Author Archives: Phil Arnold

Some Fancy, Some Skimpy — Linda Thompson’s Wardrobe

Linda Thompson and Elvis Presley

You all know that Linda Thompson was Elvis’ girlfriend from 1972 to 1976. You might also know that she was third runner-up in the Miss USA Pageant and won the title of Miss Memphis State. But you might not know she was voted the Best Dressed Co-ed at Memphis State University. That tradition of sartorial excellence continued during her time with Elvis.

Elvis loved to dress Linda Thompson up in custom-made designer clothes when she accompanied him on special occasions in public. But he also apparently liked to see her in skimpy, sexy outfits, especially at home in Graceland. We’ll take a look at some of the fancy and the skimpy items Linda kept in her closet while she was with Elvis.

Linda Thompson Evening Gown

This is the evening gown Elvis had custom-made for Linda to wear to the “Aloha From Hawaii” concert filming. It is beige silk with a brown velvet rose pattern, sleeveless, deep V-neck front and back.

 

Linda Thompson In Jungle Roon

This, on the other hand, is something more casual and skimpier for lounging around the Jungle Room in Graceland.

 

Linda Thompson Black Jumpsuit

Elvis loved his jumpsuits so much that he had this sharp two-piece ensemble custom made for Linda. It consists of a long-sleeved bolero jacket with black and white cross-grain ribbon trim and a matching black bell-bottom jumpsuit with spaghetti straps.

 

Linda Thompson Bare Midriff

Linda with a bare midriff is a familiar image if you go looking for photos of her on Google. As we will see, denim was obviously something she preferred.

 

Linda Thompson Eagle' Jacket

So far, this is the only item I have found where Elvis and Linda had matching outfits, but no photos have surfaced with them together wearing these striking jackets. His sold at auction in 2016 for $50,000.

Elvis Wearing Eagle Jacket

Photographed in Las Vegas 1974

They have brown leather yokes, silver leather body and sleeves, multi-colored ‘star’ appliqués affixed to front and back shoulders, intricate rainbow-colored airbrush-painted designs on front and back. They are called the Eagle Jackets because of the added silhouette of black eagle on back.

Linda Thompson Eagle' Jacket - back

 

Linda Thompson Green Feather' Ensemble

This is called Linda’s Green Feather’ Ensemble: a black suede jacket with added black leather patches, adorned with lime green rhinestones and silver-tone studs throughout, trimmed in lime green ostrich feathers.

 

Here is what Linda had to say about the clothing Elvis gave her:

“When I first met Elvis, I was just a college girl at Memphis State University, and my wardrobe highly reflected that. Elvis immediately wanted me to fly out to Los Angeles and accompany him (the same day via Leer Jet) to Las Vegas for the opening of his engagement at the Las Vegas Hilton International Hotel. Elvis was anxious to show off his new girlfriend, so he sent me to the designer & dresser of the stars at the time, Suzy Creamcheese. Suzy outfitted me with beautifully outrageous clothing befitting a rockstar and a rock star’s girlfriend! These absolutely one-of-a-kind, handmade, studded, bedazzled, feathered & furred, Vegas and Elvis inspired 70s outfits are practically museum quality now. I wore each of these to Elvis’s shows in Las Vegas, and sometimes even on tour with him – much to his delight. There was really nothing subtle about Elvis or his taste in clothing…”

 

Linda Thompson wearing Skimpy Denim

Here’s another shot of Linda wearing denim. Not very much of it, though.

 

Linda Thompson Jean Ensemble

And here’s an example of Linda Thompson’s designer denim. She had a number of pants and tops that could be mixed and matched. This top is a cropped jean jacket with added darker jean patchwork and royal blue rhinestones. The pants started out as a regular pair of Levi’s jeans, but designer “Miss Vintage” added jean patchwork and silver-tone studs

Linda Thompson in Graceland Kitchen

This is Linda in the Graceland kitchen wearing a different set of denim co-ordinates.

 

Linda Thompson Purple Dress

Linda Thompson must have looked elegant wearing this to the opening of one of Elvis’ Las Vegas engagements. The dark purple gown had two side slits, long sleeves slit to expose a white lining, deep V-neck front, and tailored waist.

 

Linda Thompson Purple Dress

Not quite so elegant, but Linda sure looks great.

 

Linda Thompson Black Floral Dress

Worn to another Las Vegas opening, this black full-length, V-neck sleeveless gown features outstanding embroidered design.

 

Linda on Elvis' 9ft bed in Graceland

I’m not sure how to describe this outfit, but it’s interesting that she is sitting on the nine-foot bed in Elvis’ Graceland bedroom.

 

Linda Thompson Fur Cape

Linda even got dressed up to visit Elvis in the hospital. The web information on this says she wore it on February 12, 1975 when she went to Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee to visit Elvis in his recovery room. I’m not sure why Elvis was there, but several press photographers were outside the hospital and snapped shots of Linda going in.

Linda Thompson Fur Cape - Wearing

This dusty pink suede, waist-length cape is trimmed in white fox fur, lined in rose-colored satin, and the label reads “Helen of Memphis.”

 

Linda Thompson Elaborate Feathered Jumpsuit

Here’s another jump suit top. – a black suede jacket, adorned with white ostrich feathers, brown peacock feathers, and rhinestones.

Linda Thompson Elaborate Feathered Jumpsuit - back

There’s a matching pair of black bellbottom pants with the same feather and rhinestone treatment. Doesn’t sound very practical to me.

 

Elvis with Linda Thompson in See-Through Dress

This photo of Elvis and Linda Thompson was shot in 1974. It’s not one of Elvis’ better images, but Linda — wow.

 

 

© 2017 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.

 

Take a Peek inside BIG E and the SANTA MAN

Customer Reading Book

When you’re in a bookstore, you read the first few pages of a book to see if you like it before purchasing. You have a similar option at Amazon.com, too. If you click on a book’s cover image, a Look Inside link appears.

