Elvis T-Shirt Review — Summer 2016

How an Elvis T-shirt should be worn

The Memorial Day Weekend is here, the official start of summer. Time for ElvisBlog to present its seventh annual Elvis T-Shirt Review. ShopElvis.com obliged by offering a Memorial Day Savings event, including a Spring Cleaning Clearance of some items they would like to move.

So the 2016 T-Shirt Review will have two parts. First, my picks for the best of the new shirts added this year. And, second, a look at the clearance shirts worthy of being snapped up.

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Elvis Karate:

Elvis Karate T-Shirt

There have been a few Elvis T-Shirts with a karate theme over the years, but I like this one the best. This picture doesn’t show the image very well, but this blow-up does.

Elvis Karate Blow-Up

I like the look on Elvis’ face, the concentration in his blue eyes. And the ying-yang symbol and the way they did his name with a pseudo-oriental look is an eye-catcher. This shirt goes for $24.99, and is also available in youth sizes for $2 less.

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Elvis Now Playing:

Elvis Now Playing T-Shirt 34.99

I have always favored double-sided T-Shirts, and this is a good one. I wish the single Elvis image on the back was the one on the front, but oh, well. You do pay extra for double-sided shirts, and this one goes for 34.99.

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Elvis Simple Face Longsleeve:

Elvis Simple Face Longsleeve Shirt 29.99

Long-sleeve T-Shirts are another personal favorite of mine, but the artwork on this one is what really appealed to me.

Elvis Simple Face Blow up

The lines and shadowing are so clean and minimal, but this image of Elvis’ face really jumps out from the black background. A very good deal at $29.99.

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Elvis It’s Good to be King:

Elvis It's Good to be King 24.99

Someone looking at this from a distance might not be able to make out the theme, but close-up the image is definitely young Elvis. Covering the shirt with Elvis signatures is a clever idea, and we can hope that continues around to the back side. $24.99.

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Elvis is King Ladies Scroop Neck:

Elvis is King Ladies Scroop Neck T-Shirt

I’ve never liked T-Shirts with the image of posters, album covers, or movie placards on them. But the poster here is on a black background so it blends into the rest of the shirt. And it has kind of a retro look. However, the main reason it made the select list is that it costs only $14.99. As far as I can tell, this is a new arrival, not a clearance item. Also, I don’t know ladies fashion terms, but I’m pretty sure they meant scoop neck, not scroop neck.

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Elvigyle T-Shirt:

Elvigyle Elvis T-Shirt 24.99

I loved this T-Shirt the second I first saw it. I thought it was a tie-dye. But it is an argyle pattern in two shades of light blue. So, of course that strange name makes sense: Elvis Argyle = Elvigyle. For you fans who aren’t familiar with Elvis’ preference for argyle socks as a young man, check out this picture.

Elvis Wearing Argyle Socks

Fortunately, the image on the T-Shirt is Elvis wearing the black leather outfit on the ’68 Comeback Special. I like that it is muted, I like the vine design curling around it, and I even like the big E in an ornate font. Well worth $24.99.
Before looking at the clearance items, I would like to mention something positive about the new batch of Elvis T-Shirts from ShopElvis.com. The word Graceland does not appear on any of them. Nor are any pictures of it blended into the backgrounds. These are all just Elvis T-Shirts, and I like that. I have been getting frustrated with the offerings from ShopGraceland.com. It seems like they were pushing Graceland as much as Elvis. I still don’t know why we have both online Elvis vendors. If anybody knows, please let me know in Comments.

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Elvis Love Me Tender Woman’s T-Shirt:

Elvis Love Me Tender Women's - X-small - orir 64.99

You might wonder, like I did, why this nice looking T-Shirt is marked down so much. The answer is that the only size left is X-small. So, if you’re a tiny Elvis fan, this is a deal for you. Or, if you have a six-year-old daughter that you’d like to have share your love for Elvis, snap up one of these.

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35th Anniversary Ladies T-Shirt:

Elvis 35th Anniversary Ladiis T-Shirt - Medium -originally 24.99

This one has been marked down twice since 2012– from $24.99 to $14.00 to $4.97. There’s nothing special about the design, but it does come in size medium, so it might work for the Elvis fan on a budget.

