Category Archives: ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets #19

We haven’t done Mini-Nuggets since March 2014, but Elvis’ 80th birthday has provided some short subjects to report.

Record Number of Hits for ElvisBlog:

ElvisBlog Results on Google Analytics

On January 1, I checked Google Analytics to see how well ElvisBlog did for the year. 147,000 people (users) visited the site, resulting in 279,991 pageviews (hits). That’s an average of 2,800 users a week, a gain of 30% over the 2013 results. Definitely a good year.

Which makes the results in the graphic above even more remarkable. Yesterday, on what would have been Elvis’ 80th birthday, ElvisBlog had nearly 2,600 people visit the site. Wow. I hope I’m still around to see the results on Elvis’ 100th birthday.

 

Elvis’ Movie Costars Pass Away:

Mary Ann Mobley with Elvis in Girl Happy

When time permits, we will take a deeper look at two late actresses who appeared with films with Elvis. Mary Ann Mobley (Girl Happy, Harum Scarum) died on December 19, 2014.

Donna Douglas and Elvis in Frankie and Johnny

Donna Douglas (Frankie and Johnny) passed away on New Year’s Day, 2015.

Elvis’ leading ladies have been a staple for print and video interviews about him for decades. Has there ever been an Elvis Week without one or two of them being “Special Guests” for talks, panel discussions, and autograph sessions?

Donna Butterworth with Elvis Presley in Paradise, Hawaiian Style

Well, the list is getting short, and you have to wonder what authors, journalists and EPE will do when Elvis’ female costars are all gone. Now we have a hint. In celebration of Elvis 80th birthday, an article in the Boone, NC Mountain Times featured an interview with Donna Butterworth who was ten-years-old when she appeared with Elvis in Paradise, Hawaiian Style. You are going to see more of this.

.

Peanut Butter ‘N Banana Ice Cream:

Baskin-Robbins Peanut Butter 'N Bananna Ice Cream

I received an email from the PR firm representing Baskin-Robbins telling me about their new flavor to celebrate Elvis’ 80th Birthday. It will be available for the entire month of January, and it is described as banana-flavored ice cream with a chunky peanut butter ribbon. They are sending me two $31 gift cards – one to use to sample it and write a review. I expect to like it, but I did have a bad experience at Elvis Week 2007 when I tried peanut butter and banana coffee, and it was lame.

The other gift card will be offered as the prize in an Elvis Caption Contest which I will post in a couple of days.

.

The Elvis Auction at Graceland:

Auction at Graceland

The auction last night was a huge success, highlighted by the 1953 acetate of Elvis’ first recorded songs “My Happiness”/”That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.” The pre-auction estimate was for $75-100,000, but it went for $300,000! That’s got to be the highest priced record ever. Let’s see a record by Michael Jackson, or the Beatles, or Mariah Carey top that.

There were 67 items up for auction, so it will take two or three blogs to cover all the interesting elements of this Elvis 80th birthday event, and I’ll get them posted as soon as possible.

 

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

ElvisBlog Thumbnail Icon

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

 

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets – #18

We haven’t done Mini-Nuggets in over two years, so I’m glad to have enough stuff in the files to do another one.

The ELVIS:

The Elvis Waffles with peanut butter, bananas, candied bacon, chocolate and caramel sauce  Superchefs in downtown Columbus 9.99.
My son took this photo before he polished off the stack of waffles with peanut butter, bananas, candied bacon, chocolate and caramel sauce. Offered by the Superchefs restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, this tempting stack of pure indulgence is called The ELVIS. Just $9.95. Can’t you see Elvis chowing down on one?

.

Britney Spears to be Wed at Graceland – Don’t Bet On It:

Globe article - Britney Spears Wedding at Graceland

I haven’t seen Elvis’ face on a supermarket tabloid in years, so this one caught my eye. After a little checking, I think the outraged Elvis fans can probably cool it. This thing about Britney Spears getting married at Graceland is just hype.

David Lucado and Britney Spears inside Graceland

For one thing, she’s not yet officially engaged to boyfriend David Lucado. Plus, she has not asked EPE or Lisa Marie if the wedding could take place at Graceland. And finally, would they even say yes to such a request. According to a source at www.dailymail.co.uk, “Britney wants to get as much attention and money for pictures with her third wedding as she did for her second.” Looks like the self-promotion has started early.

Britney and David Outside Graceland

I learned two things researching this piece. Britney Spears is now 32, and she sure looks fine in an Elvis jumpsuit.

Britney Spears in Elvis Jumpsuit

 

ElvisBlog Now #1 and #2 in Crummy Elvis Shit:

Crummy Elvis Shit

ElvisBlog was number 1 in ‘Crummy Elvis Shit’ in 2008 and again in 2012. Now in 2014, ElvisBlog takes the top two spots in Google’s results. The scary thing is that they found 1,080,000 results for ‘Crummy Elvis Shit.’ To find out why ElvisBlog gets these results, click here.

.

Elvis’ TCB Ring Located:

TCB Ring  An 11.5-carat diamond solitaire  two lightning bolts make up the edges. cost $35,000 in 1974

Back in 2012, the second installment of Elvis’ Fabulous Rings showed this picture and the following comment:

“This has to be the most expensive ring Elvis ever had special-made for him, or at least in the top three. It contains 56 diamonds, including an 11.5 carat solitaire. Elvis paid $35,000 for it in 1974, which would be $163,000 in today’s dollars. So far, I have been unable to find if it has ever been sold at auction.”

Well, now we know why it has never shown up at an auction. It has been on display at the Graceland exhibit Elvis… Through his Daughter’s Eyes, that ended its two-year run on February 13. To celebrate the event, EPE created a 27 minute video of Lisa walking around the exhibit and reminiscing. And look what was inside a glass display case:

From Lisa Exhibit - 11+half c Solitare, 16c in Total Diamonds

Man, that’s a whole bunch of diamonds.

