Luck, Something for Everybody, and Elvis is Back. Probably some kind of cost saving idea of Col. Parker’s.
So, in addition to girls and music, what else does Tickle Me have to offer? How about bad guys in creepy-looking masks:

Monster at Door - Tickle Me

Monster in Window - Tickle Me

Donkey

Actually, this is a real donkey. He apparently lives in the ghost town where Jocelyn (alone, and later with Elvis) looks for her grandfather’s hidden gold coins.

 

Ghost Town in Tickle Me

See the donkey? Once Elvis and Jocelyn get to the ghost town, the sort-of plot kicks in, but so does a bunch of silliness.

 

Restored Hotel in Tickle Me

Like the hotel supposedly restored by the State Historical Society. The doors are not locked, no one is there to welcome visitors, and it has hot running water and wooden chests full of clothes to change into.

 

Jocelyn Wet and Mad at Elvis - Tickle Me

Which worked out well for Jocelyn after she got caught in a thunderstorm. She does an excellent job of being wet and mad at Elvis in this scene.

 

Elvis Giving Quick Spank to Jocelyn - Tickle Me

But Elvis calms her down once he gets her inside.

 

You don't Mind Kissing your Boss Do You

Elvis also had to calm down the beautiful ranch manager. When she asked him something like, “You’re not afraid of a little kissing with your boss, are you?” Elvis looks directly at the camera and winks. A nice touch. I don’t remember Elvis doing it in other films.

 

Red West and Elvis Fighting - Tickle Me

There’s one thing I always look for in Elvis movies. It’s the fight scene with Red West. Someday I’ll tabulate how many of them there are and do a blog post on them.

Red West Before Swinging at Elvis - Tickle Me

Here’s Red pulling his date away after she threw herself at Elvis.  Gee, we’ve never seen that before, have we?

 

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane - Kiss # 1 - Tickle Me

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

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane - Kiss # 2 - Tickle Me

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane kissed four times in Tickle Me. That might be a record. I don’t know.

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane - Kiss # 3 - Tickle Me

Elvis and Jocelyn Lane - Kiss # 4 - Tickel Me

Strangely, they did not kiss when they found the gold, or when they got married, or when they took off on their honeymoon. Too bad. That certainly would have set the movie record for Elvis kissing his love interest.

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis T-Shirt Review — Summer 2015

Graceland University of Rock Raglan  T-Shirt

For the sixth year in a row, ElvisBlog is happy to present its annual Elvis T-Shirt Review.  In years past, all the winners and losers came from ShopElvis.com.  Now that Graceland.com is selling T-Shirts (and everything else in their on-line store, ShopGraceland.com), this year’s picks come from both sites.

ShopElvis.com

ShopGraceland.com

 

WINNERS

 

 Graceland University of Rock Raglan T-Shirt:

University of Rock

One reason I picked the shirt at the top is because I am partial to the raglan sleeve design.  Another reason is the great silhouette of Elvis.  However, the theme is especially clever – UNIVERSITY OF ROCK.  Same for Home of the King and Founded 1954.

You will note GRACELAND at the bottom of the design.  This is becoming a trend in the new shirts offered on ShopGraceland.com.  Twenty out of their thirty-seven designs have the word Graceland on them (many with a picture as well).  None of the forty-seven designs on ShopElvis.com have anything about Graceland.  I don’t know what that means, but it is curious.

 

 Elvis on Tour in Japan T-Shirt:

 Elvis on Tour in Japan T-Shirt

This shirt makes the Winners List because it is so bizarre.  Elvis never toured Japan, and Elvis on Tour in Japan does not appear on the shirt, so the title is a puzzler.  But this is probably the only Elvis T-Shirt with hot chicks in bikinis on it.  And it certainly is the only one featuring Japanese letter symbols.

