Monthly Archives: June 2016

Beach Boy – (Uncredited)

Special Guests Added to Elvis WeekSpecial Guests At Elvis Weekk 2016

(Editor’s note:  Seven months after this post apeared, Christopher Riodan, the title subject, posted a long comment detailing his connections wih Elvis.  It is worth your time to click on Comments and read it.)

Did you get this email from Elvis Insiders like I did? The heading caught my eye. “Special Guests Added to Elvis Week.” So, I eagerly read on to find out who these special people might be.

As you can see, the first name is Christopher Riordan, identified as Elvis’ co-star. Now, I’m a big fan of Elvis movies and have books listing the entire cast and crew for each one. I have read them all several times, but I just couldn’t remember Christopher Riordan in any of them.

 

Christopher Riordan Bio

So, I clicked on Read More which brought up this bio. It does say he had roles in several Elvis movies, but there is no longer any mention of co-star status. Still, roles in six Elvis movies, plus the ’68 Special, is something to be proud of. You and I would be thrilled if we had been in six Elvis movies, no matter how small the parts.

(One side note: It seems EPE wants to phase out reference to the ’68 Comeback Special. The official preferred name is now Elvis ’68 Special.  Sort of like how they prefer Elvis Tribute Artist over Elvis Impersonator.)

Anyway, I was curious about Christopher Riordan’s participation in Elvis movies. So I decided to go to the best source for any and all information about movies – The International Movie Database. IMDb is a subsidiary of Amazon, and has 3.7 million movies and TV episodes in its database. Plus 7 million actors and other personalities.

IMDb Selections

I love this website. Look at the list of links available under the Movies, TV & Showtimes tab. There are two more tabs with tons more stuff. Check it out.
I typed Christopher Riordan into the Search box and confirmed his presence in those six Elvis movies and the ‘68 Special. Here is the summary of his roles:

1964 – Viva Las Vegas                    Dancer (Uncredited)
1964 – Roustabout                          Carnival Worker (Uncredited)
1965 – Tickle Me                             Dancing bit (Uncredited)
1965 – Spinout                                Party Guest (Uncredited
1967 – Double Trouble                    Young Englishmen (Uncredited)
1967 – Clambake                            Beach Boy (Uncredited)
1968 – Elvis (TV movie)                  Dancer.

Christopher Riordan and Elvis in Spinout

Christopher Riordan as Party Guest with Elvis in Spinout

I started to feel a little let down. Christopher Riordan seemed a little over-hyped – not a co-star, not in roles with character names and lines of dialogue. But, I checked out what else Riordan had appeared in, and found he has scored 101 credits in both TV and movies. The bulk of these were uncredited bit parts in dozens of movies each year 1964 through 1967. During this busy period, he also had recurring credited rolls in two TV shows – Ozzie and Harriet in 1964 and Many Happy Returns in 1965. Ironically, his character’s name in both series was Ronnie.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

For some reason, Riordan’s appearances dropped off drastically in 1968 through 1971, and he had no credits at all in 1972-1974, and none in the decade from 1978 to 1988. Maybe nobody was looking for a guy with immense hair for their movie or TV projects. Obviously, Riordan was supporting himself with some other line of work during that time.

During the 90s, he resurfaced with bit parts in one movie, one short, and three TV show episodes. In the 2000s he appeared in seven TV episodes of House of Carters and Ugly Betty.

AjayMehta and Christopher Riordan in Outsourced - 2010

Christopher Riordan (right) on set of Outsourced – 2010

Then suddenly he showed up in 2010 in 21 episodes of the TV show Outsourced acting as the Call Center Supervisor. Wow, where did all the hair go? He’s had a few credits in the years since, and so far in 2016, he has appeared in five episodes of the NBC TV series Superstore.

 

Conversations on Elvis

So, the questions are why did Christopher Riordan get selected for the Conversations on Elvis panel, and will he have anything to add to the conversation. The sad truth is that many people close to Elvis have died, and it is obviously getting harder to fill the stage with suitable panelists.

I would prefer to think that Riordan was a young good-looking party guy and probably did have some chances to hang out with Elvis. He very well could have been around for some crazy antics, and if he shares these during Elvis Week, I think the fans will love it. My bet is that Christopher Riordan will be one of the most interesting people on the stage.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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It’s the Busy Season for Auctions of Elvis Memorabilia

Elvis Wearing Painted Leather Coat

In spite of the outstanding success of the Auctions at Graceland in January and August, there are good opportunities to purchase Elvis collectibles in between. Julien’s Auctions had one in May, Heritage has one coming up in June, and Gotta Have Rock & Roll has one scheduled for July.