.

Alice Cooper and Elvis:

Alice Cooper - Love's a Loaded Gun

Here’s another Elvis-related story from a British tabloid website. According to www,mirror.co.uk, this story happened in 1971 at the Las Vegas Hilton:

“He had the penthouse – this was when he was at the top of his game. I had always been a fan as a kid, so I jumped at the chance to go upstairs and meet him. When I got to the lift I found it was me, Liza Minnelli and the porn actress Linda Lovelace.

“Arriving at Presley’s suite, the unlikely group were frisked for guns by the King’s security team. “I don’t know why they bothered – when we got inside the place was full of guns,” Alice recalls.

“Elvis took me into the kitchen, opened a drawer, and pulled out a loaded pistol, telling me to put it to his head. I recognized it straight away, a snub .32. I didn’t know what to do. “I had this gun in my hand and was expecting one of his security to come in any second, see me holding a weapon and shoot me dead.
“A little voice in my left ear was telling me, ‘Go on, this is history, kill him, you’ll always be the guy who killed Elvis’. In my other ear was another voice saying, ‘You can’t kill him, it’s Elvis Presley – wound him instead, you’ll only get a few years.’

“A fraction of a second later Elvis did a flying kick on the gun, and sent it flying, before tripping me and pinning me to the ground by my neck, announcing, ‘that’s how you stop a man with a gun.’”

If this really happened, I’m glad Elvis showed his moves before Alice Cooper could listen to the voice in either ear. Elvis saved him from becoming the most hated person in America.

.

Linda Thompson – Song Writer:

I recently saw a bio on Elvis’ girlfriend Linda Thompson. It said she was a songwriter who had been nominated for an Oscar and a Grammy, and who won an Emmy. My first reaction was “Really. I didn’t know that.” Turns out that she has been a prolific writer of song lyrics, collaborating with a number of significant songwriters.

 whitney-houston-i-have-nothing-arista

“I Have Nothing” was sung by Whitney Houston in the 1992 motion picture, The Bodyguard. Linda and collaborator David Foster (also her husband from 1991 to 2005) wrote the song and were nominated both for the Academy Award for Best Song in 1993 and the Grammy Award for Best Song Written Specifically for a Motion Picture or for Television in 1994.

World Children's day

Linda and Foster did win the 2003 Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics for “Aren’t They All Our Children” for the 2002 TV special The Concert for World Children’s Day.

Well, good for Linda Thompson. I will never again think of her as just an Elvis girlfriend with a pretty face.

 Linda Thompson See-Through Dress

 

© 2013 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

.

Thumbnail Icon

 

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

 .

ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets #17

 

Elvis Beer Cans:  In 2004, Miller Brewing Co. released a set of eight commemorative beer cans celebrating 50 years of rock music.  Doing the math, that would mark the start of rock and roll in 1954, and we all know what happened then – Elvis’ first recording, “That’s All Right.”  So, of course Elvis was on one of the cans.

You might be surprised who the other seven rockers were:  Eric Clapton, Blondie, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, Joe Walsh, and Willie Nelson.  The images of each artist were reproductions of Rolling Stone magazine covers with their faces on them.  The one for Elvis was dated September 22, 1977, the first Rolling Stone cover issued after his death.

Crummy Elvis Shit:  In 2008, someone Googled “Crummy Elvis Shit,” and 6,330 links came up.  ElvisBlog was #7 on the list because each of those three words had been included separately in an article on Elvis’ movie Live A Little, Love A Little.  Just for kicks, I Googled the phrase again recently, and this time there were 1,140,000 sites on the list.  So, it would appear the worldwide supply of Crummy Elvis Shit has grown appreciably in four years.  ElvisBlog moved higher on the list.  Many websites go through extensive steps to upgrade their SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but without doing any work at all, I can brag that Google now rates ElvisBlog #1in Crummy Elvis Shit.

 

Elvis Astrological Chart:  In 2009 the GottaHaveRockandRoll auction sold an Elvis astrological chart for $3,900 plus auctioneer’s fee.

Elvis Astrological Chart

If this seems like an outrageously high price, there were some good reasons to justify it.  The auction lot also included charts for Priscilla and Gladys.  In addition, there was a 23-page Interpretation, which included handwritten marks, underlinings and outlinings by Elvis.  The charts and interpretation were prepared by famed astrologer Dane Rudhyar using information assembled by Elvis’ buddy and hairstylist Larry Geller.  Geller gave it all to Elvis as a gift in 1966, and in 1974 Elvis gave it back to him.  When it was put up for auction the first time in 2001, Geller tossed in some personal 8×10 photographs (never-before-seen, of course) of Elvis and a backstage pass he wore at one of Elvis’ concerts.  They were still part of the lot that sold for $3,900 three years ago.

 

Elvis Proves Las Vegas Never Sleeps:   Take a close look at this Elvis concert poster from 1974.

Can you believe an Elvis show started at 3:00 in the morning?  Elvis had already performed twice that night, so we can presume he was just thrilled to do another one.  Who says Col. Parker didn’t work Elvis to death in the 70s?

Funniest Quote about Elvis I Ever Heard:  A few years ago, PBS did a documentary about Elvis, and it featured interview clips from Paul McCartney, Carl Perkins, Scotty Moore, and others.  Mark Knopfler, singer and guitarist for the band Dire Straits, told a story about when he was a young boy watching Elvis perform on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Knopfler’s father watched with him, and “Dad looked at me with real horror that I liked it.”

Smiling Gladys:  I have lamented here in this blog several times that Gladys always looks sad in all the photos of her.  So, I was really pleased to stumble across this picture on the internet.  It’s in pretty bad shape, but Gladys is smiling and even shows a little cleavage.  Great picture, but don’t copy/download/hotlink it yet.  I’m going to have my graphic artist buddy Carol Stephens clean it up, and I will post it again.


