Monthly Archives: November 2020

Tony Curtis, Elvis, and Ducktails

 It’s been a busy Thanksgiving weekend, so today I am bringing back a post from 2010.  Quick and easy, but still a fun read.

 

Tony Curtis died this past Wednesday, and several Elvis websites noted his passing.  The reason they did this is because there are two stories connecting these two great entertainers.  In case you haven’t read these other websites, here is the Elvis//Tony Curtis story that gives us a look at Elvis’ sense of humor.

 

In the summer of 1960, Elvis and Tony Curtis were both filming movies at Paramount Studios.  Elvis was making G.I. Blues and Curtis was doing The Rat Race.  During breaks from shooting, Curtis liked to change into shorts and a sweater and walk around the backlot.  He’d look at the old sets and try to remember where they had been used.  One day he came by Elvis’ big trailer and the door opened.  “I looked up and there was Elvis.  And he grabs me and pulls me in.”

Elvis said, “Mr. Curtis, I want you to know what a big fan I am.  I used to watch all your movies in Tennessee.” 

 “Please, don’t call me Mr. Curtis,”

“So what do you want me to call you?”

“Just call me Tony.”  Then Curtis asked, “What do I call you?” 

 Elvis replied, “Mr. Presley.”

According to Curtis, that quit wit impressed him and from then on they had a great time together.

 

     

 

These photos show there is no question Tony Curtis was a big inspiration for the look young Elvis strived to achieve.  Hold your thumb over Curtis’ face in them and see if you don’t think they could just as likely be Elvis photos.

 

The Presley family lived in Apartment 328 of Lauderdale Courts in Memphis from 1949 to 1953.  It is now open for public tours, and pictures of Tony Curtis are posted on the wall of Elvis’ bedroom, representing the way it looked while he lived there. 

When Elvis told Tony Curtis he was a big fan, he wasn’t kidding.

 

The other Tony Curtis connection usually mentioned in the Elvis website reports is that Elvis copied the hair style young Tony Curtis favored – the Ducktail.   For those of you not familiar with this style, the hair on the sides is long and slicked back.  On the back of the head, the hair from the sides meets in the middle for a sort-of part.


 

In the late 50s and early 60, the Ducktail was popular among the more independent and rebellious types.  It was also known as Ducks Butt, or more commonly, Ducks Ass, shortened to D A in popular jargon.  This hairstyle’s popularity even spread to England where it was called a Duck’s Arse.

 

Elvis Combing His Ducktail

 This is the best picture I could find of young Elvis with a Ducktail.  Note how the side hair is slicked back and a bit of the part in the back is visible.

Here is Elvis working on the back of his Ducktail.  There are many photos of Elvis slicking back the side hair, but not too many of him fussing with the back.  Here is another one.

 

 

Some of Elvis’ 50s Rock & Roll contemporaries sported Ducktails too.

Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent

 

And here are two famous movie and TV characters with their ducktails.

                      Danny Zuko                                 Fonzie                                                                        

There is one other Elvis/Tony Curtis connection that I found in Elvis: His Life From A To Z by Fred L. Worth and Steve D Timerius.  According to them, producer Stanley Kramer offered Elvis the co-starring role opposite Sidney Poitier in the 1958 movie The Defiant Ones.  It never worked out (perhaps because Elvis had to go into the Army in March of that year), and Tony Curtis got the part.  Too bad Elvis didn’t get it, because his desire for a career as a serious actor in dramatic roles would have been significantly enhanced.  Getting the role worked out very well for Tony Curtis.  It brought him his only Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

Suppose Elvis had gotten the role and had been nominated for an Oscar.  He might never have been stuck doing such silly films as Tickle Me and Clambake.

 

©  2010    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.

A Thanksgiving Prayer In The Times of Covid

.

O God,

 

We gather together separated by life-saving distancing, but united more than ever in spirit.  We know we are in a war against COVID-19 together, and the more together we are, the better and stronger we will emerge.

 

.

 

We know the challenges are enormous, yet so are the opportunities. That whether we are in isolation with loved ones, or alone, we will have abundance of time. We commit to using that time to the max, to help those in greater need in whatever way we can. We know we all have the opportunity, and time, to be life savers and life enhancers.

 

.

We give thanks for those who are on the front line taking care of those who are not well. We give thanks for the researchers who are working at breakneck speed to find cure and vaccine.