Julien's Music Icons 2016

All three of these are general rock & roll memorabilia auctions featuring many artists, but they have great selections of Elvis goodies for serious collectors to bid on. The recent Julien’s Music Icons Auction had 84 Elvis items, and we will look at some of the more interesting ones here.

 

Painted Leather Jacket:

 

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket

 

If I were rich, this is the Elvis collectible I would most love to own. It is cool beyond belief, both front and back, and it comes with a photo of Elvis wearing it.

Elvis Presley's Painted Leather Jacket - Back

Starting with a silver leather jacket, which is pretty cool by itself, an artist commissioned by the East West Musical Instrument Co in 1974 added multicolor flame, rainbow, and star designs. Plus a hawk on the back. My twisted mind even sees ascending sperm. Absolutely fantastic, and it sold for $50,000 (including the 25% fee the auction house adds).

 

1961 Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros:

Elvis Presley Black Mohair Suit from Lansky Bros

Here’s more Elvis clothing. Not as splashy, but there is much photographic documentation of Elvis wearing it on formal occasions in 1961: a luncheon at the Hotel Claridge in Memphis when he was presented with a plaque from RCA for record sales in excess of 75 million; in Nashville when he addressed the Tennessee state legislature; and in Oahu, Hawaii while there for the USS Arizona Memorial benefit concert. It sold for $28,125.

 

Waltham Pocket Watch:

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch

 

This 21-jewel pocket watch is set in 14k gold and is attached to a gold-filled chain with fob and locket.

Elvis Presley's Waltham Pocket Watch - Inscription

As you can see, the inscription on the back is To… Elvis from Michele. This is Michele Carey, his co-star in Live A Little, Love A Little. There’s no telling what she paid for it in 1968, but it sold at auction in 2016 for $8,320.

 

Medieval Knight Figurines:

Medieval Knight Figurines from Elvis Presley's Graceland

These are plastic figurines that were displayed somewhere in Graceland. There are no photos showing them on a table or shelf in one of the rooms. All that was offered as proof that they once were in Elvis’ house are Letters of Authenticity from two collectors who previously owned the pair of knights. That wouldn’t be enough for me, but somebody paid $1,600 for them.

 

Decorative Stone Egg:

Stone Egg from Elvis Presley's Graceland

Here’s another cute item that’s a little light on verification. The auction website says, “The orange, brown and white oval stone is believed to have been displayed in the living room in Graceland.” Believed! Just a Letter of Authenticity from one of the two collectors mentioned above with the knights. Still, it was worth $625 to somebody.

 

Gibson Dove Guitar:

Elvis Presley Gibson Dove Guitar

Without question, this was the star of the show. I can’t tell the story of this guitar any better than the auction website did, so here it is:

Gibson Dove Guitar Text

The pre-auction estimate was $200-300,000, but the bidding beat that and topped out at $334,000. The guitar has a solid spruce top, maple back and sides, custom ebony finish with Kanpo decal, and gold-plated tuners. The most distinctive feature is the 21-fret fingerboard with customized Elvis Presley pearlized inlay.

Elvis Playing Gibson Custom Guitar Dove

If you look back at the first picture of the guitar, you can see pearlized dove’s heads on either side of the bridge, thus the model name Gibson Dove.

 

Brown Leather Jacket:

Elvis Presley Brown Leather Jacket

This three-quarter length brown leather jacket went for $5,120. It would have certainly gone for more money if it had been accompanied by a photo of Elvis wearing it. The auction website says Elvis gave the coat to Memphis Mafia member Dave Hebler when he helped Elvis clean out his closet. Hebler should have photographed Elvis wearing it before taking possession.

 

Baby Browning Semi-automatic Pistol:

Elvis Baby Browning Semi-Automatic Pistol

This Belgium–made pistol is only 6.35mm caliber, and has a two-inch barrel, so, the Baby Browning name is a good choice. According to the auction website, Elvis carried this gun in his boot during his Las Vegas engagements. It exceeded the pre-auction estimate by a lot, topping out at $7,680.

 

Personalized Sunglasses:

Elvis Presley's Personalized Sunglasses

It seems like a pair of Elvis sunglasses shows up at just about every auction. He certainly did have a bunch of them made over the years. These are a bit different than most because they are chrome, not gold, and I don’t remember seeing this treatment before. Perhaps that (plus the accompanying photo of him wearing them) is why they sold so well, bringing in $28,000.

