Monthly Archives: August 2008

ELVIS, JOHNNY CASH, AND CARL PERKINS — IN CONCERT, DECEMBER 12, 1955

In an ElvisBlog column two weeks ago, I mentioned a fake Elvis concert poster I own.  It shows him in the famous gold lamé suit, but the concert date was seven months prior to Elvis' first appearance in the suit on March 28, 1957.  Here is a shot of it.

 

I assumed I could find pictures of other Elvis concert posters on the web, and it would be fun to see if they there were bootlegs,too.  The first one I found was a poster with a totally different picture.  It advertised the joint appearance of Johnny Cash and Elvis on March 10, 1956 in Amory, Mississippi.  A little checking revealed that Elvis actually performed in another state on that date.  However, the concert did take place late in the previous year in Amory at the National Guard Armory.  The Armory in Amory.

 

Everything on the poster appears to be correct, except for the actual date, which was December 12, 1955.  I can't imagine why the bootleggers changed the date, unless it was to stay out of some kind of copyright lawsuit.  I found this poster on http://www.retroplanet.com/PROD/24364.  It measures 11″x17″ and sells for $12.99  That seems like a pretty good deal to me.  I also found three different bogus posters on another website for $20 each, but all choices were sold-out

One thing about the Amory/Armory Elvis poster caught my eye.  It showed that the concert also included a special guest — Carl Perkins.  I wondered how many times these three rockabilly icons had appeared together on stage.  I went to one of my favorite sources, “ELVIS — Day By Day,” written by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.  The answer is it only happened twice:  November 17, 1955, in Texarkana, Arkansas, and  December 12, 1955 in Amory, MS .  Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins performing at the same concert was a very rare phenomenon.  The lucky folks in attendance had no idea what a historic event they were witnessing.

Johnny Cash had been on the bill with Elvis for fifteen dates prior to December 12, 1955 in Amory.  There were three single night shots that Fall, a five-day tour in September, and a seven-day tour in October.  There is no record of what songs Johnny Cash sang, but he had just one release on Sun Records going for him during that period:  “Hey Porter,” released in June.  However, an even bigger hit, “Folsome Prison Blues,” was released in December, so Cash certainly was promoting that when he joined Elvis in Amory.

Carl Perkins appeared in concert with Elvis just three times.  The first was on the “Western Swing Jamboree,” where Hank Thompson was the supposed headliner, but everyone actually came to see Elvis.  This November 1955 tour lasted seven days, and on day six, Johnny Cash joined the bill for the show mentioned above.  Perkins had one single released at the time –  “Gone, Gone, Gone.”  However, his huge hit, “Blue Suede Shoes” came out in December, so you know the folks in Amory were treated to that.

Both Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins were creating some buzz at the time they appeared with Elvis at the Armory in Amory, MS, but Elvis was on fire.  There is a brief mention of the concert by Terry Thornton on his website http://hillcountryofmonroecountry.blogspot.com/2007/07/elvis-presley-and-johnny-cash-and-carl.html.  It also shows a different version of the bogus poster.  This one has the date as June 10, 1955, not 1956.  Why change it from one wrong date to another?

You might want to read Mr. Thornton's full report on the concert at http://hillcountryofmonroecountry.blogspot.com/2007/05/elvis-presley-in-hill-country-concert.html.  There's some boring stuff in the beginning about a school play and at the end about his own hillbilly band and performing in the Army, but the bulk of the article is about the Elvis concert.  He seems to attach special significance to the fact that Elvis played the guitar so hard he broke three or four strings.  Because of this, it was the consensus of Mr. Thornton and his buddies that Elvis would never make it in the music business.

Sorry, fellows, you called that one wrong.  Those screaming girls certainly saw something special.

It is interesting to note that RCA bought Elvis' contract from Sam Phillips at Sun Records on November 21, 1955, three weeks before the concert in Amory, MS.  Elvis' career didn't really shift into overdrive until the following January, as he still had various concert contracts to fulfill.  So it was that Carl Perkins appeared one more time with Elvis on December 15, 1955 in Helena, AR.  The performance venue was sold out, of course, but it held just 500 seats.  Within a few months, Elvis would appear on national television, release a #1 hit, record a million-selling album, and sign a movie contract with MGM.  Those teenage boys at the Amory, MS concert didn't realize it, but Elvis was about to shake up the world.

