Monthly Archives: February 2014

Happy Birthday ElvisBlog

This month marks the ninth anniversary of ElvisBlog. The number of Elvis fans visiting the site continues to grow, and the inspirations for blog topics keep coming, so ElvisBlog will plug along into its tenth year.

Elvis Picking up Girl

One thing I learned over the years is to include a good picture early in the post. Don’t open with a whole bunch of text pushing the first photo way down and off the reader’s screen. ElvisBlog is supposed to be fun, not a literary journal. The first image now also shows on my Facebook page in the thumbnail tease from the NetworkedBlogs link. It really pays to have an interesting first photo.

By the way, this shot was used in Caption Contest #13 back in 2009 with the winning caption “Elvis tries out a new way to pick up girls.” There hasn’t been a new caption contest is a long time. I need to do some.

 ElvisBlog 2007 Homepage

 

This 2007 ElvisBlog homepage shows what it looked like for the first few years. Obviously, it needed to be jazzed up a bit. The tag line to the right of the title may be too small for you to read, but it said:

Nuggets of news, history and commentary posted every Sunday

 

That had to go. I make a serious effort to post a new blog every weekend (Friday – Sunday, sometimes Monday), but you can’t pin yourself down to a specific day. Also, the tag line worked originally when the posts were all text, but as pictures become a prominent part of the mix, the trend went toward more fun topics. Thus, the change in 2011 to:

All the Cool Stuff Out There in Elvis World

.

Elvis Spank

Thanks to endless hours of searching on Google Images, I have collected a bottomless treasure chest of cool Elvis images. Until now, this picture has never been used on ElvisBlog, mainly because it didn’t fit in any of the themes. I have one set of pictures that I am saving until the last post, whenever that is. It will surely anger the folks at Graceland, but it will be too late then for them to put the muscle on me.

If you scroll back up, you will note that the title of that 2007 post was “Fool’s Gold,” referring to the huge sandwich containing a jar of peanut butter, a jar of grape jam, and a pound of bacon on an Italian loaf split down the middle. Elvis had such a craving for it that he flew from Memphis to Denver to get one.

Early on, I delighted in other catchy titles like:

Virtuoso of Hootchy-Kootchy – This title came from Jack Gould, entertainment critic for the New York Times. It was the only semi-favorable opinion in his brutal article about Elvis’ second appearance on the Milton Berle Show.

A Jug of Corn Liquor at a Champagne Party — This post was a look at Elvis’ 1956 appearances at the New Frontier Hotel in Las Vegas. The line came from a Newsweek magazine review.

Is It A Sausage? No, It’s A Rusty Foghorn – This title came from two phrases in a 1956 New York Times review of Elvis’ first movie Love Me Tender. The reviewer said Elvis looked like a smooth, damp-looking sausage, and his singing voice sounded like a rusty foghorn.

My favorite title of all was Turgid, Juicy and Flamboyant, from another New York Times review, but it has the same problem as the others above — the word Elvis was not in the titles. I learned that to grow your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Elvis needed to be in the title, so now it is whenever possible. Check out the titles of the eight most recent ElvisBlog posts, top of left column.

 

Bush in an Elvis Jumpsuit

This is just another photo to break up the text. And an example of how the Photoshop jockeys love altering Elvis. ElvisBlog has posted photos of Presidents Reagan, Bush (41), Clinton, Bush (43) and Obama in Elvis jumpsuits. I did get some negative feedback when I posted Osama bin Laden in one.

 

After a few years of emphasizing the fun side of Elvis, a logo was added to the ElvisBlog homepage.

 

ElvisBlog Lip Logo

 

Hopefully everyone recognizes the famous Elvis lip curl. That was one inspiration for it. Here is the other:

 

Rolling Stones logo

 

One last thing about the February 2007 ElvisBlog homepage shown above. Under Recent Articles, the list included “Happy Birthday ElvisBlog.” Back then, after two years of existence, the number of hits per week was up to a little over 1,000. Today it is over 5,600. So, thanks to all you folks who keep coming back.

As long as I’m able, ElvisBlog will continue to bring you all the cool stuff out there in Elvis World.

Phil Arnold
Original Elvis Blogmeister

 

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

 

LEGO Elvis

Did you see the news that The LEGO Movie topped the box office results with $129 million in receipts the past two weeks?

Minifig Characters from The LEGO Movie

Before I saw clips from the movie on the news, I wondered how you could make a movie about little interlocking bricks. Then I learned it’s about these little plastic characters that have been a big part of the LEGO brand for some time. This inspired a little investigative work.

