Monthly Archives: December 2007

GETTING ELVIS GOODIES FOR CHRISTMAS – 2

If you are like me, all your relatives have it easy when it comes to buying Christmas presents for you.  They see something “Elvis” in a store or catalog, they buy it, and they put it away until Christmas.  “Good, this takes care of (fill in your name).”

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I had an excellent Christmas – overall, and also in getting Elvis goodies.  My relatives found some cool stuff this year.  I would like to mention a book my sister-in-law found.  I’ve never heard of “Long Lonely Highway: A 1950’s Elvis Scrapbook,” but I’m tickled to have it.  The scrapbook reference is perfect, because the book is a pictorial history of Elvis from 1954 to 1957.  In addition to dozens of mostly rare photographs, there are placards and newspaper ads for Elvis’ concerts and show tours in the early years.  There are also copies of many newspaper articles, most of them critical of Elvis.  Noted Elvis expert and writer Ger Riff presents a delightful trip through the rise of Elvis Presley.  So, as you might have guessed, I recommend his book.

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The most unique present I got was the Elvis Pez Collection.  Three Pez dispensers with different Elvis heads on top:  ’58 Elvis (the Army years), ’68 Elvis (Comeback Special), and ’73 Elvis (Aloha from Hawaii).  All of this is nicely explained on the back of the clever tin-canister packaging. The cover of the container has a six-inch wide circular opening which showcases the three Elvis Pez’s.  It is done in a gold finish, and stands upright as a nice little display stand.

 

I love it.  A most excellent gift.  But I have a dilemma.  Do I leave the shrink-wrap in tact and preserve the collectible value?  Or do I open it up and have fun with the Elvis Pez’s?  Or is it the Pez Elvis’s?  There are a couple of good reasons for opening it up.  One, I could take out the red packs of Pez candies.  The Elvis display would be better without them in the picture.  Two, I can take out the Elvis CD that is behind the heads and Pez packs.  I would listen to that a time or two, but I’d put it back, because it makes a great background for the Elvis’s.

 

I’m not real crazy about ’58 Elvis.  He’s got an Army cap on.  That’s fine, but why not ’57 Elvis with his big hair.  Think about it.  Wouldn't '57 Elvis be a much better choice to depict young Elvis.  And, I am not too pleased with the '58 likeness.  I know it’s hard to capture Elvis’ features on a piece of plastic 1-1/2” high.  However, I am truly saddened that there are so many Elvis dolls/toys/etc. on the market that don’t look like him.  Well, the Pez ’58 Elvis is better than some, but still not where I’d like it to be.

 

The ’68 Elvis seems to be the same mold as ’58, but with big sideburns and no hat.  That is not enough to associate the head with the ’68 Comeback special.  What it sorely needs is that tall black-leather collar.  There would be no question then.  Without the black leather collar, this Pez Elvis is not very exciting.

 

On the other hand, ’73 Elvis is a gas.  He’s got the long over-the-ears hair.  Very representative of that era.  He’s got on the famous sunglasses, and their shape and color are dead-on.  And, best of all, it’s got the high white collar from the American Eagle Jumpsuit.  If you look at this Pez head, you immediately see 70s Elvis.  This is an Elvis worth showcasing.  In fact, I’ve made a decision about my dilemma.  I’m going to open up the Pez Elvis Collection tin.  Please excuse me for a moment.

 

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I’m back.  I made some modifications to my Pez Elvis display – I took out more than just the Pez candies.  How do you like it?  If anybody would like to buy '58 and '68 Pez Elvis's at bargain prices, let me know. 
 
Happy New Year from Elvisblog.
 
  
©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net 

Benjamin Keough Photos


 
(Editor's Note:  For years, the most popular article in ElvisBlog history has been this title.  However, when newer photos of Elvis' grandson came along, they were posted elsewhere.  Now, all of these photos of Benjamin Keough have been incorporated into a new article titled “First Look:  New Benjamin Keough Photos.”  It is reproduced here.)
 
In the past two weeks, ElvisBlog has been the recipient of two new photos of Elvis’ only grandson, Benjamin Keough .  One of this blog’s loyal readers has an uncanny way of uncovering these pictures, and she chooses to send them here so we can share them with many other fans.  We now have three photos of Benjamin as a teenager, to go along with three younger shots.

Internet searches for Ben Keough, or Benjamin Keough, or Elvis' grandson have brought many Elvis fans to this site for years, linking to four different articles posted between February 2007 to May 2009.  As soon as photos of Ben were discovered during that period, they were posted.


The wonderful ElvisBlog reader who sent me number four and five in the series came up with number six yesterday.  She won't say how she gets them, and I’m not going to push her for that information.

So, let’s look at all six Ben Keogh photos together in a pictorial essay, along with comments on each.
 
