Category Archives: ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS

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.

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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.

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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.

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

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 11

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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?

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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

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 9

That Guy Looks Familiar:  There is an interesting story about how Elvis hooked up with Ed Parker, his long time Karate instructor.  Parker and several advanced students were giving a Karate demonstration at the Beverly Wilshire Health Club.  Elvis, who was staying at a nearby hotel, heard about it and came over to the demonstration.  Elvis walked up to Parker and said: “Hi, my name is Elvis Presley and I wondered if you would mind if I watched your demonstration.”  This story really tickles me.  Here is Elvis, probably the most recognized man in the world, and he says, “My name is Elvis Presley.”  Can there be any doubt how humble and unassuming Elvis was – in spite of his immense fame.

 

Elvis’ Favorite TV Shows:  A few weeks ago, I was looking through Priscilla Presley’s old book “Elvis and Me” for some background on the dancing lessons she took as a young lady.  In one chapter, she talked about all the TV shows she and Elvis watched (because they were his favorites, of course).  Here’s the list.

            Laugh-In

            The Untouchables

            The Wild, Wild West

            The Tonight Show

            Road Runner

I watched them all, too.  How about you?

 

Elvis’ Favorite Classic Movies:  Priscilla also mentioned several old movies that Elvis loved:

            Wuthering Heights

            It’s A Wonderful Life

            Miracle on 34th Street

The Way of All Flesh

Mr. Skeffington

Les Miserables

Letter From An Unknown Woman

 

“Eh-hulla havva huh baluuuuuuue kariss muss:  This is what the idiots at Spinner.com think the first line of Elvis’ “Blue Christmas” sounds like.   They call it the best example of the King’s signature breathalizing – whatever that is.  On a more positive note, Spinner.com rates “Blue Christmas” as the #3 best Christmas song.  Good call, but there’s an even better Elvis song of the season.  ElvisBlog.net rates “Santa Claus Is Back In Town” as the best Christmas song ever.

 

Would Elvis Really Eat at This Place:  The Third Avenue Café in Louisville, KY has a thing about Elvis.  Their website has a caricature of Elvis seated at the table, knife in one hand, fork in the other, ready to go.  They also have a mannequin suited up as the white-caped Elvis that sits at a window seat (or in the outside seats during the summer).  That may not seem so interesting — until you realize that the restaurant specializes in vegan and vegetarian food.  Seems strange that they would want to connect with a person who ate meatloaf at every supper for two years and ate a pound of bacon at breakfast most of his life.

 

Well, Maybe Not:  If you have ever seen video of Elvis performing “Polk Salad Annie” on stage, you know he gives it quite a workout.  In 1971, he said this about the song: “If you ever have a weight problem, just do this a couple of times a night.”  Maybe, but we know that doing it once a night didn’t get the job done.

 

Two-Headed Elvis Clone:  Titles like that used to be limited to the supermarket tabloids, but the Internet has changed all that.  If you Google “Two-Headed Elvis Clone,” they come up with 156 references.  Here are my three favorites:

Space Alien Weds Two-Headed Elvis Clone

            Two-Headed Elvis Clone Marries Ghost of Marilyn

            Jennifer Aniston Weds Two-Headed Space Alien Elvis Clone

There is also a blogger on LiveJournal.com who says in his bio that he is the child of a two-headed Elvis clone and a Martian.  If you think that’s bad, try Googling “Elvis’ Two-Headed Alien Love Child.”  There are even five entries for that one.

 

Elvis Reincarnated As A Tree Branch?:  American Forests is a sensible, conservation organization that cares about trees.  On their website, they have a section called “The Trees With Soul – Highlighting Historic Trees.”  Here’s what they report about the day of Elvis’ funeral.  “Inside the house [Graceland]… a private funeral was held.  Afterward, as the coffin was being carried out the door, a limb from one of the big oak trees out front snapped and fell, barely missing the funeral party.  Elvis’ friend Lamar Fike didn’t miss a beat.  ‘We knew you’d be back,’ he wisecracked. ‘Just not this soon.’”

 

Elvis told This Story, So It Must Be True:  In 1975, Elvis went to a football game.  While he was in the bathroom, a woman came up to one of his friends and said, “I hear Elvis Presley’s here at the football game.”  The friend said, “Yeah.”  She said, “I hear he’s in the bathroom.”  He said, “Yeah.”  She replied, very seriously, “I didn’t think he did that.”

