Category Archives: COOL STUFF OUT THERE IN ELVISWORLD

Elvis’ Fashion Legacy

Elvis Presley Wearing Long Black Leather Coat

Sometimes I am sent a comp copy of a new Elvis book about to be released. ElvisBlog does not make a practice of giving free publicity for things. However,if a book contains something unique that I can build a blog article around, I’ll go with it.

Elvis Style Book Cover

I’ve already used one chapter of Elvis Style by Zoey Goto for a blog post back in September. This fascinating book covers Elvis’ history and influence on design and fashion. The last chapter is titled Elvis’ Legacy, and with the author’s permission, I reproduce it here, illustrated with a lot of photos. Here’s what famous fashion and design journalist Zoey Goto had to say about Elvis.

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis and Zoey Goto

Elvis’ career and personal style were bookended by sheer brilliance. In the mid-1950s, Elvis Presley managed to singlehandedly change the way that America, and much of the world beyond, dressed.

Elvis 1960 Tied Shirt

 

From his clothing to his hair and home, he wrote the rulebook on how to use cultural appropriation with panache.

Elvis in Pink and Black

 

As a master of reinvention, he shape-shifted into a dapper Hollywood leading man in the 1960s and, just as others were writing him off as irrelevant, Elvis set the record straight with the legendary ’68 Comeback Special.

Elvis Backstage in Black Leather Suit

 

The pure drama of the subsequent Las Vegas era opened the floodgates for a wave of androgynous glam rockers…

androgynous glam rockers

leather-clad punk rockers, and attention-grabbing male peacocks.

leather-clad punk rockers

 

Certain aspects of Elvis’ lifestyle were ahead of the curve. He had a fondness for eclectic and kitsch interiors before the Postmodernism movement had truly taken hold. Elvis was also devoted to Southern-style cooking, decades before bearded hipsters would flock to cosmopolitan restaurants to sample it. It is, however, in the worlds of fashion and entertainment that Elvis continues to have the most tangible and direct influence.

Cool Elvis Out the Sun Roof

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“There isn’t a costume designer alive who hasn’t been inspired by Elvis,” acknowledges Deborah Nadoolman Landis, the regarded designer who created Michael Jackson’s iconic Thriller costume and the wardrobes for Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Deborah Nadoolman Landis and Indiana Jones Outfit

Deborah Nadoolman Landis

She is, however, quick to note that although Elvis’ style was very distinctive, he is also part of a larger continuum of showmen and women. Having been influenced by the theatricality of performers such as the great Liberace,

Liberace

Elvis in turn inspired a subsequent generation of style icons that bring us up to the present day.

“What do we ultimately have to work with as costume designers? Silhouette, colour and reflection. Elvis was able to harness all of these, but he certainly wasn’t the first person to do this. He is part of a long tradition of performers who use clothing as a tool – Michael Jackson, Madonna and Lady Gaga have all done this since.”

Michael Jackson Thriller jacket

For Nadoolman Landis, Elvis’ style bequest was showing men how to power dress. “Elvis’ 1970s stage-wear was almost a military look and the high collar was incredibly powerful.”

Elvis Presley Chain Jumpsuit

This is what he’s remembered for,” she states.

 

For Patricia Fields, fashion stylist for the hit television show Sex and the City,…

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Costumes

Patricia Fields and Sex and the City Actresses

Elvis’ lasting legacy was the freedom of expression that he initiated. Nicknamed ‘The Great Seducer’, Elvis’ gyrating stage act was considered so sexual that his 1957 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show was censored from the waist down.

Elvid on Ed Sullivsn Show Singing Dont Be Cruel

 

By challenging the social and moral values of his era, Elvis paved the way for erotically charged pop videos and stage acts that have since become customary. “Elvis made the girls scream and he made sexy cool. That is why he is The King,” Fields observes.

 

Barely a fashion season passes without at least a handful of designers tapping into the early Elvis rockabilly style. Alex Bilmes, editor of Esquire magazine

Alex Bilmes of Esqure Magazine

Alex Bilmes

recognizes that Presley’s style heritage has influenced contemporary musicians as much as everyday street wear. “Elvis’ influence on men’s style is incalculable. He is one of a handful of icons of mid-century Americana and you can still see his legacy everywhere.”

Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys)

For example, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys is channelling the ‘68 Comeback Special even when he’s just popping to the shops for cigarettes,” Bilmes comments. “Elvis’ legacy can also be seen in the enduring appeal of jeans and jackets: that indefinable but instantly recognizable point where preppy meets rocker meets work wear meets tailoring,” Bilmes concludes.