 

Elvis Presley Boulevard / Lonely Street T-Shirt:

 Elvis Presley Boulevard Lonely Street

I am always partial to black T-Shirts with colorful designs.  This design is fairly subdued, but it works.  I like the street signs showing the intersection of Elvis Presley Boulevard and Lonely Street.  Same for the profile of Elvis. But check out the long-distance perspective down the street toward Graceland with Elvis’ shadow right in the middle.  Very cool.

 

Elvis The Legend Rolls On MotorcycleT-Shirt:

Elvis the Legend Rolls on Motorcycle T-Shirt

I’m a sucker for any T-Shirt design featuring an Alfred Wertheimer photograph.  I also like The Legend Rolls On and the vertical spelling of E-L-V-I-S.  I’m not sure I understand why they felt they needed to add the white streaky stuff to the left of his name, because it obscures so much of Elvis’ Harley.

 

Elvis Presley American Classic Motorcycle T-Shirt:

 Elvis Presley American Classic Motorcycle T-Shirt

Here’s another Elvis motorcycle pic worked into a T-Shirt design.  There is a lot here if you look closely.  From the top, we have a crown, The King of Rock & Roll, ELVIS PRESLEY (in a nifty font), Elvis and the Harley, eagle wings, the TCB logo, and AMERICAN Classic.  The only thing missing is Graceland.

 

Elvis Presley Fueled By Rock ‘N Roll T-Shirt:

Elvis Presley Fueled By Rock 'N Roll T-Shirt

Graceland isn’t missing on this one.  The ’54 pink Caddy has been on a number of Elvis T-Shirts over the years, but this view is the best yet.  Add this to the list of clever titles or tag-lines:  ELVIS PRESLEY – Fueled by Rock & Roll.

 

Elvis Presley Boulevard Lonely Street Guitar T-Shirt:

 Elvis Presley Boulevard Lonely Street Guitar T-Shirt SG 22

Well, if Elvis Presley Boulevard/Lonely Street was a good idea for one T-Shirt, why not use it on another?  This concept is totally different, but the use of the guitar neck as the pole for the street signs is clever.  I could have done without the Graceland on the neck, but still a good shirt.

 

TCB Distressed Foil T-Shirt:

Elvis Presley Boulevard Lonely Street Guitar T-Shirt

I have this same design on a baseball cap I wear all the time.  Every once-in-a-while, a stranger will notice it, smile, and say “Elvis fan.”   It’s almost like a secret code.  You can proclaim that you are an Elvis fan, but only other fans get it.  The rest of people don’t have a clue.

ShopGraceland TCB

The shirt above is offered by Graceland.com.  I’m not real crazy about the distressed-foil design.  It just makes the TCB logo look crappy, so what’s the point?  However, ShopElvis.com has a similar design.  It’s cleaner and the lightning bolt isn’t compressed so much.

ShopElvis TCB

 

 

LOSERS

 

Elvis Stage Presence T-Shirt:

Elvis Stage presence T-Shirt

Stupid name.  What does this image have to do with “Stage Presence”?  And look at this blow-up of the picture.

Elvis and Cat in Oval Office

That’s Elvis in the Oval Office shaking hands with a cat, not President Nixon.  Stupidest idea for an Elvis T-Shirt I ever saw.

 

Elvis Presley US Army T-Shirt:

 Elvis Presley U.S. Army T-Shirt

Two things force this shirt onto my Loser List.  Maybe the Sergeant strips on the sleeves work for some folks, but they are a total turn-off for me.  Just tacky.  And why is the front design crooked?  This shirt looks like it is a second, but ShopGraceland.com is asking $22 for it.

 

Elvis V8 Ambition:

 Elvis V8 Ambition

Another confusing name.  Ambition is clear enough, and if you look closely, you can see V8 Engine above Elvis’ signature.  But you’d have to be real close to someone wearing this shirt to see the full tag line: AMBITION is a Dream with a V8 Engine.  This is just not a very desirable T-Shirt.