 

©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 8

Bad Luck From Elvis?:  In 1973, Elvis gave Muhammad Ali a $10,000 white robe, with the words “People’s Champion” emblazoned across the back.  Ali wore the robe on March 31, when he fought Ken Norton for the first time.  Norton broke Ali’s jaw in the second round and won the decision.  Ali vowed never to wear the robe again (but he did maintain his friendship with Elvis).

 

A New Wrinkle In Selling Cars:  Back in 1956, many adults thought Elvis was turning their children into juvenile delinquents, so there was a good bit of backlash.  On December 17, used car dealer Don Melch ran this advertisement:  “We guarantee to break 50 Elvis Presley records in your presence if you buy one of these cars today.”  Melch started with 17 cars that day and he sold five.  He should have just saved those 250 Elvis records; they would be worth a bundle today.

 

Good Neighbor Elvis:  Homes and Land, a real estate media company in Florida, ran a poll asking thousands of US residents to name what famous person they would like to live next door to.  The top pick among women was Oprah Winfrey.  Men picked Elvis Presley, followed by John Wayne, Donald Trump, Tiger Woods and Bill Gates.  I would like to live next door to Scotty Moore and hang out in his home studio while all his music buddies are jamming.

 

Did You Already Know This?:  Elvis’ favorite toothpaste was Colgate; his favorite aftershave was Brut; and his favorite soft drink was Pepsi.

 

Bet You Didn’t Know This:  Elvis’ social security number was 409-52-2002.  Apparently, there is a federal law that requires the Social Security Administration to provide this data on the deceased to anyone that wants it.  Seems pretty stupid to me.

 

Some Stats On Elvis’ Name:  According to the website www.howmanyofme.com, there are 15,167 people in the U.S. with the first name Elvis.  It is the 1495th  most popular first name.  There are 21,234 people in the U.S. with the last name Presley, the 1664th most popular last name.  And, yes, there is one person in the U.S. today named Elvis Presley.

 

More Elvis Name Stats:  According to a publication (website?) called The West, Elvis is the 8th most popular celebrity inspired pet name.  They determined that Tyson (named for Mike Tyson) is the most popular.  Probably chosen for a lot of pit bulls.

 

The TCB Oath:  In 1971, while on a flight in the Lisa Marie, Elvis wrote The TCB Oath on a torn envelope.  This code of ethics for his buddies was influenced by his strong interest in the martial arts at the time.  It starts with: “More self-respect, more respect for fellow man.”  However, it ends with: “Freedom from constipation.”  No kidding.

 

Elvis Is Big At The National Archives:  Believe it or not, the most requested document from the National Archives is the photo of Elvis shaking hands with a stiffly smiling President Richard Nixon at the Whitehouse in 1970.  It is also the best selling souvenir at the Nixon Presidential Library.  I think the funniest thing about that whole episode is that Elvis presented Nixon with a Civil War gun with seven bullets in the chamber.  The Secret Service guys must have been so nonplussed with Elvis that they never checked it first.  They weren’t too pleased when they found out later.

 

When Did The TCB Band First Reunite?  If you follow the TCB Band, you know they have done a lot of performances over the years since Elvis died.  Of course, they disbanded in 1977, but when did they first regroup?  It was on April 8, 1989 at Lausanne, Switzerland.  They were joined by Charlie Hodge, Kathy Westmoreland, J.D. Sumner & The Stamps, and a Swiss guitarist and singer named Steve Payntor.  It took folks in another country to see the potential in getting these guys back together.  Why do people in Europe and Japan seem to appreciate our musical legends more that we do?

 

©  2008   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 7

The Right Beer to Drink With Peanut Butter and Nanner Sandwiches:  According to an expert at www.beerinator.com, the beer that matches up best with Elvis’ favorite sandwich is Young’s Double Chocolate Stout.  He goes on to say: “I think Young’s Double Chocolate Stout would blend perfectly with the banana fruitiness, and it would compliment the slight roasty nutty flavor from the peanut butter.  The toasty outsides of the sandwich would also befriend the hints of bitterness left on your tongue from the last sip of Stout.  I’m fairly positive that Elvis would have lived a little bit longer if he had enjoyed this concoction alongside his favorite sandwich.”  Yeah, right.  Compliments on your slight roasty nutty idea.

