A Long Overdue Message

It has been quite a while since I wrote about my personal situation. Thankfully, I have struggled back from several physical side effects caused by the incredible stress of caring for my dying wife. I have sold my house in South Carolina, disposed of almost everything in there, and moved in with my daughter and son-in-law in North Carolina. I am very happy here, and it is the right place for me to be at this point in my life (I turned 80 in June).

I will be in contact soon with the owner of my blog platform. I do not intend to add any new posts after my current contract ends in January.  If it can be done, I would prefer ElvisBlog becomes a static site where people can still read the 17-years worth of posts on it.  I can pay to renew my URL each year, because that doesn’t cost very much. But, I don’t want to keep paying the annual renewal charge for the blog platform, which is much higher.  We’ll see what I can work out.

Here is something you may find interesting. Back in 2018, when I was posting weekly, ElvisBlog had between 8,400 and 8,700 user visits per month. This past September with no posts, there were 11,500 user visits.  My blog has become something of an Elvis reference source. There are posts on just about every imaginable Elvis topic, and searches on Google keep ranking them high and bringing lots of folks to the site.

I will end this on a lighter note.  Perhaps you remember the fun I had several years in the past with articles on “Crummy Elvis Shit.”  I just Googled it, and ElvisBlog is still #1.

If this message evokes any comments, please send them on.  But remember, I cannot post them or reply (a partial step toward the static site).  I still like reading them, though.

Thanks,

Your friendly ElvisBlogmeister,

Phil Arnold

Gone But Not Forgotten

ELVIS – We Miss You

Are You Ready For An Elvis Movie Marathon

For years cable channel Turner Classic Movies has featured a marathon of Elvis films. This year, TCM will do it again starting at 6AM on Monday, August 1. Here is the complete schedule.  Have a great time watching as many as you can,

 

6AM       This Is Elvis

8AM       The Trouble With Girls

10AM      Speedway

12:00      Double Trouble

2PM       Elvis on Tour

4PM       Kissin’ Cousins

6PM       Girl Happy

8PM       Viva Las Vegas

10PM     Elvis: That’s The Way It Is

12PM     It Happened at The World’s Fair

2AM      Spinout

4AM       Live A Little, Love A Little

 

Well, its a pretty good selection.  TCM must not have the rights to Jailhouse Rock or Blue Hawaii, because these two personal favorites never seem to show up in their Elvis marathons.  I will probably start watching at 4PM with Kissin’ Cousins, followed by Girl Happy at 6PM and Viva Las Vegas at 8PM. That will take me right up to bedtime.

Hopefully, this post will alert a lot of folks who weren’t aware of the Elvis movie marathon.  I hope you all enjoy as many Elvis movies as you can.

 

 

Elvis Is Everywhere

I’ve said it many times on ElvisBlog — Elvis is everywhere! And I’ve posted many blogs that validate that thought.

Here I am in the kitchen of my best friend, Curtis Piper. I am standing in front of his refrigerator, and you can see Elvis performing.  The screen is built into the door. You can program many different things on it, but Curtis always puts on Elvis YouTube videos when I am visiting.  So, Elvis is everywhere…. even on refrigerators.

My friend Curtis’ has just published a new new novel, The Shogun’s Gold—Solving a Historical Mystery. He manages to slip in an Elvis reference here, too. Curtis is a retired Foreign Service Officer. He speaks Japanese, having spent two years at a Japanese university. He has the perfect background to write this story.

One exciting scene in The Shogun’s Gold takes place in Shinjuku, Tokyo’s famous entertainment quarter, where there are said to be over 5,000 bars per square mile.

It is also a big hang-out for cosplayers, short for “costume players.” Anime characters inspire many cosplayers, but in Shinjuku, you can find superman, Dracula, demons, etc. And this is where Elvis pops up.

Two criminals, intent on murder, are stalking Jason Tanaka, one of the featured characters. Tanaka and his niece Terry escape by renting outfits in a cosplayer costume shop. Terry dresses up as Raggedy Ann, and Jason disguises himself in an Elvis jumpsuit.

Another exciting scene occurs with GODZILLA, a “life-size” figure that leers over the top of a high-rise hotel. It is one of Shinjuku’s main attractions.

The Shogun’s Gold highlights fascinating information about the Japanese language, customs, and traditions. I found the plot quite riveting, one populated with several intriguing characters. Curtis did a great job with this novel.

For more information on my friend’s book, use this link to Amazon:

I Finally Saw The New Elvis Movie

A number of you have mentioned on Comments that you were interested in what I thought of ELVIS starring  Austin Butler and Tom Hanks.  Well, I watched it yesterday, and I was impressed big time.  There have been a number of actors portraying Elvis in movies over the last 40 years, but Austin Butler was the best. He was totally believable as Elvis.