Look Inside Amazon Book

If you click on Look Inside, you can read the first seven pages of my rock & roll Christmas fantasy.

I’d like to make it even easier for you to do that right here, so you can see what the story is like, how Elvis is portrayed, how well the writing is done, etc. Please read following Chapter 1 of the book. I’m confident you will enjoy it a lot, and maybe you will be motivated to click on this Amazon link to buy a copy. [Note: the illustrations are not in the book, but it is a blogger axiom that you must break up large chunks of text with pictures.]

 

Harsh and Desolate Frozen Landscape

 

– Chapter 1 –

A Trek to the North Pole

 

Late September, 1977…

The relentless arctic wind swirled over a harsh and desolate world. Glacial fields, broken by jagged ice outcroppings, stretched between ridges of foreboding mountains. A solitary figure, with a backpack and guitar case slung over his shoulders, climbed up one of the lower slopes. He slipped and stumbled, beaten by wind-driven snow, as he fought to reach the top of the ridge.

Without warning, his footing gave way and he slid downward at a frightening speed. His shoulder bounced off a large crag, slowing him down. He flailed wildly with both hands, and grabbed an outcropping to stop his fall. The man clung there, panting, and shifted his feet around until he found a solid foothold. He pulled himself together, checked to see that the guitar case was undamaged, then struggled on.

He clawed himself to the top and saw the object of his incredible trek – an inviting valley, bathed in sunlight, with beautiful evergreen trees and holly bushes all around.

Santa's Castle at the North Pole

And, right in the middle, stood Santa’s castle. Not far from it, a tall red and white object stood by like a sentinel. Even from this distance, the traveler felt certain it was the North Pole.

He took a deep breath and started down the incline toward the castle with new resolve.  Suddenly, a shaft of energy shot down from the sky, locked onto his body, and lifted him three feet in the air.

“What the heck!”

~~~~~~~~~~

“Weasel, put that man down immediately.” The thin old man’s outburst shattered the quiet hum of the spacecraft’s command bridge. He managed to get his anger under control, but his disposition remained as dark and grim as his soiled black lab coat and tangle of unkempt hair.

Weasel jutted out his chin, flashing his displeasure with the command, but he grumbled, “Yes, sir,” and moved a lever on his control panel.

The old man continued his rant. “You need to get over this idea that I’m merely a brilliant scientist. I’m also the commander of this spacecraft, and you guys don’t make the decisions. I do. Sometimes you Humbahs are so stupid.”

Weasel headed a group known as the Humbahs, four elves who had washed out with Santa a few years earlier. They were all surly and stubborn, especially Weasel. He had purple spiked hair, and wore a heavily studded, sleeveless black leather jacket. His face sported several piercings, and numerous tats covered his little arms.

The commander turned back to his telescope monitor screen and watched as the traveler settled slowly back to the mountainside. Dammit, I really have to keep these Humbahs under tighter control, he thought. Evil elves with no qualms about ruining Christmas ought to make the right crew for my plot, but sometimes that independent streak of theirs drives me crazy.

Scrooge the Villain

Then the old man twisted to face the elf again. “Weasel, what the hell did you think you were doing?”

“Just having a little fun,” he said with a tone of insolence. “I wasn’t going to hurt the man – just shake him up.”

“We’re not here to have fun. We’re here to complete a mission.”

Weasel straightened up in his chair and puffed out his chest. “Well, we’ve tested our prototype transporter beam on big rocks and stuff, so why not on a person? It didn’t do any harm.”

The scientist snorted at Weasel’s continued defiant attitude. “You better hope there’s no harm. That man is obviously going to Santa’s castle. Suppose he tells what happened to him, and Santa gets suspicious and figures out we’re back with another plot this year to ruin Christmas.”

Weasel shot back, “Even if he does, there’s nothing Santa can do about it.”

The commander shook his head in exasperation and turned back to the monitor screen.

~~~~~~~~~~

The traveler settled gently onto the mountain slope. He sat there for a moment, unhurt, wondering what just happened. Then, he looked ahead and locked his eyes on Santa’s castle. His mind spun back to the task at hand, and he stood up, shrugged, and continued his journey.

About halfway down the mountain, the traveler realized it was getting warmer – but the snow was not melting. The lower he went, the warmer it got. When the slope leveled off, he thought, it feels like a gorgeous spring day, but there’s snow on the ground. This is pretty cool. He unzipped his heavy parka and pulled back the hood.

Soon he reached a point where he could make out the details of the North Pole. It looked to be almost two feet in diameter and over thirty feet tall. The traveler hadn’t known what to expect, but its massive size surprised him.

The traveler spotted two young elves ahead playing in the snow. They looked up and stared at him, then scurried off around the corner of Santa’s castle and out of sight.

As the traveler passed the North Pole, he noticed a small compartment door about three feet off the ground. It looked like it might cover some sort of control panel and had a combination lock securing it. He wondered why it was so low, then smiled when he realized the answer. That door is set for elf height. I’ll bet one of them opens it up and works some kind of switches or dials. Wonder what it does?

He trudged forward to Santa’s castle, a sprawling stone structure with multiple turrets and Tudor-style wood trim on the gables. The snow on the roof made it a picture-perfect image, and it beckoned him with an irresistible pull.

The traveler reached the steps, climbed up to the porch, and paused in front of the door. Well, this is it. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door.

In a few seconds, the door opened to reveal a familiar face. Santa smiled broadly when he saw his new visitor, and said, “Welcome to the North Pole. We don’t get many visitors here, but we’re real glad to see you, Mister….“ Santa paused.

He didn’t greet me with ‘Hello Elvis,’ so I guess he doesn’t know, or else he’s cuttin’ me some slack. Yeah, that’s probably it. “Well, sir, aaah, aaah…you can call me… aaah….Big E.”

Santa reached out and shook his hand. “Well, Big E, won’t you come on in?”