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If you look close at this picture, you can see that Benjamin has a diamond stud in his nose.  Elvis’ grandson is growing up.

My mysterious source advised me that the logo at the top right is from the jewelry line Bullets 4 PeaceTheir website says, “Bullets 4 Peace takes used bullet casings, which are meant to be recycled and used in the streets and battlefields, and turns them into beautiful jewelry pieces that promote peace and compassion.  Proceeds from sales help support various charitable organizations.”  Singers like Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and the Jonas Brothers have taken to this jewelry, as well. 

Benjamin is holding what seems to be the design called “Army of Peace Eagle”.  It is from the Bullets 4 Peace Silver Collection, and sells for $275.  I have a suggestion.  These folks ought to make a TCB design.  That would probably sell a bunch.
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This is the photo we posted just two weeks ago.  It was the first one where Benjamin showed some resemblance to Elvis. 
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 Note that the facial hair in this shot is gone in the more recent one.  About this same time, somebody Googled “Did Elvis ever meet his grandson?”  Oh boy, that would be a little impossible.  Elvis died thirty-two years ago, and Benjamin is seventeen.

 
 
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This photo was posted on ElvisBlog about nine months ago, and it generated more comments than any other article in the four year history of this site.  Some of them discussed whether Ben had any resemblance to Elvis.  However, more folks were concerned about that beer bottle sitting on the table in front of a sixteen-year-old.  Not me.  I know a lot of us drank a beer at that age, and we all turned out okay, right?
The next three photos are of young Benjamin, first posted on ElvisBlog in December 2007, and they now show up on all sorts of websites.  Considering his age in the pictures, they were all taken well before 2007, but they sure weren’t in general circulation until then.  Lisa Marie took great care to keep Benjamin out of the public eye when he was little.
 
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This one was supposedly taken at Elvis Week 2004, so Benjamin would have been twelve then.
 
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I have no information about this photo, but the fan forum website where I found it says it is Benjamin, so I am going with that.
 
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This is the youngest photo of Benjamin in this collection.  Cute kid.
The first ElvisBlog post with pictures of Ben in 2007 was cleverly titled “Benjamin Keough Photos.”  Although it is now very outdated, it is still ranked number one on Google for Benjamin Keough searches.  So, I’m going to drop the original article and replace it with a reprint of this one.  Folks are going to be a lot happier with the results of their searches.

I always say writing about Elvis is fun, and now it turns out, writing about Benjamin Keough is fun, too.  I hope my friend can come up with more photos.
©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ELVISBLOG

The Christmas season is here again, so it’s time to say thanks to all the Elvis fans who regularly read Elvisblog.  May everyone have a wonderful and safe holiday. 

 

It’s a busy time for everyone, including your Elvisblog host.  So, again this year, we will skip the regular articles for two weeks (Sunday, December 16 and Sunday, December 23).  Instead, we will return to something that is becoming a Christmas tradition at ElvisblogThe Elvis Claus Trilogy.

 

The third episode is titled, “Elvis Claus Upstages an Elvis Impersonator,” and it continues the love story of pretty Judy Parker and the mysterious man behind a Santa beard.  It takes place in 1985, so some willing suspension of disbelief is necessary.  We all know Elvis has been gone for thirty years, but just for fun at Christmas, let’s enjoy a fantasy of what might have happened if Elvis had started a new life in 1977.

 

The trilogy started with “Santa’s Favorite Brother Gets a Present,” and followed with “Another Present for Elvis Claus.”  I would suggest you read them first, to get an understanding of ‘Santa’ and Judy’s history.  The new episode will make much more sense that way.  Click here to bring up the whole trilogy in sequence.  Or, if you still remember the back-story, click here to link right to “Elvis Claus Upstages an Elvis Impersonator.”   Hope you like it.

 

The next regular Elvisblog article will be posted on Sunday, December 30.

 

Merry Christmas and a hunk-a hunk-a burning love to everyone.

 

 

                                                Phil Arnold – Creator and Host of Elvisblog

ELVISBLOG NEWS — 12/11/07

A Correction (Sort of):  On September 2, 2007, I posted a blog article titled, “Vancouver celebrates the 50th Anniversary of An Elvis Riot.”  I have now heard from two readers who say it was not a riot.  One is Alan Hanson author of the book “Elvis '57: The Final Fifties Tours,” which contains a 10,000-word chapter on the concert.  The other was from an anonymous reader who said she was there, which gives her some credibility.    OK, let’s say we’ll agree it was not a riot, just a display of boisterous enthusiasm that caused the concert to be ended after twenty-two minutes.  Very boisterous.