 

Elvis may have dipped in and out of fashion throughout his career, but he always retained his natural style. All that Elvis was – from his fondness for camp interiors to his commitment to Southern home cooking, from his pastiche outfits to his theatrical shopping trips, was an uncompromising expression of his unique identity – now that’s true style!

Graceland's Elvis Fashion King ExhibitElvis Presley Fashion King Exhibit

Graceland has also been aware of Elvis’ fashion legacy. They launched this exhibit on March I, 2010.

 

The Elvis’ Legacy chapter in Elvis Style ended with several photographs. Here are a few along with the accompanying text.

Gold Suit

Liberace may have worn it first, and Michael Jackson and Justin Bieber since, but Elvis still remains the most famous star to step out in a dazzling gold suit. This recent reincarnation was sent down the runway by the Italian fashion house Costume National.

 

Elvis understood the power of attention-grabbing stage wear, memorably using it for the tailored suit worn for the ’68 Comeback Special. The high-street retailer H&M created a similar, Southern-plantation-style suit for their eco-conscious collection in 2013.

 

Shift Dress Printed with Elvis' Portrait

Ashley William’s’ debut collection at London Fashion Week took early Elvis as its inspiration. Williams experimented with double-denim, cigarette pants, teddy bear bags, and shift dresses printed with Elvis’ portrait. The nostalgic Americana collection also featured the embroidered catchphrase “My heart belongs to Elvis Presley.”

 

The source for this post, Elvis Style, by Zoey Goto has been a very successful book. If you’d like to own a copy, click here.

 

 

© 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.

 

Goodbye Elvis Obama, Hello Elvis Trump

Obama as Elvis on Stage

Elvis Trump 2.jpg

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Obama and Elvis in Whitehouse

Nixon and Elvis Trump

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Obama in Elvis Jumpsuit

Elvis Trump in Las Vegas

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Obama in Blue Hawaii

Elvis Trump Girl Happy

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Obama Elvis Stamp

Trump with Elvis Hair

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Obama as Elvis in Oval Office

Elvis Trump on Stage

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Some flashbacks of other presidents and politicians as Elvis:

Ronald Reagan as Elvis

Bill Clinton in Front of Jailhouse

George Bush 43 as Elvis

George Romney as Elvis

Vladimir Putin as Elvis.jpg

Hillary and Obama in Viva Las Vegas

 

Someone once wrote that Al Gore scored a minus zero on the Elvis Scale.  I wonder what they will say about Donald Trump.

Elvis and Trump Morphed

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

 

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Some Elvis Christmas Images You Might Not Have Seen

ELvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe Christmas

There have been dozens of drawings of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe together, but until today I had never seen this one. I found it first on a T-shirt design, then Googled the shirt name “Elvis and Marilyn Christmas,” and up it came. I love it with both of them wearing Santa outfits and Elvis sitting on a car bumper picking and singing to her.

 

'Hello, is that the temp agency?

There are many cartoons based on the similarity of the words Elvis and elves. If anyone objects to me posting this one, I will delete it and add one of the others.

 

Christmas Tree Decorated with Elvis Figurines

How about a Christmas tree completely decorated with Elvis figurines and guitars for ornaments.

 

Elvis in Santa Hat

Elvis looks pretty good in this Santa hat doesn’t he?

 

Elfish Presley

And not too bad in an Elf hat.

 

Elvis and Two babes Around Christmas Tree

Speaking of looking good in a Santa hat. Let the party begin.

 

Elvis Buys his Tree Here Every Year

Clever marketing.

 

The 4th King

Believe it or not, I found a couple of other 4th King cartoons.

 

Priscilla on Staircase at Graceland

We’ve all seen the pictures of the stairs at Graceland decorated with poinsettias at Christmas, but have you ever seen this one with Priscilla sitting on the steps as well?

 

Elvis in White Jumpsuit at Christmas

There are dozens of Photoshop pictures with Elvis in a Christmas scene. I picked this because I like his smile. But I can’t place this jumpsuit with the fancy shoulder treatment. Anybody know its name?

 

Six Billion Fans

I just love this one. Very clever. The dog reminds me of mine.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas.

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister

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Elvis Merry Christmas Greeting

 

Fun With Elvis Pictures

Ever since I started ElvisBlog in 2005, I have collected thousands of Elvis pictures off the internet. Most of them are movie shots, candid photos, concert pictures, etc. But some are just strange Elvis stuff that caught my fancy. Like this:

Elvis/ Mickey Mouse Stamp

This is somebody’s concept for a postage stamp combining Elvis and Walt Disney Characters.

 

So, I have selected a couple dozen like this and grouped pairs of similar themed pictures.