 

Elvis Presley Aloha From Hawaii Ukelele T-Shirt:

Elvis Presley Aloha From Hawaii Ukelele T-Shirt

There aren’t many red Elvis T-Shirts, so I wanted to like this.  But when you look close, lots of stuff are turn-offs.  For one, Ukulele is spelled wrong in the name (I didn’t actually catch this, but Spell Check did).  I’m good with guitars on Elvis T-Shirts, but ukes don’t do anything for me.

Elvis in a Uke

But, look at this blow-up.  Over Elvis’ face and body, they have superimposed Aloha from Hawaii Live Via Satellite.  Those splotches of red on his face are just unacceptable.

 

Official Elvis Insiders Conference 2005 T-Shirt:

Official Elvis Insiders Conference 2005 Men’s T-Shirt

As you can imagine, this shirt did come from the Close-out section.  They’ve been trying to sell the last of these for ten years.  It’s about time to realize nobody wants them.  Give them to charity and move on.

 

Elvis American Legend T-Shirt:

Elvis American Legend T-Shirt

I guess this is an Elvis shirt you either love or hate.  It’s hard to believe it is being offered by the folks that are so concerned about protecting Elvis’ image.

Elvis Wearing TCB Glasses

Imagine this image on a circular pendant swinging slowly back and forth.  “You are getting sleepy, very sleepy.”

 

 

©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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ELVIS T-SHIRT REVIEW — SUMMER 2014

ELVIS T-SHIRT REVIEW — SUMMER 2013

ELVIS T-SHIRT REVIEW — SUMMER 2012

ELVIS T-SHIRT REVIEW — SUMMER 2011

ELVIS T-SHIRT REVIEW — SUMMER 2010

A New Name in the History of Elvis’ Teenage Girlfriends

Sandy, Mac, Brenda - Copy

Brenda Lee, Mac Davis, Sandy Martindale

On May 20, Graceland announced the special guests for Elvis Week 2015. Very little was said about each guest, and none was needed for Brenda Lee or Mas Davis. But, what about that the third name on the list – Sandy Martindale? All the press release said was “she used to date Elvis.”

I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on Elvis’ girlfriends, but I had never heard of Sandy Martindale. So, it was time to do a Google search and see what her story is. I found four good references from 1997, 2004, 2008, and 2014, plus a few photos, mostly of her and long-time husband Wink Martindale.

Sandy and Wink Martindale

It turns out Sandy Ferra was fourteen when she first met Elvis, many years before she met and wed his friend Wink Martindale. This makes her one on a long list of teenage girls Elvis is known to have dated. Let’s look at the more notable ones in chronological order, followed by some detail about Sandy Ferra Martindale.

 

Elvis and Regis at Senior Prom 1953

Regis Wilson: 14 when Elvis took her to the Prom in 1953.

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Barb Pittman

Barbara Pittman: Three years younger than Elvis when they met in high school and started dating. She later recorded a few songs at Sun Records.

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Dixie Locke and Elvis 1955

Dixie Locke: 15 when Elvis started dating her in 1953 after he had graduated from high school. Dated him for a year or two.

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Elvis and Barbara Hearn

Barbara Hearn: Met Elvis through her friend Dixie Locke. Started dating him when he and Dixie broke up.

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June Jaunico and Elvis

June Juanico: 17 when she met Elvis on June 26, 1955. In March 1957 she said goodbye because “I couldn’t wait in the wings while Elvis got on with his career.”

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Natalie Wood and Elvis

Natalie Wood: 18 when she met Elvis in Hollywood in 1956. Elvis was 21.

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Young Priscilla Beaulieu

Priscilla Beaulieu: 14 when Elvis met her in Germany in 1959. Elvis was 24.

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Sandy Ferra with Elvis - 1960

Sandy Ferra: 14 when she met Elvis in Los Angeles in 1960. He was 25.

Soon after Elvis got out of the Army in 1960, he went to Los Angeles to film G.I. Blues at Paramount Studios. One night, he went to The Cross Bow nightclub in Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley. While in the club owner’s office, Elvis was bowled over by a photo of Sandy, his fourteen-year-old daughter.

