Monthly Archives: January 2010

Postscripts to Earlier ElvisBlogs — 4

It’s been four months since the last Postscripts, and lots of interesting photos have cropped up that relate to earlier blogs.  Here’s a look at several of them.  Click on the titles below to see the original columns.

 

Elvis Birthday Cakes:  Three weeks ago, we looked at Elvis birthday cakes, including the one presented to him on the set of King Creole when he turned 23 in 1958.  Elvis was also filming a movie on January 8, 1961, when he turned 26.  Here is Elvis and the cake, along with costar Hope Lang, during the filming of Wild in the Country.

More NodNiks:  Back in December, we zoomed in on the heads of various Elvis figurines, bobbleheads and Christmas ornaments available at www.ShopElvis.com.   I was not particularly charmed by the two NodNiks, mainly because their marshmallow-shaped heads looked kind of stupid to me.  However, the promo text said they were the next big thing with young collectors.  Perhaps this isn’t just wishful thinking.  Certainly, they will have better success with these other choices.

                            


Giant Elvis Pez:  In that same blog article, I stated that my favorite little Elvis collectible was Jumpsuit Elvis Pez from the three-pack gift tin.  However, not all Elvis Pezes (Pez Elvises?) are small.  How about a three-foot tall Giant Elvis Pez?  The one on the right is available in the Cirque du Soleil Viva Elvis gift shop in Las Vegas.  The one with the TCB shield actually has a chip in it that plays an Elvis song.

  

Mixed Media Elvis Art:  Back in August, we looked at Elvis Images constructed of various unusual materials.  Google Images picked up several of them, and the Elvis bust made of matchsticks has brought many folks to ElvisBlog.  Now we have a similar bust made from colored matchsticks:

The same article contained an Elvis Statue made entirely of butter.  Since then, we have found another Elvis butter statue which includes a hound dog.  To keep this fair and balanced, here is a butter statue of Michael Jackson and his pet chimp.

 

Again, in that old article, we looked at two Elvis images done on toast.  One was scratched out on one piece of toast; the other contained hundreds of pieces.  Here is one in between with Elvis’ face on thirty pieces of toast.

 

Elvis M&M Ornament for Christmas:  Prior to Christmas 2008, we looked at the wide variety of Elvis M&M Christmas tree ornaments that were available.  Now, the selection is even better, expanding to free-standing models.  Here is “A Little M Conversation” M&M Elvis.  Sorry to be a critic, but what’s with the eyebrows up on the top of the head?  Kind of looks like Groucho Marx hair, doesn’t it?  And what’s that thing he is holding in his left hand?  At $20, I’ve got to pass on this one.

 

Pick the Better Elvis Image:  Last fall, this article contained two Photoshopped pictures depicting Elvis as Superman.  Here’s one more with young Elvis as Superboy.  I still don’t know why nobody has done Elvis as Captain Marvel Jr., who was the super hero that young Elvis admired so much:

                  

Look at all the things Elvis copied from Captain Marvel Jr. and his alter-ego Freddy Freeman:  the hairdo, the lightning bolt (in his TCB Logo), the cape, and the white scarves around the neck.

In Search of Historic Elvis:  This column from early December 2009 was a little short on pictures.  Here is a photo of an ancient Elvis petroglyph that could have fit right in.

Like we’ve said here many times before, Elvis is everywhere.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

75 Reasons We (Still) Love Elvis

Like all of you, I am a big Elvis fan who recently celebrated his 75th birthday on January 8.  Perhaps you had an experience like I did on that day.  A number of friends sent me e-mails telling me to check out Elvis links on the web they thought would interest me.  You got some, too, didn’t you?

One friend suggested I check out www.spinner.com for their article “75 Reasons We (Still) Love Elvis.”  Spinner.com is a music website, but when I checked it today, their top three stories were about the bands Ting Tings and Mission of Burma and singer Jason Karaban.  So, it is safe to say that their sphere of interest generally doesn’t include music of the 50s, 60s or 70s.

In my opinion, the Spinner staff members who put together their list could not possibly be true Elvis fans.  They simply needed a total of 75 items, and they didn’t know enough about Elvis to come up with that many good ones.  Here are some of their stupidest reasons they supposedly still love Elvis:

#64 The NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies’ blue suede sneakers
#57 Luka Blooms’s version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
#54 Dexter Romweber, bastard son
#52 Bobbie Ann Mason’s brief “Penguin Live” bio
#41 Eminem, “Without Me”
#40 Other Elvises: Costello, Grbac, Stojko, Perkins
#37 Fine Young Cannibals’ version of “Suspicious Minds”
#36 Dead Kennedy’s version of “Viva Las Vegas”
#29 His sons-in-law: Nic Cage and the King of Pop
#21 Spinal Tap’s harmony-challenged rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel”
#12 Kim Jong Il’s man-crush

OK, they picked five other artists’ versions of famous Elvis songs and four other people who have the same Elvis first name.  What totally lame reasons to say they still love Elvis Presley.  How do you like the two ex-sons-in-law they picked?  Why not the fathers of Elvis’ four grandchildren:  Danny Keough and Michael Lockwood?