“Thank you, Santa,” he said as he passed through the door. “I’m really sorry to show up unannounced like this, but I’m hopin’ I might be able to stay here for a while. There’s some stuff goin’ on with my life, and I need to get away, you know?”

“You’re welcome to stay here as long as you like, Big E.” Santa looked at the guitar case. “I presume you can play that guitar or you wouldn’t have gone to all the trouble to lug it up here.”

Big E laughed. “There’s some debate about that, but I can hit a few licks.”
“Well, four of the elves entertain us with music occasionally,” Santa said. “They would like to play rock and roll, but it’s not going so well. Maybe you could work with them and help them along.”

“Oh, I’d love to. It would be great to get back to makin’ music again, just for fun.”

“Excellent. Say, can I help you get that heavy parka off?”

After Big E shed his gloves and coat, he tugged on his loose pants and shirt. “I guess I lost about fifty pounds making this trek. It’s been years since I’ve been this trim.”

“That’s nothing,” Santa said. “It’s been centuries since I’ve been trim.” They both laughed.

Big E looked around and took in the grandeur of Santa’s living room. Massive beams and sturdy wood decking towered over rough-sawn walls and a dark-pegged hardwood floor. A huge couch and two overstuffed armchairs formed a semi-circle facing the massive stone fireplace. Christmas decorations adorned the tables and walls, and a sturdy Christmas tree somehow supported an extensive display of ornaments.

“Oh, wow,” Big E said. “This is some place you’ve got here.”

Santa nodded. “It suits Mama Claus and me quite well. Say, let’s go out to the kitchen and I’ll introduce you to her.”

As they headed across the room, Big E asked, “I noticed the temperature around your castle is quite mild, but the snow doesn’t melt. Why is that?”

Santa stroked his chin. “For now, let’s just say that it’s one of the many magical properties of the North Pole. I’ll explain it all to you later, but you’ll be happy to know that anyone living at the North Pole never gets any older.”

Big E smiled but did not reply. Oh, man, this is going to be even better than I thought.

 

Big E and the Santa Man

I hope you enjoyed the first chapter of BIG E and the SANTA MAN. Like any good writer, I tried to work in as many things as possible to hook the readers. There’s our two iconic title characters, an evil villain and his bad-elf henchman, hints about all the magical properties of the North Pole, and mention of the four musically-inclined elves who will pair up with Big E to play some serious rock & roll.

Of course, the whole idea is total fantasy, but it sure makes for a fun story. I say this every year: BIG E and the SANTA MAN is the perfect Christmas present for Elvis fans. Please click here to go to the Amazon page, then email the link to your sweetie with this in the subject box: I want this book for Christmas.

 

PayPal

Or. if you want a signed copy, and you have a PayPal account, send an email to philarnold@charter.net.  Tell me what inscription you want on your book, and I’ll take care of the rest.

 

Santa's World Cover

I would like to end by paraphrasing the message on the above magazine cover.

Who is this Big E guy?

And will he be under your Christmas tree?

 

Thankyouverymuch,

Phil Arnold, Original Elvisblogmeister

 

Are There Any Collectible Elvis Figurines That Actually Look Like Elvis?

Elvis Presley Collectible Vinyl Figures

That’s a pretty scary face looking out from this box. It says ELVIS, but does it really look much like him? This is the latest collectible Elvis figurine. It is made by Kidrobot and is available on Graceland.com for $14.99.

Elvis Vinyl Figure '68 Special by Kidrobot

Here’s another view. It is the ’68 Special black leather version, and it doesn’t look much like Elvis to me, either, except maybe the lip snarl.

Elvis Gold Lame Vinyl Collectible

And this is the other option – Gold Lamé Elvis. Both are 4-1/2 inches tall, which means the head is about 2-1/2 inches. That should be plenty big enough to allow decent design and art work that looks like Elvis.

 

Back in 2008, I did an article on Tiny Elvis Heads from various figurines on the market over the years. I realized how difficult the task was when the head was just ¾” tall, like this:

Elvis and Priscilla Barbie Doll Collector Set

This one is the Elvis and Priscilla Barbie Doll Set, and his eyes are just creepy. But, like I said, it must be hard to mold and paint a good Elvis on such a tiny head.

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Christmas Ornament

Here’s what I call the skinny Elvis head Jailhouse Rock Christmas tree ornament. I’ve realized you could make a collection of just Jailhouse Rock Elvis figurines.

Elvis Nodnik

This charming thing is called an Elvis Nodnik.

Elvis Jailhouse Rock Bobblehead

This is called the Wacky Wobbler Bobblehead. There is another set of Elvis bobbleheads offered by Royal Bobbles, but no Jailhouse Rock design, just ’68 Special and Las Vegas Jumpsuit.

NECO Jumpsuit Elvis Bobblehead

Believe it or not, there is a third set of Elvis bobble heads by Neco.  And you have to say this head is very well done, easily identified without the jumpsuit or the name on the base.

 

Mini Black Elvis Nutcracker

However, if this nutcracker didn’t have the name on the base, who would ever guess it was Elvis? I do like the guitar strung over his shoulder, though. Here’s another nutcracker that’s maybe a little better.

Elvis Phoenix Jumpsuit Nutcracker

The Phoenix jumpsuit helps, but it still needs the name on the base.

 

While we are talking about bad images, how about this horrible one?

Elvis Jailhouse Rock n Sock Em Robot

I wonder if they ever sold any of these. Why would anybody want one?

 

Elvis Windshield Bobbler

I actually have one of these hanging in a window across the room, but I really like the way the photographer framed Elvis with the Graceland wall in the background.

 

Jumpsuit Elvis Pez

This is one of three PEZ Elvis that came in this tin display. The head is just over ½ inch high, so the PEZ designers deserve praise for coming up with a good tiny Elvis.

 

Elvis Bobble-Car Wacky Wobbler

This is a nice variation in Elvis figurines, and the face is pretty good.