He told Mr. Ferra he’d like to meet his daughter, so the man called her at home. Mom got on the line and told Elvis she would not drive Sandy back to the club because she was only fourteen and it was a school night. So, Elvis said he would be back the next week and he asked if Sandy could meet him then. In the meantime, her dad came home and told her that Elvis was a ‘gorgeous guy,’ because at the time, she didn’t even know who Elvis Presley was.

So, the next week her mother drove her to the club. Sandy wore a frilly dress and had her hair in a ponytail, while Elvis showed up with a beautiful actress. Sandy just sat there and stared at him because he was so good looking. He held her hand and kissed her on the cheek, and as Sandy has revealed, “That was it. I was hooked.”

Later Elvis called and told her mother he wanted to date Sandy, and her mother said, “I don’t care if you’re King Farouk; my daughter’s only fourteen and she can’t go out with you.” So Elvis said to her mother, “Well, you can come on the date.” In fact, she came on their first three dates.

Elvis was staying at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, so Sandy and her mother went there and enjoyed pizza, hot fudge sundaes, banana splits, as well as watching television, talking, and dancing. Then, after the first three dates, Elvis promised her mother that he’d be a ‘gentleman’ and ‘take good care’ of her, if she said it was okay for Sandy to go out with him unchaperoned. According to Sandy, “He stuck to his word and was a perfect gentleman. He loved and respected my parents and was a wonderful part of my life.”

The only thing Sandy has revealed about their romance is, “We kissed a lot. We did a lot of necking. Elvis was the best kisser.” There are some media reports stating that Elvis once asked Sandy’s mother if she and her daughter would consider moving to Graceland, where he would “raise” Sandy as his future wife, but Sandy’s parents refused. In 1962, another young lady Elvis had met when she also was fourteen moved into Graceland. Could Priscilla be considered Plan B?

According to these same reports, Elvis and Sandy were an item, on and off, for the next six years — right up until he married Priscilla.

According to a July 4, 2008 article on www.elvis.com.au, Sandy said, “I danced in six of his movies because I was going with him. In Viva Las Vegas that’s me with Ann-Margaret and Elvis dancing at the roulette table.” (actually a huge roulette wheel painted on the stage)

Sandy Ferra Dancing in Viva Las Vegas
Sandy Ferra during “What’d I Say” dance sequence in Viva Las Vegas.

If you go to Elvis Week this year and attend the Graceland Insiders Conference, you will hear Sandy Ferra Martindale talk about this and a lot more. I’m not going this year, but if I was, I’d be sure to take in that event.

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Sandy Martindale

 

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© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Happy Memorial Day, Elvis

Remember Those Who Serve

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Elvis in U.S. Army

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Elvis in Blue Dress Uniform in Front of Flag

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Elvis on Tank

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Elvis in a Group of GIs

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Elvis in tank

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Elvis Saluting

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Elvis the Soldier Doing Lip Snarl

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Have a happy and Safe Memorial Day

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©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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B.B. King and Elvis

BB King at 86

By now you surely know that blues legend B.B. King died last week at age 89. I did a lot of deep Google searching to find things connecting B.B. and Elvis, and I found a few to use in this post celebrating the blues master’s life and career. Most interesting were the quotes B.B King said about Elvis over the years, interspersed here between a few photos.

 

Elvis and BB King -2

An early photo of Elvis and B.B. King – occasion and place unknown.

 

“He used to come around and be around us a lot. There was a place we used to go and hang out at on Beale Street. People had little pawn shops there and a lot of us used to hang around in certain of these places, and this is where I met him.”

From: ELVIS – His Life from A to Z by Fred W. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius

 

 

Elvis, Claudia Ivy and BB King

Photo taken of Elvis, Claudia Ivy, and B.B. King at the WDIA Goodwill Review on December 7, 1956. Elvis and George Klein hung out backstage. Elvis made a brief emergence from behind the curtain, and received rousing applause from the audience. Also on the program were Ray Charles, the Moonglows, and Rufus Thomas.