A  Cute Story, Maybe It’s True:  Here’s something I found on a Spanish website in English.  I think I’ve heard it before, but can’t remember for sure.

One day in the 70s, Linda Thompson talked Elvis into going with her to the local McDonalds restaurant near Graceland.  She said she was sick and tired of them never going out together.  Thompson made a bet with him — she said no one would recognize him and he could relax a little.  Elvis said he not only would be recognized but mobbed as well.  They walked in the McDonalds, approached the counter, and put in their orders.  Elvis ate his meal in wonder at the situation but really enjoyed his quiet night out.  So far, so good.

Then a man walked up to their table, looked at Elvis, and said he hated how men tried to look like Elvis Presley.  He said there was only one king and the others should give up.  Shocked at the man’s assumption that he was as impersonator, Elvis informed the stranger that he was indeed Elvis.  The man would not believe him, and said he pitied him for thinking he was Elvis.  Elvis tried again but could not convince the man.  Linda Thompson thoroughly enjoyed the whole situation and had an inspired idea.  She turned to Elvis and said, “Okay, Bob, enough is enough.  Stop playing.”

Elvis told her to confirm who he was.  She replied, “Will you cut the crap, Bob.”  Her ruse worked.  The man left their table.  Elvis was totally dumbfounded by what had happened, but he and Linda had a good laugh.

 

©  2012    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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

Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets — # 16

I haven’t done any Mini-Nuggets for a year now, and I miss it.  They are always fun little stories.  And now, most of them have pictures.  Here are four good ones.

 

Geraldo Rivera and Elvis:

Last weekend, Fox News did two hours of specials celebrating Geraldo Rivera’s forty years in the TV business.  During his career, Geraldo had several Elvis-related events. 

In 1979, Geraldo Rivera was an investigative reporter on ABC’s news-magazine 20/20.  It had been two years since Elvis died, and Geraldo was aware of the silly stuff going around that Elvis wasn’t really dead.  So, he put together a show called “The Elvis Cover-Up,” and it become 20/20’s highest rated program with 43% of the total network audience.  “The Elvis Cover-Up” also established a TV newsmagazine ratings record that stood for 21 years.  I love the program that finally beat it — Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with Monica Lewinsky.

Geraldo had so much success with his Elvis show, that he went back to the well a few more times and presented these programs:  “Elvis Cover-Up #2” and “The Legend Sells.”


 

In 1987 the Geraldo Rivera Show premiered, and it went on for over 2000 episodes.  Geraldo returned to Elvis once more in 1992, when he hosted a group of Elvis Impersonators.  (They weren’t referred to as Elvis Tribute Artists until years later.)  Not to be outshined by his guests, Geraldo hosted the show wearing a white jumpsuit with a gold cape.  It appears to be an original design, not a copy of an Elvis style.  It figures he still has that Elvis jumpsuit hanging in one of his closets.  Do you think he ever puts it on and does a little Karaoke?   I’ll bet he does.

Geraldo Rivera has bragged that he and Elvis are among the small group of people instantly recognized by their first name alone.

 

Bad News Ladies’ T-Shirt: 

Last week we looked at fifteen Elvis Tees on ShopElvis.com I like.  However, there was also one that just weirds me out.  It is called “Stage Dance Ladies Red T-Shirt.”  Even the name is strange.


Stage Dance Ladies Red T-Shirt

The website says it features a black-tone image of Elvis performing on stage with a yellow streak through the center.  But, look at the image.  Given just a quick look, you might think Elvis is being enveloped by a giant feather, or banana or a phallic symbol.  Who approved this one?  No wonder it was recently marked down by $5.

Bling, Elvis Style:

There was a fantastic piece of Elvis jewelry up for auction in England earlier this year.  This pendant was given to Elvis on closing night of his 1975 run at the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel.   The person who gave it to Elvis was Barron Hilton, co-chairman of the Hilton Hotel group.  Later, he would be known as the grandfather of Paris Hilton.


 

Elvis’ St. Gaudens Gold and Diamond Pendant

 

At the center of the pendant is an exceptionally rare 1924 St. Gaudens $20 US gold coin, named after the designer, famed sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens.  It is among the most collectible coins in the world, worth $1,600 to $2,500, depending on rarity and condition.

The larger circle around the coin is 870 grams of solid gold.  There are 12 round-cut brilliant diamonds in a ring around the coin.  And, at the top of the medallion, there are forty round-cut diamonds spelling out E L V I S.  The total weight of the diamonds is 2.60 ct.

The pre-auction estimate was 750,000 to 1,000,000 pounds.  Although the minimum bid was 360,000 pounds, the auction website says the final bid was only 60,000 pounds ($96,000).  I don’t get it.  Sounds too cheap.


 

Elvis in Rainfall Jumpsuit Wearing his St. Gaudens Gold Medallion

 

Another Wertheimer Exhibition:

 


 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will unveil its latest exhibit devoted to the King of Rock and Roll — ELVIS 1956.  Here’s what the RockHall website says about it.

As a part of the Museum’s 15th anniversary celebration, ELVIS 1956: Photographs by Alrfred Wertheimer will open to the public on Monday, September 13.  Taken during the year Elvis turned 21, Alfred Wertheimer’s photographs are a remarkable visual record of a defining time for rock and roll’s most enduring figure.

1956 was the year Elvis first appeared in the national consciousness. His RCA records and national TV broadcasts helped make him a star. Alfred Wertheimer, then a young freelance photojournalist, was there to document the extraordinary transition.

ELVIS 1956 is the first and last unguarded look at Elvis, featuring images of him in every aspect of his life—from performance and with the fans, to the recording studio and at home with his family.

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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

Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets — # 15

 

A Name Suggestion for Cirque du Soleil:  While researching the upcoming Cirque show celebrating Elvis, I noticed something about the six permanent Cirque shows in Las Vegas.  They all have one-word (or one-letter) names.


