Monthly Archives: February 2008

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 8

Bad Luck From Elvis?:  In 1973, Elvis gave Muhammad Ali a $10,000 white robe, with the words “People’s Champion” emblazoned across the back.  Ali wore the robe on March 31, when he fought Ken Norton for the first time.  Norton broke Ali’s jaw in the second round and won the decision.  Ali vowed never to wear the robe again (but he did maintain his friendship with Elvis).

 

A New Wrinkle In Selling Cars:  Back in 1956, many adults thought Elvis was turning their children into juvenile delinquents, so there was a good bit of backlash.  On December 17, used car dealer Don Melch ran this advertisement:  “We guarantee to break 50 Elvis Presley records in your presence if you buy one of these cars today.”  Melch started with 17 cars that day and he sold five.  He should have just saved those 250 Elvis records; they would be worth a bundle today.

 

Good Neighbor Elvis:  Homes and Land, a real estate media company in Florida, ran a poll asking thousands of US residents to name what famous person they would like to live next door to.  The top pick among women was Oprah Winfrey.  Men picked Elvis Presley, followed by John Wayne, Donald Trump, Tiger Woods and Bill Gates.  I would like to live next door to Scotty Moore and hang out in his home studio while all his music buddies are jamming.

 

Did You Already Know This?:  Elvis’ favorite toothpaste was Colgate; his favorite aftershave was Brut; and his favorite soft drink was Pepsi.

 

Bet You Didn’t Know This:  Elvis’ social security number was 409-52-2002.  Apparently, there is a federal law that requires the Social Security Administration to provide this data on the deceased to anyone that wants it.  Seems pretty stupid to me.

 

Some Stats On Elvis’ Name:  According to the website www.howmanyofme.com, there are 15,167 people in the U.S. with the first name Elvis.  It is the 1495th  most popular first name.  There are 21,234 people in the U.S. with the last name Presley, the 1664th most popular last name.  And, yes, there is one person in the U.S. today named Elvis Presley.

 

More Elvis Name Stats:  According to a publication (website?) called The West, Elvis is the 8th most popular celebrity inspired pet name.  They determined that Tyson (named for Mike Tyson) is the most popular.  Probably chosen for a lot of pit bulls.

 

The TCB Oath:  In 1971, while on a flight in the Lisa Marie, Elvis wrote The TCB Oath on a torn envelope.  This code of ethics for his buddies was influenced by his strong interest in the martial arts at the time.  It starts with: “More self-respect, more respect for fellow man.”  However, it ends with: “Freedom from constipation.”  No kidding.

 

Elvis Is Big At The National Archives:  Believe it or not, the most requested document from the National Archives is the photo of Elvis shaking hands with a stiffly smiling President Richard Nixon at the Whitehouse in 1970.  It is also the best selling souvenir at the Nixon Presidential Library.  I think the funniest thing about that whole episode is that Elvis presented Nixon with a Civil War gun with seven bullets in the chamber.  The Secret Service guys must have been so nonplussed with Elvis that they never checked it first.  They weren’t too pleased when they found out later.

 

When Did The TCB Band First Reunite?  If you follow the TCB Band, you know they have done a lot of performances over the years since Elvis died.  Of course, they disbanded in 1977, but when did they first regroup?  It was on April 8, 1989 at Lausanne, Switzerland.  They were joined by Charlie Hodge, Kathy Westmoreland, J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, and a Swiss guitarist and singer named Steve Payntor.  It took folks in another country to see the potential in getting these guys back together.  Why do people in Europe and Japan seem to appreciate our musical legends more that we do?

 

©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

CHECK OUT ELVIS ON TVGUIDE.COM

ElvisBlog’s determined search for Elvis content on the Internet has produced another winner.  Buried deep within the archives of TV Guide’s website is a wonderful selection of interesting items for Elvis fans.  It is difficult to navigate to them from their Main Page, and I can't seem to establish a normal hyperlink.  So if you finish reading this column and want  to access all the TV Guide Elvis content, please click on this URL   http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/elvis-presley/149192 .

 

You will open to what in essence is a TV Guide Elvis home page, complete with its own toolbar of links.  To the right of Elvis’ picture is a very brief biographical outline.  If you click on the Biography tab in the toolbar, you get a bit more, but probably not much that you don’t already know.  The one new thing I learned is that Vernon’s second wife Dee’s real name was Davada Stanley, but I don’t really care.  Why they have her listed and not his grandkids I’ll never know.