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“When I first met Elvis, I didn’t think too much of Elvis Presley. I thought he was a handsome young man, but he wasn’t singing as he started to sing later. So I didn’t think too much about him – his guitar or his singing – at the time. But I thought he was a nice person – it wasn’t that I disliked him.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

 

Elvis Wearing Jacket like BB Kings Jacket

Elvis must have like the plaid coat B.B. wore in the above photo. Check out the jacket Elvis wore on the day of his induction into the Army.

 

“Finally I heard him do some Arthur Big Boy Crudup. I heard him do some of those songs, and then I started to turn my head a little bit. That ain’t the same Elvis Presley that I been hearing. And he went on from there doing some other things that sound black to me. That’s when I started having respect, respect, respect. And he sorta earned it, earned that respect from me at that time.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

 

Bobby Blue Bland and BB King

This is B.B. King in concert with Bobby Blue Bland, who got his start as B.B.’s limo driver. They were together back in 1999, the only time I ever saw B.B. perform.

BB King Concert Ticket

It was such a wonderful concert, even though B.B. performed while sitting on a chair for most of the show.

 

Bobby Blue Bland and Elvis

Elvis also had contact with Bobby Blue Bland back in the early days of their careers.

 

“I remember Elvis as a young man hanging around the Sun Studio. Even then, I knew this kid had a tremendous talent. He was a dynamic young boy. His phraseology, his way of looking at a song, was as unique as Sinatra’s. I was a tremendous fan, and had Elvis lived, there would have been no end to his inventiveness.”

From: http://www.elvis.net/whattheysay

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B.B. King's Blues Club, Memphis

This is B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis. During Elvis Week 2002, two fine ladies and I drank and danced there for hours. We closed the place down and then went to the Candlelight Vigil. My knees killed me the next day.

BB King's Blues-Club, Memphis

This isn’t the band we had that night, but you get the idea. The girls were from Japan and Canada, which illustrates a fact about Elvis Week. People come from all over, and it’s so easy to make new friends. Elvis fans are just good people.

 

B.B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center - Memphis

Here is an Elvis/B.B. connection you may not be aware of. The white sign says “B.B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center.” The huge mosaic egg says, “MEMPHIS – Home of the Blues, Birthplace of Rock ‘n Roll.”

B. B. King and Elvis Presley Welcome Center Map

If you’ve got enough time during your next visit to Memphis, you can check it out. While you are down on the banks of the Mississippi, be sure to take in Mud Island Park, too.

 

“Finally I had a chance to meet him and I found out that he really was something else. He started to be more and more and more. And he was still like that to me, Elvis was, until he died. As far as I was concerned, he was growing all the time.”

From: http://www.pbs.org/americanrootsmusic

 

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Elvis and B.B. King

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“He was unique. And he loved the blues, it’s a pity he didn’t do more.”

From: http://www.elvis.net/whattheysay

 

 

B.B. King

 

Good bye, B.B. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2015 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 Movie Pictorial — Girl Happy

Girl Happy Poster

Girl Happy opened nationally on April 14, 1965.

When I started posting these Elvis movie pictorials, I would always watch each one again on the TV and make notes about things that interest me.  Now I watch on the laptop, and I make heavy use of pause, single frame advance (or reverse), and screen grab.  You can discover a lot of fun shots this way.

 

Mary Ann Mobley's Booty in Girl happy

Here we have Mary Ann Mobley showing off her acting talent.

I must admit, she’s the reason I can watch Girl Happy over and over.  Too bad they couldn’t find a way for Elvis to wind up with her at the end.  The scenes with Elvis pursuing Mary Ann just sizzle.  These two beautiful people are hot for each other.

Elvis Hugging Mary Ann Mobley in Girl Happy

Elvis Getting Comfy with Mary Ann Mobley

 

On the other hand, the Elvis and Shelly Fabares scenes are sweet and tender.

Elvis Wearing Long-Sleeve Shirt at Pool - Girl Happy.

He sings to her.