 

 

We give thanks for our leaders, federal, state and local, for their dedication to all of us.
We give thanks for the providers of our daily needs who go to work in spite of the risk.
We give thanks for those who have ramped up their ability to produce life-saving supplies.
We pray for the well-being of all our life savers. For those who are not well, we pray that they recover fully.

 

 

We pray for those enduring difficulty, that they may overcome their challenges. We pray that a cure and vaccine will soon be available. And that we all – family, friends, all Americans, the entire world may be healed in body and spirit.

 

.

We ask you, O God, to bless our leaders, our front line care givers, our life savers and life enhancers.

 

 

We ask you, O God, to bless America, to bless the world, to bless everyone.

 

Amen.

 

 

Archbishop Terrance Prendergast and Rabbi Reuven Bulka, two religious leaders from the Ottawa region, wrote the original prayer which was edited slightly for this post.

 

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  Please stay safe.

 

 

Variations on the Iconic Jailhouse Rock Image

Back in 2012, I posted a photo essay on the many ways creative people have used  the famous  Elvis Jailhouse Rock images.  I have found a few more variations since then, so here is a look at all of them.

 

Below are four images from Jailhouse Rock.  It appears that EPE has decided these are the definitive shots from the movie, and they have been used in various promotional efforts, especially the one on the right.

 

 

In last week’s article, we saw a popular T-shirt design that used a colorized version of this particular image.

 

In the article I mentioned I have a growing file of Photoshopped pictures that inserted this iconic Elvis pose into all sorts of different contexts.  Here are twelve good ones.

 

Elvis on a Horse 

 

This is pretty clever, but Elvis looks a little too big compared to the horse or the woman.

 

Elvis and the Peace Sign

Several of these new composite pictures have colorized the original black-and-white Elvis image.  Here, the coat and pants went from black to blue, and the stripes changed to red.  It all works very well with the American flag colors on the peace sign.  Good concept and good design.

 

Elvis Riding a Frog

This is really cute.  How do people come up with these ideas?

 

Elvis Spinning on a Turntable

Now this makes sense.  What would be more natural than Elvis on a 33 LP album?  The only thing wrong is that the record doesn’t look like one of his.

 

At the Door of a 50s Style Diner

This one is kind of weird.  Nothing looks right.  The only parts that look even close are the legs and shoes.  The arm positions have been changed, the jacket doesn’t hang like the original, and Elvis’ face has been changed.  Sorry, this doesn’t work for me.  I hope whoever made it, didn’t waste a whole lot of time on it.  Not worth the effort.

 

Donald Rumsfeld Elvis

The list of political figures morphed into Elvis images is very long – Reagan, Schwartzenegger, Bush, Nixon and more.  Here we have Donald Rumsfeld, but I have no idea why.

 

Tom Delay Elvis

Do you remember Tom Delay, the former Texas Congressman and House Majority Leader?  The Jailhouse Rock connection is a good one, because he was sentenced to three years in prison for illegally plotting to funnel corporate contributions to legislative candidates.

 

Blago Elvis

I’ve used this one before on ElvisBlog, maybe twice before.  But Rod Blagojevich was a genuine Elvis fan, and he is doing the jailhouse rock at this very moment.

 

Bill Clinton Elvis

It really isn’t fair to show Bill Clinton in front of a prison, because he never went to jail for impeachment.  I wonder why the Photoshop jockey decided to switch the Elvis image around and face the other direction.

 

J-Lo and Elvis

That’s enough politicians.  How about a hot young Jennifer Lopez dancing with Elvis?  He wouldn’t have minded that at all.  I just wish somebody had done one like this with an Ann-Margret image.

 

Elvis and Elvis

This is my favorite, so we will end here.  I like the colorized image that changes the shirt stripes to a solid red.  And I love the juxtaposition of dancing Elvis over a blow-up of his eyes transfixed in a serious stare.  Even the lighting effect is cool.  Just an excellent image.

 

And here are the new additions.

 

Mr. Spock Elvis

This image of Spock gets the pose right, but I prefer when they keep the Elvis prison uniform.

 

Elvis and Kiss

I have several pictures with Elvis Photoshopped into rock bands, but this is the only one with him in Jailhouse Rock attire.

 

Donald Trump Elvis

 

Like the Bill Clinton photo earlier, this one has Elvis’ pose reversed.  For my money,  the title on it could just as well be Trump Jerry Lee Lewis.

 

Jailhouse Rock Collectibles – Part 1

McFarlane Toys did their usual good job on this Jailhouse Rock figurine.