Bad Elvis Hats:

Bad Elvis Hat 2

Elvis Ballcap on Backwards

This shot of Elvis with a baseball cap on backwards and inside-out is a rare one you may not have seen before.

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Elvis in Other Rock Bands:

Elvis and KISS

Elvis and Metallica

You probably had no trouble recognizing KISS in the first picture. This one is Metallica.

 

Mixing Elvis and Candy:

PEZ Elvis

Elvis / M&M Christmas Ornaments

I must admit I have bought both the Elvis PEZ and the Elvis/M&M Christmas ornaments.

 

Elvis at the Beach:

Elvis on the Beach

Elvis on the Beach with Priscilla

Gee, Elvis, what are you doing to Priscilla here?

 

Animals as Elvis:

Wolf Elvis

Octopus Elvis

I have drawings of 17 different kinds of animals, birds, and fish as Elvis, including this octopus.

 

Best Elvis Movie Kisses:

Elvis Kissing Michele Carey in Live a Little

Elvis Kissing Marilyn Mason in The Trouble with Girls

Did you figure out that the women are Michele Carey in Live A Little, Love A Little, and Marilyn Mason in The Trouble With Girls.

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Bad Hair Day:

Elvis Wild Hair

Elvis After Karate Workout

In Elvis’ defense, this shot was snapped after a Karate workout.

 

Bad Clothing Day:

Elvis Bad Clothing 1

Elvis Bad Outfit

What was Elvis thinking when he put this on?

 

Graphic Presentation Using Elvis Silhouettes:

Elvis in the 50s

World's Greatest Elvis

I just love this last one.

 

Elvis Impersonator Losers:

Jumping Elvis Impersonator

Unfortunately, I have photos of way too many of these guys.

Fat Elvis Impersonator

How does that big belt stay up?

 

Elvis and Jesus:

Elvis Jesus 1

Elvis Jesus 2

I have a surprisingly large file of these images, too.

 

Elvis Caricatures:

Elvis Big Chin

Elvis Sick in Bed

These are two good ones. I won’t post any of the fat, bloated Elvis ones, but dozens of artists had to be cruel and draw them. Not funny.

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 Shower Shot:

Elvis in the Shower

Elvis in Shower Scene with Michele Carey

Michele Carey again. I must like her.

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 Rare Elvis Photos You Might Not Have Ever Seen Before:

Elvis in Store

Elvis and Tall Mic

Do you think they got that mic up high enough?

 

Funny Photoshop Picture:

Elvis Watching Two Girls Kiss

I’ve had this one for years but could never figure out a way to use it. Do you recognize Brittany Spears and Madonna?

 

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

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Elvis at the Gates of…

Elvis at the Graceland Gates

All Elvis fans recognize the gates of Graceland, but did you know he once owned another home in California with often-photographed gates.

 

Elvis Presley House 1174 Hillcrest Dr

I recently found this aerial-photo of Elvis’ former home at 1174 Hillcrest Drive in Beverly Hills. It was posted in April by a realty firm selling the house for $30 million dollars. In an ElvisBlog post back in 2011, a different realty firm was offering it as a rental for $25,000 per month.

The new view of this fabulous house and its hefty price tag prompted me to scan the internet for more pictures and there turned out to be many. We’ll look at a few, interspersed with related comment.

 

Elvis - Front Door of Hillcrest Dr

The most common pictures of Elvis’ house in posh Toursdale Estates usually showcase the front door. One modern-day realtor describes the design as Hollywood Regency mid-century modern, whatever that is. I wonder what it was called back when Elvis lived there. He bought it in May, 1967 for $400,000.

 

Elvis - Front Door of Hillcrest Place, Night

Here’s a night shot of the front door from a different angle.

 

Elvis Hillcrest Dr Driveway -Parking Lot

This shot was taken farther down the driveway/parking lot. You can see the front door in profile and the gate in the open position. These are modern day photos. Let’s take a look at this area back in Elvis’ day.

 

Elvis' cars at Hillcrest Court

That’s Elvis’ Stutz Bearcat in front. Of course the foliage here was different than that shown on the other photos taken nearly sixty years later. The gate appears to have a metal panel behind the bars at this time..

 

ETA Donnie Edwards Checking out Renovations at Elvis' Hillcrest Dr Home

And here are the gates closed during renovations back in 2013. Almost looks like an Elvis sighting, doesn’t it? Actually that is Elvis tribute artist Donny Edwards.

 

Elvis Fan Waiting at the Gates of Hillcrest Ct

And here is a determined fan on a vigil to catch Elvis coming through the gate.