 

So, you have to figure they will stay with that theme when they name the Elvis production.  I have two suggestions: “E” and “TCB.”  If they already have on “O,” why not an “E”?  That was, after all, what Elvis’ best buddies called him. Seems like a pretty good title for a show that celebrates his life.

Of course, “TCB” stands for Taking Care of Business, which has become synonymous with Elvis.  And, it already has a ready-made logo with Elvis’ design of the famous pendant.  I’ll stick my neck out and predict Cirque du Soleil will choose either “E” or “TCB” as the name of their new Elvis show in Las Vegas.  If you have any good suggestions, add them using Comments below.

The Real Guitar Man:  Country music star Jerry Reed died just over a year ago.  You may know he wrote two songs Elvis recorded:  “U.S. Male” and “Guitar Man.”  There is a good story about why Reed also played the guitar part on the latter.  The studio musicians were unable to duplicate the sounds Reed had laid down on his own earlier recording of “Guitar Man.”  Producer Felton Jarvis advised Elvis, “Well. You’re gonna have to get Reed in here to play on it, then.  He’s a fingerpicker, and these guys don’t have any idea what he’s doing because he does all this weird stuff, anyway.  He tunes them strings so weird.”

After Reed was quickly summoned to the Nashville studio, he turned the E-string down and the B-string up and nailed the intro in his easily identifiable personal style.

Elvis Column Takes Back Most Popular Spot From Michael Jackson:  On July 28, I posted an article titled “Michael Jackson and Lisa Marie.”  I knew his death that day would pique people’s interest, so I assumed the article would do well on Google and bring lots of hits to ElvisBlog.  Boy, was that right.  For the next two months, more folks linked to the site because of that article than any other.  After a while, this started to bother me, because ElvisBlog was created for Elvis fans, not Michael Jackson fans.  Finally, on August 26, order was restored and an old Elvis article took back the top spot as the favorite ElvisBlog article.  It was “Another Chance to Vote on Elvis Images,” originally posted on June 29, 2008.  I think I’ll do a Part 2 on that topic and see if we can push Michael Jackson even farther down the list.

We Missed Col. Parker’s 100th Birthday:  One thing very big in Elvisworld is the celebration of anniversaries.  For example, the 50th anniversary of his first recording, or the 40th anniversary of the ’68 Comeback Special.  Graceland uses the anniversaries to draw more visitors, magazines cover them right on schedule, and ElvisBlog uses them as inspirations for new stories.  So, how did I miss the 100th anniversary of Col. Parker’s birthday?  Maybe, I just didn’t care.  Nobody else did either, it seems.  (For the record, he was born on June 26, 1909).

Elvis’ manager was never a real Colonel, and his real name was not Tom Parker.  He was born Andreas van Kujik, and he illegally immigrated to the USA from Holland at age seventeen. He quickly joined the US Army (Can you do that when you’re an illegal alien?).  

After leaving the Army, he took the name of a commanding officer, Tom Parker.  Sixteen years later, he was well established as Tom Parker and was promoting Country singer Eddy Arnold, when he got Governor Jimmy Davis of Louisiana to give him the honorary title of “Colonel.” 

Here’s a short story that is so typical of Col. Parker.  When Elvis toured Canada in 1957, Parker sold “I Love Elvis” buttons to the adoring fans.  However, there were plenty of Elvis detracters around, so he covered all bases by selling “I Hate Elvis” buttons, too.

Just Plain Ol’ Elvis:  As filming began in 1961 on the movie “Kid Galahad,” Elvis’ buddies presented him with a director’s chair.  Stamped on the back was Mr. Presley.  Elvis hated the formality of it, even though the Director assured him that it was “only the best for our star.”  Elvis wanted to be treated like one of the boys, and the chair destroyed that image.  Soon, a new chair replaced it.  In bold print on the bright red canvas back were the words JUST PLAIN OL’ ELVIS.  He liked that one a lot.

I Stand Corrected:  Back on December 7, 2008, I posted this in Elvis Commentary Mini-Nuggets # 13:

Frank Sinatra Quotes about Elvis:  Look how Frank Sinatra changed his opinion of Elvis over the years.

1956 – “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac.  It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”

1977 – “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances over the years, all of which I agree wholeheartedly.  I shall miss him dearly as a friend.  He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”

The comparison was intended to provide a little ironic humor, but it appears I may have been guilty of spreading mis-facts about Elvis on the internet.  My friend and fellow Elvis blogger Alan Hanson called me on this in his August 13 article on Elvis-History-Blog.com.  He presents a pretty good case that the 1956 quote was not accurate.  Alan backed up his assessment by reproducing two paragraphs of Frank Sinatra quotes from the October 28, 1957, edition of the Los Angeles Mirror News.  Here is a portion of that:

“…Naturally I refer to the bulk of rock ’n’ roll.  It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people… It is sung, played and written for the most part by cretinous goons… this rancid-smelling aphrodisiac I deplore.”

So, Sinatra actually slammed all of Rock & Roll.  I guess he gave Elvis a pass and didn’t include him with those cretinous goons.

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 14

Mt. Rockmore:  The photo in Caption Contest 7 came from the entrance to the now defunct Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  The permanent sand sculpture depicted Elvis, John Lennon, Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix.  In my opinion, the artist who created it did a better job on the likenesses of Elvis and Lennon than he did on Marley and Hendrix.  And what’s with Bob Marley on there, anyway?  If you’re memorializing great dead rock stars, I could see Buddy Holly, James Brown and several other rockers before Bob Marley.  Believe it or not, this is not the first Mt. Rockmore sculpture.  Here is another from the Flintstones Theme Park in Custer, South Dakota:
 

 

Elvis Songs Describe Blago:  The Chicago newspapers have been full of commentary about deposed Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.  Two of them even mentioned Elvis.  According to Stefano Esposito of the Chicago Sun-Times, “He liked to crank up Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Hawaii’ and sing along to the stereo.  Chuck Goudie of the Daily Herald listed some famous Elvis songs that fit Blago’s bill: “A Fool Such As I,” “Put The Blame On Me,” “Suspicious Minds,” “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” “There Goes My Everything,” and maybe eventually “Heartbreak Hotel.”   It’s too bad Elvis never had a song called, “Devious Scumbag Politician.”

