Monthly Archives: August 2019

Fans Show Their Love for Elvis with Flowers

Each year, the fans bring a ton of flowers to Elvis’ grave in the Graceland Meditation Garden. This is a photo taken in 2009, but it doesn’t approach the overwhelming amount of flowers and Elvis remembrances of that accumulate by August 16 every year.

 

Like this. The photo appeared in a 2017 Billboard Magazine on-line article about the fans being upset that EPE was charging $27.85 for doing the Candlelight Vigil up to Elvis’grave.

 

This photo appeared in a New York Post on-line article about the same topic. Either the Post or Billboard was using an older photo, because the flowers and remembrances are different.

 

Fans started bringing flowers to Elvis’ grave 42 years ago when he was entombed at the Forest Hills Cemetery.

 

However, his casket was not put in the ground. It went into a crypt inside the huge granite and marble mausoleum.

 

This photo of the pallbearers carrying the casket on August 18, 1977, does not show the size of the mausoleum or the blanket of flowers around it. This one does.

 

Wow, that’s a lot of flowers. I don’t know how the florists in Memphis kept up with the demand for all the bouquets.

 

Here is the flower-covered coffin before it was carried into the crypt.

 

This is the crypt where Elvis was first entombed. The flowers you see were not those put there in 1977. They actually were in a 2012 photo when the crypt was put up for auction. I did not follow up to see how much it went for. I just don’t like the whole idea.

 

There are hundreds of on-line photos of flowers at Elvis’ grave, but very few give the year. Here are some I could find.

 

According to a posting on eBay, this slide photo was taken in 1978. I wonder. Graceland wasn’t opened up to the public until 1981.

 

1999

 

2004

 

2006

 

This 2016 photo was taken from a different perspective that shows the grave sites of Gladys, Vernon, Elvis, and his grandmother Minnie Mae.

 

Here’s a blow-up of the inscription on Elvis’ grave. I thought you might like to read it.

 

 

Elvis fans have created some heart-felt remembrances to place in the Meditation Garden. Many of these have flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Floral tributes to Elvis on August 16 take place all over the world.

 

These flowers were placed at the Elvis monument in Bad Nauheim, Germany in 2017.

 

This Elvis memorial was created in Melbourne, Australia in 1977, and is still bedecked with flowers to this day.

 

 

 

We miss you, Elvis. Hope you liked all your flowers.

 

 

© 2019 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.

 

Eye Candy (4) for Elvis Fans

I think this is a very cool image, but you’ll never guess where it came from. It is a Christmas tree topper. I blanked out the spiral wire thing that attaches it to the tree.

 

 

We started the last Eye Candy with Fozie Elvis, Now it is Gonzo’s turn. There are more Muppets/Elvis to show someday.

 

I wonder if Scotty Moore’s wife knew he climbed on the roof of her car to tie down gear for road trips. I’ve read that this was primarily for Bill Black’s bass, but I don’t see it here. It looks like DJ is the one in the white shirt, but is the third guy Bill Black or Gordon Stoker?

 

This is the first of a three-picture sequence. We can see the Graceland music room in the background, then the living room, and an open front door. Now let’s step back a whole lot and get a long view.

 

You can easily see that this image was taken from the far end of the dining room. At the other end of the shot, it’s a little hard to see, but you can pick up the piano and stained-glass peacocks of the music room. We really can’t see the living room because of all the boxes in front of it. Here’s what the Graceland foyer looks like without them.

 

The boxes in the previous picture are Christmas decorations, presumably brought in from off-site and stacked in the foyer. I’m sure a crew of many folks got right to work getting Graceland into the Christmas spirit.

 

Speaking of Christmas, this is a very obscure holiday video done in Claymation style. It’s VHS, but I still have a player hooked up and watch every year without fail. The reason I like it so much is that the “Reindeer who saved Christmas” is named Elvis. And he sings in a group of three reindeer. There’s even a scene that seems to have been inspired by the weird dream sequence in Live A Little, Love A Little.

 

In Follow That Sleigh, a little boy looks into Santa’s sack of toys and falls in. And, like Elvis did, he freefalls and has a bunch of weird stuff going on when he lands. If you can find this video, buy it. It’s a trip.

 

 

This is stupid. A company makes a dish towel with Elvis’ image on it. That’s bad enough.  Then they market it with a picture of the towel not flat and smooth, and Elvis looks like his face is melting or something. Yeah, that’s gonna entice Elvis fans to buy it.

 

Here’s a way we’d rather see Elvis. Although, I wished they had Photoshopped the crown on an older Elvis. He looks more like a Prince here.

 

Another Elvis the King image. This looks like graffiti on a brick wall, but it’s actually cropped off a T-shirt. I won’t have another Elvis T-shirt review until next summer, so I’m using it here.

 

From bad to good to bad. This came from an old issue of Mad magazine. Here’s another Mad image relevant to Elvis fans, but at first glance, you will say “What????”

