Monthly Archives: November 2019

The Muppets – Origin of The Elvises

Editor’s note.  My blog platform has been acting up.  The first two attempts at publishing this left out some important stuff.  I hope I’ve got it right this time.

 

Although The Muppet Show went off the air in 1981, the Muppets are still solidly ingrained in American pop culture.  This is because Jim Henson and his associates have used every media platform you could think of.  There were little things like calendars, coloring books and records, and big ones like TV specials.  These started coming out early in the show’s history. Here are some of the 15 post-Muppet Show specials that continued the tradition:

The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show (1982)
The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986)
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (1995)
A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008)

 

There were also two full-length television movies:

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie 2002)
The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (2005)

 

And a number of theatrical movies, including:

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)
Muppets from Space (1999).

 

And, most important to Elvis fans, there were three direct-to-video DVDs:

Billy Bunny’s Animal Songs (1993)
Muppet Classic Theater (1994)
Kermit’s Swamp Years (2002)

 

Muppet Classic Theater is where the Elvises were born.

 

The Muppet Theater

 

Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo, the hosts for the show

 

Muppet Classic Theater was released in 1994 and contained six ten-to-twelve minute long skits inspired by fairy tales:

Three Little Pigs
King Midas
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Rumpelstiltskin
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Elves & and the Shoemaker

 

I guess the similarity of the words Elves and Elvis gave the Muppet’s brain trust the idea to show the elves as Elvises in The Elves and the Shoemaker.

 

The Muppet Classic Theater adaption of the story featured Kermit the Frog as the Shoemaker, who makes shoes so ugly that nobody will buy them. The banker demands that he pay half of what they owe him the next day, or he will toss them out. His nephew, Robin, wishes for a miracle and his wish is answered.

 

Later that night, three elves show up and start making blue suede shoes.

In addition to making shoes, the Elvises banter back-and-forth with some clever dialog.  And, of course, they sing.  They do an original song called “Bad Shoes Blues,” and it is excellent. It clocks in at over two minutes long, and they don’t just stand still and sing.  The puppeteers got very creative with the action.

 

Some of the lyrics of the verses are hard to understand, but the lyrics to the chorus are very clear:

Listen to the news
No more bad shoes blues
Any old rhythm you choose
I got the blue suede shoes

 

I’ve watched this video five or six times, so I’ve started to notice some cool little things.  Here, one of the elves moves around in front of the workbench, and the other two start doing choreographed moves behind him.

 

As they leave the shoemaker’s store, the host’s voice-over says, “Ladies and gentlemen, the elves have left the building.”

 

The blue suede shoes are a huge success, and the shoemaker pays off the banker.  In appreciation to the elves, he makes them sequined white jumpsuits.  They move to Las Vegas and play the big room at the Palace Hotel, two shows a night. The skit ends with them doing a reprise of “Bad Shoes Blues.”

 

Hopefully, this long introduction has you ready to watch The Shoemaker and the Elves video. It was posted online four years ago, and when I started this research, it had been viewed only 157 times.  Now it’s 169, so in addition to my views, some other folks pushed up the total.  I think some of you were intrigued with my tease last week and looked it up on Google. Now everybody can check it out, too. I can’t wait to see what the count is a week from now.

Here it is. The Elves and the Shoemaker.  I think you’ll love it.

 

The Muppets returned to TV in 1996 in a new show called Muppets Tonight.  It ran for three seasons, which was long enough for three more appearances by the Elvises in a recurring feature, “Great Moments in Elvis History.”

 

Next week, we’ll look at all three.

 

©  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.

 

Elvis and The Muppets

  

When I read that Sesame Street celebrated its 50th anniversary this fall, it gave me an idea for an ElvisBlog post.  I remembered seeing some of their Muppet characters dressed as Elvis on the internet.  But when I started researching it, I found that with two exceptions, it was mostly characters from The Muppet Show.  There is a difference.

The little guys in front of Big Bird above include Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Glover, and Oscar the grouch.  Jim Henson was already a successful puppeteer when he created them for Sesame Street in 1969.