 

That Was Embarrassing:  Did you know that Elvis once split the pants of his jumpsuit during a concert?  Give yourself an A in Elvis triviaif you knew it happened on March 21, 1976, in Cincinnati.  Give yourself an A+ if you knew he was singing “Polk Salad Annie” when it happened.

 

More Than Just Elvis Wigs:  A few weeks ago, Elvisblog featured some of the items you can purchase for an Elvis Halloween costume.  While searching for Elvis wigs, I came across something totally unexpected – a Priscilla Presley wig.  Offered by www.worldofwigs.com, the Priscilla wig goes for $44.95 and is described as, “Long hair with lots of volume in the crown.”  Here’s the really strange part: it’s available in a choice of colors, including blond.  Seems to me that if you bought a blond Priscilla Presley wig for your Halloween costume, nobody would ever guess who you were trying to look like.

 

National Elvis Presley Day:  Believe it or not, a resolution was introduced in the 97th Congress to proclaim January 8 as “National Elvis Presley Day.”  In 1978, a fan named Patricia Ann Emanule started a campaign to get Elvis a day of honor and remembrance.  Her efforts paid off on June 23, 1981 when Representative Ford of Tennessee introduced H.J. RES. 296 to “provide for the designation of January 8, 1982, as National Elvis Presley Day.”  The resolution was referred to the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service.  Although the bill died in committee, sixteen governors did proclaim January 8 as Elvis Presley Day in their states.  Tennessee has continued to make that proclamation each year.

 

Now That’s What I Call Memorabilia:  In the mid-1950s, the Gulf Hills Golf Club and Resort in Ocean Springs, Mississippi was a favorite getaway spot for Elvis.  Earlier this year, the suite where Elvis stayed was remodeled and redecorated and renamed the “Love Me Tender Suite.”  For a mere $1,000 a night, you can party and sleep where Elvis once did.  The suite is a three-bedroom wing with a mezzanine and a parlor with an upholstered bar.  According to Gulf Hills General Manager Donna Brown, “No children are allowed because it is furnished with antiques and irreplaceable memorabilia, like an ashtray from the Pink Pony Lounge where he performed on the grounds.”  Wow, I’d sure pay $1,000 a night to be surrounded by treasures like that.

 

Practice What You Preach – NOT:  Back in 1956, when denouncing Elvis was common among the nation’s preachers, one of the most vocal was Rev. Bob Gray, pastor of the Trinity Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida.  A photo of Rev. Gray preaching against the sensuality of Elvis’ music appeared in an edition of Life magazine.  Gray declared that Elvis had  achieved a new low in spiritual degeneracy.  Well, it looks like Rev. Gray achieved his own spiritual degeneracy.  He died last week – one week before he was to stand trial for molesting several girls while he was a pastor.  What a creep!

 

The Lure of Elvis Festivals:   (Editors Note:  I have an old high school buddy named Jim Lane who has been an oldies music fan for more than fifty years but never made it to Elvis Week until 2007.  He spent a bunch of money and saw everything.  Jim was so impressed that two months later he attended another Elvis festival.  Not only that, he was so moved he wrote an article about it.  I am happy to show it here.)


During the weekend of October 12-14, 2007, over a thousand people attended the fifteenth annual ELVIS FANtasy Fest at Woodland Park in Portage, Indiana.  Sponsored by Taking Care of  Presley (TCP) charity, the celebration had the theme “Raised on  Rock,” the name of the 1973 album that Elvis recorded at Stax Studios in Memphis.

 In addition to games and vendor exhibits, Friday night featured a spaghetti dinner, a jam by Showcase Artists who were former FANtasy Fest ETA competition winners, and a sock hop hosted by deejay Steve Christopher.

Saturday kicked off with classic cars cruising down Elvis Presley Boulevard followed by a welcome to special guests.  Then the ETA competition sessions got underway featuring 14 candidates from as far away as Branson, Missouri, and Orlando, Florida. Three junior Elvis ETAs also wowed the crowd.  An overflow audience attended an evening concert featuring Showcase Artists Irv Cass, Dwight Icenhower, Quentin  Flagg, Robert Washington, and Stephen Kabakos, backed by the Change of Habit Showband.