And Tom Hanks did a masterful job as Col. Parker.  I loved the glitz, the dazzling energy, and just the grand theatrically of it all.  The music was outstanding.

Movie reviews have never been my thing, but I did check out some on the internet. The worst was from RogerEbert.com who gave it 1-1/2 stars out of five. Audience ratings were quite a different thing.  One site reported 4.6 out of 5, and another had it at 9.4 out of 10.  Put me in the latter camp.

Here are some random thoughts on the movie:

I never knew Elvis went through such turmoil in 1956.  But I guess a movie needs conflict to be successful.

I had never heard of the New Elvis stuff.  They probably took a little theatrical license on that.

I noticed liberal use of the affectionate nickname Satnin. Elvis to Gladys, Elvis to Priscilla, Priscilla to Elvis.

There was no mention of Bob Neal who was Elvis’ manager before Col. Parker came into the picture. There was precious little about Scotty, Bill, and DJ.

I thought the guy doing Little Richard was great.

Did you notice that during one of the transitional scenes the background music was rap?

One thing I like to do when watching a movie about Elvis is to look for little things they have wrong.  There were a few, but after the fact, I can remember only three. They showed Vernon with a mustache right from the start in the 50s. He didn’t have one until the later years.

Maybe I missed it, but I don’t remember seeing anything about Milton Berle. After all, it was Elvis’ second appearance on his show that caused all the ruckus about Elvis being such a bad influence on teenagers.

The film chronicled Elvis’ multi-year performances at the International Hotel. However, even though it changed ownership and became the Las Vegas Hilton in 1971, they still continued to show exterior shots with the International name. I don’t know why they did that.

A couple of you sent me your review of ELVIS.  I’d like to share one with you.

I had the privilege of seeing the Elvis movie last night, and I am now Austin Butler’s #1 fan. I did not see any acting; however, I did witness a spiritual take over. Kudos to all responsible for this extraordinary film. Simply put, Austin drove his performance in a LAMBORGHINI on a smooth rode faster than the speed of light with E. P. as his copilot. Thank you  Austin for your hard work in your transformation, and thank you  for your massive generosity, you gave Elvis fans and movie lovers around the world THE best gift!

Thank You for Your Comments

I am moved by the comments some of you sent in since my post last night.  And I figured out a way I could acknowledge them.  Using the cut-and-paste method, I transferred them one by one to this new post. A few have had minor editing, and only the first names of the senders are given.  They are in the same sequence that they came in. I thank you all very much.        Phil Arnold

 

Kathleen:  Prayers for you and Beverly. This was a wonderful tribute to your love.  Hope you begin to recover your strength as it is comforting to think of you on that bedroom deck.
So, maybe you will let us know what you think of the new Elvis movie.

Scott:  Hi Phil, I’m so sorry for your loss. Beverly has made Heaven a little more Heavenly.
May God bless and comfort you.

Bob:  God Bless you. Your wife and family. Caregiving is never easy. Especially for loved ones. Now take care of yourself.

Margie:  Your wonderful wife was very fortunate to have such a loving husband. May your many memories bring you comfort. I have been a caregiver and I know the toll it takes. Now is the time to take care of you.

Denny:  Sorry for your loss. Sounds extremely overwhelming but you made it through.
God bless

Molly:  God bless you and Bev. You took wonderful care of her–and she of you.

Wesley:  My sincere condolences, Phil. Touching memories.
I’m really glad you’re pulling it through and feel strong enough again to post.
So post away, and we’d be all better. Cheers

Marion:  God bless your beautiful wife, Beverly, i am so sorry. Time will heal, but it will never be the same.

Tracy:  Happy to see You Back Phil!!! Sending You deep felt Condolences along with Prayers. Your Beautiful Wife Beverly sounded like she was a Lovely, Kind and Caring Lady. I Pray that You will continue to get better and healthier which each and every day! Sending You Many Blessings!
Your Friend in Canada. Tracy

Barbara:  Phil I’m one of your followers have enjoyed the journey reading about Elvis thank you foryour time and compassion you’ve put into this .
I’m so sorry to about your beloved Bev it’s a terrible thing to lose the love of your life your best friend.  I know your pain. I’ll be praying for you in the days ahead. I pray God holds you close during this difficult time !
Sincerely Barbara

Miriam:  Hi Phil.  I am so sorry to hear of your loss & the health problems brought on by stress. Not everyone would have “hung in there” as long as you have. It takes a very special person to devote your life to your Bev …. you sound like a very special person. Bev was very fortunate to have you in her life & I hope you thank God for being there for her. Take care of yourself.
With deepest sympathy, Miriam

Christian:  Sorry to hear about the loss of your wife. as somebody that has followed your blog for years now, i am sending you love and prayers. Please take care of yourself and get well.