 

Now I would like to present a montage of photos of Elvis at the gates of 1174 Hillcrest Drive in Toursdale Estates, Beverly Hills, CA. All appear to be fan-taken shots that have been posted on the internet over the years.

 

Elvis Looking Good at Hillcrest Dr Gates

Elvis Close Up Shot Through Gates at Hillcrest Dr

This appears to be the beard Elvis grew for his part in the 1968 movie Charro.

 

Elvis and Fan at Hillcrest Dr Gates

Elvis in Fancy Scarf at Hillcrest Dr Gate

Elvis with Beard Looking Through Gates at Hillcrest Dr

Elvis Outside the Gates at Hillcrest Dr

Here Elvis is beyond the open gate and photographed from behind by a fan.

 

Elvis with an Elvis Impersonator at Hillcrest Dr Gates

The website where I found this photo said the other guy was an Elvis impersonator. Did they really start as early as 1968?

 

Elvis at Hillcrest Dr Gates

 

More Elvis at Hillcrest Dr Gates

 

Elvis Walking up Driveway at Hillcrest Dr

 

Elvis with Fans at Hillcrest Dr Gates

elvis Kissing Fans at Hillcrest Dr Gates

This fan picture seems to have been taken during the period when the gates had the panels behind the bars.

 

 

Fans at Graceland Gates

How many millions of pictures do you think have been snapped of Elvis fans at the gates of Graceland? It has to be a staggering number. But if you’re ever in Los Angeles and you drive up to Beverly Hills and check out 1174 Hillcrest Drive, you might just run into some other Elvis fans there, too.

Gates at 1174 Hillcrest Dr

 

 

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

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Graceland Milestone – Elvis Humor at Graceland

Graceland Plaque

Elvis Presley Enterprises never misses a chance to celebrate a new milestone relating to Elvis.  For example, the 50th anniversary of the release of his first hit, “That’s All Right, Mama” in 2004.

EPE also marks milestones involving Graceland.  On May 3rd, they announced that Graceland officially welcomed its 20 millionth paid visitor since opening to the public on June 7, 1982.

Graceland Celebrates 20 Million Visitors

 

So, EPE is now giving us fans a chance to celebrate with 20 days of events.  Until May 22, you can sign up for a giveaway:

Graceland 20 Million Fan Giveaway

There will be winners every day, but the grand prize is a getaway to Memphis including a private tour of Graceland, a three-night stay at the new Guest House at Graceland, tickets to other Memphis music attractions, and the Elvis Presley limited-edition 60-CD box set.  Click here to enter.

 

Graceland Fan Mosaic

You don’t win any prize with this one, but if you submit a photo of yourself it may end up in a mosaic photo of Graceland.  They now have an app where you can locate your photo in it.  Of course, you will be encouraged to buy a copy of the final photo, but no price has been listed yet.

 

I like to tie an ElvisBlog post in with these Elvis milestone events, but celebrating Graceland is a little harder.  I have a great file of photos, but I want to use the best ones next year to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elvis’ purchase of the mansion and fourteen acres.  EPE hasn’t announced a celebration yet, but you can bet there’s one coming.

 

Elvis Humor

Then I discovered Elvis’ Humor, a book of 290 humorous Elvis anecdotes, divided into distinct categories.  Like the three in the sub-title, girls, guns, and guitars, and dozens more… including Graceland.  When I saw that, it registered on me that stories of Elvis antics at Graceland would make a great blog post to join the 20 million visitors celebration.  I contacted the book’s author, Bo Keeley, and asked for his permission to use a few, and he kindly said “yes.”

 

So here are five excerpts from Elvis’ Humor.  Bo Keeley proceeds each story with a little background information and follows with his original source book, the author, and the page number where it appears.

 

Looking Up

Elvis flails fins on the movie poster of the 1967 musical comedy ‘Easy Come, Easy Go’. He plays Lieutenant Ted Jackson who is a former U.S. Navy frogman who divides his breaths between twin careers as a deep sea diver and nightclub singer. His actual background for the role was swimming and waterskiing as a teen, and many movie sets on ocean beaches. Graceland also had a kidney-shaped pool on a cut-stone patio. In the summer of 1973, recalling his fantasy frogman days, E threw a scuba party on the Graceland patio…

  Swimming Pool at Graceland

Elvis got into snorkeling and scuba diving. He rented equipment for everyone. Of course there was nowhere to go snorkeling around Memphis so Elvis just invited a lot of people over and we used Graceland pool. The whole entourage got involved and, as usual, there was a lot of local talent, pretty young girls in scanty bathing suits, all vying for Elvis’s attention.