 Abe, Superman and Lady Liberty Lego Minifigs

 

It turns out that the company began including small, plastic, articulated (movable joints) figurines in the LEGO construction sets in 1978. Some of these minifigures are inspired by specific characters (such as Star Wars), or of LEGO’s own creation, but many are designed simply to fit within a certain theme (such as police officers, astronauts and pirates). Believe it or not, over 3,655 different LEGO minifigures (or minifigs, as the collectors call them) have been introduced, and total production has now reached nearly 4 billion. (that’s billion, with a B) With popularity like that, no wonder they made The LEGO Movie.

 Elvis in Legoland, California

It should come as no surprise that there is an Elvis/LEGO connection. Back in May 2010, ElvisBlog showed this photo of an Elvis bust at the LEGOLAND Park in San Diego, California. Kind of old school with Elvis actually made out of the little bricks. Here’s another, with Nathan Sawaya, the artist/builder, standing next to a full-body Elvis statue to give a sense of how big it is.

NATHAN SAWAYA - LEGO ARTIST

It looks to me like the artist got a little bit of Abe Lincoln into his Elvis image.

 

What I find more intriguing are the number of different LEGO Elvis minifigs out there. They seem to have become a very popular collectible.  In addition to the official LEGO models, it seems like some other companies have made their own LEGOish creations. Let’s look at some of the best, regardless of where they came from.

Las Vegas Red Cape Lego Elvis Minifigure

This one is a genuine LEGO product.  Note the clunky feet like the minifigs in the movie trailer. I called this one “Red Cape LEGO Elvis” until finding out LEGO calls it the “Las Vegas Edition.”

 

 LEGO Elvis Minifig Impersonator

This what I call a LEGO Elvis Minifig Impersonator. The legs and feet look better, but the legs don’t seem to have the articulated joints. Kids probably don’t care – he looks fine riding in their space rocket or pirate ship. How about the full-length cape. Elvis tried one like that once, but it was too heavy for comfortable maneuvering around on the stage.

 

 College Sweater Lego Elvis

Back to the typical LEGO legs and feet for this one. But what’s up with the collar? It looks like the one worn by Ming the Merciless, Flash Gordon’s main villain. And that looks like a college sweater he’s wearing. I guess there are no rules for pseudo LEGO Elvis minifigs.

 

 Sundial Jumpsuit LEGO Elvis

This one has the mic and the Elvis sunglasses, and the jumpsuit appears to be a simplification of the Sundial design Elvis wore on his last concert in May 1977.

 

Lego Elvis Minifig With Guitar

This image is a little fuzzy, but it is the only photo of a LEGO Elvis minifig holding a guitar.

 

Liberace Lego Elvis

This is a weird outfit design – not a gold lame suit and not a jumpsuit. I think a good name would be Liberace LEGO Elvis.

 

Weird Scientist LEGO Elvis

This one is a little scary. They made Elvis look like a mad scientist. Not Cool.

 

LEGO Beatles Minifigs

Hey, who let these guys in? If you don’t recognize this as a homage to Abbey Road, you aren’t a Beatles fan.

 

Zombie LEGO Elvis

Do we really need a zombie LEGO Elvis?

 

StormTrooper LEGO Elvis

This is an impressive way to display your Storm Trooper LEGO Elvis.

 

The popularity of LEGO minifigs has led to expansion into other areas of artistic expression.

 

Elvis LEGO Key Chain

Just what every kid needs – a LEGO Elvis key ring.

 

Elvis Presley Lego Minifig Album Cover

How about a parody of Elvis’ first album using a LEGO minifig.

 

50,000,000 Lego Fans Can't Be Wrong

This is even better. Clever title.

 

LEGO Elvis Art

A lot of artists have painted Elvis, but this guy painted a LEGO Elvis minifig.

 

All of this leads to the conclusion expressed on ElvisBlog many times:

Elvis is everywhere !!

 

 LEGO Elvis  Sign

 

© 2013 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.

Elvis is Dead, Long Live the Beatles

 Elvis is Dead Long Live the Beatles

The above picture shows 13 Year old Irene Katz holding a sign on Feb. 9, 1964, the third day of the Beatles’ blitz of America. She was outside the Plaza Hotel in New York City, along with hundreds of screaming young girls, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Beatles.

Unless you live in a cave, you are well aware the recent media buzz about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles coming to America and appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show.

 Beatles on Ed Sullivan

 

No question about it – the Beatles were hot during their two-week stay in the ‘states’ in February 1964. And, unfortunately, Elvis was not. Let’s take a look at the stature of Elvis’ career fifty years ago during the Beatles’ invasion.