Mimma:  I think it is by far the best post I have ever read! Yours is a refined writing, poignant but also lovable and smiling to read, smiles and tears but always a great love and deep meaning of life. We Italians are more tearful and desperate when we lose someone we love. I embrace you and I wish you to always keep your hope of paradise and the possibility that in eternal life everyone can find the people they love. I believe it.

Tisa:  What a beautiful story, I admire your strength and courage also Bev’s! I too am a caregiver of my husband he is a quadriplegic with a few twists and turns. It is really tough sometimes, hard to know what to do in the next crisis( which always comes when your not looking!) but the up moments certainly are worth it! My thoughts and prayers are with you as you navigate these new waters. Bless you my friend,  Tisa

Sandra:  Phil, My sincere condolences on the passing of your wife, Beverly. Prayers for your return to good health. Sincerely, Sandy

Ronald:  God blessed you with those 50 plus years with Bev and you two had a beautiful, loving marriage.
May the peace of the Lord be with you.

Frank:  My sincere condolences for your loss.
I cannot imagine a life without the love of my life, my wife Irene, and every day
– I thank God for our time together.
I realize like you, that life is not perfect, and we argue as friends do in life. So I quite understand the dumb shit comment.
But I also know that as we age, we keep losing people close to us., and it gets harder and harder to acknowledge our loss. Sometimes it gets hard to breathe – when that happens. Especially when the loss is your life partner. THAT cannot be replaced.
I can only hope at some point you will be able to take a deep breath and realize that you have something few of us ever get to experience in life – Profound love. You have great memories to look back upon, and I personally believe that you will be seeing her when it is time for you to take your final breath. I do not think Bev would like you to be sick because she is gone, and that she would want you to keep your strength and spirits up, especially in her memory.
I wrote a poem many years ago, and two lines from that poem give me consolation during times like these
“Now and then I look back upon my memories of the past…
And I realize that memories are the only things that last”
Keep your spirits up, and, hopefully, we will get to chat in the near future.

It’s Been Too Long Without A New Post

A few of you readers have emailed to ask why it has been three months since I last posted on ElvisBlog.  I used to be so regular – posting something every week, but two life issues have changed that. My wife of 49 years, Beverly, died on April 16.

Even before then, there just wasn’t enough time (or the spirit) to work on ElvisBlog while caring for my wife in her final months.  She had a long slow decline over several years and she lingered in a nearly comatose state at the end. It was a merciful death

I had a Celebration of Life for Beverly here at our home. I told everybody a lot of Beverly Stories.  The text for my talk is the only thing I had written in months.  I’m going to post it here, and hopefully you will get a sense of how much I loved Beverly.  Or you could scroll past it and find out what is going on with me and my health Issues

Beverly R Arnold June 28, 1943 — April 16, 2022

 

Beverly Stories

For her Celebration of Life

In Beverly’s obituary, I talked about her favorites and passions. But I saved a big special one to talk about today — a lot.  We loved our little deck off the bedroom where we sat together almost every afternoon, weather permitting.  Sitting on our deck glider chairs, we looked out at an incredibly beautiful panorama.  We’ve had our bedroom deck for twenty years, and every year, I planted more bushes and flowers in every open space we could see, to make it even prettier for Bev.  And she loved the results.

Bev and I considered the bedroom deck as our special place.  A quiet, peaceful, beautiful spot.  The solitude and comradery was perfect for both of us to let the problems of the day just ooze away and recharge our batteries.  We always talked while we sat there, but sometimes we drifted off into silence.  It didn’t matter to either of us, because we were still there together, still connected.

Now, I sit out on our special place alone, and that’s not as bad as it sounds. Every afternoon since her death, I have talked out loud to Beverly.  And it’s not because I’m sure she can hear me in Heaven.  Even if she can’t, these conversations have been very comforting and are helping my healing process.  Part of the time when I talk with Bev I do it looking up at the blue sky and fluffy white clouds.  I feel very close to her when I do that.  I also have talked to my mom a couple times while looking up toward heaven.

Mom died in 2006, and her service was held at Devenger Road Presbyterian Church.  My brother and I were scheduled to speak, and I went first.  I had written out my speech, and practiced it, and even made 3×5 cards with reminder notes.  Well, somehow I skipped one of the cards, or maybe I just had a nervous brain fart.  Whatever, I made the mistake of not thanking Bev for taking care of my mother for seven years.  When my brother thanked Beverly later, I knew I was in a whole lot of trouble.

As soon as the service was over, I apologized profusely to Bev, and she was really hurt.  I apologized so many times over the next few days.  Years later, it would come up again once in a while, but Bev handed it by just giving me a zinger about being a total dumbshit.