I had to Google Bobbie Ann Mason to find out what “Penguin Live” was all about.  It is a book about Elvis that must be terrible, because you can buy it on Amazon.com for 92ȼ new or 8ȼ used (Seriously. Shipping is $3.99).  Likewise, Wikipedia reveals that Dexter Romweber is a modern-day singer who affects an Elvis-style stage demeanor.  Yes, sir, those two certainly make me still love Elvis.

When I Googled Kim Jong Il and Elvis, at least a photo came up.  It was a Photoshopped picture from a parody website called Kim Jong Il Gallery in 2006.  I don’t know how Spinner.com derived a man-crush from this:

 

To be fair, about half of the Spinner.com list did make sense.  Here are some of the ones I like:

#74 Nickname: “The Memphis Flash
#71 Shaking hands with Nixon
#68 Vernon and Gladys
#67 Scotty Moore and Bill Black, hanging on for dear life
#61 Singing to a basset hound
#60 The “Jailhouse Rock” dance
#49 The American Eagle cape
#43 Graceland
#34 Sideburns
#25 The Elvis stamp
#18 “Elvis In Concert”
#16 Buying his black-and-pink “cat clothes” from Lansky’s on Beale Street
#8   “Elvis: That’s The Way It Is”
#6   The Million Dollar Quartet
#5   Grilled peanut butter and banana sandwiches
#3   “The ’68 Comeback”
#2   “That’s All Right”
#1   “Thank you… thank you vurry much!”

They actually did a pretty good job on the ones at the top of the list.  But, if you or I were to sit down and make our own list of reasons we still love Elvis, we would have no trouble coming up with more than 75 good ones.

I think I’ll give the list a try on his birthday next year – “The Top 76 Reasons ElvisBlog Loves Elvis.”  I promise you Dexter Romweber, Kim Jong Il and Michael Jackson will not be on it.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

What Elvis Would Look Like at 75

 

(Editor's Note)  To see what Hollywood thinks a 75 year old Elvis looks like, click here.

 

I got up early on the morning of January 8, Elvis’ birthday, so I could watch Harum Scarum on Turner Classic Movies.  They were doing an all-day marathon of Elvis movies, but I knew my wife would give me a lot of grief about wasting so much time watching films I had seen many times already.  At least, she would still be asleep while I took in the first one.

However, because I had seen Harum Scarum quite a few times, I also turned on my laptop and opened e-mail.  You know, multi-tasking.  To my surprise, there was a message form Chris Kensler, Director of Entertainment/Style at FoxNews.com.  They were putting the finishing touches on their article celebrating Elvis 75th Birthday, and they wanted permission to use a picture of old Elvis from a 2008 ElvisBlog article titled “Fun With Elvis on Photoshop – 2”.

 

Well, I had to be honest with FoxNews.  It wasn’t my photo.  I found it somewhere on the web and have seen it numerous places since.  So, I wrote back and told him that the picture belonged to the tabloid Weekly World News and that they had used it on at least two of their covers over the years.

                   

The first one appeared during the 2004 Presidential campaign between George Bush and John Kerry.  Don’t you just love the headline:  “Alien Slimes Teresa Heinz Kerry – With Ketchup”  I bought the second issue a year later. And it was the inspiration for the ElvisBlog article “Elvis Is Alive – and Running for President.”  I also enjoyed reading about the “Seeing Eye Squirrels for Dogs.”

As I stated in my article, old Elvis looked really good in this picture.  Unfortunately, that is not the case with most of the other depictions of 70 or 75 year-old Elvis that have appeared on the web.  Here is probably the one where he looks the worse.

From a technical standpoint, this one is very well done.  You can still see recognizable elements of Elvis, but why the bald head?  Elvis’ dad, Vernon, still had a full head of wavy hair when he died, so I’d like to believe Elvis would have retained lots of good looking hair had he lived until his seventies.

Here is a different attempt.  In a quickie Photoshop effort, someone simply changed Elvis’ hair color to gray.  However, nothing else is altered, so it doesn’t look very realistic.

 

Here is the reverse.  This picture still keeps the young Elvis hair but has aged all the facial features.  Given the choice, I would pick the one above.  Maybe, it’s the jumpsuit.

The last two old Elvises are interesting because they show the original “before” Elvis picture alongside the altered “old” Elvis picture.