Elvis in Scuba Gear

When Elvis got in the water so did everyone else, but the Graceland pool wasn’t that big. It looked kind of like an underwater fight scene from a James Bond movie with all of them trying to navigate around in there. Elvis just like to sit at the bottom of the pool and watch the girls swimming above him.

– Billy Stanley, Elvis, My Brother, 288

 

Switcheroo

The Presley family moved to Graceland in the spring of 1957, between ‘Loving You’ and ‘Jailhouse Rock’. One of the reasons Elvis bought the 14-acres estate is because his earlier neighbors found, despite the perks of having a famous celebrity living nearby, the constant gathering of fans and journalists was a nuisance. At the time, the property was located several miles beyond the Memphis main urbane area that, in later years, would expand with housing, resulting in Graceland being surrounded by other properties. The King immediately spent in excess of $500,000 for renovations, including the $35,000 wall around every inch of the property, and musical gates. After returning from Hollywood, Las Vegas, or a concert tour, his favorite getaway place was back home…

The Gate at Graceland

Fans were always down at the front gate at Graceland. At night they gathered to watch the lights go on and off in the different rooms.

Some nights, Elvis would call out to the barn and have Mike McGregor saddle up Rising Sun so he could ride down to the gate and sign autographs and talk.  He felt safer on a horse.

One night he called down to the gate. His uncle Harold Lloyd was on duty down there.

“Open the gate,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come inside.”

“Come inside?” Harold echoed.

“Just hold on,” Elvis said.  “Tell them to come on inside, then shut the gate after then and lock it.”

“Lock ‘em inside?” Harold echoed again.

“That’s right,” Elvis said.

So Harold opened the gate and the fans came on inside.  They looked up at the mansion, expecting to see Elvis coming out the front door.

A car honked behind them in the street.

They turned around.  It was Elvis, driving along the boulevard, smiling and waving at them.

They all ran back to the gate.  It was shut.  Elvis drove on out of sight.

They didn’t know what to do.

Then they saw Elvis’ car swing in the back gate.  Elvis got out and walked down the winding driveway toward them.  They were so stunned they didn’t move.

They dissolved when he walked in among them and smiled.

“Hi, gang.”

– Charlie Hodge, Me ‘n Elvis, 139

 

 

Jungle Room

In the mid-1960s, Presley enlarged the house to create a den that came to be called the Jungle Room. It was originally a screened in back patio that sat behind the kitchen, which he incorporated into the main house complete with a waterfall of cut stone on the far wall. It leaked and flooded, which created a steamy atmosphere in the summer in the Jungle Room full of exotic plants, animal prints, and floor-to-ceiling shag carpet in an African motif.  One day in 1968, Elvis heard Vernon laughing and went downstairs to investigate. Vernon snickered that he had just stopped by a furniture store to have a look at a new style of home furnishing. It was hilarious, he said, and belonged in a jungle. The enormous price tag made him laugh too. Why would anyone spend that kind of money to live in a jungle?…

Rock Waterfall in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis was inspired. He called the store and ordered the entire set. He spent much more than he would have normally dared, but it would be worth it to see the expression on his father’s face.  The furniture was delivered the next day while Vernon was out of the house.  Elvis and his men set the furniture up in the downstairs den. When everything was in place, Elvis found that he actually liked the ambiance the furniture gave the room.  He felt calm and at ease. The oversized animal-print chairs were set low and wide; the coffee table was a slab of giant cypress tree heavily lacquered with polyurethane.

Cypress Plank Table in Graceland Jungle Room

Elvis installed a rock waterfall fountain which dripped water from a pump on top, and even the lamps had an African motif.  Elvis could not express how he felt in that room, but whatever it was, he liked it.

When Vernon returned to the house, Elvis called him downstairs.  The younger Presley almost dropped to the floor with laughter at the sight of his father’s amazed face. Elvis explained that the room had originally been intended as a gag, but now he liked it and wanted to leave it as it was.

–  Jim Curtin, Elvis: Unknown Stories Behind the Legend, 43

 

Golf Cart Plunge

Elvis Presley’s response to difficulty, anxiety, nuisance, insult, and troubles was often humor. One day in the summer of ’75, the Stanley brothers were fooling around at the pool and wouldn’t stop. Elvis was trying to read at the poolside and they kept splashing him. He growled that if they didn’t’ stop… the splashing continued…

He walked off in a huff and we forgot about it. We were still in the pool about half an hour later when we saw Elvis coming over the hill in the golf cart.  He stopped, stood up, and yelled for us to get out of the pool.  We just yelled, splashed, and taunted him.