 

Jailhouse Rock Collectibles – Part 2

I didn’t record what company introduced this Jailhouse Rock Bobble Head.

 

Anna Nicole Smith and Elvis

I’ll just show this one without comment.

 

Fireman Elvis

It may be too small for you to read, but in the top right it says, “STOP THE NOISE – PLAY THE MUSIC Noise Cancelling Headphones.”  It is a 3M product, but I don’t get the connection with this photo.

 

Elvis and Elvis Again

I ended the 2012 post with two Elvises, and I like this one just as much. Nice use of two poses from Jailhouse Rock.

 

©  2020    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.

 

Col. Parker Masterminds the Elvis Summer Festival

Here’s a second look at a post from 2009.  I hope you will find it a terrific peak into the way Col. Parker managed Elvis career.

 

When Elvis returned to live performances at the Las Vegas International Hotel in 1969, he did two shows a night, seven-days-a-week, for a month, followed by a break of three or four months. 

His third appearance there went from August 10 to September 7, 1970.  It had all the excitement of the previous two, but there was something else going on.  A complete MGM film crew was on hand to do the filming for the documentary movie, ELVIS: That’s The Way It Is

 

 

This generated an incredible buzz, not just at the International Hotel, but for the whole city.  And guess who was there stirring the pot?  Yes, sir, of course, Col. Tom Parker.  The Colonel at his best.

 

Everybody knows where Elvis stayed when he played the International: The Imperial Suite that covered the entire top floor of the hotel. 

Bedroom in Elvis’ suite at the International Hotel

 

But where did Col. Parker stay?  Well, he didn’t do bad, either.  He got the entire 4th floor.

So, why would the Colonel need a whole floor?  Maybe, just because he could pull it off.  You know a man with his negotiating skills would love the challenge of working that perk into Elvis’ contract.  But what did Col. Parker do with a whole floor?  It’s not like he brought along a lot of buddies like Elvis did, ready to party every night.  No, but Col. Parker needed the space for something else.

He arrived in Las Vegas trailed by a staff of attendants from RCA Victor, MGM and the William Morris Agency.  He kept all of them busy carrying out his plan for a heavy public relations blitz.  And, he also had the complete assistance of many of the hotel’s staff.

Colonel Parker decided that the combination of live shows plus the filming for a movie was a big enough event to warrant its own special name.  He decided it would be the “Elvis Summer Festival.” 

 

 

The hotel staff assigned to him eagerly responded to his decree to staple stuff all over the walls near the 2000-seat Showroom International. The items included:

Posters
Pictures
Scarves
Banners
Flags

I hope these items were placed up pretty high on the walls.  Otherwise, can you imagine how much of it was stolen by the fans?  Hey, that was probably all part of the Colonel’s plan.  He had plenty more up on 4th Floor.  He could create a fresh buzz each morning by noting how many goodies were missing from the walls and replacing them.

 

 

However, Col. Parker didn’t stop with the Showroom area.  He also had the staff staple the PR stuff in all six restaurants, the bay-side pool, and a half-dozen bars.  The “Elvis Summer Festival” was in full swing, and Colonel Parker was in the driver’s seat.

 

Don’t you think the hotel management shuddered when the Colonel had strings of flags hung up around the building’s entrance.  Rolling Stone magazine said they “gave the entrance to the huge hotel the look of a used car lot.”

 

 

Colonel Parker wasn’t doing all this just to pack people into the showroom.  He also had merchandise to sell.  The luxurious carpeted steps leading to the casino were graced with brilliant crystal chandeliers – and Col. Parker’s Elvis souvenir stand.  Pretty girls sold Elvis Presley photos for $1 and picture books for $1.50.  We can imagine that just about everybody coming and going to the casino stopped and looked, and many bought.

 

The weirdest thing in Col. Parker’s saturation campaign was what all dealers and pit bosses were required to wear – white Styrofoam fake straw-hats.  And each hat had a wide banner around it, proclaiming “Elvis Summer Festival.”  Don’t you just bet those pit bosses were so thrilled to be wearing them?  Guests could pick one up for $3.50 at the hotel gift shop.

 

All of this was engineered at Elvis Central back in the Colonel’s 4th floor lair.  Actually, it was called Col. Parker’s “Las Vegas Office,” and the hotel installed wood paneling in one of the large suites to give him a true office environment.  However, on the walls outside his office, the colonel had staff hang a gigantic Elvis movie poster, plus banners and flags.  A bit farther down the hallway were stacks of Styrofoam straw hats.