 

Hit Singles:

Elvis had a Top Ten hit, “Bossa Nova Baby,” at the end of 1963, and in March 1964 “Kissin’ Cousins” was released, eventually moving up to # 12. But Elvis had absolutely nothing on the charts in February 1964.

On the other hand, that month was huge for the Beatles, who had three hits going at once: “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” I Saw Her Standing There,” and “She Loves Me.”

Hit Albums:

Elvis fared better here — briefly. Elvis’ Golden Hits, Volume 3 came out in late September 1963. It had a twenty week run on the Billboard Top 40 Album Charts, which carried it into the first two weeks of February 1964.

Elvis' Golden Records, Volume 3

So, technically, that topped the Beatles. Their first US album, Meet the Beatles, was released on their second day in the country, February 8. After that, it probably outsold the Elvis hits album by a about million to one, but it wasn’t until the following week that those sales were reflected in the chart rankings.

 

Elvis Movies:

This was another lull period for Elvis. Fun in Acapulco opened in very late November 1963 and was gone from the theaters by the following February.

It’s too bad Viva Las Vegas didn’t premier two months earlier than it did, or Elvis would have had one big success going for him while the Beatles were here.

 

What Elvis Did While the Beatles Ruled:

He took an extended vacation to Las Vegas, bringing several Memphis Mafia buddies with him: Joe Esposito, Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Billy Smith and Marty Lacker. Plus wives and girlfriends. Elvis and this large group took in many shows, including Fats Domino, Della Reese, Don Rickles and Tony Martin.

Colonel Parker probably was back in Tennessee, but he had the good sense to send the Beatles a congratulatory telegram signed by Elvis & The Colonel.

Elvis Congratulates the Beatles.

 

So, while the Beatles took America by storm, Elvis laid low. He would continue making movies for four more years, but then he started his famed resurrection. First, the ’68 Comeback Special. Then the landmark recording sessions at American Sound Studios that produced huge hits like “In the Ghetto,” “Suspicious Minds,” and “Don’t Cry Daddy.” And the biggest factor of all, his return to live performance in August 1969 at the Las Vegas International Hotel.

Elvis at the International Hotel 1969

 

A year later, the Beatles broke up, but Elvis continued to set attendance records in Las Vegas and on tours around the country. So, Elvis wasn’t really dead in 1964, and the Beatles didn’t live that long.

Long Live the King

 

© 2013 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.

 

Bruno Mars — Little Elvis

Did you catch the Super Bowl halftime show featuring Bruno Mars? You probably noticed his hairdo was strongly reminiscent of the early Elvis look. But, there’s an even bigger connection. Bruno Mars started out as an Elvis Tribute Artist at the tender age of four.

4 Year-Old Bruno Mars Doing Elvis

 

Black-and-White-Shot-of-Bruno-Doing-Elvi

Bruno Mars was born Peter Gene Hernandez on October 8, 1985, in Honolulu. His mother was a singer and dancer, and his father performed Little Richard music. Mars’ uncle was an Elvis impersonator, and encouraged three-year-old Bruno to perform on stage as well.

4 Year-old Bruno Mars

Mars also performed songs by artists such as Michael Jackson, The Isley Brothers, and The Temptations. At age four, Mars began performing five days a week with his family’s band, The Love Notes, and became well known on the island for his impersonation of Elvis.

Bruno Mars - age 4 doing Elvis

In 1990, Mars was featured in MidWeek, a weekly tabloid shopper and advertisement periodical in Honolulu, and it dubbed him “Little Elvis.”

 Bruno Mars Doing Elvis in Viva Elvis

The previous three pictures came from a 1990 UK documentary called Viva Elvis, hosted by Jonathan Ross.

 Bruno Doing Elvis in Honeymoon In Vegas

Bruno Mars’ fame as Little Elvis led to him having a performance cameo in the 1992 film Honeymoon in Vegas, starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicholas Cage (who ten years later would marry Lisa Marie Presley).

Bruno-Elvis Honeymoon in Vegas 2

All of the above facts come from Wikipedia, so hopefully it’s all accurate. Wikipedia also says the time Bruno Mars spent impersonating Elvis had a major impact on his musical evolution and performing technique.

 Bruno-Elvis Honeymoon in Vegas

I think we can all agree that Bruno Mars’ time spent doing Elvis also really paid off.

 Bruno Mars - Super Cutipie Elvis

Maybe he’ll put on a jumpsuit someday and do his Elvis thing again.

 

© 2013 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.