 

Barbie Collectibles three doll Tommy as Elvis

Uggggh! This looks more like Kim Jung Un than Elvis.

 

Barbie Blue Hawaii Elvis Presley Doll

Blue Hawaii Elvis is not too common in the figurine themes. The top four are Jailhouse Rock, ’68 Special Black Leather, Aloha White Jumpsuit, and Gold Lamé. Others include G.I. Elvis and young Elvis wearing a sport coat.

 

Let’s finish up with the best of the Elvis figurines. That title goes to McFarlane Toys was started in 1994 by Todd McFarlane, a comic book creator and illustrator. His first figurines were the characters from his Spawn comic series. He has now produced hundreds of figures including cartoon horror icons, sports legends, dragons, the Simpsons, the Beatles, and many more.

McFarlane Elvis Wearing White Suit from '68 Special

Now this looks like Elvis. I also like it because it features Elvis dressed in a different outfit than in those other sets. I’m sure you recognize it as the white suit he wore in the ’68 Special when he sang “If I Can Dream.”

 

McFarlane Toys Elvis Jailhouse Rock

This is so good. Look at this close up to see how well McFarlane captured Elvis’ likeness.

McFarlane Jailhouse rock Elvis Side View

I’m really impressed with the quality of this Elvis reproduction. I don’t think they are still in production, but when I searched for good images, I found them for sale on eBay and other places.

 

Mr Potatohead Jumpsuit Elvis with Black Guitar

If you would prefer a fun Elvis figurine over an accurate one, there is always the Mr. Potato Head Elvis. I have the whole set.

 

 

© 2017 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.

 

 

Who Are These Two Guys

Santa and Big E in Jet Sled

Even if you are just reading ElvisBlog for the first time, I’m sure you recognized them as Santa Claus and Elvis Presley. However, if you’ve been a reader for the past two years, then you know them as Santa Man and Big E, the characters in my rock & roll Christmas fantasy.

Why do they have different names? In my story, Big E is how Elvis introduced himself to Santa when he first arrived at the North Pole. Santa Man is simply a playful nickname that Big E gave Santa once they became good friends.

OK, so what is the strange-looking thing they are flying around in? Again, first-time visitors to this blog might say: “Looks like a gold Caddy convertible with runners instead of wheels and some kind of red propulsion flame coming out the back. Long-time blog readers know this is Big E’s jet sled. It was specially made for him by Santa’s elves, and it plays a significant part in their teaming up to save Christmas in my book BIG E and the SANTA MAN.

 

Big E and Santa in Jet Sled

This sorry-looking drawing was the jet sled image on the first printing two years ago. I traced the lines of a 1959 Cadillac and drew the runners. I was trying to keep the costs down because graphic artists are expensive. I did have to pay for her to add flames and sky background and to cut and paste Santa and Big E into the jet sled.

I knew it was pretty amateurish, so I put it on the back cover. I spent the real money getting the designer to make a professional-looking front cover. Then, last year, I saw this picture.

Runners to put on Jet sled

I was like “Wow,” that’s the kind of runners I want on Big E’s jet sled. More to the point, they would be the kind of sharp, stylish accessories Elvis would want on a prized vehicle. I had made a little money on book sales, so I forked out some of it to have the designer put them on my so-so drawing.

Jet Sled Picture to use in Promotion

The shiny metal runners look so much better, and the red flames were an improvement, so this image went on the back cover last year. Still, I wasn’t really happy with it. Then I found this picture on the internet:

Caddy Convertible front view

I sent the picture to the graphic artist an asked, “Can you change it to gold, and replace the wheels with runners, and put Santa and Big E in it?” She said, “Sure, but it will take some time and cost you some real money.” I swallowed hard and said, “Yes, do it, but be gentle with your bill.” What she produced was outstanding, so it was time for a new cover.

2017 New Front Cover - Big

The title font is the same as on the first printing, and two weeks ago I explained about the change in the tag line.

Coming up with a book cover is a learning experience. Several folks suggested that because there are two title characters, they should both be on the cover. This was not the case on the first printing, and I could see their point.

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover

Some observers said the first cover was too busy, too much stuff. I could see that, too. But, another thing surprised me. Half of the folks I asked had no idea what the building was. This was in spite of the presence of Santa in the title, the North Pole nearby, and the word Claus over the front door. One non-Elvis fan even asked, “Is it Graceland?” Give me a break.

As I mentioned two weeks ago, the tag line in the red ornament didn’t give any clue what the story was about. So, once I had the new jet sled picture, it was time for a complete front cover redesign. I’m really happy with it.

And you will be happy, too, if you get a copy of this book. It is available on Amazon.com. Click here to go to the book’s page where you can get it for $7.99 or the Kindle eBook for $2.99.

Amazon Page - Big E and the Santa Man

 

There is also one thing I failed to mention in the first two Christmas season promotional pitches. Although I wrote the book to appeal to Elvis fans, it can be enjoyed by adolescent or young adult readers. The story is squeaky clean. I want to get Graceland to buy my book and make it into a one hour animated Christmas special, which would be watched by all ages. Plus my chances with Graceland will be enhanced if Big E is portrayed as straight-arrow kind of guy. We all know he used some saucy language in real life, but not in my story.

The phenomenon of Elvis’ continued popularity is because new generations of fans keep coming along. Where do they get this inclination from? Mostly their parents or even their grandparents.

So, if you have a young family member who doesn’t know about Elvis like you do, give them my nifty Christmas fantasy. Once they’ve read BIG E and the SANTA MAN, they will like this Big E guy, and you’ll have an opening to tell them all about Elvis.

But don’t forget to get a copy for yourself or copies to give to others. The record for books purchased by one person to give to others is eleven. Like I’ve said before, this is the perfect Christmas present for all Elvis fans. So, how about clicking on this Amazon link and getting a copy?