 

The next tab is News, and clicking it will bring up 45 TV Guide articles since 2000 that mention Elvis.  Admittedly, Elvis is not the sole topic of most of them, but I found it interesting that someone who has been dead for so long can still be a point of reference in journalism about modern TV viewing. 

When I clicked on the next tab, Photos, I didn’t get what I expected, but I liked what came up.  The link shows all 33 of the TV Guide issues with Elvis on the cover, and it’s fun to view them all.

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This is a photo of the first TV Guide cover with Elvis on it: September 8, 1956.  I can tell from his sport coat that the photo was taken at RCA Studios in New York two months earlier on July 2.  Al Wertheimer took dozens of shots of Elvis wearing that sport coat during the recording sessions for “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

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And this is a photo of the most recent Elvis TV Guide cover in the layout:  May 8, 2005.  Actually, it was part of a series of four alternate covers released at the same time.  They each came with a bonus CD single of “Young and Beautiful,” and each of these had different label graphics.  So, obviously, every wrinkle possible was used to make them collectibles.  The ploy certainly worked on me; I bought all four.  You will note that over the years the price of TV Guide has changed from 15 cents to $3.
 
Next up on the toolbar is TV Listings.  If you click on it, you will see what Elvis movies, specials and documentaries are available for viewing in the near future.  Right now, all it lists is AMC showing Love Me Tender on Friday, February 15 at 4:00 AM.  It also has a link to steer you through the steps to recording it (or anything else) on TIVO.  I now have the Elvis TV Listings URL saved as a favorite, and I will check it out every couple of weeks to see if there is any Elvis to watch on the tube.
 
It seems that the Credits tab brings you a compilation of everything that has ever appeared on TV Listings.  The most recent entry was the special “Elvis: Viva Las Vegas,” from last year.  All the Elvis movies and specials are there, plus  episodes of other shows with Elvis content, such as Larry King Live, True Hollywood Story, and Myths and Legends.
 
I suggest you skip the last two tabs, Discuss (nothing there) and Shop (same stuff you see everywhere), but there are still more treats for us elsewhere.  Scroll all the way to the right, and you will see Latest Videos.  Only three are listed, but below them, click on More Elvis Presley Web Videos.  Thumbnails of 49 videos come up, but I suggest you click on Free Only, which narrows it down to 32.
 
The first twelve are a mixed bag with some you can skip.  The CNN parody is a waste, Jesse Jackson talking about Elvis is mostly sour grapes, and I couldn’t get Priscilla Presley on the David Letterman Show to play.  Also, if you put the cursor over the thumbnails, a box appears that will tell the source for these videos.  Don’t play the ones from the Biography Channel.  Once the video plays, I couldn’t exit back or close it without turning off the whole Internet.
 
I definitely recommend the first video: Blue Suede Shoes.  It comes from VH1, so I guess it was in their music video rotation back in the days when they actually featured music.  Carl Perkins has a small cameo in it.  You will like this one.  And I’m sure you will also enjoy the fifteen original Elvis movie trailers.  They are addicting – you can’t watch just one – so start when you have enough time to enjoy them all.
 
One last recommendation.  Don’t watch the final video titled “Hard N Phirm: Death of The King.”  It has a catchy melody, but the lyrics are stupid and the video is disgusting.  If you are tempted and do click on it, remember, you were warned.
 
That’s it.  Kudos to TV Guide for giving us all this Elvis content on their website.  They don’t make it easy for folks to find, but thanks to ElvisBlog, now you know.
 
©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

CAN ELVIS MERCHANDISERS GET ANY IDEAS FROM HANNAH MONTANA?


If you are like me, you received a large four-page insert from Wal-Mart in the newspaper last Sunday.  And, it was all Hannah Montana goodies – 39, to be exact.  I know she is ‘happening’ right now, because I’ve been reading about the price escalation on tickets to her touring show.  So, I guess I shouldn’t be amazed at the volume of Hannah Montana merchandise that is available for adoring fans to buy.
 
Some of the items reminded me of similar stuff available to Elvis fans.  Trading cards, for example.  Or monogrammed baseball caps.  But, what about some of the products she has that the Elvis marketers haven’t tried yet?  Let’s look at a few and consider if they might work for Elvis.
 