(C)  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

ELVISBLOG NEWS — 8/20/08

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No Elvis Week for Me This Year:  I’ve tried not to dwell on it, but I sure did miss going to Elvis Week 2008.  There are mementos from last year still pinned on the wall and the bulletin board near my computer, and looking at them makes me sigh with regret.  I couldn’t even bring myself to write a blog column to commemorate the 31st Anniversary.  The closest I came was considering a possible diatribe about the lack of Elvis movies on cable TV this year, but that was too negative.  What happened at TCM, Nickelodeon, Disney Channel and others who ran them in the past?  I hope the absence of Elvis movies wasn’t because of bad ratings in previous years.  If you made it to Elvis Week 2008, I know you had a great time.  If you’ve never been, you need to do it some year.  It is a totally unique experience.  But, plan to spend a bunch of money.

 

A Quarter of a Million Hits:  Somehow, when ElvisBlog passed 200,000 hits, I failed to mention it in ElvisBlog News.  I had some bad karma about the date it occurred – April 1.  Well, nothing bad has happened.

I’m not going to miss announcing the next milestone.  As of August 7, Elvisblog  has achieved 250,000 hits since it began in January 2005.  My blogware provider calls these “Distinct Hosts Served.”  I understand that other blog platforms report “HTML Requests,” and by that measure, ElvisBlog’s accumulative total is over 600,000.

August is the biggest month every year for traffic to the blog.  During the 30th Anniversary celebration last year, tons of folks looked for Elvis information on Google.  Lots of them ended up at ElvisBlog.  This August had a little increase, but nothing like the big jump generated by the 30th Anniversary.

 

HotLinking:  Have you ever heard of HotLinking?  It is also called Sourcing, but that sounds too legit.  HotLinking is when other websites use your bandwidth.  I won’t bore you with technical stuff about bandwidth, but I had to buy more last February, so I could continue blogging.  Some folks had basically been streaming photos from my site (not using their own bandwidth). I had to fork out another $40 dollars a year, but I did get a ton of additional bandwidth.  Three months later, I noticed something strange in the daily Referer file.  The count for an Asian website showed that more people had linked from that site than ElvisBlog’s total hits for the day.

That couldn’t be, so I contacted the tech support for my blog platform (by e-mail only, of course), and learned about hotlinking.  The bad news was very clear.  I was paying for the bandwidth that some other pirate site was using.  It was happening only with pictures, not text.  Good news:  there is a way to stop it.  With tech guidance, I navigated deep into Security Settings.  The next-to-last one was a check box called Allow Sourcing of Photos, and I unclicked it. 

 

3-Column Format:  Despite my best attempts, I can’t seem to keep this blog simple.  The articles are longer, there are many photos in most of them, and a ton of content is piling up.  There are 231 articles posted now, and that is a lot for new readers to dig through.  So, some reorganization is needed.  There will be a few new categories coming up soon. 

First, there is ElvisBlog News.  There have been three or four ElvisBlog News reports every year, and they really shouldn’t have been in there with the Elvis Presley stories.  For those who care, this link will provide a chronological time-line for the evolution of ElvisBlog.

Next is Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets.  No other Elvis website or blog does commentary mini-nuggets, so it is time to show them off.  This is one of my favorite column themes.  When you string them all together, it totals a pretty impressive list, one that deserves its own link.

Finally, there is Odd Elvis Websites.  I keep running into these things on the internet, so I save the URLs and post a column about them when I have enough.  This is getting to be a pretty sizable list, also.

Down the road a bit, I want to add another chapter to my “Elvis Claus Trilogy,” and make it a continuing novel.  Maybe each year, I can come up with another surprise Christmas romance for Elvis Claus and Judy.

All these new categories require a format change.  ElvisBlog will be going to 3-column in a few weeks.  In the right column will be links to ElvisBlog News, Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets, Odd Elvis websites, and, someday, “Elvis Claus, the Book.”

 

 

                                                                                                Phil Arnold

                                                                                                Original Elvis Blogmeister

 

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

ELVIS SHRUGGED


I have several writer friends who create interesting science-fiction novels and short stories.  They know I have never attempted any science-fiction writing, but I think I can pull off a trick on them.  After our meetings, we go out to eat, and drink, and talk.  I’m going to tell them I’m mulling over a sci-fi Elvis idea and would like to hear what they think about it.
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The story would take place in the future.  Sony/Time/Warner would be the only surviving record company—because they bought all the competition or forced them out of business.  But, greed for more profit causes Sony/Time/Warner to drastically cut assets.  They eradicate all music except rock.  Then slowly, top rock musicians start to disappear.
 