A Peek At The Future:  EPE has three new Graceland exhibits for 2009.  “Graceland’s 70th Anniversary Celebration” is already open.  Coming in March are “Elvis in Hollywood” and “Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture.”  The press release for “Elvis Lives” reads in part:

“This interactive exhibit showcases Elvis in action as he entertains crowds in a stunning video presentation.  Visitors can trace Elvis’ impact on pop culture by taking  a trip down an Elvis time line, test their knowledge at an Elvis trivia kiosk and explore Elvis’ music through listening stations that feature classics from the king of Rock ‘N Roll.”

If you ever wondered what EPE is going to put on all those acres of land it bought around Graceland, “Elvis Lives” gives you a good clue.  However, I think video presentations, trivia kiosks and listening stations are just the tip of the iceberg.  Get ready, big-time Interactive Elvis is coming.

 

Stupid Reporter Questions:  Over the years, reporters have posed lots of stupid questions to Elvis.  Possibly the worst questions came from Luther Voltz of the Miami Herald on August 4, 1956.  Voltz asked Elvis how he felt about some strange subjects: the Andrea Doria ship disaster, the popular Empire waistline in fashion, prominent politicians Estes Kefauver and Adlai Stevenson, and famed cellist Pablo Casals.  Elvis told the reporter he would rather keep his views to himself because he did not want to be labeled.  That was fast thinking by Elvis, because, as he later admitted to friends, he had never heard of any of those people or things.  Elvis always enjoyed telling the story of how he outsmarted the reporter who tried to embarrass him.

 

Keep That Pelvis Far from Me:  Did you know Elvis was mentioned in the lyrics of one of the songs in the movie Grease, starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John?  “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee” was sung by co-star Stockard Channing’s character Rizzo.  Here are some of the lyrics:

Look at me, I’m Sandra Dee, lousy with virginity.
Won’t go to bed till I’m legally wed.  I can’t, I’m Sandra Dee.

I don’t drink or swear, I won’t rat my hair, I get ill from one cigarette.
Keep your filthy paws off my silky drawers.  Would you pull that crap with Annette?

Elvis, Elvis, let me be, keep that pelvis far from me.
Just keep your cool, now you’re starting to drool.  Hey, fungool, I’m Sandra Dee.

Not Worth $200 To Me:  Somebody might pay $200 for a 20 inch long statue of Elvis riding on a motorcycle if it really looked like Elvis.  However, this so-called collectible on a Phoenix antique website just looks terrible.  It may be the worst reproduction of Elvis’ face I have ever seen.  Look close, that’s not a bazooka strapped to Elvis’ back, it’s a guitar case. 

 

That Hep Presley Cat Is A Gas:  When Elvis performed at the New Frontier Hotel in 1956, some negative comments appeared in the Las Vegas Sun.  This prompted several letters to the editor, including an unusual one from Mr. Ed Jamison.  Here are two excerpts:

“This cat Presley is neat, well gassed and has the heart.  His vocal is real and he has yet to go for the open field.  He is hep to the motion of sound with a retort that is tremendous.  These squares who like to detract their imagined misvalues can only size a note creeping upstairs after dark.  This cat can throw ‘em downstairs or even out the window.  Presley’s voice is that of American youth looking at the moon and wondering how long it will take to get there.”  What???  At least Mr. Jameson followed with, “He deserves his ever-growing audience.  Nobody should miss him.”  Now, that I understand.

The King Of Las Vegas:  Elvis didn’t make much of a splash with his 1956 performance in Las Vegas, but when he came back in 1969, he up shook the place.  I like this quote from Nick Naff of the International Hotel:  “The first time he was booked here, some of us had our doubts.  I mean, we opened July Fourth with Barbra Streisand, who’d just won an Oscar, had three pictures going.  She was one of the hottest entertainment properties in the world.  We knew we had something.  Elvis [who was the second performer at the new hotel] was an unknown stage property.  He hadn’t appeared anywhere in eight years.  We knew he’d be something of a draw, but my God! Elvis was a blockbuster.”  Elvis turned out to be an even bigger draw in subsequent runs at the International.  I’m not sure how this figure was verified, but it has been reported the Maitre d’ and head waiters split $10,000 in tips per night when he performed the following February.

 

Strange Elvis Memento On Display:  Back in 1976, Elvis was headed by car to a concert in Roanoke, VA.  As the car passed through Lynchburg, Elvis felt the need to go to the bathroom, so they stopped at the Koffee Pot restaurant to use the facilities.  Once finished, Elvis took the toilet paper roll and autographed it for owner Estelle Meadows.  Here is a picture of the memento, which has been on display at the restaurant for years.  Note, Elvis even drew a TCB logo on it. 

©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 13

 

Elvis’ Opening Act in Las Vegas:  Comedian Sammy Shore was the opening act for Elvis in Las Vegas from 1969 to 1972.  Shore’s act relied on wacky physical comedy, but he was an old-school comic who kept it clean.  Both Elvis and Col. Parker liked that about Shore when they saw him open for Tom Jones three weeks before Elvis’ engagement at the International Hotel began.  Parker offered him the slot as opening act for Elvis, and Shore jumped at the chance.  I like the line he worked into his act about all of the bodyguards Elvis needed to keep away the hordes of girls.  Shore said, “Why don’t you go where all the girls won’t bother you – my dressing room.”

An Elvis Asteroid:  I’m always a little hesitant to repeat assertions about Elvis that I read on Wikipedia, but this one has a ring of authority.  Asteroids are all given a number and some get a name.  #17059 is Elvis.  Other notable asteroids include #2309 – Mr. Spock, #2001 – Einstein, and #5450 – Socrates.