Several months ago, my dear friend, Marci Migacz, asked if there were any unresolved issues between Bev and me.  She said if there were, we should address them and get them settled right away. So, I explained that thought to Bev and asked about the time at Mom’s funeral.  Was she still feeling the hurt?  Had she truly forgiven me? I was so relieved when she told me everything was okay.  She said it had happened so long ago, and I didn’t need to worry about it anymore.

So now, here at Beverly’s celebration, I want to speak to both of these wonderful ladies while I look up toward Heaven.  Mom, thanks for being such a great mom.  Thanks for being Bev’s buddie and teaching her all those crafts. You two spent a lot of happy times together.

And Bev, thank you for taking care of Mom for seven years. I can’t say enough how much I appreciate you being there for my mother. You did a superb job. Thanks for bringing her into your heart.  And thanks for forgiving me.

Since last June, Bev had a wonderful hospice nurse looking out for her named Cyndi Galloway.  Cyndi has been the best.  She really cared for Bev, and they were like girlfriends. Cindy taught me to do many things correctly, and answered dozens of questions.  Thank you, Cyndi.

In March, when Beverly could no longer walk to the bathroom, Cyndi brought us a wheelchair, and it helped so much. But it had a special value. Bev asked for a wheelchair ride three times in her final weeks.  I was so proud of her to still want to have some fun, even as bad off as she was.  Of course I became her travel guide.  We stopped right here in the atrium facing the plants.  I knew stuff about most of them, so I gave her a running commentary. Then I took her down this hall to the first window, and she could see her favorite J&P rose, a pink one named Beverly.  That cheered her up.  Next time, I took her down the other hall to the end of the house, and we parked at the long window facing down to what we call the park. There’s a super view from there, and lots to talk about. The last trip had the most views – front door, the sun room, and the kitchen door. Bev was so close to the end, but she still had that spunk I’ve loved so much.  Pretty amazing.

Bev not only had a wonderful Hospice nurse, she also had a wonderful caregiver from Comfort Keepers.  You couldn’t ask for anyone better than Lisa Worley.  She brightened so many days for Bev, and she handled the tough stuff like a champ. When she and “Miss Bev” told each other, “I love you,” they really meant it.  On top of everything else, Lisa sang to Bev, and she’s a good singer.  We were so fortunate to have Lisa.  Thank you, thank you, Lisa.

Beverly and I got married in September 1972, so we didn’t quite make it to the 50th wedding anniversary.  That’s okay.  We had 50 years counting dating time.  Most of you have some knowledge of Bev’s more recent health issues, but here’s an interesting fact from our early days.  About a year into our marriage, Beverly had a run of four visits to the hospital within 12 months: carpal tunnel, perianal warts, appendectomy, and hysterectomy.  But we were young and Bev was tough, and we got through it together.  And it’s been like that ever since.

In 2008, Bev needed to have an operation to replace her ascending aorta (the one coming right out of the heart) with a man-made device. The operation was successful, but Bev had a lengthy recovery. At that point, I took over the cooking duties, never thinking that it would be a lifelong thing. When she got healthy, I asked her when she would get back to cooking. I was sternly told, “Hey, I cooked for you for 35 years. Now, it’s your turn.” But I still had hope.

Then a year later, Bev had her second open heart surgery to replace her aortic arch.  That one goes to the brain, eyes, ears, mouth, etc.  The surgery was so tricky that no doctor in Greenville would touch it.  But we got hooked up with Dr. Hasim Saffi in Houston.  He was world-renowned.  Important people from lots of countries flew in to get his services, but we got on the list surprisingly quick.  The replacement surgery went fine, but Bev developed respiratory problems and had to go to rehab.  We were in Houston for a month.  When we got home, I knew I would be doing all the cooking forever. That realization was etched in stone a year later when Bev had her descending aorta replaced.

There were no new surgeries for several years, and I kept on cooking. And I got pretty good.  However, I had to learn all new cooking when Bev found out she was gluten intolerant.  That was challenging, for sure, but we worked it out and found meals we could both like okay.

Then that ended five years later when Beverly’ esophagus started to decline, dropping to 15% efficiency. It wasn’t taking food down to her stomach.  The only way she could live was by tube feeding.  So, I learned a new way to provide her meals.

So many people have told me I did a great job caring for Beverly, but I always thought it was what any loving husband would do.  Beverly and I have always been a team, and we always took care of each other. I gave her my love and caring willingly.  It probably helped prolong her life.  I wish I could have done more.

Bev was 4’9” tall, and I often called her my Little Sweetie.  I miss her so much.  I miss my Little Sweetie.

Bye, Bev.  I love you.