At this point, I hope my sci-fi writer friends will be hooked.
 
The story continues.  Meanwhile, Frank Sinatra has just finished taking Austrian youthfulness treatments and bionic arm replacements.  He is now a big, strong, mean guy that looks like he is part of a heavy metal band.  Frank and Madonna are just getting ready to record some revolutionary new music, free from the shackles of Sony/Time/Warner.  Unfortunately, the corporate giant quashes their effort.
 
OK, so now we have two other famous names in the story, and Frank Sinatra has become ‘Young Blue Eyes — on Steroids.’  We have a nasty money-grubbing conglomerate as our antagonist.  I hope this is plenty to get my sci-fi friends caught up in the story.
 
Madonna undertakes a trek to trace the missing musicians.  She stumbles upon Elvis in Tibet, where he is searching for his soul.  Madonna and Elvis get it on and soon fall in love. They travel to a secret island paradise called Blue Hawaii. The location of Elvis’ whereabouts slowly filters to select musicians.  Soon, John Lennon fakes his death and joins Elvis on the island hideaway.  So do Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, and Sammy Davis Jr.
 
Col. Parker is also a bad guy in this story, collaborating with Sony/Time/Warner.  He is producing a new TV musical spectacular starring Michael Jackson called “Madame Superfly.”  Elvis and friends jam the telecast feed and replace it with a new form of music he has created called Elvisia.  But, Col. Parker’s henchmen are able to get a fix on Elvis’ signal and use a hypno-beam to lure him off the island.  Parker tries to use Elvis’ DNA to make a clone, but something goes wrong and all he can produce is a bunch of midget Elvises.
 
My writer buddies will probably be laughing at this point, but I’ll bet they want to hear the finish.
 
Frank Sinatra, Madonna, and the other rockers from Blue Hawaii pull off a daring rescue of Elvis, but Col. Parker takes Madonna and escapes to a floating spacepod, held aloft by one gigantic balloon.  Elvis and the gang pull off some Die Hard-like stunts to rescue her and force Col. Parker’s spacecraft to crash into the Statue of Liberty and explode.
 
All the musicians return to Blue Hawaii, where they are finally free to create music without profit pressure from the big, evil music company. 
 
I hope my sci-fi writer buddies will tell me they love my story, but I have to be honest with them and reveal my trick.  The story they heard wasn’t my original creation.  It was actually a thumbnail of the plot of a 3-volume Elvis comic book series titled Elvis Shrugged.  It was published in 1991 by Revolutionary Comics (Unauthorized And Proud Of It), and had modest success.   The three volumes total 108 pages, basically a small book.
 
About ten or twelve years ago, I discovered a copy of Volume lll at a record show and bought it.  Without knowledge of the two proceeding volumes, I had trouble making sense of the story.  It was also pretty weird.  So, I read it once and packed it away with my Elvis goodies.  It stayed there until I surfed into the website www.comicsutra.com the other day.  It had a reprint of an August 1997 column by Beth Hannan Rimmels in the Long Island VoiceMs Rimmels’ review of Elvis Shrugged filled in all the early plot blanks for me.  Now, I could go back to my comic book and really enjoy it.  Blog research has never been more fun.  Here are some pictures from it.
 
This is Madonna, Elvis and Frank Sinatra.  Check out the bionic arms.  Elvis and Frank are about to rumble over Madonna, but Sammy Davis comes along and cools things off.
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Here is the loving couple.  Elvis gives her a pretty nice present for Christmas.  Notice the matching jumpsuits.
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Elvis’ daring rescue scene where he must battle the midget Elvis clones. The quality of the artwork on this frame dropped off.
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Here is the cover of Volume l.  Do you see the little floating bell-jar with a cowboy hat in the top right?  That’s Col. Parker’s scientifically preserved head, still capable of being a mean sum-bitch.  Do you see some other faces you recognize in the drawing?
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Here is Volume ll.  I think sales of this series were hurt by the lack of a vivid picture of Elvis on the cover of the first volume.  Elvis is shown here in a jumpsuit, which he also wears it in the first part of Volume lll.
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However, the story wraps up with Elvis bare-chested, like this cover of Volume lll, the copy I own.  This picture should have been on the first volume.  Note that Elvis is wearing his sun-glasses in all these pictures.
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I would like to finish with two quotes from Ms. Rimmel’s review:
“It parodies Atlas Shrugged very well.  In Atlas Shrugged, when something goes wrong, people ask “Who is John Galt?”  In Elvis Shrugged, the phrase is “Is Elvis alive?”
“I love it because while the title sounds like a jab, it’s really a compliment, because the story says Elvis would have never become a shadow of his former self.”
 