 

This was an illustration from a 1956 story about riotous rock and rollin’ teenagers. Elvis is in the top left corner.

 

 

There are two swooning fans with Elvis messages on their shirts.

 

And there are two Elvis records with slightly altered titles (to keep them out of copyright trouble, I guess).

 

 

How do you like this Elvis Kaleidoscope image? My dad used to make kaleidoscopes and sell them at craft fairs, but I never thought to ask him if he could make an Elvis one.

 

We’ll finish with a shot from 1961 that shows how the area across from Graceland has changed drastically (twice).

 

This is the original guard house. It’s certainly not the kind of structure Graceland has now with hundreds of thousands of people visiting every year.

 

©  2019    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.

Graceland Introduces Elvis Unplugged

It’s hard to believe that Elvis Week starts next Friday. Festivities kick off on August 9 and continue until Sunday, August 18. That’s a long 10-day week, and I’m always interested to see what EPE comes up with to lure fans to come to that early first weekend.

 

The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest semis and finals in the Graceland Soundstage now seem to be a permanent early fixture of Elvis Week. And last year, Graceland made them even better with the addition of After-Parties on the streets of Elvis Presley’s Memphis.

So, this year, the challenge apparently was to schedule something new and appealing during those afternoons. I think they have come up with a winner… ELVIS UNPLUGGED. I saw a long-haired hippy-looking guy named Julio at Elvis Week 2002 do this, and it was a nice change from the full band treatment.

 

2002 was the 25th anniversary of Elvis’ death, so Graceland planned some big-time stuff for the celebration. Including an incredible concert experience in the Pyramid.

 

The first Elvis in Concert was amazing and a fitting end to the week. I have no idea what they had at the beginning because I came for all the late stuff.

But now EPE has made it worthwhile for the fans to come earlier, which brings us back to:

ELVIS UNPLUGGED

 

In 2002, Graceland had little use for Elvis Impersonators. This year, there is hardly a day that doesn’t have one or two events starring ETA’s. And Graceland presents only the best of them during Elvis Week.

Here is the list of winners of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest.

2007 Shaun Klush
2008 Brandon Bennett
2009 Bill Cherry
2010 Justin Shandor
2011 Cody Ray Slaughter
2012 Ben Portsmouth
2013 Dean Z
2014 Jay Dupuis
2015 David Lee
2016 Dwight Icenhower
2017 Gordon Hendricks
2018 Ben Thompson

The names in bold are the six champions who will participate in the Elvis Unplugged shows this year. Both nights will be hosted by Dean Z, who has been called “the best entertainer in our business,” by Jeff Lewis, originator of the After-Parties and a man who has seen them all.

Dean Z in Jailhouse Rock Prison Uniform

 

Dean Z working out on stage

 

Dean Z will be joined on Saturday night by Jay Dupuis and Shawn Klush.

Four shots of Jay Dupuis as Elvis

 

Shawn Klush off stage

I have written about Shawn Klush a few times in ElvisBlog. I saw his act at Elvis Week 2002 in the funky New Daisy Theater. It was the last event of a long day and it was called the Elvis Midnight Blues Jam. It is where I saw that fellow Julio do the Elvis unplugged act I mentioned earlier. I don’t know where his career went, but Shawn Klush certainly moved on to better things. Five years later he was crowned the first Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist winner, and his career has been on a roll ever since.

For the Sunday night Elvis Unplugged concert there will be four Ultimate ETAs on stage. Dean Z will be joined by Ben Thompson, Cody Ray Slaughter and Dwight Icenhower.

Dwight Icenhower

 

Cody ray Slaughter also has his own show on the first night, Friday August 9. He will be backed by the David Fontana Band.

 

David Fontana is DJ’s son, and of course, that’s him on the drums.

 

Ben Thompson

 

Here is Ben Thompson on stage with Jeff Lewis (right), the MC of the After-Parties. Jeff expressed this sentiment about the After-Parties being moved to the Graceland Exhibition Center this year, “Thank God we’ll have air conditioning!” Other benefits may be a lot more table seating for the party-goers, and a better dance floor surface. It sounds like it will be a wonderful night-club set-up to me.

The Elvis Unplugged shows will also have air conditioned comfort inside the Guest House Theater. This seems the perfect small venue for a show billed as:

Live Elvis music and personal stories. An intimate acoustic experience among friends sharing music, laughter and fun.

 

The price of these unplugged concerts is just $25, which seems a bargain for Elvis Tribute Artists of this caliber. The Saturday, August 10 show sold out early, and the Sunday, August 11 will probably be by the time you read this.

If I could pull it off, I would love to be in Memphis on that Saturday night, and go to the Elvis Unplugged concert at 2:00 at the Guest House Theater, The Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist finals at 7:00 at the Graceland Soundstage, and the After-Party at 9:00 in the Exhibition Center. What a nice dream, but for some lucky Elvis fans, it will be a reality.

 

 

 

© 2019 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.