Frank Sinatra Quotes about Elvis:  Look how Frank Sinatra changed his opinion of Elvis over the years.
1956 – “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac.  It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
1977 – “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances over the years, all of which I agree wholeheartedly.  I shall miss him dearly as a friend.  He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”

Elvis Versus Beethoven:  Two freshmen Yale students spent their Christmas 1956 holiday in Manhattan.  Their taste in music did not include Rock & Roll, and they became alarmed at the number of “I Like Elvis” buttons they saw.  For a $45 investment they produced 1,000 “I Like Ludwig” buttons, referencing classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  According to Time Magazine, they set up placards with this slogan on it:  “Combat The Menace!  Get Your Ludwig Button.”  In a matter of hours, they sold all 1000 for 15ȼ each to their former classmates at the New York High School of Music and Art.  That’s pretty amazing, and it earned them a few bucks.  However, I’ll bet it can’t compare to what Elvis made on his buttons.

Something Different in an Elvis Poem:  There have been hundreds of poems written about Elvis and most of them been sincere, adoring, and gushing with syrupy sweet sentiment.  You don’t find many like this one.  The author is unknown, but he obviously didn’t like his daughter’s obsession with Elvis.

ENOUGH OF ELVIS

I’ve simply had all I can take
I’ve got an Elvis bellyache
My teenage daughter’s in a trance
I fear she’ll get St. Vitus dance!

That be-bop business was bad enough
But this Presley Hound Dog stuff
On radio, records and TV
It’s just too dog gone much for me.

I think I’ll down some real corn liquor
Then go after that cotton-picker
Fix them sideburns with the shears
And wrap that geetar ‘round his ears.

Just think how peaceful it would be
Without that guy from Tennessee.

Colonel Parker Cheerleading for an Elvis Movie Contract:  Col. Parker never missed an opportunity to promote his client, Elvis Presley.  On March 26, 1956, Elvis had a screen test for Hal Wallis at Paramount Studios, but Wallis did not immediately offer Elvis a contract.  After two weeks of waiting, Col. Parker decided to drum up some fan support.  During the intermissions at two Elvis concerts in the Denver Coliseum on April 8, Col. Parker went on stage and announced, “If you want to see Elvis Presley in the movies, write to Paramount Pictures.”  This same tactic was probably used at the other shows on this tour, and it may have worked.  On April 25, Elvis finalized a seven-movie deal that paid him $15,000 for his first film, $20,000 for his second, and so on.  In retrospect, it seems Parker should have held out for more.  Elvis was getting that kind of money for TV appearances later in the year. 

Worst Dressed Males:  In 1957 columnist Hedda Hopper presented her list of the worst-dressed personalities, and Elvis was one of the offending males.  However, he had some pretty good company.  Also included were Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Tab Hunter, Dennis Hopper, Paul Newman, and Bing Crosby.

Who Started Elvis Week?:  Graceland did not open to the public until 1982, but the genesis of Elvis Week occurred a few years earlier with no assistance from EPE.  In 1978, one year after Elvis died, a number of fans gathered outside the gates, lit candles and spent the evening talking and reminiscing.  The next year there were more.  The first organized ceremony is credited to the Elvis Country Fan Club based in Austin, Texas.  Each year, more and more fans came to Memphis for the candlelight tribute, and various other activities were organized.  Graceland opened to the public in the summer of 1982, and fans urged EPE management to open the gates at midnight, August 16, during the candlelight tribute.  Management agreed, and allowed the fans to walk single-file up the driveway to Elvis’ gravesite and back down.  With the growing influx of fans to Memphis each August, Graceland/EPE took the lead in organizing Elvis Week from then on.  But, it was the fans that got it started.

Kelly Osbourne’s Elvis Themed Wedding?:  Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne has a daughter named Kelly who will wed model Luke Worrell in Las Vegas next spring.  So what will the daughter of the former Black Sabbath frontman have for her wedding décor?  Bats?  Coffins?  Vampires?  No, Kelly Osbourne is planning an Elvis-themed affair.  A friend is quoted, “They want their wedding to be fun rather than a big, solemn occasion.  They share the same sense of humor and unconventional streak, so they want to celebrate with something different and memorable.”  OK, just so an Elvis impersonator doesn’t come out of a coffin and bite the head off a bat.

 

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

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 12

Colonel Tom Parker’s Dancing Chickens:  Many Elvis fans know that Col. Parker managed Eddie Arnold and Hank Snow before taking over Elvis’ career.  However, I’ll bet you didn’t know this.  According to www.leftlion.com, Colonel Parker once had a carnival act with dancing chickens.  He got them to dance by putting them on an electric hotplate covered with sawdust, accompanied by a record player.  Lucky for him, PETA wasn’t around back then.

Another Chicken Story:  This comes from the caption under an Elvis picture on Flickr.  “In January 1961, Elvis signed a 5 year contract with Hal Wallis.  To celebrate, he went out and bought a Rolls Royce Phantom V from a Beverly Hills dealer, only to bring it home and have his mother’s chickens pick away at their reflections in the elegant finish.”  Well, Gladys died in 1958, so we know this is a fabrication.  But if you are going to tell a fib, you might as well go for a big one.  Chickens at Elvis’ home in exclusive Bel Air while he’s filming movies in 1961?  Yeah, sure.  There’s a lot of bogus stuff about Elvis floating around on the Internet, but this takes the cake.