 

 

And here’s the story on me:

 

You have probable read that caregiving can cause a lot of stress for the caregiver.  This was certainly the case for me.  Even though we had two visits a week from the hospice nurse and sixteen hours a week from the Comfort Keepers caregiver, that left many hours when I was doing everything myself.  I basically moved my life into the bedroom and the little attached office.  The only time I could leave the house was when the caregiver was there. 

I ate my meals in the bedroom.  There were a lot of microwave dinners, because they were quick and easy.  But my appetite started to wane, and I lost some weight. This was my first clue that I was feeling stress.  Beverly’s decline during her last three months piled on more stress, and her last three weeks caused even heavier stress. I started having abdominal pain.

After her death, I took care of her obituary.  I made the cremation arrangements and secured her ashes. I made up the invitation list for her Celebration of Life, and sent out the invitations.  Getting the house and grounds ready for the celebration was time consuming, and all of this just continued the stress.

Two days after the celebration, I had such abdominal pain that I called the doctor. She got me in next day and immediately set up a CT Scan for the following day.

So here’s my list of problems.  I lost 25 pounds, I have diverticulosis and diverticulitis.  And the doctor has prescribed medicine for my stomach and my depression.  However, she maintained all along that it was stress causing the abdominal pain.

Time has proven her right. over the past 6 weeks the pain has subsided from 7 on the pain scale to about 1.  So, I feel like I can get back to ElvisBlog again. There are still many old posts that are worth another look. Maybe I’ll get motivated to write a new one. I have dozens of Elvis CDs I’d like to find a new home for.

Let me remind you that you can send comments and I can read them, but I can’t post them or reply.  Still, I would like to hear from you.

Thanks for reading this long post.

 

Phil Arnold

Elvira and Elvis

I mentioned ten ago that Cassandra Peterson, aka Elvira will be a special guest at Elvis Week 2022.  She will speak and answer questions at two events, but I’m not sure she will have that much to say. Her history with Elvis lasted just one night, and that event was completely covered in an old post from the ElvisBlog archives.  Here it is.

 

 

Cassandra Peterson created the Elvira persona in 1981. Prior to that, she was a Las Vegas showgirl.

 

It was during this period Cassandra Peterson met Elvis.

“I had been patterning my whole life after Ann Margaret in Viva Las Vegas. So, Yeah, luckily, really, I met Elvis, and it was kind of my dream come true because by the time I went to Vegas, and I did meet Elvis, it was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s coming true! The whole movie’s coming true, you know!’ And, so, I did hang out with Elvis for a while, and he was wonderful and charming and nice, very down home, very sweet, innocent kind of person. He was so different than what anybody would ever think. Not like Mr. Show Biz Time, just a nice, really charming, wonderful guy, very funny sense of humor.”

 

 

Cassandra Peterson got started as Elvira in 1981, but back in 1969 she was just a 17 year old, struggling showgirl, when a friend of Cassandra’s managed to get them both invited to a party at Elvis’ penthouse suite in the Las Vegas International Hotel.

 

 

Elvis liked to be around showgirls, and on this night he took an interest in Cassandra.

“Elvis singled me out. I sat at the piano and he played songs for me. We were singing together and he said, ‘Oh, you have a good voice. Why don’t you go take some singing lessons, learn how to sing, and get out of here?’ He said, ‘Because this is a real short-lived career, being a showgirl.’ So, next day, I mean, really, the next day, I went out and I signed up for singing lessons, and within just a few months I got a singing part in the show. It really was the thing I needed to kind of get me out of there.”

Later, in a more private setting, they talked all night, and a variety of subjects were broached. Elvis told her he was very spiritual and discussed numerology. He showed her a jewel-encrusted belt buckle — a present from President Richard Nixon.

“It was the biggest, gaudiest things I had ever seen, and he was just so thrilled with it, like he was a little kid.”

She told him she smoked marijuana and that she was a virgin and both revelations had an effect on Elvis. He lectured her on the evils of pot, and marveled that there was actually a showgirl virgin in Las Vegas. After a while, she came to a realization.

“It was clear that he was not going to, like, hit on me. I could kick myself now for telling him. It would have been great to have him as my first lover. If it’s got to be somebody, it might as well be Elvis.”

How’s that for an understatement?

 

So, Cassandra Peterson has an interesting little story to tell about Elvis and her.  She will probably be in her Elvira getup and camp it up with risque comments. I know a few of you fans do not see her as a suitable guest, but I think she will add some spice to Elvis Week.  I wish I could find the old magazine article where all these facts and quotes originated, but it was a long time ago, and I forget. 

 

© 2022,   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved

 

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  www.elvisblog.net

Elvis Week 2022 Announcements

I’m sure most of you have received email about this year’s Elvis Week.  One came in today announcing the addition of a new special guest – Cassandra Peterson, better known a Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. I think EPE deserves praise for adding an intriguing element to the proceedings.

