Monthly Archives: December 2008

CALLING ALL GYRATERS

 

An e-mail from a PR person asks me if I might write an ElvisBlog article about an Elvis birthday party at a restaurant in Hawaii.  Not just any restaurant, but the famous MAC 24-7 restaurant and bar in the Hilton Waikiki.  This sounds like it could be a really good party, so I read on.

 

The e-mail itself is pretty much all business and to the point.  The best part is the end salutation.  Ms. Tess Staadecker signed off with:

 

Rock on,
Tess

 

Well, I know there is no way I can write an article about that party.  Too much like a commercial, and ElvisBlog doesn’t do commercials.  However, I do click on to the attached press release link just out of curiosity.  Although there is also no way I could go to the party, why not read about it, anyway.

I groan when I read the heading, and think, Tess, you are being very mean.  You tempt me with enticing words:

 

 

CALLING ALL GYRATERS AND HIP-SHAKERS
MAC 24-7 AT THE HILTON WAIKIKI / PRINCE KUHIO
ON JANUARY 8, 2009
** The King’s Birthday Party Festivities at the Graceland of Waikiki **

 

All right, we’re talking about a party of gyraters and hip-shakers.  I could fit right in there just fine.  But, I can’t go.  I start to regret reading the press release — a sense of remorse for having to miss this party.  But, I cheer up when I see the reference to Graceland of Waikiki.  I pause and wonder what the Graceland of Waikiki would look like.  I come up with palm trees and hula skirts, but no other ideas come, so I read on.

 

“Put on a pair of blue suede shoes and dance on down to MAC 24-7…”

 

Well done, Tess.  You continue to taunt me with these wonderful visions.  It's so easy to see myself having a blast with other Elvis fans at this party.  I take a deep breath and keep reading.  The restaurant will be featuring an item they call The Elvis Delight, which is described as “a golden fried banana, bacon, and peanut butter sandwich.”  I get it.  They’re doing a variation of the Elvis original peanut butter and nanner sandwich.  And you know Elvis would have liked it this way.  Loaded up with bacon would be just fine with him.

 

The price on the Elvis Delight is $14.50, but you also get a slice of sweet potato pie with your sandwich.  I wonder how that all would go with Scotch?  If you’re at this party, you’ll be doing some drinking, or at least I would.

 

On the other hand, The King Special sounds like it would go with Scotch quite well – “meat loaf with fried okra, tomato sauce, and hominy grits.”  I don’t know if we can trust someone in Hawaii to make good grits, but I’d give this meal a try for sure.  Even at $18.

 

But, the thing that really catches my eye is the “infamous” Elvis Mac-Daddy Pancakes.  For $14, you get “pancakes topped with crisp bacon, bananas and peanut butter sauce.”  Wow, that will never go with Scotch.  I’d have to switch over to Mountain Dew to get one of those babies down.

 

So, there are three food specialties for the party.  There is another good thing in threes – Elvis movies.  MAC 24-7 is showing Blue Hawaii, Girls, Girls, Girls, and Paradise, Hawaiian Style, all of which take place in Hawaii.  Yes, I can handle a triple-play of Elvis movies, eating an Elvis Delight sandwich for lunch and a King Special meat loaf for supper while I watch.  When the movies are finished, I move over to the bar for drinking and dancing.  Elvis music will be playing there for twelve straight hours.


After a night of fun at “The King’s Birthday Party Festivities,” I should be tired and hungry.  I wonder if any of those fine women in attendance would like to join me for a cup of coffee… and an Elvis MAC-Daddy Pancake.  Who could resist one of these?

 

 

 

 

 

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Guaranteed to get you gyrating.

 

 

 

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

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM ELVISBLOG

 

And Merry Christmas To You, Elvis

 

A CHRISTMAS THOUGHT FROM ELVISBLOG

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Too Many Santas – Let’s Have an Elvis

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            A few years ago, I took our two dogs to a local pet super-store and had their photograph taken with Santa Claus.  When my wife received the framed picture as a Christmas present, she loved it.