She had some pretty serious reasons for liking Elvis Shrugged.  I liked it because it was cool.
Weird, but cool.
 
©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister  All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

Fun with GOLD LAMÉ

You have to admit, Elvis inspires some interesting responses from his fans.  People like to have fun with Elvis.  Today, we do that with an Elvis icon — his famous gold lamé suit.  Here are some of the clever ways it has been used.

 

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Elvis Bobble-Head:  I love this because they have done a pretty good job capturing Elvis’ likeness.  Maybe that’s just because the head is bigger than on other dolls or action figures.  Elvis Bobblehead is eight inches tall, and they had about a third of that for the head.  The suit looks dead-on, too.  If the gold pants had looked that good on Elvis, he might have worn them longer.

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Barbie and Elvis:  Barbie must not have liked the gold pants any more than Elvis did.  Here’s a doll with Elvis in just the gold jacket.  I wish the picture was clearer so we could see how good the head design is.  It looks like it might be pretty good.  Sorry, but Barbie looks like a dip.

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Action Figure, Baby, Action:  This is what I call an action figure.  The complete suit except for the tie.  See the poster behind Elvis?  The date is September 10, 1956.  You know this is wrong, because Elvis first wore the gold lamé suit on April 28, 1957.  I have a poster like that hanging near my computer, a gift from my sister-in-law.  She thought she found such a steal at a sleepy antique store out in the country.  The supposed appearance of Elvis in the gold suit was in Jacksonville on August 11, 1956.  I never let her know she bought a phony.
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Own Your Own:  Here you go.  For just $99 you can own your own gold lamé suit.  No shirt, tie, or shoes, however.  Elvis shades sold separately.
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It’s Silver, Not Gold, and It’s a Jumpsuit:  Maybe this shouldn’t be here, but I just couldn’t resist Rock Star Lamé.  The designer combined two things Elvis is famous for—jumpsuits and shiny lamé—along with a Dracula cape and collar.  Now there’s a hybrid he won’t have to pay royalties to Graceland for.
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Wow, This is Some Book Cover:  Obviously a story about Cleopatra, complete with an Elizabeth Taylor image.  The cover mentions narcisic materilism, and unfortunately it seems they depict that with Elvis’ gold suit.  I’m not sure what Van Gogh’s head has to do it.  Pretty strange.  Watch out with that knee, Cleopatra.
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Elvis Plankwalker Replaces Luke Skywalker:  This is the screwiest image.  You have space creatures on a pirate ship making Elvis walk the plank. And he looks happy about it.  This came from Star Wars: Episode Vl –Return of The Jedi.  Of course, Star Wars superfans know that the space creatures are henchmen of Jabba The Hut, who has sentenced Luke to die.  The gang plank is on a desert skiff, not an ocean ship, and they are pushing Luke into the Sarlaac Pit, where he will be breakfast for a sand-dwelling monster.
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The Gold Suit Has A Double:  Here’s a shot from the TV miniseries Elvis that ran on CBS back in May 2005.  EPE backed this production, and they own the original suit, so you know they made an superb duplication of the famous gold lamé suit for the film.  Take a close look at this incredible suit.  How about those cuffs and lapels?  Look at that skinny tie.  If you have the DVD of Elvis, go to scene 10 and you can watch the Gold Lamé Suit performance over and over.  Try lots of freeze, slo-mo and single frame advance.  Somebody told me about that.  I would never do such a silly thing myself.

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And My Favorite:  This picture has appeared in ElvisBlog before, and it is at the top of my favorites.  The photo was taken on December 15, 2005 in Memphis after a Rolling Stones concert.  The Elvis cardboard stand-up was backstage, and the fellows to posed for some shots.  Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood are super fans of Scotty Moore.  I have a large reprint of this picture that Scotty autographed for me last year at Elvis Week.  The next time I’m hanging out with Keith and Ronnie, I’ll get them to sign it, too.