Elvis on Golf Cart

So he came driving straight toward the pool with 300-pound Lamar Fike sitting next to him on the cart.  We thought he was just trying to scare us but he came busting up and drove right into the pool.  Of course we scattered, but Lamar had trouble getting out of the cart.  So we all jumped back in to make sure he made it to the surface.  Vernon came out yelling at everyone to get out.  The cart was electric powered by batteries, and he was afraid we’d all get electrocuted.  Vernon made us drain the pool before pulling the cart out.

–  Billy Stanley, Elvis My Brother, 288

 

 

Elvis' Humor - Front and Back Covers

My thanks go out to Bo Keeley for providing these humorous Elvis stories.  If you would like to get a copy pf Elvis’ Humor, click here.

 

 

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

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Elvis Meets Nixon – Part 2

Elvis Has Entered the White House

Last week, ElvisBlog reported that a new movie about Elvis would premier on April 22.  It is Elvis & Nixon, starring Kevin Spacey as Nixon and Michael Shannon as Elvis.  Like all Elvis fans, I hope it will be a good film, but I expressed doubts that it could be as enjoyable as a 1997 made-for-Showtime movie titled Elvis Meets Nixon.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

Take a look at the fine print on this DVD cover.  The New York Daily News called it “The giddiest, funniest, most entertaining comedy …in years.”  I absolutely agree.

Elvis Meets Nixon follows a semi-documentary format with Dick Cavett as the host and frequent voice-over narrator.  I have only one beef with his commentary.  In the very beginning, he says Elvis was a forgotten performer in 1970, reduced to doing Las Vegas shows.  That is so wrong.  Elvis was huge in Las Vegas, setting attendance records with his concerts.  He was the hottest ticket in town.

Dick Cavett In Elvis Meets Nixon

 

From that point on, Cavett does a good job, and one statement he made captures the essence of this movie.  While talking about the short time Elvis and Nixon actually spent together in the oval office, Cavett said, “If what you are about to see didn’t happen exactly this way, it should have.”  Actually, that sentiment could be made about the entire movie.

 

Nixon and Elvis Giving Peace Signs

 

Of course, it’s all a dramatization of events, and quite a bit of artistic license has been taken with the two main characters’ personalities and the absurdity of the reality these two men lived in.  Both were so out of touch with everyday life that it could have been destiny they found each other in this truly ironic way.

 

Elvis and Nixon Hugging in Oval Office

According to Jerry Schilling, Elvis did in fact hug Nixon.  The President was caught off guard, but the scene in the movie is very endearing.

 

Here’s the story on the two actors in the key roles.  Bob Gunton showed pure genius of comedic timing in his portrayal on Richard Nixon.  You may not know him by name, but you’ve seen his face in lots of movies.

Bob Gunton as Richard Nixon

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The fellow playing Elvis is Rick Peters, and his acting career has been rather modest.  His last movie was in 2006.

Rick Peters

 

But with the wig, sunglasses, and attitude, he pulls off a great Elvis portrayal.

Elvis Smoozing the Srewardesses on Flight from DC to Dallas

This clip is from the flight Elvis took from Washington DC to Dallas.  You see, Elvis’ odyssey took him from Memphis to DC, DC to Los Angeles (via Dallas), and from LA to DC.

Elvis Mingling on Plane -- Nixon Visit


This is a photograph a passenger took of Elvis mingling with folks on the flight to Dallas.  He wore the same outfit that he did when he went to the White House a day and a half later.

 

Elvis in Donut Shop

This clip is from a scene when Elvis stops off at a donut shop (in a rather seedy part of town) on the way from the airport to the Washington Hotel.  He actually did this, but the “artistic impression” of what happened is one of the most amazingly surreal moments I’ve ever seen on film.  Take a few minutes and watch this.

 

Here’s another clip that takes even more creative license, but it’s a riot.  The set-up is that Elvis had time to kill in Los Angeles before the flight back to DC, so he went down to the Sunset Strip.  His friend Jerry Schilling (they used the name Bobby Bishop in the film for some reason) urged him to walk around and see if he was relevant to people on the street.  Elvis wanders into a record store and goes through some hilarious culture shock.  Rick Peters does this bit so well, you will think you are watching archival film of the real Elvis.  You definitely want to click on this.

Elvis Meets Nixon is 140 minutes long, but the scene of Elvis and Nixon together in the Oval Office lasts just 11 minutes.  That was plenty for these two very different men to bond together.  Before the movie gets to Elvis’ visit, there are three scenes of Nixon and H.R. Haldeman in the Oval Office.  They aren’t funny like the Elvis clips, but they are still fascinating.  One warning — if you were were offended by the profanity in the donut shop clip, you might want to skip the one below.

