Category Archives: ELVIS WEEK

Touching AP Wire Stories after Elvis’ Death

Newspaper Headline of Elvis' Death

Elvis’ incredible rocket ride to superstardom coincided exactly with my high school years. I have always felt fortunate to have been a teenager when Elvis burst on the scene and changed everything. It was an exciting time for those of us lucky enough to be around then. Sometimes I marvel at all the folks who have become Elvis fans in spite of never experiencing the Elvis phenomenon in real time.

This week I realized there are also current Elvis fans who never experienced another momentous event – his death. It was a brutal shock to us fans, and the pain and sorrow we felt over his loss was staggering.

To honor the 39th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, I would like to reprint some of the sentiments expressed by Associated Press writers in the days after his death. These went out to hundreds of subscribing newspapers along with assortments of photographs. They are not straight news stories, but rather narratives on the effect Elvis’ passing had on the fans.

I think you may find these stories a welcome addition to your celebration of Elvis Week 2016.

 

Fans at Gates of Graceland august 18, 1977

The throng of grieving fans who descended on Graceland the day after Elvis died is well documented. Less known are the pilgrimages fans made to other of Elvis’ former homes, like the one at 144 Monovale Street in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles.

Elvis Home -- 144 Monovale, Holmby Hills section of Los Angeles

 

August 17, 1977:  (Author attribution not given)

As a light rain fell, fans of Elvis Presley sat outside the black iron gate of the Holmby Hills mansion once owned by the dead star. They waited, but they didn’t know what for, and they didn’t really know why they had come.

A tour bus stopped Tuesday, and after telling his tale, the driver leaned out to the damp visitors and said, “You know he doesn’t live there anymore.”

They knew.

Dany Frye said it was like being shot when he heard that the king of rock and roll was dead. Almost without thinking, he and his wife made a pilgrimage to the house where Frye and other fans often visited to catch a glimpse of Elvis. “He was Mr. Music to me,” said Frye. “I don’t think anybody will ever take his place. I used to come out here and wait by the gate, along with a hundred other people.”

The 29-year-old Frye had seen Presley once. “You know, he meant a great deal to people my age. The Beatles came along and he wasn’t so hot for a while, but his true fans loved him.”

Frye occasionally peeked through the hole in the fence at the expansive Tudor-style mansion capping grass-knolled lawns. He ran his hands through his hair, pacing back and forth.

Frye knew the trees that dotted the estate, knew the tennis court, but didn’t know why he was there.

[Editor’s note: We know.]

~~~~~~~~~~

Fainter Coming through the Gates of Elvis' Graceland

The dedication and anguish Elvis fans endured in Memphis the day after his death is probably not known by many of the folks in town for this year’s Elvis Week. Any who read this story will probably be less inclined to complain about the Memphis heat.

August 18,1977: by Eric Newhouse

The bouquet of red roses, meant to adorn the coffin of Elvis Presley, wilted in the sun.

“The girl standing next to us originally brought flowers,” said Margaret McCasland of Memphis. “We picked them up and decided to deliver them when she fainted.”

Hundreds fainted Wednesday as they waited in the stifling heat outside Graceland mansion for a last glimpse of the king of rock ‘n’ roll. After treatment by paramedics inside the mansion’s gates, many doggedly continued their pilgramage to Presley’s seemless copper coffin.

Police said 25,000 to 30,000 people passed the open coffin just inside the doorway to Presley’s white-pillared home for a two-second glimpse of the singer.

Presley was burried today after a private ceremony. At 5:55 p.m. a policeman announced over a megaphone that “gates will be closed at 6:30. No one will be admitted after that.” No one moved.

At 6:30 sharp, another announcement: “The family has requested that the gates be closed. They are sorry you couldn’t make it.” Still no one moved.

“It is not our doing,” pleaded the policeman. “The family has asked us to stop the visitation.”

The huge crowd responded with a chant: “One more hour, one more hour.” But the gates adorned with dancing musical notes opened only to admit a last-minute surge of children and fainting women.

Thousands were turned away.

“I think it’s terrible. I’ve waited six hours,” said Ms. McCasland, holding the wilted bouquet.

“We came all the way from New York,” said Donna Griffin. “We stood there for five hours and they shut the door in our faces.”

One man denied entry said he had flown from Switzerland. Another said he had come from Baltimore. A woman said she had come from California.

Sheriff Barksdale said he had been in law enforcement in Memphis for 27 years, “and I’ve witnessed many events, including the assassination of Martin Luther King,” he said.  “I’ve never whitnessed anything like this.”

Presley’s body was discovered Tuesday afternoon. News of the 42-year-old singer’s death swept the country.

“I heard on the radio that he was dead and then they started playing ‘I Can’t Help but Love You,’” Rita Hambrick of Texarkana, Ark. said.

“I couldn’t help it – I broke out crying and cried until I went to bed. And I woke up crying again to the radio playing ‘Love Me Tender.’”

Miss Hambrick and her friends drove 130 miles to Memphis Wednesday morning and spent six nightmarish hours waiting in the heat.

‘Seven people fainted around me. The lady in front of me and the lady behind me had to be caried out on stretchers.’

“It was horrible,” she said, “but I’d do it again, because it was our last chance to see him.”

~~~~~~~~~~

I always enjoy reading about how Elvis changed things for the teenagers of the late 50s. But many kids of that age in 1977 knew little about Elvis.

Woman Crying

 

August 19, 1977:  by Linda Deutsch

To little kids and teenagers, it must be a strange spectacle: a world of adults grieving the death of a rock ‘n’ roll singer.

“Who was this Elvis Presley, anyway?” they wonder. “Why did Mama cry when she heard he’d died? And what’s this got to do with me?”

How do you explain?

If there had been no Elvis, we might still be wearing crewcuts and saddle shoes. We might be humming ballads and saying nothing about sex.

“If there had been no Elvis,” says music publicist Paul Wasserman, “there would have been no Beatles, no Rolling Stones. Elvis was a pioneer.”

Like George Washington?

Well sort of. He was a revolutionary for sure, but he carried a guitar, not a musket, and his message was a different kind of freedom.

He was a “culture hero” and it seems just now that he should be compared to another man in this century: Rudolph Valentino. They were American originals – “The Shiek” and “The Pelvis.”

In the 1920s, Valentino danced the Tango on a movie screen and women swooned.

In the 1950s, Elvis wigglesd his hips on TV and girls fainted.