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Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil Women’s T-Shirt:

Viva Elvis Cirque du Soleil Women's - Small and Medium - Orig 29.99

This one is colorful, available in small and medium, and originally went for $29.99. You need to see a blow up of the artwork to appreciate it.

Elvis Cirque du Soleil Blow UP

To me, it looks like Elvis is surfing through space on a comet trail of gold records. If you don’t mind that little reference to the defunct Viva Elvis show at the bottom, this is a pretty good deal.

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Elvis Youth Studio Session:

Elvis Youth Studio Session Fleece Al Wertheimer, Youth small and Youth Large, Orig 39.99

If you have a child who shares your passion for Elvis, this is a steal. Long sleeves, great Alfred Wertheimer photo, originally $39.99. It is available in youth large, so if you are a ladies small, this just might fit you. Snap it up.

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Rock and Roll Racerback Tank:

Elvis Rock n Roll Tank - Extra Small - originally 120

Believe it or not, this tank top originally sold for $120. Created by fashion designer Susan Fixel, it featured original artwork by Joe Petruccio and hand-applied crystals. Described as “Light and airy with a chic, edgy feel.” It even has two side-panel pockets. The only size left is X-small, so they obviously moved the larger sizes at the big ticket prices. Treat you little daughter to this fashion statement Elvis tank top.

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Alfred Wertheimer T-Shirt:

Elvis Al Wertheimer T-Shirt - all sizes

See anything strange about this mark-down? They corrected it a couple of days later, but not before I snapped this screen grab. Now $19.99.

 

 

Elvis and American Flag on Memorial Day

Have A Great Memorial Day

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Elvis – The King of Celebrity Hair Auctions

Elvis Heads Celebrity Hair Auction Market

Did you know there are folks who collect celebrity hair? I guess it’s a popular enough activity to motivate Forbes magazine researchers to find the highest prices paid for valuable hair at auction. You probably can’t read the results in red above, so here is the ranking, including the years when the auctions occurred.

Elvis Presley             $115,000     2002
Che Guervara           $100,000     2007
Mozart                       $53,000      2015
Justin Bieber             $40,668      2014
Abraham Lincoln       $38,837      2012
Willie Nelson             $37,000      2014
John Lennon             $35,000      2016
Napoleon                  $13,000      2010

I can’t conceive how Justin Bieber hair would sell for more than Abraham Lincoln or Napoleon. He’s a young man with many more haircuts to come in his life. Lincoln and Napoleon are long gone, so there is a limited, finite quantity of their hair for collectors. Maybe Bieber’s sale went to a rich young fan with more money than sense.

The top bid for Elvis’ hair occurred at 2am on November 17, 2002, at an on-line auction by MastroNet, a Chicago-based company. According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, the hair had been saved by Elvis’ personal barber Homer Gilleland.

Homer Gilleland Cutting Elvis' Hair

Homer Gilleland Cutting Elvis’ Hair

 

The newspaper article referred to a “black hairball” with hundreds, if not thousands, of strands of Elvis’ hair.

Enormous Quantity of Elvis Hair

Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune article:

“Gilleland, who traveled with the singer to shows, would color the King’s sandy-blond hair black, then cut it into a towel around Presley’s neck… He bundled up the towels with the hair inside and took them home. Then he put the hair into a plastic bread bag, where it stayed until Presley died in 1977. Shortly after, friends said Gilleland began selling strands of the hair at a souvenir shop across the street from Presley’s Memphis home, Graceland.

Before Gilleland died in 1995, he gave a bag of the hair to a friend, Tom Morgan. Morgan, 61, a municipal employee in Memphis, decided to sell the hair this year for his retirement.”

With a winning bid of $115,000, we can assume Mr. Morgan had a very nice retirement indeed.

 

One other thing in the Chicago Tribune article turned out to be prophetic:

“Some have speculated the hair could be resold, strand by strand, for a profit.”