 

There is one more thing I suggest you click on.  It is the full movie on YouTube.  You can buy it for $7.99, or rent it like I did for $1.99.  I wasn’t able to get it to stream onto my smart TV, but maybe you can.  If not, it’s still a blast watching it on your computer screen.  Check it out here.  I guarantee you will be happy you spent the two bucks.

Elvis Meets Nixon DVD

 

There is enough stuff left in my Elvis and Nixon file to squeeze out one more article in this series next week.  Stay tuned.

 

© 2016 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net
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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

 

ELVIS meets NIXON

Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.

 

Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?

 

President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.

 

Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.

 

Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.

 

Elvis & Nixon Title Block

 

 

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

 

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

 

Living Like a King at the Guest House at Graceland

Guest House at Graceland Entrance

Last week we looked at the 430 regular one and two-bed rooms available when the Guest House at Graceland opens in October. Today, we’ll take a peek at the four choices in special, luxurious suites. Warning, they’re budget busters, especially the eleven suites on the top floor, nicknamed “The Upstairs.”

The first step up is the Living Room Suites, and all four of them have a courtyard view. Although they feature only one bed, their open floor plan is touted as the special attraction of these suites. They all have a view of the courtyard.

TCB Suite and Living Room Suites at Guest House at Graceland

It’s hard to tell in this rendering (and the reservations lady had no idea), but it looks like that might be the king-size bed behind the partition holding the TV. If that is the bed against the back wall, we can assume there is another TV on the opposite side of the partition.

The hotel website says there is a separate living room area, and you can see two chairs or maybe it’s a chair and a couch, plus a coffee table. Hopefully there is more seating that we can’t see beyond the area shown in the rendering. The reservations lady said the suite also included a Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator. I guess they are over near the bathroom, which is out of frame.

The cost for Sunday through Thursday bookings is $349 (plus $30 more for weekends, and that hefty 21% taxes). This compares to $179 for the basic room with the view. It seems like a big premium for a rather small living area. You certainly couldn’t do much hanging out with friends with so little seating.

 

Lobby at Guest House at Graceland

Artist’s rendering of the Lobby at the Guest House at Graceland

 

Next, we take a big jump up to the TCB Suites. Big price jump, anyway. The Guest House website shows the exact same rendering for these eleven suites as for the Living Room Suites above. The reservation lady could offer no explanation for this, and to be fair, she hasn’t seen any rooms yet, as they are still under construction.

So it could be that the TCB Suite picture is correct, and that there is much more space beyond what it shows. The website says it contains a separate living room with a sofa and dining table and is perfect for entertaining. There is no kitchenette to prepare meals, however, just the Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator.

Considering the price, we can probably assume there is much more floor space and seating than is shown. The tab is $549 plus $30 for weekends, and the taxes. That’s $370 more than the basic room. They will probably book out early for Elvis Week and other big occasions at Graceland, because they work well as hospitality suites. But, on the off days, especially in the middle of week, it’s not hard to imagine many of the TCB Suites sitting empty. Who knows?

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Now, if you want to do some serious entertaining, the choice for you could be one of the two Vernon and Gladys Suites. These look like party central.

Vernon and Gladys' Suite at Guest Guest House at Graceland

Again, there is just one bedroom, but surely there is at least one extra bathroom. You can host a lot of people in 1,100 square feet. So, there must be more space we can’t see in this rendering. The website says there is a dining room table, which we can immagine holding a big buffet spread of food. You can see the wet bar on the left. Needless to say, there is a view of the courtyard.

The décor is inspired by the colors in Elvis’ parents’ room at Graceland. What do you think? I think the lobby picks up the colors better. Scroll back and check it out.

Elvis' Parents' Room at Guest House at Graceland

The tab for a night in a Vernon and Gladys Suite is $1,049 (plus 21% taxes), so booking it for a few days will cost a bundle. Wouldn’t you love to go to Elvis Week or the Birthday Celebration and get invited to a party here? That would be so much fun.

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Finally, the top of the line are the two King’s Suites, one styled after Elvis’ bedroom, and the other with a Las Vegas theme. The hotel website describes them as luxurious and one-of-kind.

King's Suite - Las Vegas Style at Guest House at Graceland

This picture shows the Las Vegas design. The website says it features “a royal blue and purple color palette with plush fabrics and furnishings, vintage touches and contemporary twists.” I guess I’m too decorating-challenged to appreciate how this reflects a Las Vegas vibe.

That really doesn’t matter because the suite looks so great. There are two bedrooms with king-size beds, a dining room (visible behind the couch), and a living room. A separate wet bar is not shown. Naturally, these suites have a view of the courtyard.