            I had spent an extra $6.00 for two pairs of optional cloth antlers to put on the dogs’ heads, so they looked like reindeer.  The photographer had to work fast once I got those things on, because my dogs didn't like them and started shaking them off immediately.  In a matter of seconds, the antlers were hanging from their necks.  Instead of looking like reindeer, they looked more like little cows with mutant udders.

            Speaking of going to see Santa Claus, there are some things I don't understand about the shopping-mall Santas.  Do little children ever ask, “Is that really Santa?”   And what do you answer?  Do you just say “Yes”, and live with the little white lie?  If you tell them it is the real Santa, you better not shop at another mall the same day, or you’ll have to explain how there are now two Santas.

            Of course, we all know the shopping mall Santas are actually part of an overt plan to sell photographs.  So, here's a new twist.

 

            Some year, one of the malls could get a huge advantage on the others in the area by skipping Santa and instead offering an Elvis tribute artist (can't call them Elvis impersonators anymore).  Sure, it's a far-out idea, but it has some merit.  For one thing, the mall would certainly get a lot of good buzz in the local press.

            Also, there’s a wonderful supply of trained men out there who qualify for the job.  These guys, already making a nice living as Elvis, can do impersonations of him at least as believable as those you get from the temp-worker Santas.

            It could also save the mall a lot of money, because they wouldn’t need an elaborate North Pole Village.  All it would require is an old Cadillac convertible, sitting on a low stage with a seasonal backdrop behind it.

            Once every half-hour, 'Elvis' would play a Karaoke CD on a jambox and sing along with some Elvis Christmas songs.  “Santa Claus is Back in Town,” his great blues-rocker, would be perfect.  “Blue Christmas” would work nicely, too.  Naturally, these performances would draw a crowd.

            Then those pretty helpers would assist parent and child to get into the front seat of the convertible with 'Elvis'.  He would warm up the youngster with some happy chatter, and then show how to use an old CB radio to talk to Santa back at the North Pole (where he should be).

            After the child tells Santa what he wants for Christmas, it's time for the photograph.  A camera, mounted about eight feet high in front of and to one side of the car, takes a wide shot that includes everyone in the front seat, surrounded by all that chrome and glass.  It could be as much a treat for Mom as for the children.

            In fact, if the guy is a close look-alike, I would gladly pay the price for a picture of Elvis and me — two pals cruising around in a Caddy…  I wonder if I can bring my dogs?

 

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

 

                                                                                  Phil Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister

 

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A Belated Look at Elvis' Most Expensive Jumpsuit

Back in early August, the Elvis websites with news sections all carried the story about his famous Peacock Jumpsuit selling for $300,000.  I printed out a few articles with good intentions of finding a different twist on the story to do on ElvisBlog.  However, those plans got waylaid.  The first thing to distract me was Elvis Week.  Then there was the discovery of some good stuff on the web that encouraged prompt creation of columns on the comic book series “Elvis Shrugged” and on the unique 1955 concert starring Elvis, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

Then my wife had open heart surgery, which meant I didn’t even think about writing any ElvisBlog articles for three weeks.  As she slowly recovered, I gradually got back in the old groove by doing easier, less challenging subjects.  By then, I had forgotten about the Peacock Jumpsuit story.  However, a recent effort to clean up the stuff on my desk uncovered the old articles I had saved.  It was time to do something on Elvis’ famous Peacock Jumpsuit.

This is the picture supplied by auctioneer Gotta Have It Collectibles that sold the jumpsuit to an unnamed “Big Elvis Collector.”  It may be the only jumpsuit design that goes from the back around to the hip and all the way down the left leg.

 

Here is a front shot.  Although the huge belt covers part of the design, we can tell it is a duplicate of the back design with the tail feathers continuing down the right leg.

 

Here is a close-up of the peacock.  Look at all those jewels and studs.  No wonder it cost Elvis $10,000 to have it made by Bill Belew, the man who created his stage costumes from 1969 to 1977.  The auction house press release says, “It captured the rock ‘n’ roll legend’s fascination with peacocks as a good luck symbol.”  I’ve looked for some confirmation of this fascination, but all I’ve found is the beautiful stained-glass peacocks in front of the piano room at Graceland.