 

Numbers for The Year Almost In:  With two weeks to go, it’s easy to calculate that the number of hits on Elvisblog this year will easily double the number for 2006.  Cumulative hits since Elvisblog started in February 2005, is now at 153,000.  The big thing that caused the jump was all the folks who discovered the site for the first time during Elvis Week 2007.  It looks like a lot of them came back as regulars.  Thanks to everyone for your support. 

 

No New Posts over Christmas:  As in previous years, I will take a break and not add any new Elvisblog articles on Sunday, December 16 and Sunday, December 23.  However, there will still be new content – pretty special content, too — the third installment of “The ELVIS CLAUS TRILOGY.”   Episode 3 is titled, “Elvis Claus Upstages an Elvis Impersonator,” and it continues the love story of pretty Judy Parker and the mysterious man behind a Santa beard.  There will be more on this episode and the whole trilogy in the annual Christmas message from Elvisblog next Sunday, December 16.  “Elvis Claus Upstages An Elvis Impersonator” will be posted on that date, as well.

 

More Numbers Stuff:  My blog platform provides me with links back to the Google/Yahoo/etc. searches that led people to Elvisblog.  On one Yahoo search for “Elvis Presley,” Elvisblog was link #374.  That means that somebody had to go through 37 pages of other sites before getting to the screen that held #371 through #380.  That’s some determined searching.  I wasn’t too pleased to be #374, until I noticed how many total links Yahoo found – 66 million.  Is Elvis on a lot of websites, or what?

 

Ike Turner and Elvis:  Ike Turner died this wee at age 76.  There is a small connection between him and Elvis.  According to several internet sources, in the early 50s, Turner was the house boogie-woogie piano man in a West Memphis “blacks only” club.  Young Elvis often snuck in and hid next to the piano to study Turner's boogie style and woogie-wild legs.  The news reports of Ike Turner's passing mentioned that many historians credit him with making the first rock & roll record, “Rocket 88.”  Did you know it was recorded at Sun Records three years before Elvis ever showed up?  Click here to read an article I wrote about Ike Turner's historic recording session with Sam Phillips at Sun.

AL WERTHEIMER: HAVE PHOTOS, WILL TRAVEL

Famous Elvis photographer Al Wertheimer seems to show up in my writings several times every year.  Just last week, I wrote about him twice while working on an edition of Elvis…The Magazine celebrating the 20th anniversary of its publishing.  My contribution for this special issue will be “20 Years – 20 Favorites.”  I got to choose my favorite article for each year and to write a couple of paragraphs about each one.

 

For 2002, I chose something in the 25th Anniversary (of Elvis’ passing) Edition.  It wasn’t a real article, rather a four-page picture spread of six photos Al Wertheimer took of Elvis back in 1956.  In an ironic twist, it made my select list because those four-pages were originally supposed to be mine.  I had a lengthy article already approved and submitted with art-work to the graphic designer for lay-out.  Then, a week before the magazine went to the printer, Editor Darwin Lamm acquired six new Al Wertheimer pictures.  Of course, he wanted to get them into the issue, but he needed a lot of space so the photos could be presented large size.  Guess whose article got cut?  It killed me not to be in the biggest and best issue in the magazine’s history.

 

I mentioned Al Wertheimer again in the pick for 2006.  This time I gave myself some kudos for the eight-page spread I did on Al in the 29th Anniversary Edition.  He gave me a lot of help on this one.  He accommodated me for 5-1/2 hours of phone interviews and supplied eight photos to illustrate my text.  He told me numerous anecdotes that had never appeared before in any magazine.  I think it’s the best article I have ever written.

 

Now, I can write agout Al Wertheimer again, thanks to a two-page letter he sent me, full of news.  Things are going very well for him these days, and the places he went with his Elvis photos in 2007 are most impressive.  It started in May, when he had a one-man show at the Woulter Gallery in Amsterdam, Holland.

 

In June and July he participated in a photo show in Paris called The History of Rock and Roll.  Al had a whole room to himself, which included fifty 16” x 20” exhibition quality prints.  These, plus an additional twenty photographs, were sold through the show catalogue and were very popular.  However, Al is most proud that the show’s sponsor, the Foundation Cartier Pour L’art Contemporain, made a considerable purchase of Al’s prints for their permanent collection.

 

In August, Al was one of the key personalities at Elvisfest and the Elvis Insiders Conference at Elvis Week 2007.  He was so successful selling autographed copies of his new book, Elvis at 21, New York to Memphis, that he had to have an additional 100 copies flown in to cover demand.

 

In October, Al spent three weeks in China at two photography festivals.  One was in the ancient city of Pingyao, where he was part of five exhibitions curated by Robert Pledge of Contact Press Images.  Al's forty-two Elvis prints got a lot of attention from the camera-happy Chinese.  They love to photograph each other, and everyone wanted a shot of themselves in front of an Elvis picture.