Heritage July 1011 - Authentic Strands of Elvis Hair

I decided to check out the sales since 2002 for Elvis’ hair at two auction houses that sell a lot of Elvis collectibles, Julien’s and Heritage. The strands above sold for $418 at a July 2011 Heritage auction, and it came from the Homer Gilleland treasure trove of Elvis hair.

 

Here are samples of other results.

Elvis Hair Sold for $1,195 August 2010 Heritage

This went for $1,195 at an August 2010 Heritage auction.

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Elvis Hair Heritage Oct 2008 $1,782

This went for $1,782 at an October 2008 Heritage auction.

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ELVIS PRESLEY VIAL OF HAIR June 2012 Julien's $4,160

This went for $4,160 at a June 2012 Julien’s auction.

 

It should be noted that all of these offerings of Elvis hair had nicely-done, framed displays with additional photos and text to enhance them. The auction websites stated that the hair was all originally saved by Horace Gillebrand, but do not state if they came from the $115,000 “black hairball.”

There were also additional offerings of Elvis hair from his Army induction haircut at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas, from haircuts while on duty in Germany, and other places. Plus, there are many other auction houses I didn’t check into. Suffice it to say, there has been a lot of Elvis hair sold in the last four decades.

 

Elvis Presley's Army Haircut at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas

Let’s finish with an interesting story about locks of Elvis’ hair. Col. Parker ordered that all of Elvis’ hair clippings from his Army induction haircut be gathered up and sent to his fan clubs. One lock ended up at the Tulsa World newspaper, and they used it in a contest. Winner Sybil Coughman completed this sentence “I think the US Army can make the best use of Elvis by…

… letting him give hip exercises to the soldiers to keep them trim and in good shape like he is.”

 

 

© 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.

Celebrating Elvis on National Limerick Day

National-Limerick-Day-May-12

There is no end to the special days, weeks, or months that celebrate something. They are all marked on the National Day Calendar at:

 http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/

For some reason, May 12 is observed annually as National Limerick Day. Of course, Elvis has been the subject of limericks, just like he has been in every other form of expression. Here are a few Elvis limericks I’ve collected.

 

Elvis Presley would answer his calling
With the charm of his smile and his drawling
Both his presence and voice
Made promoters rejoice
Though some thought his gyrations appalling

Elvis Doing his Moves

 

 

There once was a man named Elvis
Who had a gyrating pelvis
He moved it every which way
Dynamic was its swiveling display
His pelvic moves sent women into a groove

(Editor’s Note:  I know his violates the limerick rule that the 5th line rhymes with the 1st and 2nd, but it’s a good excuse to show this very cool photo.)

Girls Reaching for Elvis

A man that we knew as The King
Moved the world with the way he would sing
He had roots in the South
And the sounds from his mouth
Would provide him a lot of ka-ching

Elvis and Handfuls of Money

 

He was born in northeast Mississippi
Where moonshine is drank when it’s nippy
Where much gospel is sung
As the church bells are rung
He was always polite, never lippy

Elvis' Lip Snarl

 

 

The boy from Memphis could sing,
Soon girls called him “The King.”
He died too young,
The last song was sung,
But the fans kept doing their thing.

Candlelight Vigil for Elvis

 

His recording debut ‘That’s All Right’
Turned him in to a star overnight
In July ‘54
With his foot in the door
His career was about to take flight

That's Alright, Mama

 

 

Elvis made a lot of dough,
Didn’t keep much of it though.
Colonel Parker’s
50% marker
Came off the top, you know.

Col. Parker and Elvis

 

 

So with fame he was suddenly rife
Then the army came in to his life
He completed his hitch
Putting off getting rich
And he made Miss Priscilla his wife

Elvis with priscilla at Release from Army

 

Later on several movies he made
And for that he was handsomely paid
Though each picture was crap
With less substance than pap
Off the set he would often get laid

Elvis and Two Babes

 

 

Elvis drove a large, bright, pink Caddy.
Popping pills and smoking a fatty.
Wearing suits that were white,
He shot his TV one night.
He was the original pimp daddy

Elvis Pimp Daddy

 

There once was a singer named Elvis
Who sure could shake his pelvis.
This has to end.
We can’t pretend,
That some other word rhymes with Elvis.