 

 

Based on the popularity of his characters on Sesame Street, Henson introduced a whole new group for his The Muppet Show that debuted in 1976.  In addition to Kermit and Miss Piggy, there was also Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Scooter, and Rizzo the Rat.

 

While Jim Henson had been pleased with the success of Sesame Street, that show had branded the Muppets as a kids’ act. Henson wanted to create a show that would be entertaining across all age groups. The Muppet Show had a zanier tone to their skits and some of their occasional characters were pretty strange – like Dr. Tooth and The Electric Mayhem band.

 

 

So, before we take a look at Elvis and the Muppets, let’s mention the two Sesame Street characters that did do an Elvis impersonation.

 

This is Elmo from a “Singing” episode on Elmo’s World where he sang “Blue Suede Shoes”.  To my eyes, his shoes look black.

 

 

This was corrected in 2000 when Fisher-Price released Elmo – The Legend plush doll.  He is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and sings some of his songs including, “Blue Suede Shoes”, and “All Shook Up”.

 

 

And this is Elmo dressed as a young Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show.  Believe it or not, this was for a discussion session on the effectiveness of children’s educational electronics.

 

 

This is The Count, a Dracula-like character that showed up occasionally on Sesame Street. Here he is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and singing a parody of “Blue Suede Shoes.”  It was an original song with different music and lyrics that mention the shoes.

 

So, now let’s look at The Muppets and Elvis.

 

This is a drawing of Gonzo obviously doing an Elvis impersonation, but I can’t find a picture or clip of him doing it on the show.

 

 

This is Fozzie at the Graceland gates.  I couldn’t find if this was part of a skit on the show or was created for some other purpose.

 

 

This is Blogg, a minor character, wearing an Elvis jumpsuit.  I couldn’t find out if he sang a song on the show.  I did find that on one episode he formed an Elvis head out of his earwax.  Man, did I ever waste a lot of time looking for a picture of that.

 

 

I think this is Gene the Genie.  I found that he did an Elvis impression when he mentioned spending a vacation in Las Vegas.  I don’t think he sang.

 

Next week we will take a look at the biggest Elvis presence with the Muppets – a wonderful creation called The Elvises.

 

 

You are going to love these guys.

 

 

©  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.

 

Graffiti Artists Rev Up Their Imaginations with Elvis’ Name

For years I have been adding Elvis graffiti to my files –  some are images, and some just his first name. Let’s take a look at the variety of ways creative people have presented ELVIS. The one above is interesting to me because of the splotchy yellow background and the white and blue stripes inside the letters.

Also, please note that it is all capital letters, except the i. It seems the favorite way for the graffiti people to spell Elvis is ELViS.

 

 

 

How about this one painted on railcar in Vienna. It’s got multi-hues of turquoise, white, and a little green inside the letters. There are cool little snowflake-like dabs of white in between the letters. So, it’s got a whole icy feel to it. I love the dot over the i, and I’ll pass on writing anything about the part below it.

 

This one from Frankfort, Germany has Elvis spelled the right way. It is interesting for two reasons. It includes a decent reproduction of the famous photo of Elvis during his return to live performing in 1969. And the colored stars were a nice touch.

 

Here’s a variation from Soumi, Finland. That looks to be two-story building, so that’s a really big ELViS. The S is the most normal one in this collection. There are quite a few wild ones. Note the two white stars in the L. There’s a few more of the Elvis graffiti coming up that have additional artwork inside the letters.

 

I’m not too crazy about this one from Ottawa. The letters are too jammed up. No artwork in the letters or around them.

 

This one is nicely spread out – maybe too much with that column in there. Is that a period at the end of Elvis?

 

You might have to gaze on this one for a while before it comes into focus. It’s easiest if you just concentrate on the light tan tops of the letters and then follow them down through the orange-tan and mustard. Those pink and red edges of the letters are colorful, but distracting. I like the little white balloons between the letters. The message at the bottom right is interesting, and London at the other end tells you where it was painted.

 

Here’s one from Evansville, Indiana. I am impressed with the many different shapes and styles of these five letters we are seeing in this pictorial, and there are some strange ones coming up.

 

Like this oriental-looking design from New York City. I can’t figure out the meaning of the numbers painted inside the letters.