 

Thankyouverymuch,

Phil Arnold

 

 

Fats Domino and Elvis

Fats Domino and Elvis Presley at Table

As you know by now, Antoine “Fats” Domino has passed away due to natural causes at age 89. I won’t repeat all biography and statistical facts you have seen on TV and other websites. Let me just say he was one of the greatest early rock and rollers, and I grew up with his music. I bought his 45s and danced to his songs at parties and sock hops at school. I have 53 Fats Domino songs on my playlist and will listen to them while I write this blog post. I’m going to hear every one of those songs today and appreciate again just how great he was.

 

Now, about Fats Domino and Elvis Presley.

Rock-Hall-Inaugural-Induction

You probably know they were both Charter members of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, inducted together in the first class in 1986. We lost Chuck Berry in March this year, and now Fats Domino. Hang in there Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. I really don’t look forward to writing one of these posts about either of you, but let’s face it, it’s going to happen sooner rather than later.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 1986 Inductees

 

Elvis was a big fan of Fats Domino and had great respect for him. On more than one occasion, Elvis called Fats the real king of rock and roll.

 

Fats Domino and Elvis Presley

It appears that their friendship flourished because they got together when they both were working at the same times in Las Vegas. The picture above was taken around 12.30am on August 1, 1969 at a press conference for Elvis’ return to live performing at the International Hotel.

Las Vegas Press Conference

 

In a June 2004 interview, Fats Domino had this to say about Elvis’ return to Las Vegas:

“[I] first met Elvis Presley in Las Vegas. When I was playing at the Flamingo Hotel. I went to his room and played for him. He used to call me ‘Mr. Blueberry Hill.’ I remember him telling me, ‘You know, Fats, I’m opening up tomorrow, but when I first came here I flopped.’

“But after he got back there, it was all gold… and every night it was sold out. Boy, he could sing. He could sing spirituals, country and western, everything he sang I liked.

“Elvis Presley did a lot before he passed. He made movies, he was traveling, everything. I don’t see how he did it; you’d have to stay up day and night.”

 

Fats Domino and Elvis in color

When a reporter at this press conference referred to Elvis as the ‘King of Rock ’n’ Roll’, he rejected the title, as he always did, calling attention to the presence in the room of his friend Fats Domino, calling him “one of my influences from way back. No one could sing those songs like he did.”

 

[My wife just yelled at me to turn it down. When “I’m Ready” came on, I cranked it up. I just love that song.]

 

Fats Domino had a long-time collaboration with Dave Bartholomew, a song writer/bandleader/producer who is also in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the same category as Sam Phillips. His son Don Bartholomew once said:

“The way Fats sang was all original… It’s hard to copy, but if you listen to some of Elvis’ records, where words are kind of shortened — that’s from Fats, I think. Elvis often commented that Fats and Dave were making Rock n’ Roll music before the term was ever coined.”

 

Elvis Talking on Stage

Elvis was famous for clowning around on stage, especially during his introductions of the band members. On February 23, 1970, he introduced his guitar player James Burton as Chuck Berry, piano player Glenn D. Harding as Steve Allen, and his band conductor Joe Cuercio as Leonard Bernstein. Then, Elvis said, “I used to be known as Fats Domino… until I lost weight.”

 

[My wife is yelling at me again. “The Fat Man” is another song I like loud.]

The Fat Man by Fats Domino

Speaking of “The Fat Man,” it was Fats Domino’s first record release in 1949. Many rock historians consider it to be the first rock and roll record. Nearly seventy years later, it sure holds up well.

 

Now I would like to tell a personal story about the time I got up close and personal with Fats Domino. The company I worked for held a huge convention in one of the big New Orleans hotels in the late 80s. The last night of the convention, we threw a big party in the ballroom, and to everybody’s delight, our entertainment for the night was Fats Domino and his band.

Fats Domino and the Band

This photo looks very much like the set-up that night. The stage was only about twenty inches high. There were no seats in front of it, just dance floor. So all us big Fats Domino fans could stand in front of the velvet ropes barely four feet away from him. He played for about two hours and did dozens of his hits.

It was an awesome night, and there are some things that still live in my memory all these years later.

The band had four, yes four, sax players. Their contribution to the music was much greater in concert than on the records. They really wailed.

The drummer was either on drugs or drunk, or both, because he fell off his stool right in the middle of a song. He was out cold, so a bald white guy sat in for the rest of the show. I think he was Fats’ road manager or something, and he did a passable job.

The unannounced opening act was another New Orleans resident and performer named Clarence “Frogman” Henry. If you are old enough you will remember his hits “Ain’t Got No Home,” and “Troubles, Troubles.”

A middle-aged black groupie somehow worked her way through the crowd and up to the stage. She had her eye on Fats big time. She had orange-colored hair piled on her head, heavy eye make-up, bright red lipstick, tons of jewelry, and lots of cleavage showing. It was pretty obvious she wasn’t associated with our convention, and pretty soon, the security guys assisted her out of the ballroom.

Fats was impeccably dressed that night. His suit looked like it was made out of sharkskin. It absolutely shimmered. Very classy.

He wore several huge rings on the fingers of both hands.

Fats Domino Wearing Lots of Rings

 

Fats Domino was in the news when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans’ Ninth Ward where he lived. Somehow, a rumor came out that he had died. Look what somebody painted on his home.

R.I.P. Fats Domino

That message was premature back then, but unfortunately, now it is true.

 

Fats Domino at the Piano

 

Good bye Fats Domino. You certainly will be missed. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

©  2017    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Organizing My Elvis Pictures – Part 2

Elvis Signing Something

I’m on the internet all the time looking for stuff to inspire an ElvisBlog post. Like a news item or a historical story, but often I will type something Elvis-related in the Google search box, and just check out the images that pop up. Surprisingly, I find some of the best pictures after scrolling down four or five pages where the images start to waver off your original search term. Like the picture above with Elvis writing something, or more likely, autographing a page for a fan.

I have a nice file of Elvis autographs compiled from dozens of auction results, but this photo didn’t seem right to file there. So, to save time when I discovered it, I just put it in my humongous master folder called Photos for Blog Articles.