 

Screaming Elvis Fans

Elvis’ death shocked and stunned his fans around the world. Did you know that so many of them flocked to Graceland the next day that president Carter had to send in 300 National Guard troops in to maintain order? It has been written that 500,000 people and 1,000 police officers lined the streets of Memphis for Elvis’ funeral procession on August 18. That seems incredibly high, but such is Elvis lore.

Elvis Presley's Funeral Procession

*

 

To those of you who weren’t around then to experience the anguish of the fans mourning for Elvis, hopefully these three AP wire stories will give you a new appreciation for it.

 

Have a great Elvis Week.

 

 

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

 

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

 

America Loses a Rock Legend — A Tribute to Scotty Moore

Scotty Moore and 63 Gibson Super 400

As every Elvis fan knows by now, Scotty Moore passed away on Wednesday, June 28, at age 84. Today you can find highlights of Scotty’s career with Elvis on many, many websites. And you probably know the story already, so I’ll take another approach.

This blog is usually fun to do, but writing about Scotty Moore leaving us is a melancholy experience. I think the world of him. I had the honor and privilege of having breakfast with him back at Elvis Week 2007, along with Darwin Lamm, publisher of Elvis International magazine. Scotty was in town to perform at two concerts Darwin was presenting, and I got to hang out backstage with him and the other musicians. He obliged me with autographs and a photo pose.

Phil Arnold and Scotty Moore Backstage 2007

I want to do a proper tribute and have so much I could share with you readers, but I don’t know where to begin.

Scotty has been mentioned in ElvisBlog over 80 times. There is a Scotty Moore tab under Blog Categories, and nine posts about him are in there. There’s also a lot more about the whole original band, Scotty, Bill Black, and DJ Fontana. Maybe the way to start this tribute is to feature excerpts from some of these old posts.

____________

 

This first blog article was written to highlight those 2007 concerts. billed as Scotty Moore — The Last Man Standing. This was a reference to the four men present on July 5, 1954 when Elvis recorded his first single at Sun Records. There is also an expression of my appreciation for Scotty Moore.

 

Scotty Moore – The Last Man Standing

 

Elvis, Bill, Scotty, and Sam Phillips

Graceland is a National Historic Landmark. Sun Records is a National Historic Place. I think we need one other special category – National Historic Person, and I have a fine nominee: Scotty Moore.

What qualifies Scotty Moore as a National Historic Person? Well, let’s see. On July 5, 1954, when Elvis recorded his first song, there were four men in the studio. The guitar player was Scotty Moore, and he had a lot to do with creating that unique sound. Scotty Moore’s guitar work made an immeasurable contribution to the initial success of Elvis’ music.

The other three men there that historic night are all dead. Bill Black died in 1965, Elvis passed away in 1977, and Sam Phillips left us in 2003. That’s too bad, because the session when “That’s All Right” was recorded was a very special moment in history. Three men gone, only one left. Scotty Moore, the last man standing.

It is now 53 years since that magic moment, and it’s nice to know that Scotty is still alive and well. Don’t count on seeing him at many more Elvis Weeks. It might happen, it might not. But we know one thing for sure. We can see him this year. Scotty is headlining two tribute concerts at Elvis Week 2007.

Those fans that admire and cherish Scotty Moore were thrilled to hear they could catch him on Wednesday, August 15, at the Peabody Hotel. To you folks that are going to Elvis Week but haven’t yet decided what to see, I’m telling you, buy tickets to one of Scotty’s two shows. They are going to be great.

Scotty Moore – The Last Man Standing is a unique concert concept. Both the 2 PM and 5 PM shows are double concerts. Scotty has invited two groups of his favorite musician buddies to perform, and they jumped at the chance to be on stage with him.

So, if you want some good entertainment at Elvis Week, take in one of the double concert starring Scotty Moore. He will appear at no other events in Memphis that week. This is the exclusive appearance of the genuine article, the last man standing. And sadly, it’s looking more and more like a farewell performance.

Join Scotty Moore’s many fans in honoring and appreciating him while you still can. Scotty may not have official recognition as a National Historic Person, but he truly is a national treasure.

 

Now, nine years later, the last man is no longer standing. And the fans who took in one of those Elvis Week 2007 concerts did indeed see Scotty Moore’s final performance.

Scotty Leaving Stage - Last Man Standing Concert 2007

I took this shot of Scotty as he left the stage after the 2 o’clock concert. I wish I had also taken a similar shot after the 5 o’clock concert. It would have been a photo of Scotty the last time he ever performed on stage.

__________

.

Scotty Moore Keith Richards Recording Duece and a Quarter.

That is Keith Richards backstage at a Rolling Stones concert. Those guys loved Scotty. So, here’s an excerpt from an ElvisBlog article that goes back to 2007.

 

Scotty Moore and the Rolling Stones Backstage

 

Searching through many Elvis-related websites is both prep work for ElvisBlog and a lot of fun. One site I go back to frequently is www.scottymoore.net . That’s right, the man who helped Elvis give birth to rock & roll has a great website of his own. It contains almost a dozen sections you can check out, but my favorite is SCRAPBOOK, a digital photo album. Hundreds of photos tell the story of places he’s been, people he’s met, and shows he’s done

I visit Scotty’s site frequently, but while I’m there, I’m always drawn back to the same set of pictures in SCRAPBOOK that I’ve seen four or five times before. You probably will understand why, when you see the title: “Backstage With the Rolling Stones in Memphis — December 15, 2005.”

Keith Richards and Ron Wood, who do the guitar fireworks for the Rolling Stones, both love and admire Scotty. They’ve recorded with him and had him backstage at four of their concerts. What started as admiration has grown into genuine friendship.

The SCRAPBOOK pictures show that Scotty and lady friend Gail Pollock and others obviously had a ball in Keith’s dressing room before the show. Then they had concert seats in the eighth row right in front of Mick Jagger (Scotty stayed backstage and watched from there). After the concert, there was a wrap party at the Peabody Hotel. It was here that Scotty got to spend some time with Mick Jagger and drummer Charlie Watts. Ron Wood spent a lot of time posing for smoochin’ pictures with Gail and the other girls. Sure looks like it was a fun party.