The Colonel posted a 24-hour guard at the elevator door into his domain, and the guards kept busy by turning away everybody who didn’t belong.  However, the disappointed fans were not sent away empty-handed.  They were each given an Elvis postcard and an Elvis calendar.

Elvis also had guards at his penthouse suite, and they turned away fans – lots of them.  But there weren’t any business meetings going on inside Elvis’ suite like there were down in the Colonel’s.  No, Elvis and the boys were having some good parties, because “that’s the way it is.”

 

 

©  2008     Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister     All Rights Reserved     www.ElvisBlog.net

 

A Closer Look at Elvis’ Gold Lamé Suit

Editor’s note:  The set of Elvis Gold Suit photos has been sold.

 

I learned something last week. The worst way to try to sell a set of killer photographs of Elvis is to show all of them together in one picture.

That makes them too small to really see how great they are, especially for the two-thirds of ElvisBlog readers get it delivered to their smartphone.

 

What I should have done is show big pictures of them individually. Like this:

Now, that’s more like it. You can see that Elvis is wearing the coat from the famous Gold Lamé Suit, but not the pants. The gold tie is gone, replaced by a flashy medallion. Elvis liked the gold belt, so he’s got that on.

 

Here a shot with Scotty Moore and Bill Black. Scotty is so staid, while Elvis is smoking hot doing his famous hip moves. The hair falling over the forehead is great.

How about this one! Elvis is going full-blast. Check out his hair; it looks like that because he is bouncing up-and-down. Scan down to his shoes and you can see him coming down to land from the bounce.

I love the look on his face. As often noted on this blog, his eyes during performances are almost hypnotic. And have you ever seen a picture of Elvis with his mouth open this wide while singing?

Finally, this photograph is special because of the famous guitar he is slinging. There are many other pictures around of Elvis and that guitar, but none of them have Elvis looking this animated.

 

I’m glad Gordon Stoker of the Jordanaires is in this photo with Elvis. He bought me a meatloaf dinner at Elvis Week 2007, and he told some wonderful Elvis stories.

Elvis is not in motion here; maybe singing a love song. When I look at my actual photo I can see the hair over his ear is swept straight back and it looks like he just got a haircut.

 

And here we have Elvis in the full Gold Lamé Suit: Coat, tie, belt, pants, and shoes. This spectacular shot of Elvis in action leaves the standard Gold Suit publicity photo we see all the time in the dust.

 

Let’s look at a brief history of Elvis’ famous Gold Lamé Suit and then come back to discuss these pictures some more.

 

Col. Parker commissioned Nudie Cohn of Nudie’s Rodeo Tailors to design the flashy gold suit at a cost of $2,500 ($23,200 in today’s money).

While the fans loved the outfit, the one person who did not like the suit was Elvis himself. Lamé is not an easy fabric to wear since it is made of thin ribbons of metallic threads. The gold pants created problems for Elvis since the gold sequins would flake off when he slid on his knees while performing. Plus, he disliked the gold pants because they were not flattering. That is very evident in my photo.

Elvis wore the gold lamé suit for the first time in public on March 28, 1957, at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. He wore it for the final time on April 2 at the second show at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto. The last photo above was taken at this show by a photographer for the Toronto Star newspaper.

So, there was just a six day span when Elvis wore the full gold suit outfit, and he didn’t wear it at all of the performances in this period.

For most of his 1957 concert performances, Elvis substituted black pants for the gold. He still wore the gold belt and jacket, but rarely wore the gold shoes or necktie. That is the case in the first four photos above, which were taken at Elvis’ show on April 3, 1957 at the Memorial Auditorium in Ottawa.

 

Now, let me explain how I happen to have these photographs. I bought them thirteen years ago from my friend and fellow Elvis-blogger, Alan Hanson. He is the author of the wonderful book Elvis ’57: The Final Fifties Tours.

You will find it interesting how Alan acquired these photos:

I purchased the full gold suit photo from the Toronto Star. I had seen the photo in a copy of the newspaper when I was doing research on my book. I had done some research on Canadian copyright law and learned that copyrights of photographs there expire 50 years after they were taken. Since I was writing my book in 2007, the copyright on the Toronto Star photo had just expired.

