JIMMY VELVET: ELVIS FAN, FRIEND, AND COLLECTOR

At one time, it was said Jimmy Velvet had the largest Elvis memorabilia collection in the world.  He’s had plenty of highs and lows in his life, and his twenty-year friendship with Elvis has been the catalyst for some of both. 

 

Jimmy Velvet was a fifteen-year old high school student in Jacksonville, Florida when he met Elvis in 1955.  His substitute English teacher was Mae Axton (who went on to write “Heartbreak Hotel”), and she was also a show promoter.  One of the shows she booked was the Hank Snow Country Jamboree, and at the bottom of the bill was a little known singer named Elvis Presley.  Velvet was a rising local entertainer, so Axton brought the young man back stage to meet Elvis.

 

Jimmy Velvet and Elvis became friends.  Over the years, Velvet made numerous visits to Graceland, movie locations, and even recording sessions in Nashville.  He had a moderately successful singing career with regional hits like “We Belong Together” and “It’s Almost Tomorrow.”  He also became a diligent collector of Elvis memorabilia, one highlight being a 1965 Mercedes 600 limo that Elvis gave him.

 

After Elvis’ death in 1977, Vernon Presley gave Velvet the OK to create The Elvis Museum across the street from Graceland.  Later, he opened another museum in Kissimmee, Florida, near Walt Disney World.  For years, Velvet toured the country and a lot of the world with his traveling Legends Hall of Fame.

 

The most memorable purchase for his museums was the 85-foot long Elvis-A-Rama mural.  It had been created in 1979 by songwriter Mitchell Torok (remember his 1959 hit “Caribbean”?), and it was on display in Nashville, TN and Branson, MO for 18 years.  The name had been trademarked well before EPE embarked on its famous quest to combat the use of their Elvis and Elvis Presley trademarks in anyone else’s profit making ventures.

 

Jimmy Velvet had other business interests, and one of them went sour in the mid- 90’s.  He was forced to put up much of his Elvis memorabilia at auction.  Chris Davidson bought his first Elvis goodies at a Velvet auction in 1994, and in 1998 he purchased the Elvis-A-Rama mural and its trademarked name from Velvet.

 

One year later, Davidson opened his Las Vegas Elvis museum, using the trademark Elvis-A-Rama as its name.  If EPE didn’t like that, there wasn’t much they could do about it.  As it turned out, there was one thing.  They bought the Elvis-A-Rama Museum two months ago and announced it would close next year.

 

Jimmy Velvet still owns a small portion of his Elvis collection.  I won’t be surprised if we hear from him again.

© 2005   Philip R Arnold

31 Responses to JIMMY VELVET: ELVIS FAN, FRIEND, AND COLLECTOR

  1. Steve Curling

    We met Jimmy at the Car Show inside the Quad in Las Vegas in late May, 2014. What a treat for my wife Donna and myself. I believe we could have chatted for hours. Meeting Jimmy was the highlight to my many trips to Las Vegas. We will be returning in September and my first stop will be stopping by to say hello to Jimmy Velet, a true gentlement and friend.
    Steve Curling

    • Sue and Steve Bawden

      We also met Jimmy Velvet at the Quad auto museum in may 2014.What a wonderful gentleman. Was a privilege to meet and chat to him. His book is a pleasure to read and go through the many photos. It was definitely a highlight of the trip after being to Memphis and Gracelands.
      Sue and Steve Bawden.
      South Australia.

  2. Hi my name is Marsie Neal.
    I purchased a Elvis Presley drawing from a thrift store in Harriman, TN. It’s pretty rough looking and laminated. It looks to be a drawing using pencil, charcoal, or both. The signature at the bottom reads “Raphael” with 78 underneath. It has two creases vertically and horizontally from being folded. I was just wondering if anyone has any knowledge of such a drawing or whether it’s one of it’s kind. Thanks in advance.
    Marsie Neal
    Elvis respecter.

    • Hi Marsie: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. I hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  3. Hello my name is Eddie Joe and i have many Elvis albums and 45’s with pictures on each side. I was wandering if you might put me in contact with a collector or museum that might be interested in buying all my Elvis records . I started collecting when he changed from Sun records to RCA records i have almost all the 45’s with sleeves. A whole lot of albums.You can contact me by calling the house phone at 281-540-2867 or my cell phone at 281-728-9167. Please leave a message it i don’t answer and i will call you back.I also have 2 antique cars and a antique truck.

    Thanks,
    EDDIE JOE

    • Hi Eddie: You posted your comment on a blog over eight years old. I don’t know how many ElvisBlog readers go back that far in the archives, so it might not be noticed much. Why don’t you put you comment on a recent post?

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister.

  4. HELLO FROM YOUR BESTEST FRIEND, JOEY WELZ, STILL ROCKIN’ ATOUND THE CLOCK IN LITITZ, PA.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY,MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR JIMMY, YOU KNOW I LOVE YOU. CALL ME 717-627-4800. JOEY WELZ, Pianist from BILL HALEY and the COETS(MCA)

    • Hi Joey: You posted your comment on a blog over eight years old. I don’t know how many ElvisBlog readers go back that far in the archives, so it might not be noticed much. Why don’t you put you comment on a recent post?