Keith, Scotty, Elvis, and Bill Backstage at Rolling Stones Concert

One backstage picture is outstanding. The dressing area at the concert venue contained a full-sized, color cutout of Elvis in his famous gold suit. Of course, this got into several of the pictures. I just love the photo of four musicians, Keith, Scotty, Elvis, and Ron. Take a quick glance at the picture and see if Elvis doesn’t look real. I liked the photo so much, I downloaded it to my hard drive and printed it out. Very cool picture.

Scotty’s whole site is, too. You can get lost for hours scrolling down through HISTORY, and connecting on all the links. So check out Scotty’s excellent website.  He’s a gentleman who deserves all the good things going on for him now. He’s a national treasure to be cherished.

__________

 

When you watch Elvis movies over and over, like I do, you start to notice things you missed originally. Years ago, I became fascinated with the roles Scotty, DJ Fontana, and Bill Black had in Elvis’ first few movies. Their screen time was the most in Loving You, prompting this ElvisBlog article from 2012.

 

Loving You – Starring Scotty, DJ, and Bill (Plus Elvis, of Course)

 

I recently found something interesting on the website for a Rock and Roll memorabilia auction. It was a movie theater lobby card from Elvis’ 1957 film Loving You. Most Elvis movie cards and posters show pictures of him with one or more of his lovely female co-stars, but this one included Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana, his original guitarist and drummer. I would guess neither man ever knew this lobby card existed, so I am sending copies to their webmasters.

Lobby Card for Loving You

Lobby Card showing DJ Fontana (far left) and Scotty Moore (far right)

Loving You was Elvis’ second movie, his first in color, and also the first of several (many?) where Elvis’ character was a singer. There are elements in this film that are considered auto-biographical. Elvis’ character, Deke Rivers, parallels Elvis’ start as a truck driver; for a beverage distributor in the movie and for an electric company in real life. Once he starts singing in the movie, all the famous frenetic leg-gyrations and hip-swinging are there to produce loud squealing by the young girls in the audience. There is even a female Col. Parker-like manager who gets Deke to sign a personal services contract giving her 50%.

The lobby card reminded me that all three of Elvis’ original bandmates, Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana and Bill Black, have considerable screen time in the movie, so I checked it out again to note all their appearances. Within seconds after the opening credits finish, they are up on a town square stage, in a country band providing music for a political candidate.

Scotty Moore and a Politician -- in Loving You

Scotty Moore and a Politician

After a few minutes of dialog by other characters, it’s back to the bandstand where we get a similar, but longer look at Scotty and Bill. In fact, Scotty gets his best screen time in any of the Elvis movies — fifteen seconds in a close shot, standing beside the politician.

About seven minutes into the picture, Deke Rivers is persuaded to get up on the stage and sing a song. He chooses “Got A Lot of Livin’ To Do.” This song is now used in Viva Elvis in the big trampoline sequence, which is generally considered one of the highlights of the Cirque du Soleil show.

Bill Black and Scotty Moore flank Elvis During Got A Lot of Livi to Do

At the eighteen minute point of Loving You, Elvis’ character is now a full time member of the band. He sings “Let’s Have a Party.” Scotty again fares best with screen time, followed by Bill, and last again, DJ.

Bill, Scotty, Elvis, and DJ Playing Lets Have A Party

Bill, Scotty, Elvis, and DJ Playing “Let’s Have A Party”

Another song in the movie is “Hot Dog.” For a few seconds, the camera shot cuts off the actor members of the band and shows only Scotty, DJ, Elvis and Bill. It’s fun to watch Scotty, because smiles so much and seems to be having a wonderful time. It is during this song that the manager creates a fake riot, very reminiscent of some of Col. Parker’s publicity stunts.

Elvis and the Boys Singing Hot Dog

Scotty, DJ, Elvis and Bill Black Playing “Hot Dog”

About 45 minutes into Loving You, Scotty, DJ, and Bill make their last appearance. Elvis’ character sings “Teddy Bear.” Although the band is visible, they are well behind him, and again the lights are dimmed until the song finishes. In this scene, as others, the bandmates move their lips as though singing. In truth, all the very fine vocal accompaniment in the movie came from the Jordanaires, an arrangement that would continue in many more Elvis films.

Elvis Taking a Bow after Singing “Teddy Bear.”

Taking a Bow after Singing “Teddy Bear.”

Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana and Bill Black also had significant screen time in Elvis’ third and fourth movies, Jailhouse Rock and King Creole. It would be so cool to find lobby cards showing them in these films as well. I’ll keep looking.

__________

These three blog excerpts provide a small glimpse into the many facets of Scotty Moore. I feel like this is just the tip of the iceberg, so there will probably be a Part 2 to this tribute. I’ve got so many pictures of Scotty in my files, it might be fun to do a pictorial essay.

 

Good Photo of Older Scotty Moore

 

Good bye Scotty. We will really, really miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

 

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

 

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

 

Beach Boy – (Uncredited)

Special Guests Added to Elvis WeekSpecial Guests At Elvis Weekk 2016

(Editor’s note:  Seven months after this post apeared, Christopher Riodan, the title subject, posted a long comment detailing his connections wih Elvis.  It is worth your time to click on Comments and read it.)

Did you get this email from Elvis Insiders like I did? The heading caught my eye. “Special Guests Added to Elvis Week.” So, I eagerly read on to find out who these special people might be.

As you can see, the first name is Christopher Riordan, identified as Elvis’ co-star. Now, I’m a big fan of Elvis movies and have books listing the entire cast and crew for each one. I have read them all several times, but I just couldn’t remember Christopher Riordan in any of them.

 

Christopher Riordan Bio

So, I clicked on Read More which brought up this bio. It does say he had roles in several Elvis movies, but there is no longer any mention of co-star status. Still, roles in six Elvis movies, plus the ’68 Special, is something to be proud of. You and I would be thrilled if we had been in six Elvis movies, no matter how small the parts.

(One side note: It seems EPE wants to phase out reference to the ’68 Comeback Special. The official preferred name is now Elvis ’68 Special.  Sort of like how they prefer Elvis Tribute Artist over Elvis Impersonator.)

Anyway, I was curious about Christopher Riordan’s participation in Elvis movies. So I decided to go to the best source for any and all information about movies – The International Movie Database. IMDb is a subsidiary of Amazon, and has 3.7 million movies and TV episodes in its database. Plus 7 million actors and other personalities.