The lady I spoke with at the Star confirmed that was true. So I had to pay $10 or so for them to send me a scan of the photo, but I didn’t have to pay a fee to use it in my book. Also, I was free to sell copies of the photo since it was then in the public domain.

Likewise, I paid $3 or so for copies of all the photos taken in Ottawa from the City of Ottawa Archives. Since I knew the copyrights had expired in Canada on all of those photos, I used several in my book and offered copies for sale on my website. Since the Ottawa Archives had sent me all the photos as scans on a CD, it was easy to have 8 X 10 copies made. I sold a number of photos,

Including a set to me. But, now I am willing to part with them. They are stunning glossy photographs on heavy photo paper. The detail is sharp. Check it out on this blow-up of Elvis’ head from the first picture.

 

When I scanned my photos for this post, they went into my files at 1,700 x 2,200 pixels. You could make life-sized posters out of them and they would still be sharp.

 

So, have I convinced anyone out there that this set is a wonderful collectible for an Elvis fan?

To make it an even better package, I will include quality blow-ups of three of the Elvis head shots.

 

 

Okay, who’s going to step up and get the five photographs and three fabulous head shots for just $20? The first person to let me know by email (philarnold@charter.net) will get them. Add $7 for Canadian destinations. Please do not use Comments to notify me.

Thanks for your support.

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister

 

To find out more about Alan Hanson’s excellent book Elvis ’57: The Final Fifties Tours, please click here.

Elvis Pics, Pics, and More Pics

It’s time again for me to offer some more of my Elvis goodies to any of you who might be interested. I took a beating on package postage last couple of times. My guesses were pathetically low, but that’s okay. Today I am offering only things that get the low Media Mail rates, and I can guess them pretty good.

If you want a deal on Elvis pictures, check out these eight choices:

8-1/4″ x 10-3/4” Color Pictures (and a few B&W).  The next three sets of Elvis pictures are on slick high-quality paper. The images are sharp and Elvis looks great in all of them.

Set # 1:

This set contains Elvis in three different jumpsuits, a drawing by famous Elvis artist Betty Harper, a terrific publicity photo from Blue Hawaii, and a black-and-white shot of Elvis early in his career.

 

Set # 2:

This set has Elvis in the same three jumpsuits as in Set #1, but they are different poses. There is a fourth Jumpsuit picture shot from the side, a picture of Elvis in casual clothes, and a patriotic drawing of Elvis by Betty Harper.

 

Set # 3:

This set features five pics in Landscape orientation and has some great head shots. The B&W one is great picture of young Elvis. There is a Betty Harper painting of Elvis in an unusual pose. The other B&W pic is Elvis and Col. Parker outside the New Frontier Hotel in 1956.

All three sets are just $5 each delivered. No postage or sales tax. Excellent large pictures of Elvis for not much money.

 

 

Set # 4:

 

These are large reprints of famous Elvis photographs. The big value of this set is the photo of Elvis in junior high school. You probably can’t pick him out here in the small thumb-nail image, but full-sized you can pick find him easy.

This excellent set is also $5 delivered.

 

Set # 5:
Editor’s note:    This item is no longer available

 

This is a rare offering. Full-sized photograph reprints of Elvis wearing his famous gold lame coat. They were taken on April 3, 1957 during a concert in Ottawa, Canada. The other photo showing Elvis wearing the entire gold suit was taken earlier on the tour, before Elvis got tired of the baggy pants and ditched them.

I thought about selling these pictures individually, but to keep it simple, you can get all of them. This is a great bargain.

 

Set # 6:

 

This is a mixed assortment of a dozen color and B&W pictures. They are postcard size (in fact three of them are postcards). All twelve of them for just $5.

 

Set # 7:

 

This is another assortment of thirteen Elvis pictures. They are slightly smaller at 3-1/2” X 5”. If you have an Elvis scrapbook, these will be a welcome addition. Just $4 for all.

 

Set # 8:

These are three outstanding centerfolds from Elvis International magazine. They are on heavy glossy paper and measure 11” X 17”. They will look so outstanding on the wall of your Elvis room.

You can get all three for just $10 delivered.

 

Okay, If you like any of these offered sets and would like to purchase them, let me know by email at philarnold@charter.net. Please don’t put it in Comments. These offers are for delivery to USA locations only. Add extra $5 to destinations in Canada

Please indicate if you want a PayPal invoice, and I’ll get one right out. If you’d rather pay by check, let me know, and I’ll hold your selection for you until it arrives.

Thank you so much for your support.

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister