The latest catalog of goodies from Elvis Presley Enterprises just came in, and I always check it out for new items that interest me (or make me laugh because they are so dumb). As usual, the Summer 2011 catalog had lots of new T-shirts, so I clicked on ShopElvis.com to see the entire assortment of available Elvis T-shirts. This has to be the best line Graceland has ever presented. It was difficult to narrow it down to my favorite top fifteen, but here they are.
68 Jamming Pop:
The titles used here for all these shirts are exactly what the website calls them. I don’t get this name because the image sure looks like it came from the movie Loving You, which came out in ’57, not ’68. However, I love the design. I wish they had shown the back, too. The art work was done by Peter Mars, one of the Official Elvis Artists, licensed by EPE, and all his Elvis prints are an explosion of color.
Now, here‘s a shirt that should have a ’68 name, and it doesn’t. Although Electric Performer is pretty general, it certainly works for this design. There have been a number of ’68 Comeback Special T-shirts, but this is the best in my opinion.
Back in 72:
Here is a good T-shirt for old-time Elvis fans. Elvis would have kicked your ass back in 1972 only if you were an adult, so you’d be in your 60s or 70s today. Great picture to go with the message, and the red background is rare for Elvis T-shirts. I’m a bit surprised Graceland okayed the profanity, but I’m glad they did.
Just as in last year’s review, there are three Elvis T-shirts here featuring Al Wertheimer photographs. I didn’t pick them for that reason. The designs caught my eye, and then I read the fine print and discovered the art sources. At first, I was confused where the name Elvis Fade came from, but if you notice, the word Elvis is in the background multiple times, each one fading lighter than the one above. As expressed in previous reviews, I am partial to 50s Elvis T-shirts, and this is a great one.
Stars and Bars:
Joe Petruccio is another Official Elvis Artist, and his work has appeared on my favorite T-shirts before. I’m glad EPE stopped using his shirt designs all gussied up with Swarovski crystals and priced at $65. This one goes for $25, as do all but one of T-shirts in this review. However, it has another odd name in Stars and Bars. Do you see any stars?
I couldn’t believe it when I first saw this design. Graceland actually produced an Elvis T-shirt with Scotty Moore in the image. In my opinion, they haven’t shown enough appreciation for Scotty’s contribution to Elvis’ early success, so maybe this is a start. The photo on the shirt is another Al Wortheimer shot from 1956, but for some reason it is described as pixellated. I thought that only occurred when a photo was blown up so much that the individual pixels are visible to the eye. Anyway, if you are a Scotty Moore fan like me, this is a good T-shirt to get.
Americana Tie Dye:
With the colors of the American flag, this would be a fine choice to wear on holidays like Memorial Day and 4th of July. EPE always includes a few tie-dye designs and patriotic themes in each year’s new crop of T-shirts. Americana Tie-Dye combines both, making it a winner.
Blue Suede Shoes:
Graceland didn’t completely eliminate expensive T-shirts embellished with Swarovski crystals. For $66 you can get this one by famous fashion designer Christine Alexander. I never heard of her, but Google has. She is famous for elegant and complex art embellished onto upscale products ranging from shirts and jackets to belts and handbags, and she has showrooms in Seattle, Dallas and Atlanta.
They call this one Red King, but it sure looks like pink to me. It is available as a ladies T-shirt only, which is probably a smart idea. I like the font used to spell out Elvis.
This T-shirt is perfectly named, and I really like the tag line Hound Dogs Welcome! The lack of an Elvis image on it might limit sales, though.
This T-shirt features more artwork from Joe Petruccio. I like the image and the tag line, but I wish it had been done in color. It’s quite an achievement to depict just a portion of Elvis’ face and have it instantly recognized.
68 Graceland Guitars:
A great ladies T-shirt in pink. The guitars in the title can be seen in the background if you look closely. I don’t get the ‘68 reference because this is a younger Elvis face. And it sure looks like a ‘59 Caddy, but Elvis never owned one for that year. (He was over in Germany in the Army). This is the only polyester T-shirt on my favorites list. All others were 100% cotton.
This picture looks washed out, but the T-shirt is actually grey, not black. I wondered about the name Blue Stars, but if you look closely around Elvis’ face, you can see them. This is yet another Elvis T-shirt featuring an Al Wertheimer photo. It is not one of his more commonly seen ones, so this makes a unique 50s Elvis shirt.
Elvis Left Planet:
This one gets the award for the most clever message, and I like the Star Wars opening credits ascending graphics design.
We will end with my favorite Elvis T-shirt for 2011. The artwork is by Betty Harper, who also happens to be my favorite Official Elvis Artist. This image was used in a T-shirt last year, but that one was in black on a white shirt and had a profusion of artistic flourishes swirling around Elvis. It was decorated with Swarovski crystals and had the words King of Rock & Roll in a fancy script font. It sold for the highest price I have ever seen for an Elvis T-shirt: $130. This time there is some color on a black background. No flourishes and no message. Just simple elegance — and it costs only $25.
© 2011 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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