Monthly Archives: August 2005


Stories about Elvis and Ann-Margret have floated around for years, but there’s no way to verify the accuracy of them.  Ann-Margret has certainly kept mum about her relationship with Elvis, allowing only that she and Elvis were close friends.  One story we can put some credence in comes from Alan Fortas, a member of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia.  Here is his story as told on the website of Elvis International, the Magazine some years ago.


One night, during the filming of Viva Las Vegas in 1963, Elvis invited Ann-Margret over to his house.  He specifically told all his buddies to disappear before she arrived, but Alan and George Klein asked if they could stay if they promised not to leave their rooms.  Elvis agreed, but he should have known better.


After Ann-Margret had been there awhile, Alan and George snuck on to the patio and peeked into the den.  According to Alan, “They were dancing and cuddling and talking, and George and I were going crazy.”


Then, Elvis left the room to get something and walked around to another part of the house.  From this vantage point, he could see the two spies plain as day. When Alan and George realized they had been caught peeping, they panicked.  George tried to run off and slammed right into the glass patio door, nearly breaking his nose.


Elvis got a good laugh about the whole ruckus, but you have to wonder about its effect on the rest of the evening.  Do you think Elvis was able to recapture that warm and fuzzy mood with Ann-Margret?  I guess we’ll never know, but I’ll give odds he did.

© 2005  Philip R Arnold


Memphis was very hot during Elvis week this year, but it didn’t seem to slow down any of the hardy folks in town to celebrate.  In spite of there being no significant event to honor (like the 50th anniversary of “That’s All Right” last year), we had dozens of cool events to choose from.


One I visited was the “Images of Elvis” tribute artist competition, and there just seems to be a new crop of these talented guys every year – they’re fun to watch.  I tagged along with the manager of one of the ETA’s (not called impersonators any more).  The venue’s refreshment area included Scotch and water, and their hot dogs were surprisingly good, so we had a great meal and a great show.


The Elvis Art Competition winners on display at Graceland Center included some beautiful work, but I was tickled by several of the non-winners.  One person had taken a familiar picture of Elvis and created a paint-by-numbers canvas.  Somebody ought to market those.  My favorite was a large display, with a Swinging-Legs Elvis Clock mounted just above a stage like setting.  In front of that, at a lower level, were 16 Barbie Dolls.  They faced Elvis and had their arms raised, like real fans.  Pretty clever.


The “Good Rockin’ Elvis Day Festival” turned out to be the bargain of the week.  For $28 you got 2 hours of “Conversations On Elvis,” seven hours of the best professional tribute artists, a silent auction of very cool Elvis items, and access to a memorabilia market.  The biggest item at the auction was a Gibson guitar that sold for $3100.  It was autographed by Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, the Jordanaires, all four members of the TCB Band, Boots Randolph and others.  I have all these same autographs in a copy of the 27th Anniversary issue of Elvis International, The Magazine.  I wonder what I could get for that?


The memorabilia market even included a vendor selling trees that are direct descendants of the ones at Graceland.  They were about three feet high.  One lady bought a weeping willow early in the morning, and she carried the tree in and out of the ballroom all day.


Tours of Graceland now come in three options.  The new big tour includes some areas never before opened, and there is no waiting in any lines.  It costs $55, but you can get 10% off if you turn in an official Elvis Week Pepsi can.


So, I experienced several new sights and sounds at Elvis Week.  I also learned something else.  If you go to Elvis festivals in Collingwood, Ontario and Memphis in the same month, you can expect the wife to go out and do a lot of shopping while you are gone (and feel no guilt whatsoever).


© 2005  Philip R Arnold


Memphis was very hot during Elvis week this year, but it didn’t seem to slow down any of the hardy folks in town to celebrate.  In spite of there being no significant event to honor (like the 50th anniversary of “That’s All Right” last year), we had dozens of cool events to choose from.If I had the money, I’d pay $500 a night to stay in the “Burning Love” suite.  No, at my age, it would probably be smarter to stay in the “Gold and Platinum” suite with all that 50’s decor.  What a party you could host in there. 