 

See anything weird about this one from Miami? At first glance it looks like an ELVIS graffiti, but if you look close, it spells EVILS.

 

Speaking of spelling, this sure looks like Alvis to me. It’s from Vienna, so maybe this is some sort of Germanic version of Elvis.

 

Earlier, we looked at Elvis spelled out in free-form, icy-looking letters. This one is also from Vienna, so they both may have been done by the same artist. It must take some talent to make it look like the faces of the letters are covered with Slushies, about to melt off.

 

Another from New York City. The design is is nothing special – except for the E. The artist turned it into a face, complete with sunglasses.

 

This one from Belgium is notable for starting Elvis on a fence and continuing on to a wall. And that looks like quotation marks before and after ELViS.

 

Here’s a New Jersey original. I like the shapes of the letters and the multiple colors inside them.

 

This is painted on a railroad bridge in New Jersey. I guess the railroad is OK with it, because the artist signed it. Note, all lower case letters.

 

Another one from Vienna. There must have been an Elvis Graffiti contest there sometime, because six of these have come from Vienna.

 

As does this one. I’m not too fond of it. If the centers of the letters were gold, not black, I might like it .

 

This is my favorite, and it comes from Belgium. I love the variety of colors and designs inside the letters.

 

 

This was fun for me to put together. Someday we’ll look at the Elvis picture graffiti.

 

 

© 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.

 

Elvis Goodies from the Fuzzy Room – Part 8

I didn’t do very well last time with the Elvis Centerfolds offering, but I’ve got an eclectic selection of Elvis goodies this time. Some are pretty special. See if you can’t help an old Elvis fan sell some stuff before he downsizes to a smaller house.

As always, prices are for delivery to USA locations. Shipping to Canada will add about an additional 35% to the cost. Sorry, but I can’t ship to any other countries.

 

Red, “Heartbreak Hotel” Elvis Beanie Baby:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

I scanned eBay to see what this Elvis Beanie Baby was selling for. I found out that ty has created dozens of different models of Elvis beanies. There’s a bunch of smaller ones. The most sought after themes are the larger ones – “Burning Love” (pink), and “Blue Hawaii” (blue), and “Heartbreak Hotel” (red). But, red is the only one with a guitar. “Blue Hawaii” is pretty cool, because it as a fancy wide belt, but I’ve got the coolest, and I’m selling it.

As far as comparable prices on eBay, I didn’t consider the low-ball prices on used ones, especially those with no ty tag. There were very few of the red Heartbreak Hotel Elvis Beanie babies offered that are like mine – new, with the guitar and tag. The lowest price I found was $24 delivered, and I’ll beat that. Just $14 for the best, coolest, red Elvis Beanie Baby.

 

Royal Bobbles Elvis Presley Bobbleheads

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

I did a blog post on these back in 2013 titled “The Battle of the Elvis Bobbleheads.” Actually, it was no contest. These Royal Bobbles models were the cream of the crop, and I have seen nothing new since then that challenges that. Here’s what their press release says about them:

“They are hand-molded, hand-cast, then hand-painted, hand-polished, individually hand-checked for quality, and then hand-packed. The result is that our pieces are much heavier, much more finely detailed, and of much higher quality. Royal Bobbles is leading the industry with their realistic and lifelike likenesses.”

The Royal Bobbles Elvis Bobbleheads are made heavyweight polyresin and stand at over 8” tall. The hand-painting is an especially noticeable on the Aloha from Hawaii white jumpsuit one.

“If you check the individual stones on the back and side of the Elvis ‘Aloha from Hawaii’ model, you will see the remarkable detail that went into painstakingly painting each tiny little stone by hand. Some of the details are so tiny that the artists had to use a brush with only one bristle.”

Can you imagine having the job of painting all these?

And I guess this is important to some people:

“Each figure features a hologram with a unique serial number on the bottom of the base to indicate authenticity.”

You can find both of these models on Amazon today – $26.95 for Aloha jumpsuit and $24.95 for ’68 Black Leather – plus freight (and these things are heavy). I’ll take $17.00 for Aloha delivered and $15 for Black leather delivered. Or, If you want both, how about $25? A very good deal. They have only come out of the boxes twice – to look at them when they first arrived, and to take the picture above.