Elvis Preslet Personalized Sunglasses - Wearing

 

Can of Suede Spray:

Elvis Presley Used Suede Spray

We will end this post with four examples of what fans on a budget will pay for Elvis memorabilia. The four items all were originally obtained from Nancy Rooks, the maid and cook at Graceland from 1967 until Elvis’ death. According to her LOA, Elvis used this spray can. Somebody was willing to pay $256 for something that Elvis actually touched.

 

Ballpoint Pen:

Elvis Presley Used Pen

The website says Elvis gave the pen to Nancy Rooks when it ran out of ink. It also brought $256.

 

Hawaiian Lei:

Elvis Presley Hawaiian Lei

Elvis brought this lei made of artificial flowers back from one of his trips to Hawaii and gave it to Nancy Rooks. The auction house estimated it would go for $6-800, but nobody else thought it was worth that.

 

The Worst Elvis Memorabilia Ever:

Elvis Presley Jockey Underwear

Yes, it’s true. People will pay good money for Elvis’ underwear. The action website says they were a gift from Elvis’ Aunt Delta, and they are size 36. Note that ELVIS is written on the waistband, presumably so they don’t get mixed up with anybody else’s. I’m just guessing, but I can’t imagine Elvis allowing the underwear of any other male to be washed with his. Anyway, it sold for $2,560.

 

The Julien’s Rock Icon Auction contained nine Elvis rings and a bunch of autographed items. We will look at all them all at a later date,

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Virtuoso of Hootchy-Kootchy

Elvis Shaking Those Hips on Milton Berle Show

Last week the Graceland Blog celebrated the 60th anniversary of Elvis’ earth-shaking second performance on the Milton Berle Show. It was a good article with lots of photos, but there is much of the story they barely touched on.

Graceland Blog - Elvis on the Milton Berle Show
As the Graceland Blog explains, by 1956 standards, Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” on the show was scandalous. Actually, Elvis’ leg shaking and hip thrusts freaked out the entire country. The next day, a huge national backlash started, and Elvis rocketed into the entertainment stratosphere. Some day it might be fun to chronicle the worst of the press attacks on Elvis, but for now let’s start with what the New York Times had to say.

New York Times Review of Elvis on Milton Berle Show
Jack Gould was the king of TV critics during his 35-year career with the New York Times. He was there when the new medium was born, and he was its most notable commentator for the next two decades. Like the rest of America, he saw Elvis’ second appearance on the Milton Berle Show on June 5, 1956. The next day, Jack Gould’s pen dripped with disdain for Elvis. It’s fun to look at some of his statements, line-by-line. And now that we have the historical perspective, I will add my thoughts on them. And also mix in some photos not shown on the Graceland Blog.

 

Elvis in Colorized Pink Coat on Milton Berle Show

Pink Coat Colored Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on the Milton Berle Show

 

“Elvis Presley is currently the entertainment world’s most astonishing figure.”

So far, so good, but Mr. Gould gets no special credit for this statement. Whether people liked or disliked Elvis in early June, 1956, nobody disputed he was the most astonishing figure in show biz.

Milton Berle and Elvis

Milton Berle and Elvis

 

“Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability.”

This is the first indication that Mr. Gould just didn’t ‘get’ Elvis. And, we can safely assume Mr. Gould never went out and bought any Elvis records.

Elvis Combing Hair Backstage at the Milton Berle Show

Elvis Combing Hair Backstage at the Milton Berle Show

 

“His specialty is rhythm songs, which he renders in an undistinguished whine.”

Oh, come on. Elvis’ whine is very distinguished.

 

Elvis during Rehearsal for a Skit on the Milton Berle Show

Elvis during Rehearsal for a Skit on the Milton Berle Show

 

“His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub.”

Say what??? Certainly not the simplest and clearest metaphor Mr. Gould ever wrote. A less erudite blog writer might say “like a kid singing in the shower.

Elvis Singing in a Shower

 

“For the ear, he is an unutterable bore…”

You want boring? How about “stereotyped variations that go with a beginner’s aria in a bathtub”? Maybe Elvis was a bore to Jack Gould, but he could make the girls cry at his concerts. Elvis was anything but boring to them.

 

Elvis and Milton Berle walking on his Ankles

Milton Berle Doing His Ankle Walk Routine

 

“From watching Mr. Presley, it is wholly evident that his skill lies in another direction. He is a rock-and-roll variation on one of the most standard acts in show business: the virtuoso of the hootchy-kootchy. His specialty is an accented movement of the body… identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway.”