You can walk to Graceland and Graceland Plaza from Heartbreak Hotel, so it’s a winner.  However, when it comes to the Official Host Hotel For Elvis Week, size is more important than proximity.  Located about 10-12 minutes from Graceland, right off Interstate 240, is the Memphis Marriott East.  With 320 rooms, it dwarfs Heartbreak Hotel with 128.  Now, the Memphis Marriott East has become the Official Elvis Week Host Hotel for the first time.  It’s been there for 20 years, so you might wonder why it took so long to discover its advantages.


The main one it offers is plenty of ballroom space.  The large Cotillion Ballroom and the Pyramid Ballroom (named for the landmark Memphis arena) will contain a wide assortment of Elvis-related events this year.  You could stay at the Memphis Marriott East for four days and never leave the building, and still do enough fun Elvis things to have a totally satisfying visit (although a trip to Graceland for the tour, or some shopping, or the Candlelight Vigil would really top it off).  Look at this condensed list of events at the Host Hotel:


Thursday, the 11th:

            Fan Forum with various EPE personnel – Free


Friday, the 12th

            Elvis Insiders Meet & Greet – Free (to Elvis Insiders Club members)

Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom – Free (but open to Elvis Insiders Club members only).

Candlelight Wine Dinner sponsored by Graceland Cellars — $75


Saturday, the 13th

Elvis Insiders Conference (all-day event with a great line-up of speakers, videos, never-before-released songs, a panel of Elvis family members, clips from the Broadway hit “All Shook Up,” and more.  $37

Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom — $10 (free to Elvis Insiders Club members)

Concert by Terry Mike Jeffrey with The Imperials — $40


Sunday, the 14th

A Good Rockin’ “Elvis Day” Festival sponsored by Elvis International, The Magazine (an all-day event open to everyone, featuring “Conversations on Elvis” panel, a charity auction of rare memorabilia, a killer line-up of Elvis Tribute Artists, and the Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom) — $28 general admission, $45 reserved seating

            Elvis Merchandise and Memorabilia Showroom only — $10

Dance Party with Andy Childs — $30


With an impressive line-up like that, the Memphis Marriott East certainly deserves the title of Official Host Hotel for Elvis Week.  You know the ad on TV where somebody says, “I’ve got some really good news.”  Mine is that immediately after posting this Elvisblog article, I head to the airport to start a three-day visit to Elvis Week… and I’ll be staying at the official Host Hotel.  I plan to have a ball.


© 2005  Philip R Arnold




Once before, this blog listed a link to a website I thought a lot of readers would enjoy visiting.  Here’s another one:   This site offers a cyber version of the old children’s pastime, but now you don’t have to cut and glue anything, just drag and drop.  Paper Doll Heaven can be the source for hours of mindless fun.  It has hundreds of celebrities you can choose to dress, from categories like singers, actors and actresses, models, and royalty.


There, nearly buried in a long list of female singers, is our man – Elvis.  If you enjoyed swapping outfits on the old Elvis refrigerator magnets, you will love this site.  It provides three racks of clothing to mix and match.  Check out this list:

            2 pair of jeans

            2 pair of shorts

            4 dress/performance jackets

            2 sweaters

            2 vee-neck T-shirts

            2 golf shirts

            4 long sleeve dress and casual shirts

            3 tank tops

            1 pair of black boots

2 jumpsuits


I played with all this stuff on the computer while sort-of watching a baseball game on TV, so I had a couple of hours to experiment.  Here are a few observations.  Forget the boots.  They look stupid with the shorts and are mostly covered by the jeans and jumpsuits.  The two jumpsuits are pretty good, especially the black one with the blinking lights along the collar and lapels, but you can’t mix them with the other items.


The most fun thing is trying each of the jeans and shorts in combination with each of the shirts.  I particularly like the blue jeans with the tank tops.  Think about it.  Have you ever seen a picture of Elvis in a tank top?  Now you can make your own.  Another good combination is the black jeans with the jackets and long-sleeved shirts.


The clothing goes over a drawing of the young Elvis, not a photo, and they drew him in a nice pair of tight black briefs.  Just for kicks, compare Elvis’ drawers with those on Usher, 50 Cent, and Eminem.  The artist who did the drawings obviously liked Elvis better than those guys.


So, go ahead, check out Elvis in Paper Doll Heaven, and have a ball putting clothes on Elvis (and taking them off).


©  2005   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved