Monthly Archives: October 2011

Fans Find Ways to Connect Elvis and Halloween

There are all sorts of Elvis costumes available at www.ShopElvis.com right now.  Certainly, it’s fun for fans to dress themselves up as Elvis for Halloween.  However, some fans with artistic talents have created images that morph Elvis into iconic Halloween decorating and costume themes.  Here are some interesting ones.

 

Skeleton Elvis:

                                    

 
Vampire Elvis:                                         

                             

Dr. Frankenstein’s Elvis Experiment:

Ghost Elvis:

                                                                           

 
Reptile Elvis: 


Robot Elvis: 

 

Zombie Elvis:

                            

 


Elvis Jack-O-Lantern:      

                                  

 

Alien Elvis:

Star Wars Elvis:

 

Neon Ghost Elvis:

 

Mummy Elvis:

 

That’s this year’s scrapbook of Elvis Halloween images.  Check out previous ones here and here.  I hope the zombie pictures weren’t to gruesome.  You should have seen some of the skeleton Elvis pictures that didn’t get used.  Nobody seems to have created images that connects Elvis to two other popular Halloween icons, bats and witches, so here is a cartoon drawing combining a bat, a sexy witch and an Elvis who looks like something out of Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory.

 

 

Happy Halloween from ElvisBlog

 

©  2011    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.

 

The Evolution of Elvis Tribute — Part 3

Reference books state that Elvis gave performances in 79 cities in 1956.  How many cities do you think hosted Elvis Tribute Artists in 2011?  My guess is that it could be ten times that number.  ETA shows aren’t limited to just large cities.  They have come to three small suburban cities in my area, and you probably have seen the same where you live.  These were one-night gigs, and one tribute artist did the whole show.

In 2008, a two-part ElvisBlog article noted a change in the nature of some Elvis tribute concerts.  It covered a package show called The Elvis Birthday Tour with three top Elvis Tribute Artists performing back-to-back-to-back.  One did the 50s Elvis songs, another wore a black leather suit and sang hits of that era, and finally a jumpsuited ETA did the songs from Elvis’ Vegas days.

 

Donnie Edwards

Ryan Pelton

Shaun Klush

 

The show moved around to eight Midwest cities where expensive tickets in large venues moved Elvis tribute into the realm of big-time entertainment.  These multi-artist shows have continued in the years since, and similar tours have performed in other areas of the country.

 

Now, one very talented performer has done something I never thought possible.  He repeated his act for 18 shows in a city of just 62,000.  The venue was the Greenville Little Theatre in Greenville, SC.

 

This doesn’t look like a performaning arts center you’d find in a city of just 62,000 people, but Greenville is the hub of an area with 400,000 people.  The Little Theater presents a schedule of extended runs like Barefoot in the Park, The Music Man, and A Christmas Carol.  So, I was incredulous when I saw their newspaper ad for ELVIS: Shake, Rattle, & Roll, running from September 15 to October 2.

 

 

The star of the show was Scot Bruce.  Although I have seen or read about dozens of Elvis Tribute Artists, I was not familiar with Scot Bruce.  Certainly the theater-going public in our area didn’t know him either, so how could he continue to put people in $30 seats for 18 performances?  Part of the answer was the Little Theatre subscriber base of 3,000, but a capacity of 600 seats time 18 shows equals 10,800.  Scot Bruce had to deliver, if this was going to be a successful run.

 

 

It turned out that savvy marketing, a great review in the paper, and tremendous word-of-mouth recommendations made this a very profitable show for the theatre.  The Friday and Saturday night shows nearly packed the house, and week-nights had ¾ of the seats filled.

The reason the reviews and word-of-mouth were so good was because of the considerable talents of Scot Bruce and his band.  So, who is this guy who did such a great job?  Based in Los Angeles, Scot has a varied background that led to his Shake, Rattle and Roll show.  Over the years he has been a radio personality, singer, drummer, songwriter, and actor.  During his early years in L.A., Scot experienced his share of hard times, so he started doing a 1950s era Elvis show to supplement his income.  What was meant as a part-time gig has grown into a full time career.

 

 

Scot’s live shows have taken him across the U.S. and many parts of the world.  He and his four-piece band regularly perform at Disneyland, and he tours with the Legends of Rock and Roll – Buddy, Roy & Elvis.  However, it was his performance in another touring show, Idols of the King, that gave him the chance to reach new levels in Elvis tribute.  Idols of The King is a two-part play, half music and half vignettes about two Elvis fans who would do anything to see Elvis perform in Las Vegas. 

 

 

Scot Bruce has starred Elvis in the show’s extended runs in many performing arts centers around the country, including the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, former home of the Grand Ole Opry, and the Shakespeare Festival in Montgomery.  However, it was at the Barter Theater in Abingdon, VA where Scot made such an impression on the theater’s administrators that they worked with him to book his own show for an long run.  The theater-goers had loved him so much in Idols of the King that they came back to catch him again in ELVIS: Shake, Rattle & Roll in 2010.  Then, Scot brought his show there again in 2011, and it had 23 sell-out shows.

As fate would have it, the Artistic Director of the Greenville Little Theater was visiting his son in Abingdon, VA and took in a performance of the show.  He was so favorably impressed that he booked Scot for 18 shows in my city this fall.  When I saw it, I was so favorably impressed I had to write this blog article.

Scot took a risk when he planned his new show.  He decided to skip the all-too-common jumpsuit Elvis, because “when I wore a jumpsuit I looked more like Evil Knievel.”  Instead, Scot specializes in Elvis’ music from the 50s and early 60s.  He performs 28 songs, split into two segments.  First, he does a delightful set of Elvis’ early hits.  I especially liked when he was joined at center stage by just the guitarist and bass player, and they did a tribute to Elvis’ songs from Sun Records.

 

After the break, Scot came back on stage in a ’68 Comeback Special black leather outfit.  He performed a mixed bag of Elvis tunes from the early sixties, three gospel songs, and two late 60s hits:  “Burning Love” and “Suspicious Minds.”   It was strange but rewarding to see someone not wearing a jumpsuit do “Suspicious Minds” without those blaring trumpets.

 

 

The program ended with what has become the de facto Elvis tribute show finale: “American Trilogy,” complete with the US flag unfurling in the background.  I’ve seen this before several times at other performers’ shows, but I still get choked up every time.

The other element of Scot Bruce’s successful show is that he has been a lifelong Elvis fan, and it shows.  I loved his banter between songs.  It contained humor, trivia and a lot of respect and admiration for the King.


I don’t guess there are too many theater artistic directors who read ElvisBlog, but I hope one of you readers might know one.  Send him a link to this article, and maybe he can envision Scot Bruce in ELVIS: Shake, Rattle, & Roll succeeding in your home town.  If that should happen, be sure to go.  You will have a blast.

 

Scot Bruce in  ELVIS: Shake, Rattle, & Roll   www.scotbruce.com

Scot Bruce Fans Facebook Page

 

 

©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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

Do We Really Need Elvis Barbie?

On September 15, Elvis.com/news featured an interview with the designer of the new Elvis Barbie doll.  Maybe I missed something, but I never knew it was already on the market.  As you can see, Elvis Barbie is wearing an outfit inspired by his famous gold lamé suit.  She is touted as wearing a ‘pompadour ponytail, and can be yours for only $49.99.

 

The article begins with this declarative statement, “Wearing one of the king’s signature looks, the new Elvis Barbie doll has quickly become a must-have item for collectors and fans!”   In the interview, the designer said, “From the collector community to Elvis fans, everyone is loving this doll!”

Well, not quite everyone.  As soon as the interview text ends, 33 comments are listed.  Obviously, they were not screened, and that might have been a good idea.  Here are some samples:

Tim Clinton:  Uhhhhmmm.  Somebody is running out of ways to make money?

Tammy Moore Colon:  What a stupid looking thing… ELVIS IN DRAG?  What disrespect to the king and his fans!

Beth Harper:  It sucks and Elvis was no sissy and that doll makes him look like and the doll is so freaking ugly, nobody wants to buy that    piece of crap….

Mike Kennedy:  Elvis Barbie is such an idiotic idea… at least make Ken look     like Elvis.

 

Actually, somebody already came up with that last idea.  Here are two mini Elvis outfits you can buy on eBay to make your Ken doll look like Elvis.

 

Here are a few more comments from folks who saw something else in the face of the Elvis Barbie doll:

Hounddoggle Hundley: Doesn’t look like Elvis.  Looks like Priscilla more.

Joan Domske:  I agree.  Guess the Priscilla doll wouldn’t sell.

 

Okay, you can call it.  Does Elvis Barbie look more like Elvis, Barbie or Priscilla?  Remember, they already did Priscilla before in the Elvis and Priscilla Barbie Doll Collector Gift Set.

 

              

 

      

Here are two other sentiments from totally out in left field:

Maudie Johnson:  This doll should be called Lisa Marie and not Elvis or      Priscilla.

Johnny Jr. Szeto:  Looks more like the Korean band – Wonder Girls.

 

Of course, not all the comments were negative.  In fairness, there are some folks who like Elvis Barbie:

Espen Kromke: I want it.  Actually, I do.

Savannah Faircloth:  Instead of complaining about how it disrespects Elvis or looks like Priscilla… maybe we should all be grateful that the King’s legacy is still living on.  So maybe it is a girl doll or maybe it looks like his ex, regardless, people continue to release new and exciting products in remembrance of Elvis.

Reeme Dreeme: OMMMMMMMMG!  This is SOOOOOO COOOOL!  WANT     IT NOW!

 

Can you blame Mattel going for another Elvis and Barbie connection?  They certainly hit pay dirt with the Barbie Loves Elvis Collectors’ Set.

 

 

Elvis looks plenty manly here, but he doesn’t look much like Elvis.  And Barbie certainly doesn’t look so hot.  There are even pictures on the internet of a counterfeit Elvis and Barbie set.

 

I Googled Elvis Barbie to do research on this blog story, and I went to enough sites to see a bewildering array of Barbies.  An Italian website had several poses of Elvis Barbie in a different outfit.  Here’s one showing the pompadour ponytail from the side.

 

Another site had Barbie in black leather.  Mattel might sell a lot of this one if they released it as ‘68 Comeback Barbie.

 

The weirdest thing I found on my internet search was a nude beefcake shot of Elvis from the wedding set.  There was no similar nude Priscilla shot.  Very strange.

 

May I include a beef of my own about Elvis Barbie?  Why did they make her so skinny?  Her legs look to be the size of matchsticks and her arms like toothpicks.  Maybe they should call her Anorexic Barbie.  Any person that thin would be taken to the hospital and put on IV support.     

            

 

Just for kicks, I used Windows Paint to make Elvis Barbie more voluptuous.  If she had been marketed with that body, at least the comments from guys might have been better.

©  2011    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 and Us” — The King is now in a Beatles Museum

This past Wednesday, October 5, a new Elvis exhibit opened in England.  It is titled “Elvis and Us,” and is stocked with a wonderful selection of items loaned by EPE.  Some of the rare artifacts have never even been displayed at Graceland.

 

The venue housing “Elvis and Us” is “The Beatles Story” in the Fab Four’s hometown of Liverpool.

 

The news report and links on Elvis.com/news do not mention what was moved out to make room for the Elvis exhibit, but it certainly covers a lot of space.

 

Of course, fans will do self guided audio tours with head phones.

 

And a short film featuring an interview with Priscilla seems inevitable.

 

What would an Elvis exhibit be without a jumpsuit or two?

 

Other items from Elvis’ wardrobe and jewelry are a must, too.

 

You didn’t think Graceland would miss a good opportunity to sell Elvis merchandise, did you?

 

So far, all the pictures here have been about Elvis exclusively, but the exhibit does connect him and the Beatles wherever possible.  This wall shows the effect Elvis had on the young lads in Liverpool in the late 50s.  The striped shirt on the left was worn by Elvis in Jailhouse Rock.

 

The big Elvis/Beatles connection was the one time they met at his home in Bel Air, California on August 27, 1965.

 

This wall echoes the words Elvis spoke when the meeting got off to a stilted start.  The white bass guitar is the one Elvis strummed during the visit from the Beatles.

 

One of special items in the exhibit is the pool table from the home in Bel Air, which was used by Elvis’ buddies and one or two of the Beatles that night.  It has never previously been offered for public display.  The Beatles’ mop-top hairdos adapted better to a Q-ball design than Elvis’ pompadour did.

So, if you are planning a trip to England any time in the next two years, be sure to include a day trip to Liverpool and take in “Elvis and Us” at “The Beatles Story” museum.

©  2011    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.

 

Caption Contest # 27 — Winner

 

There were more submissions for this Elvis caption Contest than we’ve had in a long, long time.  Congratulations to Valerie Norris for her winning caption.

 

“Lamar, Red. Help!!! Get me out of here.”

Gladys and Elvis — A Mothers' Day Commemorative Stamp ?

 

Did you see the news earlier this week that the US Postal Service has changed its rules and will now consider stamp designs that feature people who are still alive.  According to the Postmaster General, “This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor.”

But, several news articles speculate that this could be as much about money as admiration.  We all know the Postal Service is in bad shape financially.  Could this new policy be a move to bring in extra profit, as they hope many of the new popular designs might be bought as collectibles and not used as postage?

There is one stunning example of this phenomenon – the Elvis stamp from 1993.  The USPS issued 500 million of them, but reported in 2002 that over 124 million were never used to mail a letter.  That resulted in a cool $36 million profit for the post office.

 

The news sources also reported the Postal Service is now inviting suggestions for new stamps featuring people who are still alive.  Although they get 40-50,000 suggestions every year, most of the resulting stamps don’t inspire folks to hang on to large numbers of them as collectibles.  What they want now are pop culture icons like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber with rabid fans who will buy lots and lots of stamps.

               

 

I have an idea for the Postal Service.  Based on their prior experience with Elvis fans buying and hoarding the Elvis stamps, why not go back to the well one more time.  How about a Mothers’ Day commemorative stamp featuring Elvis and his mama Gladys?  Can you think of any image that would better show a son’s love for his mother?  I went into my files to see if there were any photos of the two that would make a good stamp picture.  Here’s what I found.

 

This shot from 1956 is pretty good, but we can’t see either of their eyes, so, it’s probably not the one to use.

This would be a good one if it were a sharper image.

 

Probably the best so far.  Elvis is his usual bad self and Gladys looks about as good here as she ever did in her last years.

 

This won’t work.  Gladys just doesn’t look her best here.
 

Another shot with Gladys in profile and she looks pretty good.  It would be better if they were closer and Elvis wasn’t wearing the hat.

 

It’s a nice image of Elvis kissing his mom, but Gladys looks so sad.  I believe this shot was taken as Elvis prepared to join the Army.

 

When I finally found the picture I liked best for an Elvis and Gladys Mothers’ Day stamp, it turned out to be a Photoshop composite. The shot of smiling Gladys below had to have been taken several years before the one of Elvis.
 

 

The picture on the stamp idea above was cropped from a larger one created by Tommy Piretos, who has designed at least two dozen great Elvis images.  You can see fourteen of them on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/52594605@N02/   I have tried to find a way to contact Tommy Piretos and Piretos Creations using Google, Bing, and Flickr, but have had no success.  I’d like to do a feature about these wonderful images and their creator.  If you know of an e-mail address or website for Tommy Piretos, please let me know at philarnold@charter.net.

So, if you like the concept of an Elvis and Gladys Mothers’ Day Commemorative stamp, you can boost the chances of it happening by sending your proposal to:

Creative Stamp Advisory Committee

C/O Stamp Development          

US Postal Service           

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW,  Room 3300        

Washington, DC  20260

You don’t need to send a picture with your proposal.  That’s another long involved process, and the Postal Service has a group of preferred artists they use most of the time.

 

©  2011    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.