 

Elvis first wore the Peacock jumpsuit on May 11, 1974, at the Forum in Las Angeles.  Here is a list of the other 1974 concerts where it is certain he wore the suit, but there probably more shows that need confirmation:

June 15 – Tarrant City Center, Fort Worth, TX
June 21 – Convention Center, Cleveland, OH
June 22 – Civic Center, Providence, RI
June 23 – The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA
June 26 – Fair & Expo C-Hall, Louisville, KY
June 30 – Omaha Civic Auditorium, Omaha, NE
August 19 – Hilton Hotel, Las Vegas, NV
September 27 – College Park Field House, Baltimore, MD
October 2 – Civic Center, St. Paul, MN
October 8 – Convention Center, San Antonio, TX

 

Here are two photographs of Elvis performing at those concerts.  The belt design seems to be different than on the second photo above.

     

 

The Peacock Jumpsuit has been featured on the cover of albums, both an official RCA release and bootlegs.  Here is the 1975 release Promised Land.  Note that the back cover features the American Eagle Jumpsuit.

     

 

Here is the Live in Louisville bootleg CD and the book Elvis 1935-1977.

     
          
 

The $300,000 paid for the Peacock Jumpsuit is reported to be the highest price for an Elvis collectible, narrowly beating his 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark ll that went for $295,000.  The last two jumpsuit sales we know of went for considerably less.  The Nail Mirror Jumpsuit sold for $125,000 at the Elvis Empire Auction in Beverly Hills in 2006, when Regency Superior auctioned off the entire private collection of Jim Curtain and brought in over $2 million.   In 1999, the famous Aloha Cape was sold at Graceland by auctioneer Guernsey’s for $105,250.


Not only is the original Peacock Jumpsuit the most expensive ever sold, the reproduction of it brings a top price, too.  The online catalog for B&K Enterprises lists it at $5,500, beating out four others tied at $4,300: Sundial, Gypsy, Inca, and Alpine.  Here is the picture of the Peacock Jumpsuit from the BK catalog.

I don’t know where the cape came from, because none of the photos of the original suit show a cape.  Maybe B&K Enterprises just thought that would be a cool addition to the ensemble.  However, if you want to stay true to the original, you can skip the cape and buy the suit for just $3,750.  Wouldn’t you like one of those for Christmas?

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

CAPTION CONTEST # 4 WINNER

Congratulations to reader Bob Strother for the caption below.  The next Caption Contest will be posted the Sunday after Christmas.

"I need that wrench on the floor behind you. Could you reach around and get it for me, please."

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 13

 

Elvis’ Opening Act in Las Vegas:  Comedian Sammy Shore was the opening act for Elvis in Las Vegas from 1969 to 1972.  Shore’s act relied on wacky physical comedy, but he was an old-school comic who kept it clean.  Both Elvis and Col. Parker liked that about Shore when they saw him open for Tom Jones three weeks before Elvis’ engagement at the International Hotel began.  Parker offered him the slot as opening act for Elvis, and Shore jumped at the chance.  I like the line he worked into his act about all of the bodyguards Elvis needed to keep away the hordes of girls.  Shore said, “Why don’t you go where all the girls won’t bother you – my dressing room.”

An Elvis Asteroid:  I’m always a little hesitant to repeat assertions about Elvis that I read on Wikipedia, but this one has a ring of authority.  Asteroids are all given a number and some get a name.  #17059 is Elvis.  Other notable asteroids include #2309 – Mr. Spock, #2001 – Einstein, and #5450 – Socrates.