Berlesque Queen

At the end of “Hound Dog” on the Berle Show, Elvis sure did do some classic bump-and-grind. Mr. Gould’s loquacious pontification took a long while to get to Elvis’ moves, but, you will note, he didn’t say he disliked them.

 

Blue Coat Colorized Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on Milton Berle Show

Blue Coat Colorized Version of Elvis Doing “Hound Dog” on Milton Berle Show

 

“The gyration never had anything to do with the world of popular music and still doesn’t.”

Boy, did Mr. Gould get that one wrong. It’s a good thing he passed away before music videos showed up on MTV. He’d probably roll over in his grave if he saw one now. Today’s popular music is synonymous with sensual gyrations.

 

Elvis and the Band on Milton Berle Show

Elvis and the Band on Milton Berle Show

 

Jack Gould was a middle-aged man when he watched Elvis perform on TV on June 5, 1956, so he can be excused for ‘not getting it.’ But millions of American teenagers saw the show and got it. Got it big time. Elvis’ career shot into overdrive, and all of the bad press from TV critics and others could not stop it.

 

Shots of Elvis on Milton Berle Show

 

In fairness, Jack Gould did not accuse Elvis of poisoning the minds of America’s teenagers as did many other entertainment critics, clergymen, disk jockeys, and high school administrators. He didn’t rant that Elvis would create a nation of juvenile delinquents. If you read the paragraph where he called Elvis a virtuoso of hootchy kootchy, it almost sounds like he enjoyed watching those Elvis moves that enraged so many others.

Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” on the June 5, 1956 Milton Berle Show has become one of the most iconic events in Elvis’ career.

 

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Muhammad Ali and Elvis

Ali wearing the robe that Elvis gave him. March 31 1974

Muhammad Ali, the three-time heavyweight boxing champion of the world, died June 3 at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. at age 74.

The above photo was taken in a boxing ring on March 31, 1974. Notice anything familiar about the rhinestone and jewel design? Looks like what Elvis had on several of his jumpsuits, doesn’t it? Well, it should. Elvis gave it to him the year before.

 

Elvis with Ali in his Suite at the Las Vegas Hilton 1973

Here they are in Ali’s suite in the Las Vegas Hilton in 1973. It is reported that Elvis gave the robe to him on February 14, 1973 shortly before Ali’s fight with Joe Bugner. Ali did not wear it at the Las Vegas Convention Center that night, but he won the fight.

 

People's Choice Robe Elvis Gave to Mohammed Ali

Here is the back view of the robe. According to some sources, Elvis had directed it to say People’s Champion, but somebody screwed up and did People’s Choice. Naturally, Elvis was very upset about the mistake, but it was too late to do anything about it. The robe cost a reported $3,000, and Ali was thrilled to receive it.

He did wear it to the ring for his next fight on March 31, 1973 against Ken Norton. Ali lost the fight, which made him decide the robe was bad luck, and he never wore it again. The 1974 photo above was a staged shot.

 

Mohammod Ali wearing and holding picture of robe Elvis gave him

So was this one taken at the Hard Rock Café in 1988.

 

Glove Muhammad Ali gave to Elvis

Here is another example of the Elvis Presley/Muhammad friendship: Elvis. You are the Greatest Fan. Muhammad Ali. Peace 1973.

 

Muhammad Ali and Elvis

 

“Elvis Presley was the sweetest, most humble and nicest man you’d want to meet.”

 

Muhammad Ali BackStage Pass to an Elvis Concert

Although I cannot find anything to corroborate it, it seems likely Ali used this backstage pass at an Elvis concert in Las Vegas.

 

Ali, Parker, and Vernon

It looks like Vernon and Col. Parker got to spend some time with Muhammad Ali as well.

 

Muhammad Ali and Jack Snoden in the Memorial Garden 1984

Muhammad Ali came to Graceland in 1984 and paid his respect Elvis at the Meditation Garden.

 

“People don’t realize what they had till it’s gone. Like President Kennedy, there was no one like him, the Beatles, and my man Elvis Presley.”

 

Robe Elvis gave to Ali on display at the Ali Center, Louisville KY

The robe Elvis gave Muhammad Ali is now on display in the Ali Center in Louisville, KY.

 

Elvis and Ali in boxing pose

At one point, Elvis and Ali were the two most recognizable human beings on the planet. Even in death, they may still be.

 “I was the Elvis of boxing.”

 

We’ll miss you Muhammad Ali.  Say hi to Elvis for us.

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© 2016 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.