 On Sunday the finals of the ETA competition took place with a nine-person panel  ultimately naming Ted Torres the winner and Curt Lechner the first runner-up.  The final event was a Grand March by Special Olympics athletes.  Last year's event raised $22,000 for the Special Olympics, and FANtasy Fest chairperson Kay Lipps expects this year’s proceeds to by equally bountiful. “We try to carry on Elvis Presley's giving spirit,” she said.

 

©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 6

Not Guilty:  Did you know Elvis got arrested on October 18, 1957 for a fight with two other men.  He pulled into a Gulf gas station in Memphis to have some repairs done on his Continental Mark II.  He was immediately besieged by autograph seekers, and the station manager ordered him to drive away.  Somehow, a fight broke out between Elvis and two station attendants.  All three were charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct.  City Court judge Sam Friedman ruled in favor of Elvis: “The testimony points to the guilt of the other men.  I dismiss you.”  Then the judge fined the other two men.  How many of those witnesses giving favorable testimony do you think were female Elvis fans?  I’ll bet the other guys never had a chance.

 

Mysterious Celestial Blue Light:  Have you ever heard of a book called Alien Rock: The Extraterrestrial Connection by author Michael Luckman?  In the August 16, 2007, issue of the New York Herald Tribune, columnist Billy Cox related one story in the book about Elvis.  It was supposedly told by Vernon to Elvis’ hairdresser and astrologer, Larry Geller, and his bodyguard Ed Parker.  According to Vernon, during Elvis’ childbirth, the Presley home in Tupelo was bathed in a canopy of blue light emanating from a source in the sky.  Sounds possible, I guess, but the writers go off the deep end with it.  Cox calls it “an eerie echo of the Star of Bethlehem.”  And Luckman said, “…clearly it left an enduring subliminal imprint [on Elvis]: “Blue Suede Shoes,” “G.I. Blues,” “Blue Hawaii,” “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Blue Christmas.”  Pretty strange.

 

T-Shirts From Latest Elvis Catalog:  I love browsing through the catalogs from EPE, even though the budget restraints of my recent retirement limit how much more Elvis stuff I can buy.  The latest catalog has fourteen different T-shirts, and several are very appealing.  My favorites have to be the American Classic shirt with a color picture of Elvis on his motorcycle and the Elvis Has Left The Building shirt with a silhouette of Elvis to the right of an empty stage scene (mike stand, a guitar leaning against a tall stool).  The worst selection has to be one that is called Elvis Presley Enterprises Insiders T-Shirt.  Across the chest in large block letters is E. P. ENTP.  I’m sure folks are just jumping to buy that one at $21.99.

 

I Saw Elvis: Believe it or not, an American President has mentioned Elvis in a State of the Union Address.  In 1992, President George H. W. Bush praised the courage, commitment, and compassion of our Nation’s defenders: “…all the ones who fought faithfully for freedom, who hit the ground and sucked dust and knew their share of honor… What a group we’ve put forth, for generations now, from the ones who wrote, ‘Kilroy was here’ on the walls of the German stalags to those who left signs in the Iraqi desert that said, ‘I saw Elvis.’”

 

Rock’s Incredible Body Parts:  In the September 2005 issue of Spin magazine, they picked the 25 ‘most incredible’ rock star body parts.  Madonna’s bellybutton tops the list, followed by the Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards’ liver.  Spin concludes, “…it is so durable that when Richards finally passes, they’ll line the exterior of the space shuttle with his liver tissue.”  There was no witty quote for the Elvis body part on the list – his hip-shaking pelvis.  Other selections include Tina Turner’s legs, Kiss’ Gene Simmons’ tongue, and Bruce Springsteen’s butt.

