Monthly Archives: September 2005

CHANGES TO ELVISBLOG

Folks, I was as surprised as you when the banner for “myblogsite by FortuneCity” showed up on Elvisblog.  Maybe I should have seen it coming.  After receiving totally free service from them for the last eight months, it just doesn’t figure the free ride would go on forever.  The banner is a trade-off I can live with.  It changes the look of the page, but not the content of the writing.

 

Another change coming soon will be archives of the articles by month.  After 35 posts, you have to do serious scrolling down to get to the early stuff.  Some organization is long overdue.

 

We might as well use this occasion to mention a few other things concerning the first chapter in the life of Elvisblog.  For the past six weeks, over 1000 people have visited the site each week.  The total for August was 4,276 hits, and September is going well, too.  The favorite article is “Check Out Elvis In Paper Doll Heaven” by a wide margin.  “Riley Keough Presley?” is second, and third is an archived article from Elvis International the Magazine, “Still Taking Care of Business” about the TCB Band.

 

Well, that’s all the announcements, so it’s time for some Elvis.  In 2004, People magazine celebrated their 30th anniversary with a special double issue.  It contained numerous stats, such as, Princess Diana was the most popular cover subject.  The People editors also admitted to the dumbest decision they ever made.  For the issue the week of August 16, 1977, they chose not to put Elvis on the cover, thinking it would be too macabre.

 

Instead, they gave Elvis’ death just a single paragraph in the magazine.  So who did they put on the cover?  Comedian Marty Feldman.  Huhhh?  I agree with the People editors.  That was their dumbest decision.  Wonder if the guy who thought Marty Feldman would sell more copies than dead Elvis lost his job over that.

© 2005  Philip R Arnold

WATCHING CLAMBAKE FOR THE FIFTH TIME

Most of us Elvis fans have dozens of his movies on video, so we can watch one any time we want.   Instead, do you tend to let the tapes sit unused, but never miss it when an Elvis movie shows up on TV?  I do.  A casual scan of the cable movie options the other night revealed that “Clambake” would be on Showtime West at 8 o’clock.  Perfect.  Not to be missed.

 

I happily announced to my wife what I would be watching, and her response was, “How many times have you seen it?”  She always forgets that it doesn’t really matter how many times.  In fact, with repeated viewings, you get to know the story so well you can start watching for other interesting things.  “Clambake” is full of them.  It also has Shelly Fabares, who looks so fine.  Elvis had her in three of his movies, so he must have thought so, too.  Some folks are waiting for Ann Margret’s intimate memoirs about Elvis to be published, but I’d really like to hear from Shelly Fabares

 

In Clambake, Elvis’ character (very rich) switches identities with a water-skiing instructor.  After she falls for Elvis, thinking him to be poor, he shows her his driver’s license to prove his real name.  His date of birth is clearly visible, but it is 1940, not 1935.  Wonder why they wanted to take five years off his age?  Of course, Elvis looks great in “Clambake,” so the younger age seems to fit.

 

“Clambake” takes place in Miami, and the end of the movie has Elvis and Shelly driving along a beach parkway.  Palm trees are clearly visible, but so is something else – mountains in the background.  Mountains in Florida???  Now, I look forward to seeing them every time.  What a hoot.

 

My favorite part of the movie comes at the end of a musical number which features something found in all of Elvis’ beach movies – pretty girls in tight outfits dancing around.  When the song ends, five of the girls sit down on chairs behind a table.  Elvis moves down the line, kissing each one.  Wouldn’t you lady readers love to have been sitting on one of those chairs?  If you think about it, Col Parker probably missed one heck of a good marketing opportunity on this one.

 

© 2005  Philip R Arnold

ELVIS AND NEW ORLEANS

“You’ll never know

What heaven means

Until you’ve been down

To New Orleans.”

 

Well…  maybe not right now, but that sentiment probably fit back in 1958 when Elvis sang those lyrics. The song is “New Orleans,” one of eleven in Elvis’ fourth movie, King Creole.  It was the first movie that involved any filming on location, and Elvis got to spend nine days in “The Big Easy.”  He and his growing entourage stayed on the tenth floor of the Roosevelt Hotel. A Google internet search reveals that it is now called the Fairmont Hotel; it is near Canal Street, just one block from the French Quarter and a short walk to the Convention Center.  Nothing on the web indicates what shape it is in after the flooding from Hurricane Katrina.

 

Some of the New Orleans locations used for the filming of King Creole were a local high school, Lake Pontchartrain, Bourbon Street and several other streets in the French Quarter, and the Vieux Carre Saloon.  A web search for this saloon brings up a site, but the pictures show it to be an 1100 square foot conference room in the Iberville Hotel, so the original is probably gone now.  Interestingly, Vieux Carre, or Old Quarter, is the name of one of the highest sections of New Orleans, and it has underground electric lines that still function.  So, it is one area where the residents are now resisting forced evacuation after the hurricane.

 

Elvis made three stops in New Orleans prior to the filming of King Creole, all in 1955.  In February, he performed at the Golden Cadillac Club.  In May, he did two shows at the New Orleans Municipal Auditorium.  And in September, he was part of a “Hillbilly Jamboree” at Pontchartrain Beach Amusement Park.  20,000 people showed up that day to see Elvis and possibly one of the other features, the “Miss Hillbilly Dumplin’” competition.

 

Although Elvis did extensive touring throughout the country in the 70’s, he never returned to New Orleans to perform again.  Today, it is doubtful how many of the displaced residents of the city will ever return.  Let us hope this unique city will recover and rebuild, so that everyone will again, as Elvis sang, know what heaven means when they've been down to New Orleans.

 

© 2005  Philip R Arnold

THE 100 MOST IMPORTANT AMERICANS

Earlier this year the Discovery Channel cable network presented their list of the 100 Greatest Americans as determined by their viewers’ votes.  To the surprise of many, Ronald Reagan came in first, just ahead of two other rather significant presidents, George Washington and Abe Lincoln.  Perhaps some folks might have been equally surprised to see Elvis ranked Number 8, but not us fans.

 

Inspired by the Discovery Channel list, I dug through some boxes in storage and found the 1994 issue of Life magazine containing their choices for the “100 Most Important Americans of The 20th Century”.  Without any 18th or 19th century notables, the list looked much different, but there were no specific rankings.  Of course, Elvis was included.  In the eyes of the Life editors, Elvis was right up there with such notables as Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walt Disney, Martin Luther King Jr., and Douglas MacArthur.  That’s some pretty select company.

 

Each person honored had a page devoted to him/her, containing a picture, a 200-word review of their accomplishments, and a short subtitle at the top of the page.  Many of these capsule subtitles bordered on corny.  Elvis’ was pretty good: “The King Of Rock And Roll Led A Teenage Rebellion.”  But other entertainers on the list didn’t fare so well: Bing Crosby (The Crooner Who Begat Easy Listening), Bob Dylan (Electric Minstrel Of Times That Were A-Changing), and Louis Armstrong (With Mr. Jazz The First Truly American Music Came Marching In).

 

Unfortunately, reading about these 100 most important Americans made me feel a little stupid.  There were 28 people I had never heard of, but maybe I’m not alone.  Do you know these names?  Robert de Graff (invented paperback books for Pocket Books, Inc), James D. Watson (DNA Code), Frank MacNamara (father of the credit card), John Von Neumann (early computer innovator).

 

All of the men and women selected were pioneers in their fields and brought significant changes to American life, but so did one other man I would like to suggest — Sam Phillipsand my subtitle would be “The Man Who Discovered Elvis And Changed American Popular Music Forever.”

 

© 2005  Philip R Arnold