IMDb Selections

I love this website. Look at the list of links available under the Movies, TV & Showtimes tab. There are two more tabs with tons more stuff. Check it out.
I typed Christopher Riordan into the Search box and confirmed his presence in those six Elvis movies and the ‘68 Special. Here is the summary of his roles:

1964 – Viva Las Vegas                    Dancer (Uncredited)
1964 – Roustabout                          Carnival Worker (Uncredited)
1965 – Tickle Me                             Dancing bit (Uncredited)
1965 – Spinout                                Party Guest (Uncredited
1967 – Double Trouble                    Young Englishmen (Uncredited)
1967 – Clambake                            Beach Boy (Uncredited)
1968 – Elvis (TV movie)                  Dancer.

Christopher Riordan and Elvis in Spinout

Christopher Riordan as Party Guest with Elvis in Spinout

I started to feel a little let down. Christopher Riordan seemed a little over-hyped – not a co-star, not in roles with character names and lines of dialogue. But, I checked out what else Riordan had appeared in, and found he has scored 101 credits in both TV and movies. The bulk of these were uncredited bit parts in dozens of movies each year 1964 through 1967. During this busy period, he also had recurring credited rolls in two TV shows – Ozzie and Harriet in 1964 and Many Happy Returns in 1965. Ironically, his character’s name in both series was Ronnie.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

Christopher Riordan in 1977 Publicity Photo.

For some reason, Riordan’s appearances dropped off drastically in 1968 through 1971, and he had no credits at all in 1972-1974, and none in the decade from 1978 to 1988. Maybe nobody was looking for a guy with immense hair for their movie or TV projects. Obviously, Riordan was supporting himself with some other line of work during that time.

During the 90s, he resurfaced with bit parts in one movie, one short, and three TV show episodes. In the 2000s he appeared in seven TV episodes of House of Carters and Ugly Betty.

AjayMehta and Christopher Riordan in Outsourced - 2010

Christopher Riordan (right) on set of Outsourced – 2010

Then suddenly he showed up in 2010 in 21 episodes of the TV show Outsourced acting as the Call Center Supervisor. Wow, where did all the hair go? He’s had a few credits in the years since, and so far in 2016, he has appeared in five episodes of the NBC TV series Superstore.

 

Conversations on Elvis

So, the questions are why did Christopher Riordan get selected for the Conversations on Elvis panel, and will he have anything to add to the conversation. The sad truth is that many people close to Elvis have died, and it is obviously getting harder to fill the stage with suitable panelists.

I would prefer to think that Riordan was a young good-looking party guy and probably did have some chances to hang out with Elvis. He very well could have been around for some crazy antics, and if he shares these during Elvis Week, I think the fans will love it. My bet is that Christopher Riordan will be one of the most interesting people on the stage.

 

 

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

 

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

 

The Movie Theater: One Building Elvis Will Never Leave — Part 6

 Beifuss on Movies

There are several things I look forward to every Elvis Week – watching lots of Elvis movies, having the number of visitors to ElvisBlog spike, and reading a special column written by John Beifuss, Memphis Commercial Appeal Movie Critic.  It is his annual survey of Elvis references in movies.

Here is how Beifuss explains it:

“Every year, as I watch movies in my capacity as film reviewer for the Commercial Appeal, I take note of each reference I see or hear to Memphis’ favorite son, Elvis Presley.  In most cases, the Elvis allusion was brief: a photo of the famous face, a snippet of a song. But in some cases, the King made an impact — especially in “The Identical,” a film entirely inspired by the Elvis story.”

Let’s take a look at what Beifuss discovered.

The Identical:

The Identical Movie Poster

The inspiration for this movie’s plot was actually Elvis’ stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon.  However, in the movie, both twins live but are separated.  One grows up to be a superstar singer known as “Drexel the Dream.” The other brother succumbs to his adopted father’s pressure to enter the ministry.  As the years pass, he is pulled by the urge entertain, and he begins to tour as a professional impersonator of “The Dream” (who he doesn’t know is his brother).  So, in the movie we have “The Dream” and “The Identical,” certainly an allusion to ”The King” and the Elvis Tribute Artists.

 

Big Eyes:

Big Eyes Movie Poster

The central characters of this film are Margaret Keane, the artist who created the popular portraits of strange big-eyed waifs, and her husband Walter, who took credit for them.  When Margaret walks into a Honolulu radio station, we see a copy of Elvis album “Blue Hawaii.”

 

Good Ol’ Freda:

Good Ol Freda Movie Poster

This is a biographical documentary that made the rounds of the independent movie festivals.  The title character is Freda Kelly, a teenager who in 1963became the Beatles’ first fan-club secretary in in Liverpool.  The office where she worked had pictures of Elvis on the walls, but she stressed that she “didn’t like” Elvis. Only the Beatles for her.

 

Wild:

Wild Movie Poster

If you’ve seen this Reese Witherspoon movie, perhaps you noticed the soundtrack included “Don’t Be Cruel.”  Did you notice that the vocal wasn’t Elvis’?  In fact, it was Billy Swan’s cover version from his album Like Elvis Used to Do.  I have the CD, and Billy does a great job on all 14 Elvis songs.

 

Selma:

Selma Movie Poster

In this film about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s voting rights campaign in Alabama, the Elvis reference is a strange one.  Army troops had been sent in to keep order, and one officer commented on the extremely mean local sheriff:  “If the Lord Jesus himself and Elvis Presley both came to him together and told him to go easy on the Negroes, he would beat the (crap) out of the two of them and throw them in jail.”

 

The Book of Life:

The Book Of Life Movie Poster

You can see the Elvis-inspired character right next to the big guitar in the poster above.  It is a Mexican matador-turned-mariachi named Manolo with Elvis hair and sideburns.  His love interest is there, too, holding a pig.  He serenades her with a version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You.”

 

Horrible Bosses 2:Horrible Bosses 2 Movie Poster

Christoph Waltz plays a crooked, double-dealing entrepreneur who offers to bankroll production of the invention by the three guys in the photo.  Of course, he tries to squeeze them out.  We get a glimpse of his trophy room full of souvenirs, probably obtained illegally.  In addition to a Jimi Hendricks guitar, a Picasso painting, and a dinosaur skull, he was an Elvis jumpsuit.

 

Gone Girl:

Gone Girl Movie Poster 

In spite of its serious theme, this movie injects some perverse comedy, including a couple of flippant Elvis references in the dialogue. A good example is when the high-powered lawyer departs on an out-of-state mission, and Ben Affleck’s sister cracks, “Elvis has left Missouri.”