 

Conversations on Elvis has been a staple of Elvis Week for decades, but this Sapphire Collection is something new… and expensive.

The Sapphire Collection Event is free as long as you have purchased the special six 45s and other goodies for $600.  The Conversations on Elvis cost $70 for two sessions.

 

I have posted twice in the past about Elvira and Elvis, and I will repeat one of the in a few days.

100 Comments

Over the years I have posted about several milestones ElvisBlog has achieved in its 17 year history – most notably the 10th birthday and reaching 1000 posts. Unfortunately, I have another one.

There are now 100 comments from you readers that I can’t post or respond to.  I’m sorry about it, but that is the price to pay for continuing ElvisBlog as a static site into the future. The archives will still be there a source of information and interesting stories about Elvis.

I love reading your comments, so please continue to send messages if you are motivated.

 

In the meantime, lets go back to that 10th birthday. There were two posts, each featuring five old articles. Here is Part 1. There’s a lot to read, so I hope you enjoy it.

Happy 10th Birthday Banner

I don’t know exactly when blogs got started, but I read an article in late 2004 about how popular they had become.  So, I thought I’d like to check out whatever Elvis blogs there were out there.  Guess what? There were none.

Then I looked into it and found out how to set one up.  I bought the URL www.elvisblog.net for $11, and on January 30, 2005, ElvisBlog was born.  To celebrate its 10th birthday, this post will be a retrospective of articles published on (or very close to) the anniversary date each of these ten years.

 

Year 1, The First Article:    Elvis Jukebox Rankings – 1/30/05:

Guess what is Elvis’ most successful record in terms of jukebox play?

According to the Amusement & Music Operators Association, it is HoundDog/Don’t Be Cruel from 1956, the 3rd biggest jukebox hit of all time. This trade association of jukebox owners, operators, and suppliers compiled their list back in 1989 (100th anniversary of the jukebox). They updated it again in 1996, and there were no changes in the top of the rankings.

So,Hound Dog/Don’t Be Cruel seems to be permanently locked into the #3 position.  It’s no surprise that this double-sided hit got the most play of all the Elvis records featured on jukeboxes.  Hound Dog stayed at the top of the record charts for twelve weeks, and then Don’t Be Cruel took over the next week.   That’s a long run of popularity during an age when jukeboxes were really big.

What two songs could possibly beat Elvis?  #2 is the 1979 Bob Seger hit. Old Time Rock & Roll, no doubt helped by Tom Cruise singing it in his underwear in the movie, “Risky Business.”  #1 is Crazy by Patsy Cline.  That song came out in 1962, but I’ll bet you can still find it on some jukeboxes in 2005.  Talk about staying power.  Elvis’ next best finish in the jukebox rankings is All Shook Up at #38.  Seems like it should be higher.

(Editor’s note: This premier ElvisBlog article racked up a grand total of six hits during the entire first month of the blog’s history.)

 

1st Birthday:    OK, I Finally Visited Elvis-A-Rama — February 5, 2006

Elvis-A-Rama

Thanks to my company’s annual trade show in Las Vegas, I finally got to see ELVIS-A-RAMA.  None too soon, either.  The museum will shut down for good on August 15 this year.  Do you think there’s any significance that the death of ELVIS-A-RAMA will come one day before the anniversary of Elvis’ death?  The good news is that the memorabilia will not be permanently lost to us fans.  It will be sent to Memphis, added to the extensive EPE collection, and ultimately will be part of Elvis-themed attractions in Las Vegas and other major cities.

Elvis-A Rama Jumpsuits

I’m glad I took in ELVIS-A-RAMA, and I got my money’s worth for the $13 admission cost.  Visitors with only a casual interest in Elvis could probably blow through the exhibits in 30 minutes, but I stayed there for over two hours.  The 4 cars, 3 rings, 9 pendants, 4 guitars, 9 layman badges, 4 guns, 2 jumpsuits, and dozens of other clothes items catch every visitor’s eyes.  Plus, there were brass plaques that gave the history of nearly every significant item.

Elvis-A-Rama Wall Mural

Some folks barely noticed the wall covered with every Elvis 45 and album released during his lifetime.  Not me.  I loved the year-by-year approach, each with a plaque telling that year’s highlights in record rankings and sales figures.  Below the plaques were the releases.  I learned that Elvis’ five Sun Records singles came with printed picture sleeves.  I had never seen them before.

Blue Suede Shoes at Elvis-A-Rama 

I spent a lot of time with all the paper documents contained in eleven, tall, freestanding, two-sided display panels.  There were tickets, contracts, letters, receipts, photos and all kinds of other stuff.  I took time to read all the descriptive plaques and really studied the items on display.  Now I know that Elvis’ phone bill for the entire month of May 1963 was only $6.84, for example.  I do have one complaint.  Each side of the displays had three framed sections.  The top one was a little high for comfortable reading.  The middle one was perfect, but the bottom one was only 6 inches off the ground.  My knees were so sore after squatting up-and-down to read everything.  Several times I wished I had a flashlight, because it was tough to read the plaques when they were at the very bottom.