 

I guess this is a pretty accurate illustration of the aging process, but I don’t like it.  Maybe, it’s because I see a little of George Wallace in it.

 

This could be the most accurate guess at what Elvis would look like at 75.  Do you see a little resemblance to Arnold Palmer? 

 

The handsome Elvis picture from Weekly World News is probably too good to be true, but you can see why FoxNews.com would have wanted to use it in their story.  I’m sorry I couldn’t help them, because I would have asked for a link to ElvisBlog, which might have brought lots of people to the site.  But things turned out OK, anyway.  ElvisBlog had 6,214 hits on Elvis' birthday, so I had two things to celebrate.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Happy Martin Luther King Day, Elvis

Monday, January 18, is the day we celebrate Martin Luther King’s birthday.  Of course, this is not his real birthday.  Dr. King was born on January 15, but Congress chose to designate the third Monday in January as the official M.L. King federal holiday.

I think Dr. King deserves his recognition, but I think Elvis does, too.  That’s why I proposed Kings Day, the second Monday in January, to honor both Martin Luther King and Elvis, the King of Rock and Roll.  Click here to read the blog article where I presented the case for this special day.

 

 

Realistically, my idea will never get any traction, but if it did, wouldn’t this picture be great at the top of hundreds of petitions circulating around the country?

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis' Grandchildren Cut 75th Birthday Cake

In the last ElvisBlog article, we looked at the sketch of the winning design for the special Elvis 75th birthday cake to be unveiled at Graceland on January 8.  I promised to show a photo of the actual cake as soon as it was available.  Well, here it is, and there is a big surprise.  Cutting the cake are Riley and Ben Keough, Elvis' oldest grandchildren.

Riley and Ben Keough

 

Danielle Riley Keough is twenty years old.  She is a successful model and has a supporting role in the soon to be released Joan Jett biopic The Runaways.  Benjamin Storm Keough is seventeen years old.  It was recently reported that he signed a $5 million recording contract, but his mother Lisa Marie has refuted that.  Her ex-husband, musician Danny Keough, is Ben and Riley's father.

You can't see much of Riley's face in the above photo, and that's too bad, because she is a beautiful young lady.  Here's a recent close-up:

 

Riley and Ben's grandmother, Priscilla Presley, was asked it was like to have them at the 75th Birthday event:  “I thought, my gosh, if Elvis only knew that he would have such beautiful grandchildren, so supportive to him, and how beautiful they are. It is bittersweet. He would have been very, very proud, absolutely very proud of his grandchildren.”

 

(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Cakes — Elvis' 75th Birthday Photo Review

I’m going to have fun checking out what a number of my favorite websites do to celebrate Elvis’ 75th birthday.  I’m sure there will be some great retrospectives and well-written eulogies.  That’s fine, but I’m not going to get so serious about it.  Let’s just start with the official Graceland 75th Birthday Cake and expand from there.

Back in early December, EPE announced a cake designing contest, with the winning cake to be unveiled and served on January 8 at Graceland.  Four finalists were selected, and we fans were able to vote on line for our favorites.  Here is the sketch of the cake that won the prize:

 

 I’m sure the actual cake will look much better than this drawing. Here’s a little description to help you appreciate it.  Stars shoot out of the top around a big Elvis in script.  Dangling just below this are little TCB lightning bolts.  I like that touch.  Then there is the first of several Elvis silhouettes in blue suede icing.  Dropping lower we have the American Eagle from the Aloha for Hawaii jumpsuit cape, followed by the gates of Graceland, more silhouettes and a bunch of white icing.  Over three feet tall.

When Graceland posts a photo of the actual cake, I’ll add a link to it here.  However,  I voted for a different cake.

This one has a even worse drawing, but it features a lot of clothing synonymous with Elvis.   You’ve got the Army hat.  Then there are two jumpsuit capes coming down the sides.  A little Elvis is there in his Jailhouse Rock outfit in front of open cell doors.  His head is framed by an iconic jumpsuit belt buckle.  The design finishes up with blue-suede shoes on top of a wide bottom layer of cake covered with icing in the flowery pattern of his Blue Hawaii shirt.  I can’t  guess what the white blobby-looking thing to the left of the guitar is.  At almost four feet tall, this one is a giant uncoordinated mess, which is why I voted for it.

Here are a few birthday cakes folks have created to honor Elvis.

              
               

I like the little gold icing Elvis silhouette and the little miniature records and guitars. But, how hard must it be to make a little Elvis head out of icing?  Pretty hard, by the looks of this one.  Elvis never had hair that looked like a Kewpie Doll.
                

            

These two get awards for clever use of cut-out Elvis pictures incorporated into the cake design.