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©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

Images in Gold Lamé

The famous picture of Elvis in his gold lamé suit is one of the most iconic images in the world.  It has appeared so many places on the web that there is no need to reproduce it here.  You know the picture.  However, for years I have been collecting other photos of Elvis in that suit, and you probably haven’t seen most of them before.  So, let’s take a look at the most interesting ones.

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Elvis and Nudie:  The man standing next to Elvis is Nudie Cohn  who created the gold lame suit in 1957.  This creation rocketed Nudie to stardom and cemented his place in fashion history.  He is also given credit for being the first designer to put rhinestones on the outfits of country music singers, which led to the term Rhinestone Cowboy.  For more information on Nudie, check out his website here. 

Elvis first wore the gold lame suit on March 28, 1957 during a performance at the International Amphitheater in Chicago.  He wore the complete suit (jacket, pants, belt, tie and shoes) just two more times, in St. Louis the next night and later in the week in Toronto.

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A Different Look:  This photo was shot in Toronto on April 2, 1957.  It was the last time Elvis would wear the gold pants.  Copyright laws on photos are different in Canada than in the USA.  They last for the rest of the year in which a photo was taken, plus 50 years. But they can’t be renewed.  Ultimately, photographer Andrews Newton gave the photos and their copyrights to the City of Ottawa Archives.  But, on January 1, 2008, the picture went into the public domain.  My friend Alan Hanson, chief blogger honcho of www.Elvis-History-Blog.com, discovered this situation and made 8×10 high resolution copies of the original of this and many other concert photos.  He has them for sale on his blog site for $6.  I bought five of them, and they now adorn my ElvisBlog computer station.  I find cool pictures of Elvis from 1957 very inspiring.

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Gold Coat, Black Pants:  This is another photo available from Alan – on stage in Ottawa on April 3, 1957.  As you may know, Elvis disliked the gold pants.  He thought they were heavy and didn’t fit him well.  In addition, Elvis frequently dropped to his knees during performances, and this wore off the gold.  Consequently, he switched to black pants while performing in the gold coat.  Also gone was the gold tie.  A much better look for Elvis, don’t you think.

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Elvis In Motion:  This is another photo from Alan’s collection taken at the same concert, and it is one of my all-time favorite Elvis pictures.  You can be sure the audience was screaming when this one was taken.  To me, it is the essence of Elvis in concert, and I couldn’t wait to spend $6 for a copy of it.  When it arrived and I first looked at it, I thought Elvis was jumping and his feet were off the stage.  What do you think?

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Gold Coat In Color:  This is another concert photo, but it is not near as dramatic as the previous shots.  I believe this one was colorized.  I wish the first two pictures above were too, because you could easily see that the shoes were gold.  When Elvis toured again in late summer 1957, he no longer wore the gold shoes.  Of all the Elvis memorabilia, I think I would most prefer to own Elvis’ golden shoes.  Dream on, Phil.

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Gold Pants, No Gold Coat:  This is the reverse.  Elvis seems to be pretty happy, but we can’t tell how well the pants fit.  I don’t know who the two guys are.

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Elvis and Boots:  This photo of Boots Randolph on stage with Elvis was taken on March 25, 1961 at the Bloch Auditorium in Honolulu.  All proceeds from the concert went toward the USS Arizona Memorial.  The USS Arizona was one of twelve American warships sunk by the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.  Note that the shirt is different than in the earlier photos.  This was the last time Elvis wore the famous gold lamé coat.

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On Display at Graceland:  I’m not sure, but I think this is a photo of a previous exhibition display.  Graceland obtained the suit as part of the huge collection of Elvis memorabilia it purchased from Col. Parker after Elvis’ death.  You can’t see the knees, but Alan was there two years ago, and he said they showed no signs of wear.  He speculates that the Graceland archives people restored the pants to their original appearance.

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Today at Graceland:  I believe this is a shot of the current display at Graceland.  The legs are too dark to see anything, and you really can’t tell if the gold shoes are there.

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Mr. Gold Piano Man:  Elvis wearing the gold coat while playing the piano.  He looks like a young Liberace.  That’s scary.

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OK, that was a look at the serious side of the gold suit.  Next week, we will look at “Fun With Gold Lamé.”

 

©  2008   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net