One item is a poster called the Best of Both Worlds, and it shows both Miley Cyrus, the actress, and Hannah Montana, the character.  With the exception of their hair-colors, they both look the same.  However, all the other Hannah Montana goodies show a blond girl, so Miley must be the brunette. 

 

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Anyway, the concept would work for Elvis – even better, because many of Elvis’ movie characters are recognizable in their wardrobe from the film.  You could have a whole series of posters with Elvis matched with his more distinctive movie characters.  There could be cowboy Clint Reno from Love Me Tender.  Or prisoner Vince Everett from Jailhouse Rock.  Or soldier Tulsa McLean from G.I. Blues.  Or Chad Gates, wearing the white swim trunks, from Blue Hawaii.  Or blond-haired Jodie Tatum from Kissin’ Cousins.  Or Johnny Tyrone masquerading as an Arab in Harum Scarum.  Collect the whole set.  Yeah.  This is a merchandising concept that would work for Elvis.
 
On the other hand, the Hannah Montana sleeping bag in its own handy tote bag might not transfer to Elvis.   A sleeping bag may be useful for teenybopper sleepovers, but it’s hard to imagine us grown-ups rolling out an Elvis sleeping bag on our next camping trip.  I suppose there is one small potential market – the Elvis fan that has everything – so maybe some entrepreneur might consider it.
 
For only $3.94 each, you can buy any of four Hannah Montana paperback books.  One title is “Nightmare on Hanna Street.”  An obvious parallel would be an Elvis book titled “Nightmare on Lonely Street.”  Of course, there are a number of Elvis fiction books out there already, but none of them are priced anywhere near $3.94.  If Elvis books could be offered at that price, tons of them would sell each year at Elvis Week.  I can see huge stacks of $4 Elvis books zipping off a sales table at Graceland Crossing.  They would be such short stories that you could probably finish reading one on the shuttle ride to-and-from the mansion.
 
Another $4 product in the Hannah Montana flyer is a three-pack of girls’ underwear.   That probably wouldn’t be such a good idea for an Elvis tie-in.  But adult women might go for white cotton panties with the right Elvis graphics on them.  You know, that might be available already.  I need to check it out on www.shopelvis.com.
 
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The most promising Hannah Montana item that hasn’t already seen an Elvis connection is the “Tooth Tunes” electric toothbrush.  That’s right, a toothbrush that plays two minutes of music while you brush your teeth.  Why not one that plays an Elvis song?  We already have cookie jars and key chains that play Elvis songs, so why not a toothbrush? The packaging on the Hannah Montana toothbrush says, “Pumpin’ Up The Party” and “Music in Your Mouth.”  That would need to be changed.  How about this:  “Your Mouth Will Gyrate With Elvis While You Brush Your Teeth.”  That would be a winner.

 
 
©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

ELVISBLOG NEWS — 2/2/08

Happy Birthday ElvisBlog:  It has now been three full years since ElvisBlog was launched.  Happily, readership keeps increasing, and I haven’t run out of new ideas to write about.  There’s a lot of cool stuff out there in Elvisworld, so you can expect the commentaries to continue for a long time.

 

A Record Number of Hits in 2007:  It’s a bit late to report this, but ElvisBlog received almost 88,000 hits in 2007, more than double the number from the year before.  Not surprisingly, the best month was August when almost 12,000 Elvis fans checked in to read about the King.  January is always the second-best month, and the count just closed at over 10,500 for January 2008.  Thank you so much for your continued support.

 

New Header Banner:  If you are reading this, you have seen the new ElvisBlog banner at the top of the home page.  I hate to admit it, but it took about ten hours to read the manual, create the banner, and use the blogware File Manager system to upload it to this blog.  Lots of mistakes and trial-and-error before getting it right.  Fortunately, I’m more proficient as a writer than I am as a computer person.

 

Another Vacation:  Retirement is a great time to go on vacations, and my wife has been relentless in planning them.  We leave February 14 for three weeks in Italy, and we will see Rome, Pompeii, Naples, Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast.  As always, I will be on the lookout for Elvis stuff to report about on ElvisBlog.  There will probably be a two-week gap during which no new columns will be posted.  However, if I can get a few articles ahead, I may talk a friend into adding them on the second and third Sundays while I'm gone.  To be advised…

FUN WITH ELVIS ON PHOTOSHOP

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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©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net