Elvis in Perspective

 

 

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

 

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Graceland Milestone – Elvis Humor at Graceland

Graceland Plaque

Elvis Presley Enterprises never misses a chance to celebrate a new milestone relating to Elvis.  For example, the 50th anniversary of the release of his first hit, “That’s All Right, Mama” in 2004.

EPE also marks milestones involving Graceland.  On May 3rd, they announced that Graceland officially welcomed its 20 millionth paid visitor since opening to the public on June 7, 1982.

Graceland Celebrates 20 Million Visitors

 

So, EPE is now giving us fans a chance to celebrate with 20 days of events.  Until May 22, you can sign up for a giveaway:

Graceland 20 Million Fan Giveaway

There will be winners every day, but the grand prize is a getaway to Memphis including a private tour of Graceland, a three-night stay at the new Guest House at Graceland, tickets to other Memphis music attractions, and the Elvis Presley limited-edition 60-CD box set.  Click here to enter.

 

Graceland Fan Mosaic

You don’t win any prize with this one, but if you submit a photo of yourself it may end up in a mosaic photo of Graceland.  They now have an app where you can locate your photo in it.  Of course, you will be encouraged to buy a copy of the final photo, but no price has been listed yet.

 

I like to tie an ElvisBlog post in with these Elvis milestone events, but celebrating Graceland is a little harder.  I have a great file of photos, but I want to use the best ones next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ purchase of the mansion and fourteen acres.  EPE hasn’t announced a celebration yet, but you can bet there’s one coming.

 

Elvis Humor

Then I discovered Elvis’ Humor, a book of 290 humorous Elvis anecdotes, divided into distinct categories.  Like the three in the sub-title, girls, guns, and guitars, and dozens more… including Graceland.  When I saw that, it registered on me that stories of Elvis antics at Graceland would make a great blog post to join the 20 million visitors celebration.  I contacted the book’s author, Bo Keeley, and asked for his permission to use a few, and he kindly said “yes.”

 

So here are five excerpts from Elvis’ Humor.  Bo Keeley proceeds each story with a little background information and follows with his original source book, the author, and the page number where it appears.

 

Looking Up

Elvis flails fins on the movie poster of the 1967 musical comedy ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’. He plays Lieutenant Ted Jackson who is a former U.S. Navy frogman who divides his breaths between twin careers as a deep sea diver and nightclub singer. His actual background for the role was swimming and waterskiing as a teen, and many movie sets on ocean beaches. Graceland also had a kidney-shaped pool on a cut-stone patio. In the summer of 1973, recalling his fantasy frogman days, E threw a scuba party on the Graceland patio…

  Swimming Pool at Graceland

Elvis got into snorkeling and scuba diving. He rented equipment for everyone. Of course there was nowhere to go snorkeling around Memphis so Elvis just invited a lot of people over and we used Graceland pool. The whole entourage got involved and, as usual, there was a lot of local talent, pretty young girls in scanty bathing suits, all vying for Elvis’s attention.

Elvis in Scuba Gear

When Elvis got in the water so did everyone else, but the Graceland pool wasn’t that big. It looked kind of like an underwater fight scene from a James Bond movie with all of them trying to navigate around in there. Elvis just like to sit at the bottom of the pool and watch the girls swimming above him.

– Billy Stanley, Elvis, My Brother, 288

 

Switcheroo

The Presley family moved to Graceland in the spring of 1957, between ‘Loving You’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’. One of the reasons Elvis bought the 14-acres estate is because his earlier neighbors found, despite the perks of having a famous celebrity living nearby, the constant gathering of fans and journalists was a nuisance. At the time, the property was located several miles beyond the Memphis main urbane area that, in later years, would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties. The King immediately spent in excess of $500,000 for renovations, including the $35,000 wall around every inch of the property, and musical gates. After returning from Hollywood, Las Vegas, or a concert tour, his favorite getaway place was back home…

The Gate at Graceland

Fans were always down at the front gate at Graceland. At night they gathered to watch the lights go on and off in the different rooms.