Elvis Ultrasound:  Do you like the comic strip “Baby Blues”?  I love those kids Zoe, Hammie and Wren.  The authors of the strip have published their work in a number of books.  One of the compilations is titled, “I Saw Elvis In My Ultrasound.”  Why not?  Elvis has been sighted everywhere else.

image

 

A Bidding War For Elvis:  The website Elvis Presley From Poland has a story about the Army and the Navy fighting over which service would get Elvis.  Supposedly the Navy offered him the opportunity to form an “Elvis Presley Company” comprised of sailors from Memphis, and he could personally pick his friends to be part of this special company.  Well, if Elvis’ Memphis buddies had escaped the draft so far, I bet they were glad he didn’t agree to that one.  The Army supposedly offered Elvis the chance to perform on a worldwide tour of all the Army’s prestige posts, with first-class travel to them.  However, Colonel Parker decided that “a front-line combat unit was where he should do his soldiering.”  Front-line combat?  What fighting was the Army doing in Germany in 1958?

That’s A Big Velvet Elvis:  According to www.canada.com, the largest velvet Elvis is on display at the Tattoo Factory in Chicago.  It measures 12 ft by 12 ft, and depicts Elvis with a tear in his eye.  Put that on your list of stops for your next visit to the windy city.

The Man From Psycho Scores Higher Than Elvis:  This story tickles me for a couple of reasons.  One of Elvis’ soundtrack songs from the movie Blue Hawaii is “Moonlight Swim.”  So, where was the scene?  On a beach at midnight?  No, Elvis sang the song in the daylight while cruising in a convertible filled with lovely young babes.  Elvis never released the song as a single, but Tony Perkins did.  Before becoming famous for his role in Psycho, Perkins sang in a few Broadway plays.  His version of “Moonlight Swim” reached #24 on the charts in 1957.

Metal Elvis:  The website for Talent Booking USA has a promo for an Elvis tribute band (not a tribute artist – a whole band).  The singer looks and sounds like Elvis, and the musicians are look-a-likes of famous members of heavy metal groups Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue, etc.  If these guys ever show up in Memphis during Elvis Week, I might just take in their show.

image

 

Elvis Bootleg Songs In Russia:  Back in 1957, the Los Angeles Daily Mirror reported that bootlegs of Elvis’ hit singles were selling for 50 rubles ($12.50 US dollars).  What does that equal in dollars today?  $200?  $500?  Where did Russian kids get that kind of money?  Guess what the songs were recorded on.  Used X-ray film.  Pretty clever, but how did they play them on their turntables?

Fired For Playing An Elvis Presley Song:  There once was a disc jockey at radio station KEX in Portland, Oregon who got fired because he played Elvis’ recording of “White Christmas.”  The station manager banned the song and fired Al Priddy because the song “is not in the good taste we ascribe to Christmas music.  Presley gives it a rhythm and blues interpretation.”  If an R&B interpretation of Christmas music gets you fired, it’s a good thing the DJ didn’t play “Santa Claus Is Back In Town.”  That could have gotten him banned from the city.

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 

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

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 11

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 


The Missing Elvis Star:  There is a website where an aspiring screenwriter can post a synopsis of his script in hope that an agent or movie producer will take an interest in it.  Recently posted on www.newenglandfilm.com was The Missing Elvis Star, by Scott Andrews.  Here is his plot summary:
“Elvis Presley’s Star is stolen off the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame by three French tourists on the 4th of July.  The President issues a state of emergency and makes it a priority for his Presidential legacy to recapture the missing Star.  The Star is found with Elvis Presley alive.  Both are brought back to America with a five-million person parade in D.C. and Hollywood, with 80 year old Elvis replanting his own Star on the Walk of Fame.”
Writer Andrews calls his creation an action, comedy, block-buster hit movie.  Sounds like a long shot to me.  I wonder who could play 80 year old Elvis.

 

Calvin and Hobbes and Elvis:  Hopefully you are familiar with the comic strip “Calvin and Hobbes.”  In an old strip, everyone in Calvin’s class at school was assigned to read and summarize a newspaper article.  What article did Calvin pick?  It was the tabloid classic, “Space Alien Weds Two-Headed Elvis Clone.”  I mentioned this title in Mini-Nuggets – 9, and I never thought it would appear again.  I guess you never know when it comes to Elvis.

 

Minus-Zero on The Elvis Scale:  During the 1992 presidential election, some of the press corps started comparing Bill Clinton to Elvis.  Clinton wore black sunglasses and played “Heartbreak Hotel” on sax on the Arsinio Hall Show, and his campaign plane was nicknamed “Air Elvis.”  One of his opponents in the primary was Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas.  Tsongas was a much duller personality than Clinton, and columnist Molly Ivins rated Tsongas “minus-zero on the Elvis scale.”  So, which of today’s candidates do you think rates highest on the Elvis scale?  For my money, it is Sarah Palin.  What do you think?

 

Back When They Were Called Elvis Impersonators:  Now that Graceland has conferred legitimacy on Elvis Tribute Artists, and the best of them are truly fine showmen, there is much more respect given to this growing group of entertainers.  Surprisingly, a recent article in http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk stated that there were between 37 and 150 working Elvis Impersonators back in 1977 when he died.  Now they say there are over 30,000 ETAs in the US alone.

 

My Pastor Told Me This One:  The Pastor at my church has a great sense of humor, and he often tells jokes.  The other day, he called to tell me he heard a cool answer to the Jeff Foxworthy line: “You know you are a redneck when….”  It was: “when you have an Elvis Jello mold.”  I resisted telling Pastor that I didn’t find that too funny.  However, consider this.  EPE has licensed all sorts of weird Elvis stuff, but I have never seen a Jello mold shaped like Elvis’ face.  I hope I never do.

 

Letterman Top Ten List:  David Letterman has included Elvis in his famous Top Ten Lists at least three times that I am aware of.  Thoughtful reader Arleen Scharf e-mailed me this one:  Top Ten Most Polite Ways to Say Your Zipper is Down.  #6 was “Elvis is leaving the building.”  I like that much more than #1, which was “I always knew you were crazy, but now I can see your nuts.”