Elvis-A-Rama Elvis Bentley

The sources for much of the museum’s collection were revealed in the various plaques.  As mentioned in a previous Elvisbog article, some key items came form Jimmy Velvet.  Norman Taurog, who directed eight Elvis movies, provided much of the movie memorabilia.  A lot of Elvis’ personal items were purchased from Trish Henley, who was his nurse for eleven years and lived behind Graceland with husband, a guard for the mansion.

Elvis-A-Rama Elvis Pistol

Of course, there is a gift shop as part of the ELVIS-A-RAMA experience, but it’s pretty cool.  In addition to the usual coffee mugs, pocketbooks, and T-shirts, there is actual memorabilia for sale.  One of the most expensive was a shirt owned by Elvis going for $4,000.  The price includes two 1973 photos of him wearing the shirt.  I was impressed with the presentation of a ticket from Elvis’ 1956 concert in Tupelo ($1.50 face value).   For $99 you can buy it in a large framed and matted collection of photos and other mementos of the event.  A similar framed presentation was used to offer a set of five Sun Records colored-vinyl 45’s.  It is an impressive sight, but the price was $875.  That seems pretty steep for bootlegs.

Red Vinyl Elvis Sun 45

All in all, I’m glad I finally got to visit ELVIS-A-RAMA.  If you travel to Las Vegas in the next seven months, be sure to see it.

(Editor’s note:  All these pictures were just added.  ElvisBlog didn’t post photos back in 2006)

 

2ND BIRTHDAY:   VISITORS TO GRACELAND — JANUARY 28, 2007

In addition to politicians and TV stars, the list of famous visitors to Graceland includes movie stars, sports figures, models, country singers, pop music singers, and rock groups – lots of rock groups.  It seems like every music act that ever performed in Memphis also made a visit to the home of Elvis Presley.  I was especially impressed with all the heavy metal bands that came to Graceland.  You know that the music of groups like Ratt and Poison is about as far from “Hound Dog” or “Suspicious Minds” as you can get, but they still paid their respects to rock music’s seminal pioneer.  Here’s some of the bigger names in heavy metal music that checked out the Jungle Room and the rest of Graceland:

Metallica

Metallica
Judas Priest
Motley Crue
Kiss
Robert Plant and Jimmy Page (Led Zepellin)
Axl Rose (Guns and Roses)

And check out this line-up of classic rock bands who made the pilgrimage to Elvis’ home:

Aerosmith

Aerosmith
Bad Company
Bon Jovi
Cheap Trick
Crosby, Stills, & Nash
Doobie Brothers
Duran, Duran
Van Halen
38 Special
Styx
Keith Richards & Ronnie Woods (Rolling Stones)
REO Speedwagon
Pink Floyd
Tom Petty
Moody Blues
Meat Loaf
Journey
Don Henley (Eagles)
John Fogerty (Credence Clearwater Revival)
Fleetwood Mac

Bruce Springsteen is listed just like everybody else on the list, but his visit to Graceland has an interesting story.  He jumped the fence and tried to get into the house before the security guards escorted him off the premises.  This was back in 1976, just after Springsteen had blasted to the top of the music scene.  His picture had recently appeared on the covers of both Time and Newsweek.   Memphis was a stop on his Born To Run tour, and after the concert, Springsteen took a cab to Graceland.  He noticed a light on up at the house, so he climbed the wall and ran up to the front door.  When security nabbed him, he asked, “Is Elvis home?”  They informed him Elvis was in Lake Tahoe (true).  Springsteen tried to explain who he was, but the guards apparently hadn’t heard of him yet.

Bruce Springsteen and flashing Born to Run Elvis Button 1975

If Bruce Springsteen ever decides to visit Graceland again, it’s a good bet the security guys will recognize him.

(Editor’s note: Portions of the original article have been deleted because of links to URLs that no longer work.  Also, the photos have just been added.)

 

3RD BIRTHDAY:   FUN WITH ELVIS ON PHOTOSHOP — FEBRUARY 3, 2008

Now that I’m retired, I spend even more time on the Internet searching for Elvis stuff.  Not just the big Elvis sites that come up on the first two Google search pages.  What I really like to find are sites where Elvis isn’t the whole deal – other kinds of sites that happen to contain some obscure Elvis content.  You find strange and wonderful stuff that way.