Photos For Blog Articles File

Here you can see the first fourteen files in my blog photo folder. There are a total of 145 files with hundreds of sub-files. But there are also hundreds of individual pictures just in the folder, but not filed.

So, I will do this post about organizing some interesting ones into the proper files. Like the photo at the top. Believe it or not, that file is Elvis in the Army. The site where I found it said it was taken in Bad Nauheim, Germany.

 

Elvis in Thonburi, Thailand

The website information on this one said it was a giant Elvis billboard in Thonburi, Thailand. I had no idea where to file it. It just didn’t fit anywhere. So, I’m going to put it in Images, which is kind of a catch-all for interesting pictures of Elvis himself or his first name. Like this:

On Sun Record

Or this.

Elvis plus Guitar

 

Here’s one that’s pretty strange.

Born on January 8

It is kind of distressing to know that Kim Jong Un shares the same birthday as Elvis. I had no idea where to file this, but I’m now putting it in Elvis and Other Stars. David Bowie already has a sub-file in there.

Speaking of Kim Jong Un, did you know his father was a big Elvis fan?

Kim Jong Il in Elvis Jumpsuit

That’s Kim Jong Il in an Elvis jumpsuit. He’s filed in Elvis Impersonator Losers, a file with way too many crummy looking Elvis wannabies. Then I got curious about whether Kim Jong Un inherited the same genetic preference for Elvis.

Kim Jong Un as Elvis Presley

The best I could find was this Photoshopped image. I made two copies and filed one in Altered Elvis and the other in that loser file with his dad.

 

Elvis Presley's Memphis

Do you remember when EPE opened an Elvis-themed restaurant in the old building where the Lansky Bros. clothing store used to be? The restaurant folded after a few years, but Graceland still owned the name Elvis Presley’s Memphis and used it again when they opened the new entertainment complex this year. I have decided to file this picture under Lansky Bros.

 

Linda Thompson and Bruce Jenner

I don’t know why I didn’t immediately file this one in the Linda Thompson sub-file of the Elvis Girlfriends folder, but it’s in there now. How do you like the good-looking fellow Linda paired up with after Elvis? I think his name is Bruce, but I could be confused.

 

Elvis Bacon

This one is now in Products. It’s not a good fit, but where else can I file a piece of bacon that looks like Elvis? Somewhere in my master folder there’s a potato chip that looks like Elvis. And a cloud, too, I think. Maybe I can find them and start a folder called Stuff That Looks Like Elvis.

 

British Passport - Elvis Autograph on Page 32

This could have been put in the Autographs folder, but I didn’t initially do that because I thought I could use the interesting story about it in a blog post. Well, here it is. This is page 32 of the British Passport of Pauline Mary Harvey. Apparently, she met Elvis in 1963 and needed something for him to autograph. I believe the little picture of Elvis was pasted in later.

British Passport - Pauline Mary Harvey - 1963

 

I am sure you all have seen the photo of Elvis making a face while getting a shot. It’s filed in the Caption Contest folder.

Elvis Getting A Shot

This blood pressure picture will go in there, too, although it will be harder to come up with a funny caption.

Elvis Having Blood Pressure Taken

 

Woodstock From back of Stage

This doesn’t really belong in any Elvis folder because it is a shot of the crowd at Woodstock taken from the back of the stage. I saved it because I thought it was such a cool photo, but it will stay in limbo because I just don’t know where to file it.

 

Sketch of Elvis made by Jimi Hendrix in 1957 - 14 years old

Speaking of Woodstock, one of the best performers there, Jimi Hendrix, made this drawing of Elvis in 1957 when Hendrix was fourteen years old. Look hard and you can make out all the Elvis song titles he added. This picture is now filed in Elvis and Other Stars.

It hasn’t been widely reported that Elvis was an influence for Hendrix. What do you think?

 

24 Hour Church of Elvis

How about the 24 Hour Church of Elvis in Portland, Oregon? It just doesn’t fit in any folder category, so I put it in Odds and Ends, which is not much of an improvement over not filed at all.

 

Album of Elvis Novelty Songs

Here is a two CD set containing 25 Elvis novelty and tribute songs. You can buy it on Amazon right now for $12.99. I put it in Elvis Records even though it’s not one of his own.

 

Barbara Hearn Dancing With Elvis

I must have discovered this picture early in my days of collecting Elvis photos and wasn’t sure who the girl was that Elvis danced with. Now, I immediately recognize her as Barbara Hearn, because there are several other photos of her wearing this dress. So the photo has now been filed in the Barbara Hearn sub-file of the Elvis Girlfriends folder. Look what else I have in that file – One of the shortest but expressive love letters to Elvis you will ever see.

Barbara Hearn Dancing With Elvis

Elvis not only made the girls swoon, he made them sigh.

 

The last time I did a post about organizing my Elvis photos was back in June 2014.  Click here to check it out.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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THEY’RE BACK

In the Kingdom of Rock & Roll

Yes, that could be quite a dream… Elvis goes up to the North Pole, and Santa welcomes him to live in the castle with him and Mama Claus and the elves. But there could be more to this fantasy.

Much more!

Suppose there’s a diabolical villain hovering above the North Pole in a space station, intent on ruining Christmas.

What if he has invented a device that would enable him to do just that? And when he puts his plot into action on Christmas Eve, he forces Santa to dump all the presents over the side of the sleigh. If that wasn’t bad enough, Santa’s sleigh crashes during the frantic attempt to land back at the North Pole.

At this point, the dream is more like a nightmare about Christmas being ruined.