 

Next, Al went to the city of Chongzhou where he gave two slide lectures at the University of Taiyuan.  He wrote me about an interesting experience he had there.  The Chinese people could not pronounce Wertheimer, so they called him Moh Wang.  Later, he found out that this translates to King Cat, the name they call Elvis in China.  As Al said, “I not only photographed Elvis, I became Elvis, and everyone seemed happy about that.”  Especially Al Wertheimer, I’ll bet.

 

©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights reserved   www.elvisblog.net

What a Caricature Artist Sees in Elvis' Face

We have all seen caricatures of Elvis, and some of them are pretty good.  Obviously, caricature artists have a highly developed sense of facial observation.  They can look at the features of a face and know which ones could be best exaggerated while still keeping the full image recognizable.

 

The January 1, 2005, e-newsletter from www.drawing-faces-and-caricatures-made-easy.com had an interesting topic:  “What Makes Any Face Caricaturable?  How About Elvis Presley?” 

 

How about him, indeed.  When I saw that title, I knew it was going to be an interesting article.  An expert was going to analyze Elvis’ face for the benefit of aspiring caricature artists.  Cool.

 

The writer of the newsletter started with this photo for his analysis.  Before we go on, can you tell what’s wrong with the photo?   Answer below. 

 

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Anyway, the newsletter writer took each feature of Elvis’ face and told us how he would use it.  Here are the highlights of what he had to say.

 

HAIR:  “Big.  Huge.  Massive, larger than life.”  (Editors note:  That would seem to cover it, but he goes on with the most incredible description of Elvis’ hair that I have ever seen.)  “All the superlatives you can conjure up for that top-heavy, fifties, bow-of-a-ship, tough dude, frontal assault of a hair-doo.”  (Wow.  Well done.)

 

He continues:  That’s the obvious.  What’s not so obvious – and that’s what makes drawing this kind of hair a challenge – is capturing the 3-D mass of it all.  How do you do that?  Lot’s of contours and highlights.  Elvis also has lots of loose dangling ends of hair that fall across his face.  You’ll see that in almost every… caricature of Elvis, artists capitalize on this.”

 

FOREHEAD:  “Overall Elvis shows a lot of forehead, because he wears his hair up so high, but he also has a broad Hollywood forehead.”  (Whatever that is.)

 

CHEEKBONES:   “Whereas Arnold Schwartzenneger boasted really hard angles in his face, Elvis is softer edged.   He has prominent cheekbones.  They may drop low, because they have a mass to them.  They also seem to rise high as they roll past the level of the eyes.  You’ll see artists grab on that, too.”

 

MOUTH:  Traveling south down his face, you encounter the cheekbones, then rather full cheeks, then a relatively small maxilla behind the mouth (that’s the bone that holds your upper teeth).  This explains why his mouth may seem small compared to Julia Roberts (who has a very broad, flat-at-the-front-where-the-teeth-are type of maxilla.  So, if you relate all that to Mr. Average, you could play up the forehead and cheeks and shrink the mouth.”

 

EYES, EYEBROWS, EYELIDS:  Women just plain love Elvis’ eyes.  Even if this is what women find sexy, here’s what I see as the observable deal.  It’s the low riding eyelids, almost that sleepy eyed look.  You see Jack Nicholson and John Travolta do it.  In any case, it’s the confidence and control factor half-mast eyes seem to exude.  That’s what I think it about his eyes women like.  Then you couple the low eyelids with the slightly quizzical raised eyebrows, you get that come-on look.”  (Sounds logical to me.  What do you think, ladies?)

 

NOSE:  You’ll see his nose drawn with a very broad root (where it comes out of the forehead between the eyes), that maintains that width right down to the sharp tip.  A tip that has a dimple in it dividing left and right halves.”

 

LIPS:  For a white guy, Elvis has pretty full lips.  Even though, as mentioned above, the mouth overall seems on the small side (from corner to corner), the lips — especially the lower one — are very full.”

 

CHIN: Elvis has a full rounded chin.  About the only thing else I can say about it is when you draw it, think “sphere” or “square” and try to incorporate those shapes into the chin when you draw.”  (Sorry, I don't think it's possible to incorporate square into anything about Elvis.)

 

ELVIS’ TRADEMARK SNARL:  (Editors note:  Before you read this, go ahead and curl your lip like Elvis.  It is part of a test.)

 

“I flipped the above picture around in Photoshop.  The difference?  Elvis curls the left side of his lip, not the right side like in the picture.  Elvis curls the left side of his lip, as do 95% of the rest of the world.”

 

So, there’s the answer to the question about what was wrong with the picture above.  Did you figure it out? 

 

I have asked a few friends to do the Elvis snarl, and they all curled the left side of their lip, so the 95% figure may be accurate.  How about you?  The Elvis Snarl Test – one of the many things you find on Elvisblog and nowhere else.

 

©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net