 

Strange Magic:

Strange Magic Movie Poster

A mysterious potion prompts a group of elves, goblins, imps, and fairies on an incredible adventure in this fantasy.  Believe it or not, the story was inspired by William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  From the picture above, it’s hard to believe the movie is filled with several renditions of love-themed pop songs, including a duet on “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”  The Elvis ballad was a popular choice for movies in the past year.

 

Love and Mercy:

Love and Mercy Movie Poster 

This story about the Beachboys’ Brian Wilson has a brief mention about Elvis.  Hal Blaine, a famous Southern California session drummer, is outside the studio in one scene talking to Wilson.  He says, “We’ve played with everyone, Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, Phil Spector … Sam Cooke … everyone.  But you — you gotta know that you’re touched, kid, and it’s blowing our minds.”

 

I look forward to Elvis Week 2016 when John Beifuss will again report on all the Elvis allusions he found in the year’s movies.

 

To read all of the articles in this series, click here.

 

 

©  2015    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Elvis Week’s Best Kept Secret — 2015

Elvis '56

Last year, ElvisBlog shined a little light on a wonderful Elvis Week event that didn’t seem to be getting much promotional push. It was the Fan Reception at the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center. Click here to read about that event and here to see what they have going on this year.

If you are going to Elvis Week 2015, there’s a good chance you’ll be there on the 14th. It’s a Friday night – party time. So, what are you going to do?

Elvis Week Main Stage

Well, you could take in the Elvis in Vegas Tribute Concert at the Graceland Main Stage Pavilion. It stars Terry Mike Jeffrey. I’ve seen him at three Elvis Week shows over the years, and he is great. But, if you’re interested, you better hurry up. All the VIP seating is sold out, but as of now there are still $45 seats available.

 

Beale St. Memphis

But perhaps you would like to head down to Beale Street. Lots of bars, shops, and restaurants.

And right in the middle of everything on Beale Street is the New Daisy Theater.

New Daisy Theater at Night

I took in the Midnight Blues Concert at the Daisy back at Elvis Week 2002. When I walked in, I said, “This place is a dive,” but when I walked out, I said, “I love this place.” Old, funky, intimate, it was such a fun venue for a concert. Well, this 1941 theater is still alive and well today, a down-and-dirty honky tonk of the first order.

 

Inside the New Daisy Theater

The New Daisy Theater has been under new ownership since last year, and they have sunk some money into the place. Here you can see that theater seats have been replaced by platforms to accommodate table seating.

 

Lighting System at the New Daisy Theater

Even more important, they put in new sound and light systems. Of course, there is an open bar. Are you starting to get the idea the Daisy might be a terrific place for an Elvis Week concert? Especially on Friday night. May I suggest:

World Premier -- Elvis'56

If your interest in Elvis is primarily the 70s jumpsuit period, this show isn’t for you. But if you like the young, raw and wild performer of the early years, Elvis ’56 is perfect for you. And ElvisFestival.com has picked the right tribute artist to headline the show.

Cody Slaughter Rocking Out

Cody Ray Slaughter has an impressive resumé. Although he is one of the youngest top-drawer Elvis Tribute Artists, he has been perfecting his act since he was thirteen. When Cody was just seventeen, he was the featured entertainer for a year at The Tennessee Shindig in Pigeon Forge, TN. In 2008, Cody won the People’s Choice Award at Elvis Week.

Three years later at Elvis Week, EPE named him the winner of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist competition.

Cody Slaughter Winning 2011 Ultimate Elvis Competition

In October 2011, Cody took on the roll of Elvis Presley in the road tour of the hit theatrical production The Million Dollar Quartet. It was here that Cody developed his acting chops to go with his uncanny ability to sing like Elvis. All of these talents will be on display in Elvis ’56. It’s a show, not just a concert, that tells the story of Elvis’ rise in 1956 from Hillbilly Cat to the King of Rock and Roll.

Million Dollar Quartet

As the poster above states, Cody will be backed by a period appropriate three-piece band called the Hillbilly Katz. You get a little bonus here, because the drummer is David Fontana, DJ’s son. I checked DJ’s touring schedule to see if he would be in town and might drop by to sit in and drum with David. Unfortunately, DJ won’t be at Elvis Week this year. What a shame.

 

Samantha Arrowood Chamblis

If you remember Elvis’ concerts in the 50s, they all opened with a comedian. So, Elvis ’56 will feature Samantha Arrowood Chambliss. She does a comedic song and dance routine reminiscent of the Louisiana Hayride days. She and David Fontana will share the MC duties.
If you are thinking this all sounds like a show you’d like to take in, here’s the seating arrangement and prices.

Daisy Seating and Ticket Prices for Elvis 56

These six-people tables come at three different price levels depending on location. I can assure you that you will feel close to the action even in the $49 gold area (including the rows of chairs in front of the bar). I never sat in the balcony, but I bet it’s a very satisfactory experience up there, too. Click here to go to the website for availability and purchasing of tickets.

Cody Slaughter

If I were going to Elvis Week this year, I would definitely get down to the New Daisy Theater and take in Cody Slaughter’s performance in Elvis ’56. His website say his fans have crowned him the new “Prince of Rock and Roll”. What a fine way to highlight your trip to Memphis to honor the “King of Rock and Roll.”

 

 

© 2015 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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ElvisFestival.com also has a whole week of interesting shows lined up at the New Daisy Theater. For five hours each afternoon, Monday the 10th and Wednesday the 12th, you can see the Images of the King competitions. For six hours on Friday, you can watch the finals plus a showcase of past champions. Other afternoon shows are Ben Portsmouth: Acoustic Elvis on Tuesday, and Jukebox LIVE: A tribute to Rock and Roll History on Thursday. If you remember how blistering hot it has been at past Elvis Weeks, a nice long show in air-conditioned comfort might be a good idea.

Sunday and Monday nights have concerts featuring outstanding ETAs Shawn Klush, Cody Slaughter, Dean Z, Ben Portsmouth, and Jay Dupuis. And Wednesday night, Elvis Meets the Beatles sounds like a really fun show. For ticket information, click here.

ElvisFestivals

The Second Auction at Graceland — Part 3

So far, we’ve looked at the big winners and the items with excessive minimum bids that nobody would pay. This post will be about the items that did way better than expected.

Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster:

lvis Viva Las Vegas Movie Poster, 1964

If you have any high-end Elvis memorabilia that you want to sell, the Auction at Graceland has quickly become the place where you want to sell it. There is no doubt in my mind that you can get more money for your stuff there than at any other auction. Maybe it’s the whole vibe associated with Elvis’ birthday celebration and Elvis Week that energizes the bidders and gets them to loosen the purse strings. Here’s an example.

This 27” by 41” poster in Very Fine condition had a minimum bid of $250, and an estimate of $4-500. This is in line with a sale of the same item in a June 2014 Heritage Auction which went for $418.25. However, twenty-two bids at the Auction at Graceland pushed the price up to $1,750, four times as much.

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Tickle Me Movie Poster:

Elvis Tickle Me  Movie Poster, 1965

This one is even harder to believe. Again, same size, condition, minimum bid and estimate as the Viva poster. However, thirty-two bids resulted in a final price of $2,500. On the Heritage Auctions website, a search for Elvis Tickle Me resulted in dozens of these posters selling since 2009, at a top price of $155 for one rated Very Fine. Come on, people. Do your research before blowing away thousands on something.

 

Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge:

Elvis' Special Shelby County Deputy Sheriff Badge

Although EPE sponsored this auction, they made it clear that all items came from private owners, not the Graceland archives. They did, however, state that they would be bidding on some items to add to their display of Elvis memorabilia.

Elvis' Law  Enforcement  Badge Collection

Part of Elvis’ Law Enforcement Badges Collection on Display at Graceland

When I saw that the badge up for auction had a minimum bid of $1,500 and an estimate of $2,500-3,500, I thought Graceland might go after it to add to their display of Elvis’ collection of law enforcement badges. Well, it went for $8,750, so I’m guessing they dropped out of the bidding.

 

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Checkbook Register

This checkbook register from 1975-76 was offered at the first Auction at Graceland last August during Elvis Week. However, nobody thought it was worth the minimum bid price of $6,000. So, what did the owner do? He brought it back this year with the minimum bid dropped down to just $1,000. After eighteen bids, it topped out at $3,750. I think this is a bargain. There are 43 pages with Elvis’ writing (not his signature) on them. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” The checks totaled $89,000, and many of them went to charities and his friends.

 

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975:

Elvis Tour Jacket, 1975

This size 46 red wool and black-leather-sleeve, varsity-style jacket had a minimum bid of $2,500, which I thought was a little high because it was not part of Elvis’ personal wardrobe. These jackets were made for his security guys so Elvis could see them from the stage. Even the Letter of Authenticity from his personal nurse, Tish Henley, states that Elvis never wore the jacket. However, it was inside Graceland one night when it was pouring rain outside as she was leaving, and he handed it to her to wear and keep dry getting to her car.

Again, it seems the bidders didn’t read the fine print in the item description, because this jacket’s winning bid was $8,125. Pretty steep price for something that Elvis merely touched.

 

Used Guitar Pick:

Elvis Used Guitar Pick

I can’t believe what this guitar pick went for. Even though it was accompanied by a Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated, there is no way it would be worth $3,125 to me. I have seen many dozens of Elvis items at auction over the years priced less than this, that I would much prefer to have.

 

“That’s All Right” 45 Record:

Elvis' Sun Record #209 45 RPM That's All Right

This record is characterized as a File Copy. I’m not sure what that means, but the item description says it has never been played and is in pristine condition. The reason is because Cecil Scaife, who worked for Sam Phillips at Sun Records, took it home and stored it safely away.

The top bid is actually not a surprise. The estimate was $7,500-8,500, and the bids stopped at $7,500. Of course, the 25% buyer’s premium meant he had to write a check for $9,375.

 

Flashing Blue Police Light:

Elvis-Owned Blue Police Light

Did you know that Elvis was an accredited Captain on Memphis’ police force? All his other badges were honorary, but the one from Memphis PD was official. Elvis took it seriously and bought these flashing blue lights to keep ready in his cars in case a situation arose where his action was needed.

This item is not a surprise with a high bid compared to the estimates. It’s just a surprise to me that it went for as much as it did without a photo of Elvis sitting in one of his cars with this light sitting on top. It went for $2,000, but if that photo had existed and been offered with it, no telling what the bidders would have forked out.

 

Red and White 7-Button Shirt:

Elvis' Red and White Shirt From Homer Gilleland

Of all the Elvis shirts I have seen sold at auction during the past seven years, this one epitomizes him the absolute least. It rates about a 2 on the Elvisishness scale. And no photo was offered of Elvis ever wearing it. In spite of this, someone shelled out $7,500 for it. I would hate for him to know about all the other cool Elvis shirts (with photos) have sold for less than that.

One other note. The item description listed the longest chain of ownership I have ever seen on an Elvis collectible. It went from Elvis to Homer Gilleland (his personal hairdresser) to Thomas B. Morgan, Jr. to the LeBonheur Children’s Hospital to the seller (unnamed before the auction), and of course, it now has the new owner.

 

Four of Elvis’ Personal Telephone/Address Books:

nside pages Elvis Presley’s Personal Address Books

This is another item that failed to generate its minimum bid ($7,000) at the first Auction at Graceland, but staged a comeback at the recent one. This time they showed samples of the open pages rather than the closed books, and it paid off. Somebody got all four of these books for $7,500. If they had been sold individually, I am sure the total would have been higher.

Elvis Address Book

The item description said, “These books are an encyclopedia of his friends, family and acquaintances — today’s equivalent of having Elvis’ iPhone contacts.” I believe showing the books open to sample listings helped make that point and juiced up the bidding.  On the pages above you can see Priscilla, Col. Parker, and Vernon Presley.  Priscilla must have moved a lot.  Note she had five different phone numbers in Elvis’ book

 

Army First Aid Kit:

Elvis Presley’s Army First Aid Kit

I think this is one of the coolest Elvis collectibles to show up at auction. If you owned it and were showing it off to other folks, you could point to the hand-printed “EP” in blue ink at the top. Then you could turn it upside down and show the stamp with Elvis’ Army service serial number “53310761.” Then you could open it up and see the red stamp on the interior stating “SP1 ELVIS PRESLEY – US53310761, 1st Med Tank Bat. 32nd Armor 3rd Div. APO 33.” If all that wasn’t enough, Elvis also signed near the stamp, “E. A. Presley” in blue ink. The supplied Letter of Authenticity from Graceland Authenticated almost seems superfluous.