Like altered photos of Elvis.  I guess these are done on Photoshop or something similar, and some of them are so clever.  Like this one where Elvis looks like an Arab.  It’s pretty dark, but you can see that somebody did a great job of putting Elvis’ face inside that headdress.

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For the past two years, every time I find a really good one of these altered Elvis photos, I copy it to a file.  There’s enough in there now to do a couple of blog articles.  Here’s another picture with a different twist.  In my photo file, I label it Melting Elvis, and you can see why.

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Another way of doing this is to put someone else’s face on Elvis body.  Bill Clinton is a natural for this, because his election staff in 1992 called him Elvis.  Here’s what he looks like in a jumpsuit.

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While we are on Presidents, here are Bush’s that served before and after Clinton.

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Of the three presidents, I think Clinton looks the best, probably because he’s wearing a jumpsuit.  However, there is one other president who gets my prize for the best President in a jumpsuit.  Does Ronald Reagan look cool, or what?

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Here’s one more of Reagan, but on this one he’s doing the Richard Nixon thing, and George W gets to be Elvis.  How do people come up with these ideas?

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I wish the quality on this next one were a little better, because the concept is great:  Elvis in a gift box.  I sent e-mail birthday greetings to two female friends and asked them how they would like to open up that present.

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Did you ever wonder what Elvis might have looked like if he had been born twenty or thirty years later and sang heavy metal Rock & Roll?  Here’s your answer.

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I labeled the next one “Shiny Elvis” for obvious reasons.  If I knew anything about Photoshop, I put some clever phrase in that bottom right turned-up corner and send it out to my Elvis friends.

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I wish I had kept track of where I found all these photos.  Talented folks made artful creations and should be credited.  The best I can do is say thanks to all of them for having fun with Elvis while still respecting his legacy.  Well, with the possible exception of this last one.

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(Editor’s note:  Photos became a regular part of ElvisBlog posts in 2008)

4TH BIRTHDAY:   ELVIS AND BUDDY HOLLY, FEBRUARY 1, 2009

Tuesday, February 3 will be the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. This story will be covered thoroughly by all the entertainment media, so I won’t repeat it here. What I want to look at is the connection between Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley.

Young Buddy Holly was a nineteen-year-old aspiring musician in Lubbock Texas when he first met Elvis in 1955. Buddy and his friend Bob Montgomery opened the show as Buddy and Bob, before Elvis came out and took over.

Buddy Holly and Bob Montgomery Looking at Elvis

Buddy Holly also opened for Elvis later in 1955 at the Fair Park Coliseum.

Here is an interesting legend to come out of these meetings, according to Elvis – His Life from A to Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve D. Tamerius:

“According to legend, Elvis told Holly and Montgomery that if they came down to the ‘Louisiana Hayride,’ he’d get them on the show, but when they did show up, Horace Logan [ed. note: station manager at KWKH, which produced the Louisiana Hayride] turned them away, and Elvis wasn’t there.”

In spite of this, Holly has been quoted, “Without Elvis, none of us would have made it.

  

Here’s a little-known nugget. Elvis’ band, Scottie Moore, Bill Black and DJ Fontana, caused almost all West Texas Rockabilly bands to change their style, including the Crickets playing behind Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison’s band.

Elvis and Buddy Holly must have liked a lot of the same songs, because they both recorded these songs by other popular singers:

Good Rockin’ Tonight (Roy Hamilton)
Reddy Teddy (Little Richard)
Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
Shake, Rattle and Roll (Joe Turner / Bill Haley)
Rip It Up (Little Richard)

Elvis never recorded any songs released by Buddy Holly, and Holly never recorded any Elvis songs except one. He once said, “(You’re So Square) Baby, I Don’t Care” was his favorite Elvis song. He recorded it as a demo during a visit to a radio station in 1956. To my knowledge, it was never released during his life.

After his death, all sort of rare Buddy Holly music was released. Because Holly’s career was cut so short, the total number of songs he recorded was much less than Elvis accumulated. But that didn’t prevent historians and record producers from finding every scrap of tape with Holly playing and singing on them. Then they put out albums like this. He was the undisputed king of the lost-basement-tapes, until they started digging for Jimi Hendrix material a decade later..

It is generally known that Waylon Jennings was part of the Crickets on that fateful night fifty years ago. He was supposed to be on the charter plane with Holly, but gave up his seat to the Big Bopper. There are few photos of Jennings with Holly, but here is one:

There is one last Elvis and Buddy Holly connection. Both Elvis and Holly are charter members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 1986, when the first ten inductees to the Hall were named, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly were chosen. Two rock icons, for sure.

 

Happy 10th Birthday Balloons 2

 

That concludes the first five articles from the archives to celebrate ElvisBlog‘s 10th birthday.   Next week we will look at the five articles that were posted at the time of ElvisBlog birthdays in 2010-2014.

 

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

 

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