 

The Colonel Kills The Deal:  Sonny West has another book out:  “Elvis – Still Taking Care of Business.”  It should be titled “Sonny – Still Making Money Divulging the Dark Side of Elvis.” At least that is the impression I got from a lengthy excerpt from his book.  Although West talks about praying for Elvis and having his heart broken by Elvis, most of what I read sounded like it was lifted from the National Enquirer.  However, there was an interesting passage about the time in 1969, when Barbara Streisand offered Elvis the male lead in the remake of A Star Is Born.  Elvis was interested initially; then he changed his mind and had Colonel Parker save him from the discomfort of having to back out.  Parker laid out these demands:  $1 million in salary, $100,000 in expenses, 50% of the gross profits, a separate deal for soundtrack rights, and Elvis had to get top billing.  Streisand said ‘no way’ and got Kris Kristofferson to do the part.  I wonder what he got paid.

 

©  2007   Philip R. Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 5

A Do-Over for Led Zeppelin:  On May 11, 1974, Elvis performed in concert at the Los Angeles Forum, and he was aware that the members of the metal band Led Zeppelin were in the audience.  One of the songs on the set list was “Funny How The Time Slips Away,” but Elvis and the band had a shaky start on it.  So, Elvis stopped the song and jokingly said: “Wait a minute… If we can start this together fellas, because we’ve got Led Zeppelin out there… let’s try to look like we know what we’re doing, whether we do or not.”  This was not a particularly good period for Elvis, but he still had his sense of humor.

 

Hey, You Can’t Do That To Elvis:  Back in March, a neo-Goth band named The Horrors performed in a UK venue called Great Scott. (If you aren’t familiar with neo-Goth bands, the best I can figure out is that their outfits and hairstyles are creepy, they play very loud, and they like to do shocking things.  A good example would be Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a bird on stage.)  Three-quarters of the way through the show, The Horrors lead singer jumped off the stage and climbed up on a ledge on the opposite end of the venue.  He grabbed a two-foot tall porcelain bust of Elvis and carried it back to the stage.  Then he smashed it into hundres of pieces on the dance floor.  The Great Scott management immediately escorted The Horrors off the stage and shut down the concert.  Good for them.

 

Elvis and Black Jeans:  In the mid-fifties, Levi Strauss & Co. decided to update the image of their denim pants.  Until then, the popularity of blue jeans came from the romantic appeal of the Gold Rush and the rugged image of the cowboy.  However, Levi Strauss realized there was a growing new group of potential customers called teenagers who needed to be targeted.  After the release of Elvis’ hit movie Jailhouse Rock in 1956, they introduced a line of black denim pants called Elvis Presley Jeans.  These black jeans were immensely popular and made previously unheard-of profits for Levi Strauss.  It has been said that Elvis actually disliked denim.  To him, blue jeans were just a reminder of the early days when he was poor.

 

Al Wertheimer Says It Ain’t So:  All of the websites that report Elvis news recently posted the same story: Al Wertheimer would release an updated version of his 1979 soft-cover book  “Elvis ’56 – In The Beginning.”  It would see new life this August as a 224-page hardback from Carlton Books titled “Elvis: A King In The Making.”  The news reports even listed the future ISBN number (184421228).  Well, I e-mailed Al to congratulate him on this wonderful idea, and he responded, “Talk of reissuing the “Elvis ’56” book are just that, they are rumors without any merit.”  So, I e-mailed him back and told him that if the project ever does become a reality, I would be honored to write the Forward – for free.  Al replied, “Only believe one tenth of what you hear.  This is a total fiction, but thanks for the offer.”  Too bad.  That would have made a great coffee table book.

 

The Demise of the Elvis Movie Soundtracks:  Elvis made 31 theatrical films, and for many years, every Elvis soundtrack was an automatic top 20 seller.  However, as the quality of the movies declined, so did the appeal of the soundtrack releases.  In 1967, Double Trouble and Clambake could not get higher that #40 and #42 on the album charts.  That signaled the end of the Elvis soundtracks.  Of Elvis’ last six movies, only Speedway had a soundtrack album, and all it could muster was #82.

 

Elvis Held No Animosity Toward Johnny Rivers:  The Elvisblog article “Elvis and Johnny Rivers” on May 6 told the story of both singers recording the song “Memphis.”  Although Elvis had planned to release “Memphis” as a single, the idea was dropped when Rivers’ release became a huge hit.  I should have continued the article to explain that Elvis never held any ill will toward Rivers over this.  Despite what Peter Guralnick stated in his book “Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley,” Elvis was not outraged.  There is an interesting section on www.johnnyrivers.com about all this, with testimonials from Chuck Berry (who wrote the song) and guitarist James Burton.  The best substantiating reference is a February 3, 1999, letter to Rivers from Larry Geller, Elvis’ long-time hairdresser and friend.  Geller stated, “As to the allegations that he was upset or angry that you had recorded 'Memphis' before he had a chance to do so, that’s nonsense.  Elvis was delighted at your success: he considered you a major creative talent in the industry, both as a performer and as a songwriter.”  That sounds more like the Elvis we know.