But, that’s where Elvis jumps into action. Big E, as he is now known to the North Pole family, emerges as a dynamic, resourceful foe for the villain. Do you remember how young Elvis was enamored with Captain Marvell Jr, and fantasized about doing all that kind of hero stuff? Now as an adult, he gets his chance, and he is up for the challenge. Not even Captain Marvell Jr got to save Christmas. But Elvis does in my book…

 

BIG E and the SANTA MAN

 

Don’t get the idea that Santa is just along for the ride while the confrontations play out. Rest assured that Santa comes through with a few clever tricks up his sleeve, too. He may be jolly old fellow, but he has inner strength to draw on when needed.

Yes, teamwork between Santa and Big E is the key to saving Christmas. This story follows the best traditions of what are known as buddie movies. Elvis never made a buddie movie, so this is as close as you’re ever going to get. You will just love Santa and Elvis teaming up to save Christmas. You just will — if you buy this book.

BIG E and the SANTA MAN 2017 Front Cover

 

You will notice this cover design is different than the one I posted the last two years during the book’s promotion on ElvisBlog. Gone is the subtitle:

Subtitle on Christmas Ball Ornament

I really liked this at first because it was such an accurate description of the story. In fact, if Amazon.com had a genre called Rock & Roll Christmas Fantasy, my book would be the biggest seller. Because there has never been another book billing itself as that.

 

But gradually I began to think a better subtitle would help potential readers understand what the two title characters do in the book. What I needed was a short, concise line, so nothing could be better than:

BIG E and the SANTA MAN new subtitle

 

There is also a big change in the image on the cover of BIG E and the SANTA MAN. I will talk about this in the next promotional post here on ElvisBlog. Between now and Christmas, I will be discussing my book several times. But I’ll keep the regular posts coming as well.

For now, let me give you a quick pitch. You regularly read my blog and like it. If you read my book, you will like it, too. Most important, you like Elvis, and this is a nifty story about him doing brave heroic deeds to save Christmas. Dozens of Elvis fans have read this book and said great things about it in emails and reviews. I am confident you will feel the same way.

 

The price is just $7.99 on Amazon.com. Get the book for yourself or have somebody give it to you as a present.

Amazon Page - Big E and the Santa Man

So, why not click here now and order BIG E and the SANTA MAN on Amazon.com? Or, you can get the eBook for your Kindle at just $2.99. A bargain, either way.

 

Thank you, thankyouverymuch.

 

Phil Arnold

How Elvis Spent the Summer of Love

 

Summer of Love

There have been a few reports in the news this week noting the 50th anniversary on October 6 of the end of Summer of Love. In case you aren’t old enough to remember it, here is what Wikipedia has to say about it:

The Summer of Love was a social phenomenon that occurred during the summer of 1967, when as many as 100,000 people, mostly young people sporting hippie fashions of dress and behavior [Editor’s note – i.e. smoking pot] converged in San Francisco’s neighborhood of Haight-Ashbury.

The Corner of Haight and Ashbury

The hippies, also known as flower children, were mostly college and high-school students that began streaming into the Haight, as the district was known, during the spring break of 1967. The media’s coverage of hippie life in  Haight-Ashbury drew the attention of youth from all over America.

The activities in the area were reported almost daily. Hippies were the subject of a cover story in Time magazine, and the Haight was overrun by teenage runaways, panhandlers, drug dealers, assorted charlatans, and to the chagrin of the hippies, gawking tourists.

In October 6, 1967, a group of hippie ‘elders’ organized a mock funeral procession through the Haight neighborhood called “The Death of the Hippie.” Participants carried a coffin down Haight Street, and the crowd stopped for a “kneel-in” at the corner of Haight and Ashbury.

The End of the Summer of Love

 

One of the organizers, Mary Kasper, explained the intended message:

“We wanted to signal that this was the end of it, to stay where you are, bring the revolution to where you live and don’t come here because it’s over and done with.”

The real reason for this funeral was to convince the media to stop covering the Haight.  The organizers sought to end the commercialization of the hippie lifestyle and the main stream appropriation of their social experiment.

 

So, what does this have to do with Elvis? I got the inspiration for this post when I saw a drawing of some flower children. I couldn’t help adding one more image.

Summer of Love

I know, Elvis doesn’t really fit in, does he? But he did have a number of things going on during the summer of 1967.

For one thing, he was a newlywed, having married Priscilla on May 1. On June 10, Elvis left Memphis to go to California to begin filming Speedway. But he didn’t fly. Instead, Elvis took a big group by bus on sort-of a family vacation. The group included these buddies and their wives: Joe Esposito, Billy Smith, Jerry Schilling, Gee Gee Gambill, and Marty Lacker. Charlie Hodge came along without a female companion.

Elvis Driving His Bus

Here is Elvis driving the bus. Priscilla, Charlie Hodge, and Joe Esposito are also visible.

Many of the flower children also traveled in buses, but the comparison is stark.

Hippy Bus

C

 

One of the stops for Elvis and the gang was two nights in Flagstaff, Arizona, with a side trip to the Grand Canyon.

Elvis and Priscilla at Grad Canyon, 1967

 

When Elvis finally arrived in Los Angeles, he spent the next week recording the soundtrack for Speedway. On June 21, Vernon Presley, along with wife Dee and her three sons, arrived in Los Angeles. Here is a photo taken at MGM Studios of them with Elvis, plus NY Governor Nelson Rockefeller and costar Nancy Sinatra.

Elvis, Vernon, Dee, her kids. Nelson Rockefeller, and Nancy Sinatra at MGM 1957

 

Filming of Speedway started June 26 and continued through the month of July and half of August.

Elvis and Nancy Sinatra in Speedway

 

In late August, Elvis entered the RCA Studio on Sunset Boulevard to record songs for his next non-soundtrack album.

On August 26, Elvis and Priscilla arrived home at Graceland. Within a few days, they returned to his Circle G Ranch in northern Mississippi, but instead of horseback riding every day, Elvis took up a new hobby – target shooting.

Elvis Shooting Rifle

 

On September 10 and 11, Elvis did some studio recording in Nashville.

On September 29, he returned to Nashville. This time he appeared in front of the Tennessee State Legislature for the proclamation of Elvis Presley Day by Governor Buford Ellington.

Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington Announcing Elvis Presley Day

 

And finally, on October 6, 1967, the day the Summer of Love ended, Elvis and some of the guys holed up in Las Vegas prior to the start of filming of Stay Away Joe in Arizona.

 

One of the familiar symbols of the hippie movement was the Peace Sign.

Peace Sign

 

Here is my last lame attempt to connect Elvis with the Summer of Love.

Elvis Peace Sign

 

Later, man.   Peace and love.

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Tom Petty and Elvis

As you know by now, Tom Petty died yesterday at age 66. He had suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu CA, and could not be revived at the UCLA Medical center. I’ve been a big Tom Petty fan for years, so I decided to pull out my old albums and cassettes and listen to his music for the next couple of days. It surprised me, but I have no Tom Petty CDs. He has been making music for over forty years, so I guess I prefer his early stuff.

 

Tom Petty’s first and only contact with Elvis took place in early 1961 when he was just eleven years old. He grew up in Gainesville, Florida, not too far from Ocala where Elvis was filming Follow That Dream at that time.

The following is condensed from a 2007 article written in the Gainesville Sun by Entertainment Editor Bill Dean.

 

Petty’s uncle, Earl Jernigan, owned a local film-developing business and worked on location shoots whenever filmmakers came to the area.

So when Jernigan’s wife, Tom’s Aunt Evelyn, rolled into the driveway and asked her nephew if he’d like to “go and see Elvis Presley,” he was licking his chops at what would in a few hours become the adventure of his young life.

“I remember this vividly,” said Petty, who at that point primarily knew Elvis as a character who had caused some controversy, due to those swiveling hips when Tom had been about 5 or 6 years old. “He was known to me as a fellow who wiggled,”

After driving 30 miles, Aunt Evelyn and Tommy, along with his brother Bruce and cousins Sadie and Norma, pulled up near the film set in downtown Ocala – where Elvis was to shoot a scene of him driving up in a car and entering a bank.

 

“There was a huge crowd; the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen in the streets of Ocala,” Tom said. “And then I swear to God, a line of white Cadillacs pulled in. All white. I’d never seen anything like that. And I was standing up on a box to see over everyone’s head, because a big roar started up when the cars pulled in.”

“Guys in mohair suits and pompadours began bounding out of each car – to Tom’s startled cry of “Is that ELVIS?” every time. But when the real Elvis finally appeared, Tom knew… Immediately.

“He stepped out radiant as an angel,” Tom said. “He seemed to glow and walk above the ground. It was like nothing I’d ever seen in my life. At 50 yards, we were stunned by what this guy looked like. And he came walking right towards us.”

Elvis’ hair was so impossibly black that it glistened a deep blue when the sunlight hit it. And that’s when Elvis walked directly over to Uncle Earl, Aunt Evelyn and little Tom Petty.

“We were speechless,” Tom said. As Uncle Earl introduced Elvis to everyone, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll smiled and nodded to each open-mouthed youngster.

“I don’t know what he said, because I was just too dumbfounded,” Tom said. “And he went into his trailer.”

Then, young Tom got “really excited” as hundreds of girls pressed against the chain-link fence. Many brandished album covers and photos, which one of Elvis’ “Memphis mafia guys,” as Tom described it, dutifully took into the trailer and returned, bearing authentic Elvis autographs.

“Seeing the girls go wild over Elvis only added to the lasting impression on Tommy,” his cousin Sadie said. “My sister and I were excited to watch them film a movie. But Tommy got caught up in the moment. It was like he was mesmerized with an imprint on his brain.”

“And I thought at the time, ‘That is one hell of a job to have. That’s a great gig – being Elvis Presley,'” Tom said.

Young Tom began collecting anything he could find on Elvis. He stayed inside the house and did nothing but listen to Elvis music. “My dad was concerned that I didn’t go outside, that I just played these records all day.”

“I learned all of those early Elvis songs,” Tom said. “And having that kind of background in rock ‘n’ roll, of where it had come from, has served me to this day. It became an invaluable thing to have. So for that, I thank him.”

Although Tom Petty never saw Elvis again, the flames from that fire have never waned.

Sadie Darnell, Tom’s cousin who accompanied him to see Elvis that day, told The Sun that the meeting between The King and Gainesville’s future rock ‘n’ roll son was a “life-altering moment” for young Tom. “He was completely, completely enthralled,” said Darnell. “And Tommy told us as a family that he was going to be a rock star.”

.

Tom Petty’s 10 Favorite Elvis Presley Songs:

01.’That’s All Right‘ – 1954
02.’Baby, Let’s Play House’ – 1955
03.’Heartbreak Hotel’ 1956
04.’Hound Dog’ – 1956
05.’Mean Woman Blues’ – 1957
06.’One Night’ 1958
07.’Santa Claus Is Back In Town’ – 1957
08.’Can’t Help Falling In Love’ – 1961
09.’A Mess Of Blues’ – 1960
10.'(Marie’s The Name Of) His Latest Flame’ – 1961

 

Tom Petty had a remarkable career. He had over two dozen Top 40 hits. He played the Super Bowl halftime show in 2008 and entered the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2002. But, until the day when he encountered Elvis Presley, he has said, “I’d never thought much about rock ‘n’ roll until that moment. I caught the fever that day and I never got rid of it. That’s what kicked off my love of music.”

So, how about that. Elvis can be credited with hooking Tom Petty on rock ‘n’ roll.

 

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Hypnotic Eye Tour 2014

 

We’ll miss you, Tom Petty. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

© 2017 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.

 

To read the entire Gainesville Sun article by Bill Dean, click here.

 

Taking a Knee — Elvis Style

The news has been filled for a week about folks taking a knee in protest.  Frankly, I’m getting tired of all the commentary, both pro and against.  So, here is a pictorial essay of Elvis taking a knee, with no commentary at all.

 

 

© 2017 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.