Elvis’ Army First Aid Kit had a minimum bid of $3,000, but spirited bidding ran it up to $7,500. Well worth it in my opinion.

 

I had a few more items to present, but something came in the email yesterday that deserves to be noted. It came from info@graceland.com, one of four EPE related mailing lists I seem to be on.

Solicitation for next year's Auction at Graceland

Just three weeks after their successful second Auction at Graceland, they are out soliciting collectibles for the next one. They are trying to prevail against the auction houses that frequently offer Elvis memorabilia, and I believe they will be very successful.

Heritage Auctions Ad Solicitation

Here is an ad in the current issue of the record collector magazine Goldmine showing Heritage Auctions soliciting consignments for their next entertainment memorabilia auction. It shows items from past auctions, including an Elvis standee.

Gotta Have It Ad Solicitation

From the same magazine, here is a solicitation for consignments by Gotta Have Rock and Roll for their next pop culture auction. Notice Elvis’ Peacock jumpsuit at the bottom. Like I said at the top of this post, it seems like people with Elvis collectibles can realize a higher return at the Auction at Graceland. I think EPE made a brilliant move coming up with the idea of auctioning Elvis memorabilia during Elvis Week and the birthday celebrations. They will put a hurtin’ on the competition.

I see this as similar to Graceland’s move into the Elvis Tribute Artist business. For the first two decades after his death, Graceland distanced itself from the hordes of men who performed as Elvis impersonators. Actually, they went farther than that. Ever protective of his ‘image,’ EPE filed a lawsuit against the Legends In Concert in 1983 to prevent the show’s “Elvis” from looking like, dressing like, or moving like the real Elvis.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

But over the years, it became obvious that the fans liked the ETAs. So, in 2009, Graceland changed its tune and started the Ultimate Tribute Artist Contest in Memphis during Elvis Week. It is now an extremely popular, so I’m not complaining. But it and the auction prove if somebody is making a profit off Elvis, EPE will move in and get their share.

 

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

 

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Elvis Week’s Best Kept Secret

Elvis-Presley-Memorial-Trauma-Center-Sign

Have you ever heard of the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis? If you a member of an Elvis fan club, you probably have. If you are just an Elvis fan with no club affiliation, perhaps not. I’ve been to Elvis Week four times, but I never knew about this trauma center until a few weeks ago.

 Outside View of Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

 

So, I also didn’t know they had an annual fan reception during Elvis Week. This year, it is one of the 45 events listed in the official schedule of events on Graceland.com.

Announcement of Trauma Center  Fan Donor Reception

Maybe the receptions were not listed in the schedule of events for those four years when I was there, or if they were, I just skimmed past looking for something more interested to do. That was very short sighted of me.

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First a little background. The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center is part of a huge hospital system called Regional One Health.

Regional One Health

Regional One Health Entrance

A scene from the 1997 movie The Rainmaker was filmed here with Matt Damon and Danny DeVito going up the steps and into the hospital

Established in 1983, the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center was named in honor of Elvis by then Memphis Mayor Bill Morris, a personal friend of his. When it was dedicated, many loyal Elvis fans conducted a fundraising campaign and donated $50,000 to the hospital. The Trauma Center is the only free-standing building that bears Elvis’ name and the only healthcare institution named in his honor.

Elvis fans and fan clubs have continued to contribute to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center for the past thirty years. To express its appreciation for this generosity, the center holds a fan reception each year during Elvis Week. If you are heading to Memphis in the next four days, you should definitely take in this event.

 

Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center Fan Reception

As you can see, the guest speaker this year is George Klein, one of Elvis’ closest friends, and someone who knows a treasure trove of great stories about Elvis. Klein’s book Elvis: My Best Man is full of them. Klein does several events during Elvis Week each year, but the Trauma Center fan reception has one difference. It is free.

Plus they are serving “Elvis-style” refreshments.  I have it on good authority that this includes fried peanut butter and ‘nanner sandwiches done the way Elvis liked them.

The notice in the official Elvis Week schedule of events says that tours of the facility will be conducted. This includes the lobby and the Elvis family waiting room, full of large photographs of Elvis engaging with various charitable organizations he supported during his life.

Waiting Room at Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

Next up would be the shock trauma rooms (if they aren’t in use) and the ambulance bay.

Inside Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

Two interesting walls complete the tour. The Mural Wall is covered with huge reproductions of Elvis photos showing him in various stages of his life and arranged in chronological order.

Mural Wall 1

Photo credit — Andrea Zucker Photography

Mural Wall 2

Mural Wall 3

Photo Credit — Andrea Zucker Photography

The last part of the tour is officially called the Donor Recognition Wall, but fans know it as the Wall of Honor. It is covered by more than 300 brass plaques honoring those who have made a donation of $1,000 or more to the Regional One Health Foundation for the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center.

 

Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center Wall of Honor

Pamela Castleman, Regional One Health’s Nursing Director, in front of fan plaques in this 2009 photo

Some of the $1,000 donors are individuals, a few are corporations, but most are fan clubs. And many of these fan clubs are based in other countries.

Fan Plaques at Wall of Honor

The Wall of Honor is anchored by a bust relief of Elvis in the middle. Note the size of this in the photo above.

Brass Plaque of Elvis at Trauma Center Wall of Honor

 

The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center maintains an email list of all donors, not just those who gave over $1,000, but also those who have contributed any amount. These folks get updates each year about the date of the Fan Donor Reception and who will be the featured speaker. However, the event is open to all fans, so if you are at Elvis Week this year, consider attending.

We all know how generous Elvis was giving to charities. Now you can see how his fans are following in his footsteps. Elvis has reached people all over the world, and they still love him and do generous things in his name. Don’t be surprised if you come away motivated to join that list of donors.

 

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

 

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Check out the Facebook page for the Regional One Health Foundation. If you “Like” them, you can keep up on any news regarding the Trauma Center.

In case you don’t know what trauma center means, it is a multidisciplinary team of highly trained specialists: surgeons, anesthesiologists, trauma nurse practitioners, certified registered nurses, anesthetists, nurses, respiratory therapists, orderlies, x-ray techs, and lab techs. They care for injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions, falls, poisonings, burns, suffocation, and drowning. Injured patients treated at trauma centers have a 25% greater chance of surviving 30 days than patients treated at non-trauma centers. The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center serves over 6,000 patients a year.

