Monthly Archives: December 2010

Happy New Year, Elvis

This appears to be a complimentary pass to Vernon Presley, Elvis’ father.  Was the Hilton tying to coax Elvis into doing a New Year’s Eve concert gig?  That would have been an incredible combo:  New Years Eve, Las Vegas, and Elvis.  Let’s party!

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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


Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan and Elvis

My friend Troy over at The Mystery Train Elvis Blog took exception to something I wrote in the ElvisBlog article three weeks ago.  In a pictorial feature on Elvis’ movie Flaming Star, I showed six Andy Warhol silkscreens created from one of the movie’s publicity photos of Elvis.  Troy found it inexplicable that I dismissed the Warhol works as not art.

Actually, what I said was that they didn’t look like art to me.  I have no problem that the rest of the world considers them art. However, I’ve always heard that art was in the eye of the beholder, and I’m sorry, but I just don’t get the Warhol Elvis images.  They seem drab and simplistic, and I don’t like the repetition of the same idea in so many pieces.  Here’s one more Warhol Elvis creation I missed in the article.  Even more repetition.


Troy also mentioned in his blog article that he had seen Warhol’s “Triple Elvis” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.  I suspect that seeing the real work close up makes a much more favorable impression on you than does a small internet photo.  So, maybe someday I’ll see one and change my mind.

Out of curiosity, I Googled “Warhol Triple Elvis Virginia Museum Fine Arts” to learn a bit more.  Then I switched the search to Google Images.  I do this often.  The standard Google Web search is best when hunting specific information.  But Images search is best if you enjoy going to unusual websites.  You just click on an interesting Elvis picture and you never know what you might find.  That’s how I found a most interesting story about Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, and one of his Elvis paintings.  It was written by Fred Bal on one of his six blogs.



In 1965, the careers of Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol were kicking into high gear.  They were both in New York City, so, it’s no surprise they would team up on a project.  Dylan came over to Warhol’s famous Factory studio for what he called his “screen test.”  Actually, Warhol made a filmed portrait of Dylan – a 15-minute black-and-white study in stillness, silence, and emptiness.  (I probably wouldn’t find that to be art, either.)

In Warhol’s studio at that time was his silkscreened painting known as either “Silver Elvis” or “Double Elvis.”  Supposedly, Dylan decided he wanted the “Double Elvis” as his payment for his screen test.  After some haggling, Warhol reluctantly gave in.  Two of Dylan’s friends quickly hustled the painting down the freight elevator before Warhol could change his mind.

 Photo by Nat Finkelstein

Dylan’s people strapped this painting to the top of a station wagon and drove off.   Fortunately, the “Double Elvis” was not damaged.  They probably didn’t realize just how valuable their cargo was (or would be someday), or they never would have taken the chance.

In the late 60s, Warhol started hearing rumors that Dylan had banished the “Double Elvis” to a closet, or hung it upside down, or used it as a dart board.  According to the rumors, Dylan now harbored a disdain for Warhol, after mutual friend Edie Sedgewick suffered a drug-induced death.  Warhol has written, “Dylan didn’t like me… he blamed me for Edie’s drugs.”

What Dylan actually did with the “Double Elvis” is very weird.  He traded it to his manager, Albert Grossman, for a couch.  That’s right – a couch !   Years Later, Grossman’s widow picked up a cool $750,000 for “Double Elvis.”  I hope Dylan liked his couch.

One indication that Andy Warhol’s Elvis silk-screens have reached iconic status is the fact that other creative people have Photoshopped them.  Here is one that was obviously inspired by the rumor that Dylan used to throw darts at his Warhol Elvis picture.


This is one you can probably do yourself without Photoshop if you have a couple of $20 bills.


And finally, here is one that Troy at The Mystery Train blog and I can both agree on.

This is not art !!!

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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


Merry Christmas, Elvis


If you cruise the internet looking for Elvis photos to save, like I do, you can run into Elvis Christmas pictures at any time of the year.  Then, at the end of each year, it’s nice to have a wonderful collection of new ones to share with you.  So here is my 2010 Christmas salute to Elvis.  Let’s call it “Christmas with the King.” 