So far, there is no rendering of the Elvis’ Bedroom option, which “draws inspiration from Elvis’ master bedroom at Graceland and features rich red and black tones with metallic gold and silver finishes and a custom draped canopy bed, with TVs overhead.” I’ll bet that will be spectacular. Because it “provides guests with an unparalleled opportunity to live like The King,” I predict it will be way more popular than the Las Vegas version.

The King’s Suites contain 1,540 square feet (that’s more than my first house with three bedrooms and two baths). They could certainly be used for entertaining, but I envision them as the place where a well-healed guest wants to stay in maximum luxury while on an Elvis pilgrimage. And he will have to shell out $1,379 a night to do it.

 

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

 

I’ve been to Graceland five times in the last twenty-three years (four times were during Elvis Week). I’ve stayed at the Days Inn just down from the Car Museum, Wilson’s World Hotel (before it became Heartbreak Hotel), the Peabody Hotel downtown twice and the Holiday Inn Airport once. If I ever get back, I’m staying at the Guest House at Graceland. And I’m going to hang around the Vernon and Gladys Suite to see if there is a party going on I can crash.

 

Tip on Making Reservations.  The listed number is 800-238-2000, but this is the regular Graceland number.  To save time listening through the series of prompts about tickets, gift shop, Elvis Insiders, etc, simply push O,O,O. 

 

 

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

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Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

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Big E Promotion Violates Space/Time Continuum

Elvis Reading BIG E

This picture makes no sense. It contains Elvis circa 1957 reading a book that takes place in late 1977. I don’t care. I think it looks cool.

Plus, it pushes the message about my long range goal for BIG E and the SANTA MAN – to have EPE make it into an animated Christmas special on TV. With every book I ship out, I ask readers to email me back if they agree, and the results so far are awesome. Not only do they like the book. They also can’t wait to see it as a TV Christmas special.

The quote above supposedly attributed to Elvis reveals an interesting aspect of the story. Every fantasy needs to have some magic in it, and my book has it big time. The North Pole is not just a geographic marker. It is the source of many magical properties. Including one that enables Santa to fly around the world and deliver presents to all the children in just one night. And, some of the daring deeds done by Big E and Santa to save Christmas are made possible by North Pole magic.

 

The Beatles Reading Big E and the Santa Man

This picture is equally impossible. The Beatles of the mid-sixties cannot read a book that is published in 2015.

So, what’s the point? I must make an admission. The cover of the book declares it is a Rock and Roll Christmas fantasy. Fantasy writers have the liberty to create the world their story takes place in, so I decided to add an allusion to the Beatles in mine. However, I have found out it is so subtle that most readers miss it.

Therefore, consider this picture as a hint of something to look for in the book. Big E needs a band if he is going to make music, so he teaches three musically inclined elves how to play guitar. Together with a great elf drummer, they develop into a kick-butt rock band. And the name they choose for the band is the ELVI’s (pronounced elv-eyes). You can be sure BIG E and the ELVI’s make some terrific music. Have you ever wished Elvis and the Beatles had performed together? My book’s fantasy of this mind-blowing combination is as close as you are ever going to get.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover
Look at this cover for a second. The building is Santa’s castle at the North Pole. The workshop is in the back out of sight, but so much fun stuff in the story takes place there. The main elves are Gears, a mechanical genius, and Corky, who overflows with creative and artistic talents.

About half-way through the story, Gears and Corky realize they are attracted to each other. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a Christmas fantasy with a romance between two elves, but now in BIG E and the SANTA MAN, there is.

So, my story has a magical North Pole, an elf romance, and allusions to the Beatles. Plus other allusions as well. Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is one you might expect, but believe it or not, a popular feature of Star Trek is part of the plot to ruin Christmas.

If you are thinking that this all sounds like a goofy hodge-podge and couldn’t possibly be any good, I urge you to click here and read the praise from four early readers of the book. They are not my friends or neighbors, they are men of stature in the Elvis universe.

We are getting closer to Christmas and you should seriously think about giving this book as a gift, or better yet, a present for yourself. If you are an Elvis fan, you will love him as a real hero. Big E is everything you would want Elvis to be in a fantasy story.

So, please send a check for $10 to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr.
Greer, SC 29560

And I will promptly mail you a copy of the book.

This will not be the price when I bring the book back for the next Christmas season. It will be available on Amazon then, but my introductory discount will be gone, and they will add a big chunk to the price. There will be an eBook available next year, too, that will probably sell for less than $10, but right now you can get the real book for that.

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Big E and the Santa Man teams up the two most famous icons in the world for a thrilling adventure. You will totally love the most unlikely buddy story ever written.

Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

 

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister

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