 

Stained Glass Elvis:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

My dad was a stained glass hobbyist and he made this for me. We have his work in every window of our house, but we will be scaling down and will have far fewer windows. So, my wife has decided that if we can’t put up all of dad’s creations, Elvis will be among the missing. My loss, your gain. Just $15 delivered, with lots of care in shipping to make sure it doesn’t get broken.

One note. This is a one-sided stain glass item. If you hang it in your living room front window, it will look great from outside, but not from inside. The best spot to hang it is in a second story window with the face visible from inside.

 

Tanzania, East Africa Elvis Stamp Sheet:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

Nine Elvis stamps in an unopened clear plastic sleeve with the official EPE seal at the bottom left (hard to see in my photograph). A simulation of the seal is printed to the left of Elvis Presley on each stamp. The best price I could find on line was $6.05 plus $1.25 postage, and that was for used. You can pick up this pristine limited edition for just $4.

 

Elvis “Now Showing” Illuminated Musical Ornament:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

You can find this fabulous Elvis Christmas tree ornament on several websites for $39.95, the original price when it was first introduced. But some fool has it on eBay at $14.99 plus $8.95 shipping, so I guess that sets the market.

Not only is it illuminated, it plays Elvis singing, “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”

Here is the ornament out of the packaging. Excellent detail work. Who wants to pick this one off for a bargain price of $16?

 

A 3-Pack of Elvis-Related Movie DVDs:

There were no takers when I offered these for $15 in February. I was surprised, because these are three interesting movies. Anyway, let’s drop the price way down to $8. Here are thumbnail descriptions about them.

Elvis Has Left the Building. Kim Basinger looks terrific as a travelling cosmetic sales woman who inadvertently kills an Elvis impersonator and goes on the run. Lots of strange stuff ensues, including a cameo by Tom Hanks. The finale with all those Elvis impersonators up on the roof of the casino is classic.

Finding Graceland. This one is more surreal but very satisfying. If you can’t imagine Harvey Keitel in a jumpsuit performing Elvis songs, you are in for a pleasant surprise. Within the context of this story, he is achievement of this goal is very believable.

ELVIS – The Mini-Series: This was an eight-episode TV series back in 2005 that’s been packed into 173 minute video. Johnathan Rhys Meyers won a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Elvis in it. He had the Elvis speaking voice down well, but fortunately he just apes it to the real Elvis on the songs. Be sure to check out his outstanding moves wearing the famous gold coat. Trivia: Robert Patrick plays Vernon. That’s quite a transformation going from T-1000 in Terminator 2 to Vernon Presley fourteen years later. This is a duplicate of the original DVD, but it plays great.

 

Autographed Elvis International Magazine Birthday Tribute ’07 Collectors’ Edition:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

This is 52 pages of excellent Elvis photos and articles. (three written by me). But this copy is special because it contains autographs by Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, Gordon Stoker, James Burton, Glen D. Hardin, and other performers at Elvis Week 2007 concerts.

For $18 you can add this to your collection.

 

Autographed Elvis International Magazine 50th Anniversary of Rock & Roll Edition:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

Another special issue, this time celebrating Elvis’ first recording in 1954. It’s got three lengthy articles by me, lots of wonderful pictures, and autographs by DJ Fontana, TCB bandmates Ronnie Tutt, Jerry Scheff, and Glen D. Hardin, and Elvis’ back-up vocalist Millie Kirkham.

Let’s price this one at $12.

 

Autographed Elvis International Magazine Winter 2000 Issue:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

This contains the first long article I wrote for the magazine. It was called “The Guitar That Changed the World,” which is title of an album Scotty Moore released in 1966. It contained 12 instrumental versions of Elvis hits, and Scotty was joined by DJ Fontana, Boots Randolph, and The Jordanaires. When I got to work back-stage at an Elvis Week concert in 2005, I got Scotty to autograph my article.

You can pick this one up for just $10.

 

White Pinwheel Jumpsuit Ornament:

Here’s another Elvis Christmas Tree ornament. Although it has no packaging, illumination, or singing, it does have a guitar. It is well made and decorated. It also has glitter that didn’t show in my picture for some reason

.