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  5. Jimmy Do You Remember Me????? Brooklyn NY

    • Hi Kathy: I’m not sure Jimmy Velvet will see your comment to an old ElvisBlog article. Does anybody out there have contact info for Jimmy so Kathy can contact him?

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

      • Yes, here is information for you to contact Jimmy Velvet, we just visited him in Las Vegas at the Quad, upstairs at the Car show on the 5th Floor. Email:
        velvetrose@gmail.com. Your message will get to Jimmy Velvet.
        Nancy Keiser

  6. Is Jimmy still living in Tennessee, Jimmy lived across the road from my family and raised by his grand parents on lenox ave ( at that time it was called old Gainesville road)
    so jimmy if you are still around give us acall.

  7. I have crates full of Jimmy and Elvis
    stuff any ideas on how to sell it?

    • Hi Susan: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  8. patsy (cox) underwood

    I met Jimmy Velvet back in the 60’s in Dallas Texas. My uncle Kenneth Dabbs owned the players lounge and Jimmy sang there.
    He was good friends with my brothers Jerry and Duane Cox.
    He was known as a very polite nice person especially for a performer. Patsy

  9. dear jimmy in 1976 my mother and some friends wone 4 free tickets front row both my mom and here friend have scarfs my mothers had two songs worth lol and behold a lot makeup on a silk white scarf the other was dark blue,i wanna sell it can you help me!
    my name is vince and I am here beloved son she is not with us any more but here spirit lives please call any time 1(408)469-5709 call any time thank you jimmy

    • Hi Vincent:

      I don’t know if Jimmy Velvet is a reader of ElvisBlog and will see your request, but let’s post it. Good luck.

      Phil Arnold
      Original Elvis Blogmeister

  10. I have a autograph of Elvis & Pricilla that was got by a off duty Memphis cop doing security. its been PSA/Dna authenticated any idea what its worth & who might want it.

    • Hi Dan: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. Hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  11. Hi Jimmy I am an 82 year old retired Army Sgt. I met you in Huntsville, Ala at the Jimmy Velvet Lounge, at the Mall.

  12. Pingback: swampysflorida.com - Swampy’s Tuesday Ads: Elvis Presley Museum, Orlando

  13. Oleta Wetherell

    Hi mr. Velevt Don and I met you in las vagas we want to send you a cd but we need your address to send it. our names is don kirsch and oleta . we met you last year during the rockabilly festable. thank you Oleta

  14. Hi, I recently found an old satin jacket that has. Jimmy Velvet and The Smoothtones on the back. On the front is Roz. stylist. Can you give me any information about this jacket? Thanks, Diana. E-mail. Is. gracrob8@yahoo.com

    • Hi: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is JPO@olympus.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. I hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister

  15. I was moving and came across a box with photos of Elvis Presley. 6 photos and on one has a stamp Copyright notice not to be reproduced without writter concent under penalty of law Jimmy Velvet, President Elvis Presley Museum P.O.Box 16911-Memphis. TN 38116. And on two of the other ones there are K-554, K1498
    Also there is a drawing of Elvis Title Memories of Elvis By Dawn 1978. Just want to know if these are worth anything.

    • Hi Janell: I get a lot of requests like this, so I have created a standard reply. Please contact Jerry Osborne, famous Elvis collector, author and historian. His website is jerryosborne.com, his phone number is 360-385-1200, and his e-mail address is phh46@verizon.net.

      Thanks for reading ElvisBlog. I hope you enjoy it.

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  16. I worked for Jimmy Velvet at the Memphis Tenn at the museum.
    He is the kind and sweet very much a sweet heart a true Gentle-
    Man! He will take the time to show you all about Elvis the thinks he had from his Museum I am so glad to I had the time with Jimmy I will aways love him and nerver forget the time my family
    And my self all the memory’s he shared! I miss you coming to
    Memphis for Elvis week . They don’t make friends so thoughtful
    As Jimmy Velvet! I can’t wate to get his Book ! Love always Kenny

  17. Did Elvis ever visit Jimmy at Paxon High School? My mom swears he did in about 1955 or 54 . She passed away and this was one of her consistent stories. She was the school secretary and that was her story. Is it true?

    • I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to this one. I think Jimmy Velvet sells Elvis stuff on e-Bay, so maybe you could connect with him through that,

      Phil Arnold, ElvisBlogmeister

  18. Hi,
    I was lucky enough to meet Jimmy Velvet in Las Vegas two weeks ago . He was in the Imperial Palace Auto Museum with his book. What a lovely man! He took time to answer my Elvis questions and autograph my copy of his book. He told me about selling lots of his memorabillia to Greg Page of ‘WIGGLES’ fame. Greg has the largest Elvis memorabillia collection outside the US. If anyone gets the chance to meet Jimmy Velvet, count yourself very lucky. A true GENTLEMAN.
    regards, Rod Swan

  19. åsa alderlöf

    fun to hear that jimmy was related to elvis, I am too, but very distant. he has royal ancestors, which I can show you. åsa

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