Frank Sinatra Quotes about Elvis:  Look how Frank Sinatra changed his opinion of Elvis over the years.
1956 – “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac.  It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
1977 – “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances over the years, all of which I agree wholeheartedly.  I shall miss him dearly as a friend.  He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”

Elvis Versus Beethoven:  Two freshmen Yale students spent their Christmas 1956 holiday in Manhattan.  Their taste in music did not include Rock & Roll, and they became alarmed at the number of “I Like Elvis” buttons they saw.  For a $45 investment they produced 1,000 “I Like Ludwig” buttons, referencing classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  According to Time Magazine, they set up placards with this slogan on it:  “Combat The Menace!  Get Your Ludwig Button.”  In a matter of hours, they sold all 1000 for 15ȼ each to their former classmates at the New York High School of Music and Art.  That’s pretty amazing, and it earned them a few bucks.  However, I’ll bet it can’t compare to what Elvis made on his buttons.

Something Different in an Elvis Poem:  There have been hundreds of poems written about Elvis and most of them been sincere, adoring, and gushing with syrupy sweet sentiment.  You don’t find many like this one.  The author is unknown, but he obviously didn’t like his daughter’s obsession with Elvis.

ENOUGH OF ELVIS

I’ve simply had all I can take
I’ve got an Elvis bellyache
My teenage daughter’s in a trance
I fear she’ll get St. Vitus dance!

That be-bop business was bad enough
But this Presley Hound Dog stuff
On radio, records and TV
It’s just too dog gone much for me.

I think I’ll down some real corn liquor
Then go after that cotton-picker
Fix them sideburns with the shears
And wrap that geetar ‘round his ears.

Just think how peaceful it would be
Without that guy from Tennessee.

Colonel Parker Cheerleading for an Elvis Movie Contract:  Col. Parker never missed an opportunity to promote his client, Elvis Presley.  On March 26, 1956, Elvis had a screen test for Hal Wallis at Paramount Studios, but Wallis did not immediately offer Elvis a contract.  After two weeks of waiting, Col. Parker decided to drum up some fan support.  During the intermissions at two Elvis concerts in the Denver Coliseum on April 8, Col. Parker went on stage and announced, “If you want to see Elvis Presley in the movies, write to Paramount Pictures.”  This same tactic was probably used at the other shows on this tour, and it may have worked.  On April 25, Elvis finalized a seven-movie deal that paid him $15,000 for his first film, $20,000 for his second, and so on.  In retrospect, it seems Parker should have held out for more.  Elvis was getting that kind of money for TV appearances later in the year. 

Worst Dressed Males:  In 1957 columnist Hedda Hopper presented her list of the worst-dressed personalities, and Elvis was one of the offending males.  However, he had some pretty good company.  Also included were Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Tab Hunter, Dennis Hopper, Paul Newman, and Bing Crosby.

Who Started Elvis Week?:  Graceland did not open to the public until 1982, but the genesis of Elvis Week occurred a few years earlier with no assistance from EPE.  In 1978, one year after Elvis died, a number of fans gathered outside the gates, lit candles and spent the evening talking and reminiscing.  The next year there were more.  The first organized ceremony is credited to the Elvis Country Fan Club based in Austin, Texas.  Each year, more and more fans came to Memphis for the candlelight tribute, and various other activities were organized.  Graceland opened to the public in the summer of 1982, and fans urged EPE management to open the gates at midnight, August 16, during the candlelight tribute.  Management agreed, and allowed the fans to walk single-file up the driveway to Elvis’ gravesite and back down.  With the growing influx of fans to Memphis each August, Graceland/EPE took the lead in organizing Elvis Week from then on.  But, it was the fans that got it started.

Kelly Osbourne’s Elvis Themed Wedding?:  Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne has a daughter named Kelly who will wed model Luke Worrell in Las Vegas next spring.  So what will the daughter of the former Black Sabbath frontman have for her wedding décor?  Bats?  Coffins?  Vampires?  No, Kelly Osbourne is planning an Elvis-themed affair.  A friend is quoted, “They want their wedding to be fun rather than a big, solemn occasion.  They share the same sense of humor and unconventional streak, so they want to celebrate with something different and memorable.”  OK, just so an Elvis impersonator doesn’t come out of a coffin and bite the head off a bat.

 

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