You may already have tree ornaments of Elvis, but you probably don’t have this white pinwheel jumpsuit with a cool cape. $8 (Shipping will cost me half of that because of the packaging I’ll need to insure that guitar neck doesn’t break off.)

 

“Elvis’ Humor – Girls, Guns, a & Guitars”

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

I have featured this book three different times On ElvisBlog. With the kind permission of author Bo Keeley, I took some of the funniest passages and added pictures to come up with blog posts. Bo was also kind enough to send me some free copies. They have a cover price of $17.95, but you can pick one up for just $7 delivered. A bargain for 375 pages of fun stories about Elvis.

 

A 3-pack of 50s Rock & Roll DVDs:

Editor’s Note:  This item has been sold.

 

These are rare and hard to find, and they will bring back memories for those of you who lived through the early days of Rock & Roll. For those of you who are younger, these DVDs will give you a glimpse of a remarkable era when life was simple and the music was the best ever. You can get all three for $12.

Jamboree: This is like watching an hour-and-a-half of MTV videos, 50s style. The featured singers are Fats Domino, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Knox, Jimmy Bowen, Charlie Gracie, The Four Coins, Carl Perkins, Connie Francis, Frankie Avalon and more.

Rock & Roll and the 50’s: Watch this DVD and it will be like opening up a time capsule to an exciting era. In addition to all the music clips, there is news footage, TV ads and movie trailers. The singers featured in the music clips include Jerry Lee Lewis, Gene Vincent, The Everly Brothers, Bobby Darin, Charlie Gracie, Bill Haley, and Fats Domino. And they sing multiple hits, not just one song. Set aside a whole night to watch this – it lasts for two hours and twenty-five minutes.

Rock, Rock, Rock: This is a movie in the rock-musical-romance genre. There is a bit of plot about a manipulative showbiz agent trying to land a pop singer and conniving to break up his romance with female vocalist. Tuesday Weld, who later played Elvis’ love interest in “Wild in the Country,” made her movie debut in this at age 13. Lots of musical performances are woven in, including Chuck Berry, The Flamingos, Frankie Lyman, The Moonglows, LaVern Baker, Johnny Burnette, and more. If you like watching 50s teenagers jitter-bugging, this is the movie for you. This one lasts for two hours and thirty-five minutes.

 

FREEBIES:

To make this more interesting, here are freebies you can choose when you purchase something else.

1st pick goes to who gets the~~~Bobbleheads set
2nd pick ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Musical Ornament
3rd pick ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Stained-glass Elvis
4th pick ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Elvis Beanie Baby
5th pick (if anybody passes)~~~3-Pack of 50s Rock & Roll DVDs

Here are the choices:

Elvis trading cards: This is 16 cards out of a set of 704, which is selling for $169 on eBay. These are terrific quality. Heavy glossy cardboard with sharp graphics. The backs of the cards are nicely done with interesting info.

 

 

All Access Backstage Passes: These aren’t from actual Elvis concerts, or they would be going for hundreds of dollars. These are from Elvis Week concerts: 2002 Salute to Elvis, 2007 30th Anniversary Tribute and Concert, and 2007 Good Rockin’. Pretty cool to own.

 

Little Elvis Box: This is a cute 4” square metal box with a clear plastic insert in the lid that allows you to see an Elvis photo inside.

Editor’s Note:  This item has been selected.

 

 

Miscellaneous Goodies: Here we have a “Greetings from Graceland” refrigerator magnet, a 60th Anniversary patch, and an unused book of Elvis matches. The match book is listed on several websites as very rare, but none available to sell.

 

That’s a long list of Elvis items, and I hope you’ll find something that appeals to you. If you want an item, send me an email at philarnold@charter.net. (Do not notify me of your interest on Comments.)

As usual, first come, first served. I would prefer payment using PayPal, but checks will work, too. When I get your email, I will initiate billing on PayPal. You approve it and I send the item right out to you. With a check, it’ll take a little longer. And if you live in Canada, let me know, and remember the delivered cost will be about 35% higher.

 

Thanks for your support.

Phil Arnold, Original ElvisBlogmeister (2005-2019)