Some nights, Elvis would call out to the barn and have Mike McGregor saddle up Rising Sun so he could ride down to the gate and sign autographs and talk.  He felt safer on a horse.

One night he called down to the gate. His uncle Harold Lloyd was on duty down there.

“Open the gate,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come inside.”

“Come inside?” Harold echoed.

“Just hold on,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come on inside, then shut the gate after then and lock it.”

“Lock ‘em inside?” Harold echoed again.

“That’s right,” Elvis said.

So Harold opened the gate and the fans came on inside.  They looked up at the mansion, expecting to see Elvis coming out the front door.

A car honked behind them in the street.

They turned around.  It was Elvis, driving along the boulevard, smiling and waving at them.

They all ran back to the gate.  It was shut.  Elvis drove on out of sight.

They didn’t know what to do.

Then they saw Elvis’ car swing in the back gate.  Elvis got out and walked down the winding driveway toward them.  They were so stunned they didn’t move.

They dissolved when he walked in among them and smiled.

“Hi, gang.”

– Charlie Hodge, Me ‘n Elvis, 139

 

 

Jungle Room

In the mid-1960s, Presley enlarged the house to create a den that came to be called the Jungle Room. It was originally a screened in back patio that sat behind the kitchen, which he incorporated into the main house complete with a waterfall of cut stone on the far wall. It leaked and flooded, which created a steamy atmosphere in the summer in the Jungle Room full of exotic plants, animal prints, and floor-to-ceiling shag carpet in an African motif.  One day in 1968, Elvis heard Vernon laughing and went downstairs to investigate. Vernon snickered that he had just stopped by a furniture store to have a look at a new style of home furnishing. It was hilarious, he said, and belonged in a jungle. The enormous price tag made him laugh too. Why would anyone spend that kind of money to live in a jungle?…

Rock Waterfall in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis was inspired. He called the store and ordered the entire set. He spent much more than he would have normally dared, but it would be worth it to see the expression on his father’s face.  The furniture was delivered the next day while Vernon was out of the house.  Elvis and his men set the furniture up in the downstairs den. When everything was in place, Elvis found that he actually liked the ambiance the furniture gave the room.  He felt calm and at ease. The oversized animal-print chairs were set low and wide; the coffee table was a slab of giant cypress tree heavily lacquered with polyurethane.

Cypress Plank Table in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis installed a rock waterfall fountain which dripped water from a pump on top, and even the lamps had an African motif.  Elvis could not express how he felt in that room, but whatever it was, he liked it.

When Vernon returned to the house, Elvis called him downstairs.  The younger Presley almost dropped to the floor with laughter at the sight of his father’s amazed face. Elvis explained that the room had originally been intended as a gag, but now he liked it and wanted to leave it as it was.

–  Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, 43

 

Golf Cart Plunge

Elvis Presley’s response to difficulty, anxiety, nuisance, insult, and troubles was often humor. One day in the summer of ’75, the Stanley brothers were fooling around at the pool and wouldn’t stop. Elvis was trying to read at the poolside and they kept splashing him. He growled that if they didn’t’ stop… the splashing continued…

He walked off in a huff and we forgot about it. We were still in the pool about half an hour later when we saw Elvis coming over the hill in the golf cart.  He stopped, stood up, and yelled for us to get out of the pool.  We just yelled, splashed, and taunted him.

Elvis on Golf Cart

So he came driving straight toward the pool with 300-pound Lamar Fike sitting next to him on the cart.  We thought he was just trying to scare us but he came busting up and drove right into the pool.  Of course we scattered, but Lamar had trouble getting out of the cart.  So we all jumped back in to make sure he made it to the surface.  Vernon came out yelling at everyone to get out.  The cart was electric powered by batteries, and he was afraid we’d all get electrocuted.  Vernon made us drain the pool before pulling the cart out.

–  Billy Stanley, Elvis My Brother, 288

 

 

Elvis' Humor - Front and Back Covers

My thanks go out to Bo Keeley for providing these humorous Elvis stories.  If you would like to get a copy pf Elvis’ Humor, 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.

 

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

 

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 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.