 

©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

ELVIS COMMENTARY MINI-NUGGETS — # 4

Another Elvis/Celine Dion Connection:  In 1987, Dion’s husband and manager Rene Angelil was in Las Vegas to see a Wayne Newton tribute to Elvis Presley.  Angelil recalls, “For $5 you could visit the suite at the Hilton where Elvis lived.  So I go, and the Colonel is there selling souvenirs.”  (That sounds so true to character, doesn’t it?  Elvis had been dead for ten years, and Col. Parker was still making money off him.)  He did offer a suggestion to Angelil, who mentioned to him that Celine Dion sang in French, but she was a Barbara Streisand type.  The Colonel said, “Let me give you some advice.  Never compare your artist to another artist.”  Well, the Colonel may have given free advice, but I’ll bet he didn’t give Angelil any free souvenirs.

 

Another Souvenir Story:  This came from the Virginia Pilot in an August 16, 1997 article.  Back when Priscilla Presley was acting in the TV show “Dallas,” she made this quote at a cast party about her early days with Elvis:  “I didn’t seem to realize how famous he was.  The degree of it came to me one day when I looked out the window and saw some fans taking my discarded eyelashes out of a garbage can.  They wanted the eyelashes for a souvenir?  I couldn’t believe it.  That, I think, is when I first realized how famous Elvis was.”  Here’s a Pricilla trivia question for you.  What was her character’s name on “Dallas?”  Answer at the end of this column.

 

How About An Anagram?:  It can be a fun challenge to form a new phrase out of the letters in another phrase, and here’s a good one for our hero:

 

            Elvis Aaron Presley  =  Seen alive?  Sorry, Pal.

 

Elvis’ Voice Characteristics:  I don’t know all these music terms, but this description from Wikipedia sounds pretty authoritative:  “Elvis Presley was a baritone whose voice had an extraordinary compass – the so-called register – and a very wide range of vocal color.  It covered two octaves and a third, from the baritone low-G to the tenor high-B, with an upward extension in falsetto to at least a D-flat.  Presley’s best octave was in the middle, D-flat to D-flat.”  That’s very impressive, even if you don’t understand what it means.  However, the next part of the description I understand quite well:  “He has always been able to duplicate the open, hoarse, ecstatic, screaming, shouting, wailing, reckless sound of the black rhythm-and-blues and gospel singers.  Could he ever.

 

Elvis Lipstick Colors:  According to an article in an old Elvis International Forum magazine (1990 — # 4), the line of Elvis Presley lipsticks marketed back in the 50s had these names:  Tender Pink, Heartbreak Pink, Love-ya Fuchsia, Hound Dog Orange, Tutti-Frutti Red, and Cruel Red.  Although I have never seen any of them, I am sure Tutti-Frutti Red would be my favorite – but Hound Dog Orange sounds pretty good, too.

 

Elvis The Guitar Player:  Did you know Johnny Cash thought Elvis was a great guitarist?  Here’s what he had to say in his cleverly named autobiography,“Cash – The Autobiography”: 

 

“I remember Elvis at the Eagle’s Nest … I thought Elvis was great.  He sang “That’s All Right” and “Blue Moon of Kentucky” once again (and again) plus some black blues songs and a few numbers like “Long, Tall Sally”… The thing I really noticed that night, though, was his guitar playing.  Elvis was a fabulous rhythm player… The way he sounded with [Scotty Moore and Bill Black] was what I think of as seminal Presley, the sound I missed through all the years after he became so popular and made records full of orchestration and overproduction.  I loved that clean, simple combination of Scotty, Bill, and Elvis on his acoustic guitar.”

 

Yeah, me too.

 

Quiz Answer:  Priscilla Presley’s character on Dallas was named Jenna Wade Krebbs.   Good job if you knew that.

 

 

©  2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net