 

Pappy and Elvis:  In 1966, Warner Brothers released a Merrie Melodies cartoon titled “The Dixie Fryer.”  Mel Blanc provided the voices of main character Foghorn Leghorn as well as two chicken hawks named Pappy and Elvis.  Foghorn travels to the deep-south and encounters the chicken hawks who crave a delicious chicken dinner.  He needn’t worry.  The chicken hawks are portrayed as ignorant rednecks, and Elvis is a total air-head.  Many years later, the PC police at the Nickelodeon network edited out a scene with a squirrel rifle and another with “dueling pistols.”  I wish they had also changed the idiot chicken hawk’s name to something besides Elvis.

 

Cher Turned Down Elvis?:  Website www.pcpages.com/elvistimes/news.htm recently mentioned an interview in which singer/actress Cher talked about Elvis.  She said she once received a phone call from Elvis, and he expressed how much he admired Cher and her music.  Then he invited her to spend the weekend with him.  Cher said she just didn’t have the nerve to do it and turned Elvis down.  Now, she says she couldn’t believe she did that.  I don’t believe it either.  Cher had a chance to go from Sonny Bono to Elvis, but she turned it down.  No way.

 

(C)  2008   All rights Reserved   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   www.ElvisBlog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 10

 

Elvisauris:  Did you know there was a dinosaur named for Elvis?  Back in 1990, two Ohio State geologists discovered the bones of an early Jurassic dinosaur in Antarctica.  The find occurred just 400 miles from the South Pole.  I can’t imagine what gave them the clue to dig there.  Anyway, the skull of the 22-foot-long creature has a bony crest, and it didn’t take the scientists long to notice that it resembled Elvis’ big pomp hair-do of the 50s.  Soon the dinosaur picked up the nickname Elvis.  In time, everyone referred to it as Elvisauris, even though its official name is Cryophosauris ellioti.  Elvisauris is much better, don’t you think?

<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” /> 

But, I’ll Be Back In May.  Ohhhhhhh, Yeah:  Here’s a story that is equally strange.  The International Space Station circles the Earth at an elevation of 240 miles.  The astronauts spend months on board, so it must get boring for some of them.  I like the way Flight Engineer Carl Walz spiced up things.  Somehow radio contact was set up with hundreds of Houston schoolteachers, during which Walz treated them to an Elvis impression from outer space.  His song was to the tune of “Heartbreak Hotel”:

“Well, since I left my baby, I found a new place to dwell.  It’s 400 kilometers in the air.  It’s called Space Station Alpha.  Oh, it’s so lonely.  But, I’ll be back in May.  Ohhhhhhh, yeah.”

In this case, I like the original words better.

 

So Let's Mention the Guitar Player, OK?:  On June 4th, the News link on www.elvis.com announced that “That’s All Right” was listed as #37 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the greatest guitar songs.  Here is the exact wording of the press release:

“In the June edition of Rolling Stone Magazine, Elvis Presley’s hit song “That’s All Right” was named on the 100 Greatest Guitar Songs of All Time article.  The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was ranked no. 37 on the list.”

Notice anything missing?  How about the name of the guitar player – Scotty Moore!  After all, this is the greatest guitar songs we’re talking about.  I’m not going to hammer EPE, because plenty of other folks do that on the web.  But, I’m a Scotty Moore fan, and it just wasn’t right to leave his name out of the news release.  They did provide a nice link to www.rollingstone.com, where you can read the whole list.  Rolling Stone got it right:   

“Lead guitarist Scotty Moore’s hillbilly blues has become ground zero for the last 54 years worth of rockabilly.  On Elvis’ first single, the guitarist’s lusty solo matches Elvis’ vocals and rhythm guitar perfectly.”

  I like that – Scotty Moore:  ground zero for rockabilly music.

 

Watching Women Fight:  One of the less inflammatory “revelations” in that horrible Albert Goldman book titled “Elvis” is that Elvis liked to watch videos of women fighting.  Goldman wrote:

“The typical film opens upon a shot of a couple of tough, coarse-looking broads sitting on a sofa and having a violent quarrel about a man.  Suddenly, one woman reaches over and slaps the other’s face.  The second woman retaliates by grabbing her by the hair.  Then they really get into it like a couple of cats, screaming and clawing.”

Albert Goldman has been accused of making up much of the stuff in his book, and I know he’s lying here.  Elvis would have watched lovely babes fighting, not tough coarse-looking broads.

 

Do You Know Which of These Songs Elvis Sang In His Movies?:

             “Vino, Dinero Y Amor”

            “Wolf Call”

            “Beach Shack”

            “Yoga Is As Yoga Does”

            “We’re Coming In Loaded”

            “Steppin’ Out of Line”

            “Hard Knocks”

            “Barefoot Ballad”

            “Five Sleepyheads”

            “Drums of the Island”

And the answer is —- all of them were in Elvis movies.  No wonder he stopped making movies and went back to live concerts.

 

Elvis Has a Great Center of Gravity:  In an August 16, 2007, article commemorating the 30th Anniversary celebration, New York Sun columnist Pia Catton declared that Elvis was one of the great American dancers.  According to Catton, Elvis had a particular quality of movement that made him a star.

“Elvis had a center of gravity that was low, á la Gene Kelly, but also set back and deep.  His sexiest moves – legs lolling back and forth, smooth like jelly, hips rolling and tossing everywhere – were performed as if there were a paperweight on a string tied around his waist and hung from his lower back.  (Ed. note:  Can you picture that?)  With his weight adjusted to the back, he could free one leg to twist, pop, and jerk while maintaining perfect balance… Elvis’ glory was in the shifting of his weight… When he gets going fast, the force of the shifts make his shoulders jerk so hard he looks like he is being electrocuted.”

OK, now we know how Elvis could do it.  However, it might not be a good idea to explain it to folks at an Elvis Week party.  When you get to the part about a paperweight hanging from Elvis’ butt, they’re going to think you’re a nut.  When you get to the electrocuted shoulders, they’ll be trying to get away from you fast.

 

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