This came from the Elvis Italian Collectors Club website, and I think it was created by a woman named Katia.  I don’t know Italian, so I can’t be sure, but you did a nice job, Katia.


This shot of the Presley family and Anita Wood around the tree opening presents is one I had never seen before this year.  It was probably Christmas 1957, because Anita and Elvis were very involved before he went into the Army in March 1058.


Here’s a little Christmas Elvis humor for you.  I love the look on the faces of those two elves.


Here’s a nice message in a card sent out in1965.  I like it much better than those earlier cards with Christmas wishes from Elvis and the Colonel.



Of course, you already knew that Santa has a picture of Elvis on the side of his sleigh.


If you want more proof that Santa is an Elvis fan, here he is wearing an Elvis-style jumpsuit and signature sunglasses.


And Elvis was a big Santa fan.  Here he is looking spiffy wearing a Santa hat.


On Sunday, December 3, 1967, a radio special called Season’s Greetings From Elvis aired on over 2,000 stations across the United States.  This seems to be some kind of press kit or promotional material for it.  At the very bottom is small print with a different message:  “Give Elvis for Christmas.”  I like that.


This is the second new family Christmas photo I discovered this year.  Look at cute little Lisa Marie between Elvis and the tree.


How about this – a Blue Christmas one million dollar bill with Elvis in a Santa hat on the front and a snowy Graceland scene on the back.  But what’s up with the violin?  Shouldn’t that be a guitar?



Here’s another one from the Elvis Italian Collectors Club website.  It is very pretty, but I wish the message was Merry Christmas, not Happy Holidays.  I’ll bet Elvis never wished anyone “Happy Holidays.”



Elvis got it right on this autograph dated December 23, 1956.

And… Merry Christmas to you, Elvis.


©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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

Elvis and the Island of Misfit Gifts

Do you remember the Christmas video Rudolph: The Island of Lost Toys?  It was the sequel to the classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and it still shows up on television from time to time.

I saw this publicity still on the internet and thought there might be a parallel in Elvisworld.  Over the past fifty-five years, there have been many, many Elvis products introduced – and some were pretty crummy.  I know, because I’ve received some of them as Christmas presents.

So, if there was an Elvis Island of Misfit Gifts, here are some strange items that should be there.


Elvis Bikini:  Would any of you ladies really wear this?  Probably not, when you consider where the words “Good Rockin’ Tonight” are positioned when the pants are on.  Remember, terms like Rock and Roll and Good Rockin’ originally were euphemisms for having sex, so some folks who see you in this suit might get the wrong message.  On the other hand, if you are on vacation and looking to make things happen, the old Elvis bikini might just do it.


Elvis Guitar:  This one actually freaks me out.  Elvis’ head looks like some kind of mutant growth on the side of the guitar.  I just don’t think any up-an-coming young guitar player would be caught dead with this thing.  Can't you just see a high school kid cringe when Grandma gives him this guitar for Christmas?



Elvis for Dummies:  This might actually be full of good stuff about Elvis, but so are lots of other books.  If a real Elvis fan owns this, it probably was a Christmas present from some relative who doesn’t have a clue.



Elvis Toilet Seat Cover:   There is one way this could be an okay gift.  It would work for those really committed fans who have their own Elvis Room — and there is a bathroom right across the hall.  It probably already has a bunch of overflow stuff from the Elvis Room, so the Elvis toilet seat cover will work out there just fine.


Hunk ‘A  Burnin’ Love Coffee Mug:   I have received other Elvis coffee mugs for Christmas, and they're fine.  But, this mug is a definite misfit.  Why a cartoon Elvis?  Especially one with no nose or mouth.  In this image, Elvis looks like he has a duck bill.  And, it also looks likes he is giving the finger. 



50s Elvis Hat:  Maybe this hat was cool back in the 50s, but I doubt it.  Dorky and Elvis just don’t mix. It says GALS on the sign, so maybe the Elvis Presley hat looked good on them.


Elvis Sex Toy:  Just kidding.  But, the real product description doesn’t make much more sense:  “Elvis Keyboard Cleaner Brush.”   I guess you lift the hair off and it’s the handle for the brush.