 

Believe it or not, the hound dog is cake.  Notice the little doggie bowl on the bottom left.  And the teddy bear next to it.  All good connections to Elvis, but is that thing in front of the dog an Army helmet?  Bad choice.  And what’s with the fat head poking out from under a Stars and Stripes blanket?

ElvisBlog is big on anniversaries.  Here is a picture of Elvis holding his 25th birthday cake in 1960.  He was still in the Army in Germany at this time.

I guess you could call this the Elvis 25th birthday 50th anniversary celebration.  That’s a couple of major ones.

Here’s two photos of Elvis and his 23rd birthday cake.

              

These were taken on the set of King Creole in New Orleans, 1958.  That is co-star Delores Hart on the left.  Not sure who the other lovely lady on the right is.  It looks like Elvis sat down to cut his cake, but lit up a cigar instead.  I’ll bet Elvis got some good presents for his 23rd birthday.

I wish he was around now to get some for his 75th.

Happy Birthday, Elvis.

 

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogger    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Music: The Year in Review — 40th Anniversary Edition

I was mulling over possibilities for a good year-end review to write about, and for a second, I thought of reviewing the year’s music.  But, that would be ridiculous.  I have no idea what’s going on in popular music today.

I Googled the Billboard Top 10, and I never heard of seven of those singers.  And, for the other three, whose names were vaguely familiar, I haven’t heard any of the music they put out.  So, I can’t review 2009.

However, I can do a bang-up job on one year I remember very well:  1969.  I doubt seriously there has ever been another year with so much going on in rock music.  And, that includes Elvis, of course.  Fortunately, I have something that helps me reminisce about what happened in 1969.  Time magazine published TIME 1969 – 40th Anniversary Special, and a friend gave me a copy.  Here is a list of the music-related themes they cover in the book:

Beatles’ break-up, and their last concert from a rooftop.
The Doors’ Jim Morrison arrested for exposing himself during a concert.
John Lennon and Yoko in the public eye doing weird stuff.
A stabbing death at the Rolling Stones’ Altamont Concert.
Elvis returns to live performances in Las Vegas.

That would be enough for any year, but there was also the biggest event of all:

 

TIME 1969 devoted ten pages to Woodstock, included color photos of Santana, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and others.  I had three close friends who went to Woodstock. I had a chance to join them, but, for unavoidable reasons, it just couldn’t happen.  Missing my chance to go with them to Woodstock has stayed a big disappointment to me all these years.  When I looked at those old crowd pictures in Time 1969, it made me sigh.  Oh, well.

The Beatles incredible album Abbey Road was praised in a one-page article.  Three times as much space was spent on another story about the Beatles’ demise, including that last unsuccessful recording session and their strange last concert on the Abbey Road Studio rooftop.  It was their first live performance in three years, and the fans couldn’t see them.

John Lennon was in the book two more times.  The first was the famous Bed-In in a hotel suite, where he introduced the song “Give Peace A Chance.”   (Remember, 1969 was a big year for the Vietnam War, too.)

John and Yoko also appeared in another section of the book, with all the juicy tid-bits on his divorce and almost immediate marriage to Yoko.  They put out their first single, modestly titled “The Ballad of John and Yoko.”

A black-and-white photograph and the text about Jim Morrison’s public exposure problem used up half a page.  Morrison was all in black leather, so they didn’t need color.

Three other rockers shared a page:  Sly and the Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the Jackson 5.  They all enjoyed huge career successes that year.

TIME 1969 does a good job describing the Rolling Stones’ deadly concert at Altamont in California.  The photo they show has Mick Jagger staring at the man down on the stage with a bunch of Hell’s Angels glowering over him.  That was the last time anybody used the Angels for concert security.
 

So, how did Elvis do?  He got just one page, but it does have a terrific color picture of him and Priscilla.  The text mentions his ‘68 Comeback Special and their marriage a bit, but mostly it covers his return to the stage in Las Vegas.  Here is an original quote from Time magazine:

 “He stepped onstage in front of a gold lamé curtain at Las Vegas’ new International Hotel, coordinated his pelvic girdle and his phallic guitar, closed his eyes, tossed his head and sent a solar wind of nostalgia over the 2000… folks assembled for opening night.”

 

 

Music was a big part of my life in 1969, and I connected with the events in the Time 1969 review.  I owned the magnificent Abbey Road and played it until it almost wore out.  I had several Doors albums and was saddened two years later when Jim Morrison’s death meant no more music from them.  I loved all three block-buster albums CCR released in their debut year.  I watched TV with amusement when John Lennon did interviews and sang songs from his hotel bed.

I didn’t have the money for a Las Vegas trip, so I never saw Elvis perform in 1969, and I miss that.  However, that’s nothing compared to the deep regret I have for my near-miss of going to Woodstock.  Forty years later, it’s still a bummer, man.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net