Elvis Dancing with Shelly Fabares - Girl Happy

He takes her dancing.

 

So far, we have seen Elvis in five pictures, and he is wearing a different long-sleeve shirt in each one.  In fact, he wears nothing but long sleeve shirts the whole film.

Elvis Sunbathing in Long-sleeve Short - Girl Happy

Even when he is sunbathing around the motel pool.

Elvis Sailing in Long-sleeve Shirt - Girl Happy

Even when sail boating.  Doesn’t Shelly look dreamy?  No, thanks.  I’ll take Mary Ann.

Elvis Water Skying Wearing Long Sleeved Shirt - Girl Happy

Even when water skiing.  Did Elvis have some mysterious rash on his arms during filming?

 

Here are some odds and ends pictures that caught my fancy.

Looking in the Boat

Elvis and the boys in the band playing peeping-toms.

Message to Elvis from Mary Ann Mobley

No everything went well between Elvis and Mary Ann.  She let her feelings be known when Elvis disappeared to rescue Shelly for the third time.

 

Seadrift Motel in Girl Happy. 2jpg

A lot of the action took place at the Seadrift Motel.  Lots of eye-candy for the male viewers.

Girl Happy -- Boat in Motel Pool

Somehow Elvis miraculously came up with a pick-up truck and boat trailer to pull this boat into the motel pool.

Elvis Shining Spotlight in Girl Happy

He also commandeered a spotlight to search for Shelly on the beach.

But his biggest coup was getting a backhoe to help break into jail where Shelly was being held.

Elvis Breaking into Jail - Girl Happy

Here’s Elvis trying to break into jail.  How convenient that the Ft. Lauderdale jail had a wooden floor he could saw through.

Elvis in Drag - Girl Happy

And after he got in, Elvis had to dress in drag to get out.  Not exactly the high point of Elvis’ acting career.

 

Elvis Looking at Ugly Shelly Photo - Girl happy

Shelly Fabares’ character changed quite a bit from what Elvis thought she looked like to what she actually did.

Ugly Shelly Fabares in Girl happy

 

Elvis and Shelly Fabares - I'm Evil

She looked great in this musical number.

Shelly Fabares Stripping in Girl Happy

And she’s a riot when she gets drunk and wants to try her hand at stripping.

 

I had a friendly dispute with another fan about whether Teri Garr appeared in five or six Elvis movies.  The film in question was Girl Happy.  He said the shots I provided of her dancing on the beach during “Do the Clam” were inconclusive, because it was dark and she moved too fast.  Now, I’ve got some new screen grabs proving Teri Garr did appear in Girl Happy.

Teri Garr in Jail - Girl Happy

Here she is in the jail scene.

Teri Garr Dancing in Girl Happy

Here’s Teri Garr doing the Clam.  Not as clear, but she is wearing the same top as in jail.

 

Elvis and the Band - Girl Happy

The guy on the right playing guitar is Joby Baker, but look back one picture and see him playing sax.  The sax solos on several songs including “I’ve Got to Find My Baby” and “Do the Clam” are excellent.  No wonder — they were actually performed by Boots Randolph.

 

Turkish Poster -- Guardian of my Daughter

Here’s a brief diversion from the screen grabs to look at a Girl Happy poster from Turkey.  The title translates to “Guardian of My Daughter,” which does fit with the theme of the movie.  Those Turks knew who to pair with Elvis in the picture – Mary Ann Mobley.

 

I always end these pictorials with a shot or two of Elvis kissing his leading lady.  Mary Ann beat Shelly 3 to 2 in this department.

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 3

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 1

Elvis Kissing Mary Ann Mobley - Girl Happy 2

 

But in the end, Elvis wound up with Shelly Fabares.

Elvis Kissing Shelly Fabares - Girl Happy

Elvis Kissing Shelly at end of Girl Happy 2

The movie closes with this kiss.

 

Oh, well.  Elvis will have another chance with Mary Ann Mobley in Harum Scarum.