Elvis Airplane Teapot:   I have photos of other Elvis teapots, but they are just variations of Elvis’ head.  This one goes farther and has Elvis in an airplane.  I don’t know what that other little snowman is about, unless he is an alternate lid for the pot.  Not much of an improvement, is it?


Elvis Album Cover Necktie:  I actually have this one, and, yes, it was a Christmas present.  Because I wear ties only at weddings or funerals, I guess my Elvis tie will never get out of the closet.  Maybe I’ll have some occasion to wear it as a joke.



Elvis and Nixon Globe:   Graceland snow globes are nifty.  Elvis and Nixon globes…not so much.


Elvis Impersonator Wine Caddy:   The ad on the internet actually calls this “Custom Elvis Impersonator Wine Caddy.”  Why Elvis impersonator and not Elvis?  Maybe they knew it was too ugly for Graceland to make it an EPE licensed product, so they couldn’t call it Elvis.  All I know is, the next time I want to carry some wine around, it won’t be in one of these misfits.


Betty Boop Bobbler:   Let’s see, the stand says “Elvis,” and that looks like a white Elvis jumpsuit.  But, what’s with Betty Boop?  Very strange.


Elvis Plush Toy:   There must be hundreds of Elvis plush toys out there, and this may be the worst.  And what is that yellow hot-dog-looking thing sitting on his feet? 

I do not own any Elvis plush toys, but if some relative wants to give me one for Christmas, I hope it is this cool blue ninja Elvis Teddy Bear in a gold lame’ coat.



©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved

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

Memories of Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen passed away this week.  Although there is no connection between him and Elvis, he did star in the Naked Gun movies with Priscilla.  She and Nielsen had one classic bit that you may remember.

Nice beaver.

Elvis Movie 50th Anniversary Pictorials: Flaming Star – 1960

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Last October, we started a new series of pictorial essays celebrating the 50th anniversaries of Elvis’ movies.  Number two in the series is Flaming star, which opened in December 1960.  It was Elvis’s second western, and like Love Me Tender, his character died in it.  Thankfully, that never happened again.


Flaming Star was exactly opposite the popular notion that all Elvis’ movies were fun, musical romps.  It is a story of distrust, hate and killing, as neighbors and friends turn on Elvis’ half-breed character Pacer Burton and his Kiowa mother.  This serious theme allowed Elvis to sink his teeth into a meaty role, and he did a great job with the part.




Movie Posters:

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Belgian Poster

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German Poster                                                                 Swedish Poster

Lobby Cards:


Soundtrack Album Cover:

There were only two songs in the movie, the title song that played over the opening credits and one Elvis sang early in the movie before all the bad stuff started.  Somehow, they made a Flaming Star album using seven other songs dug out of the vaults.
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Actual Album                                                                 Gay Stirical Album

Scenes from the Film:

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Playing Guitar Early in the Movie                                Guarding the Homestead Later On


The Burton Family plus Roz (Barbara Eden)

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Pacer Burton (Elvis) Laying Awake Worrying                Buffalo Horn, Kiowa Chief            

Shots On Set:

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What Are They Doing to Elvis’ Foot?                                            Director Don Siegel


Wardrobe Test

Something Is Wrong Here:

Here are three publicity stills and one Australian DVD cover that have Elvis and Barbara Eden looking very close-up and lovey-dovey.  Well, she was certainly an attractive co-star who later achieved her own star status on the TV show, I Dream of Jeannie.  The problem is that she wasn’t paired up with Elvis in Flaming Star.  She played the sweetheart of the Clint Burton (played by Steve Forrest), the white half-brother of Elvis’ character.  At no point in the movie did Elvis even touch Barbara Eden’s hand, let alone get cheek-to-cheek or in deep embrace. 

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This is a publicity shot of Elvis in Flaming Star.  Legend has it that Andy Warhol saw this picture on a German postcard, and it inspired him to create a series on silkscreened images.

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They don’t seem like art to me, but they added to the Warhol mystic and made him lots of money.

In June, we will continue the 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorials with Elvis’ first movie from 1961, Wild In The Country.
©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved
Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.