Many thanks to Joe Brandenburg, Director of Development, Regional One Health Foundation for much of the information and some of the photos used in this article.  The two professional photographs of the Mural Wall are provided by Audrea Zucker Photography.

 

We Miss You, Elvis

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Candlelight Vigil 6

We Miss You, Elvis

 

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

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Scotty Moore Returns to Live Performances After 24 Year Absence

When Scotty Moore returned to Nashville after appearing in the ‘68 Comeback Special, he never dreamed it was the last time he would perform on stage for 24 years.

Elvis and Scotty Moore in the famous “Pit Session” of the the ’68 Comeback Special

 

In fact, Elvis had talked about wanting to do a tour in Europe.  Now that he was essentially finished with movies, Elvis was energized to perform live again, and Scotty was excited about getting back on stage with him.  Scotty went home to Nashville and waited for a call from Elvis to say the European tour was on.

Of course, Col. Parker put a quick end to such an idea.  He was an illegal alien from Holland and knew he couldn’t get a US passport, so he could never accompany Elvis to Europe.  And, Parker was not about to allow Elvis to tour over there without the constant presence of his manager.  So the tour idea died.

Scotty went on with his life as a studio sound engineer, work that kept him associated with the music business, without ever performing.  Years later he owned a cassette duplicating company, and followed that by opening a printing shop that made the label inserts for the tapes.

Scotty’s guitars sat essentially untouched for years.  He actually thought of himself as a ‘former guitar player,’ and was comfortable with it.  He did, however, maintain contact with many dozens of folks in the music business – including Carl Perkins.

Perkins underwent cancer surgery in 1991, but in early 1992 it was in remission.  He felt strong enough to record a new album, and wanted to do it in the old Sun Studios in Memphis.  So, Perkins called Scotty and asked him to join the project.  Scotty resisted, repeatedly saying, “I can’t do this.”  However, Perkins persisted, and soon he, Scotty, DJ Fontana and a group of their studio musician friends completed the recording session that resulted in 706 ReUnion.

Cover of CD Re-release, Not Original Album

 

Two years earlier, Carl Perkins had been the headliner at the first “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concert, presented during Elvis Week by Darwin Lamm, editor and publisher of Elvis International magazine.  Perkins was unable to sing at the second annual concert in 1991 because of his cancer surgery, but he was back as headliner again for “Good Rockin’ Tonight 3” in 1992.

Again, Carl Perkins worked on Scotty to join him – this time, on stage playing the guitar. Scotty agreed, and became part of the most exciting line-up in the history of Elvis Week concerts.  Not only did the fans get to see Elvis’ first guitar player, they also got to see his last one, James Burton.

James Burton and Scotty Moore Rehearsing

 

The Sun Rhythm Section, featuring Sunny Burgess and DJ Fontana opened the show and wowed the audience with an excellent Rockabilly set.  Also on the bill were the Jordanaires who backed Elvis on too many records to count and Ronnie McDowell who sang the songs on several Elvis movies and TV biographies.

From left – James Burton, DJ Fontana, Scotty Moore. Behind Carl perkins on stool — Jardanaires, Ronnie McDowell (in black, white belt), and others.

 

Scotty’s long-time friend, Gail Pollock, summarized the show, “It was electric.”  Especially, when Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore were on stage together.

 

After that, Scotty was hooked.  A week after the concert in Memphis, he went to England to perform with the Jordanaires.  He had been away from performing for 24 years, but at age 61, Scotty Moore was back.  Thousands of fans have seen him at concerts in the years since, and Scotty Moore has brought tears of happiness to more than a few of them.

 

Many thanks to James Roy, webmaster for www.scottymoore.net, and to Gail Pollock for their help in supplying the photographs and historical reference material for this article.

 

©  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.

The Last Photograph of Elvis Alive

The celebration of Elvis Week is going on right now in Memphis.  I’ve been to four of these so far, and plan to be back next year for the 35th Anniversary.   Elvis fans are quite content to refer to these yearly anniversaries without also including the qualifying phrase of the death of Elvis.   Elvis Week is a certainly a celebration of Elvis’ life, but his passing was the genesis of thousands of fans making the pilgrimage to Graceland every August.

I start early each year trying to figure out a new way to blog about the anniversary of Elvis’ death.  A few weeks ago, when I researched the ElvisBlog article about Elvis on the covers on the tabloid The Sun, I came across my copy of the September 20, 1977, issue of the National Enquirer.   On the cover was a photo of Elvis in a car, and the tag was “Hours Before He Died.”   The caption under the picture was, “The Last Photo of Elvis Alive.”

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This photo, in both color and black-and-white, has been all over the internet for years.  However, I have never read anything about who took it and the circumstance around the event.  Then, I opened up that old National Enquirer, and there was the whole story. 

On Page 57, Enquirer writer Chris Fuller had a two-column article, including a photo of the folks who took the picture. 

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So, in celebration of the 34th anniversary of Elvis’ passing, here is that article, edited slightly for brevity and emphasis.

 Story Behind the Last Picture of Elvis Alive

Robert Call was ready with his camera when the car stopped at the front gate of Graceland in Memphis.  People were shouting – “Elvis!  Elvis!”  Suddenly, inside the car, the King of Rock smiled and waved at Call’s four-year-old daughter Abby.

And that’s when Call took the picture…the last photograph of Elvis alive.

The time was 12:28 on the morning of August 16.  Just a few hours later, Elvis would be found dead.

“We were excited when my husband took the picture,” said Call’s wife Nancy, “but we didn’t realize it would be the last one ever taken of Elvis.

“I’ll never forget the way it happened.  Elvis was driving the car.  There was a lady sitting in front with him and two men in the back.  I had Abby in my arms almost right up against the car window.

“She was hollering – ‘Hi!” – and grinning from ear to ear.  Elvis smiled really big, then he put on the brakes for a second, pointed to Abby and waived to her.  That’s when my husband took the picture.

“Later that day we heard on TV that Elvis had died.  We had just seen this man laughing, smiling and waving.”

The Calls, who live in Pierceton, Indiana, had gone to Memphis “because I was determined to get pictures of Abby and the other children at the Elvis home for my scrapbook,” Mrs. Call said.

Mrs. Call said little Abby…reacted to Elvis’ death with a touching remark.  She said,

“I bet he’s going to be an angel.”

 

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Maybe we should say we are celebrating the 34th annivesary of Elvis' ascendancy to Heaven.

 

©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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