 

©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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EPE versus OKC — The Battle over Elvis’ Planes

Elvis' Hound Dog ll

On April 26, Graceland.com posted a surprisingly brief news item.

“Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis’ two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis permanently. The planes have been available for tours in the Graceland visitors’ center since 1984.”

Pretty short on detail, and there has been no elaboration since. Lisa Marie had a little Twitter message the same day.

Lisa Marie's Twitter Message about Elvis' Planes

I guess the plan is to move forward with no mention of the battle that has been going on since last July between Elvis Presley Enterprises and OKC Partnership, the company that actually owns the planes. In case you don’t know the history here, Graceland has displayed the planes under an agreement that gives OKC an a specific percentage of the ticket revenue.

Things seem to have worked fine for all the years that Graceland charged separate prices for each attraction. Then, package tickets came into the picture, but you could still buy the individual tickets. Well, those days are over. You must now choose between two package plans, or simply see the mansion and nothing else..

Graceland Ticket Prices

These are two options on the cheaper  package. The only difference is that the top one includes the airplanes for an extra $5.00. The more expensive Elvis VIP Entourage package works the same way. When this set-up started, it effectively established a considerably lower ticket income for the planes exhibit, and thus, a big drop in revenue for OKC. Which, of course, they weren’t happy about. So, OKC called EPE’s bluff by threatening to remove their planes.

From here on it was like a boxing slug fest, with each side making moves to get the advantage.

First EPE countered their bluff by saying okay, get the planes out of here. Might have been a smart move. Realistically, where could OKC set up the planes and attract as many customers as they get at Graceland?

Advantage EPE

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Soon, OKC announced a deal with Julian’s, the Beverly Hills, California, auction house to offer both planes, and they were expected to fetch between $10 million and $15 million.

Advantage OKC

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Uh, oh. The auction closed on February 2, and nobody bid on the planes. Same results when they tried to sell them on an aviation website and eBay.

Advantage EPE

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3850 Elvis Presley Blvd.

Earlier this month (April 2015), Shelby County’s land use board approved a proposal by OKC Partnership to move the planes to a 5.3-acre lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd, not far from Graceland. The plan was approved Tuesday, April 21 by the Memphis City Council.

ABC News Headline on Moving Elvis' Planes.

The approved plan called for the planes to be installed as an outdoor display and museum for tourists to visit.  And the news release said it would be up and running in time for Elvis Week 2015.

Advantage OKC

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To show you how feasible this plan could have been, look at the location of the lot in question.

Property for Elvis' Planes Across from Days Inn

The lot is across the street from the Days Inn that is just down the street from the car museum. I stayed there on my first visit, and it’s no walk at all to Graceland.

 

Aerial View of Graceland Area

This aerial view shows the property just to the right of the marker. Look above it and you can see the Graceland drive and the mansion behind the cluster of trees. A little higher and to the left you can see where the planes are now. So, OKC had a viable plan to move the planes, start their own attraction, and attract all the folks in town to see Graceland.

EPE had to cut a deal, or they would lose the planes. You can bet some hot and heavy negation went on, and now they own the plans.

Advantage EPE

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Yes, Graceland seems to have won, but the price had to be a lot higher than they originally expected.

Look at the aerial map again. Above the planes is the U-shaped Heartbreak Hotel. Behind it is the Graceland Trailer Park and a primitive tent camping area. In an ElvisBlog article last July, I speculated that if EPE wanted to move the planes to allow room for a huge entertainment complex, they might eliminate the tent area and put them there.

One other interesting fact came to light while I researched this story. There is another possible location where EPE might move the planes. Directly behind Graceland Plaza Visitors’ Center is a sixteen-acre property that used to be the Craft Manor Apartments. It has been razed and EPE has owned it since 2007. So the planes could be moved there as part of some new development.  Like Lisa cryptically said, “We own them and have fun plans 4 them.”

Overhead Shot of Elvis' Planes in Current Location

Or the planes might stay right where they are. Either way, the fans win.

 

© 2015 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.