Category Archives: FAMILY

ELVIS: The King Revealed

A recent news article on Elvis.com announced a so-called instant keepsake – the magazine ELVIS: The King Revealed.  This “Official Graceland Special Edition” is touted for going deep into their Elvis historical archives, accessing thousands of photos, documents, interviews and Elvis memorabilia, and sharing them with the public for the first time.

Elvis - The King Revealed

 

With over 350 ‘rare’ photos, the magazine is probably worth its $9.99 price.  But I wish they had used a different title.  The King Revealed just sounds too much like those Midnight Globe and National Enquirer tabloid headlines from the late 70s and early 80s.  I remembered that many of them proclaimed all sorts of different stuff they supposedly revealed about Elvis.

That was enough motivation to look in my large box of old tabloid issues with Elvis cover stories to see how many had the words Elvis and Revealed in the headlines. To my great surprise, there were none.

However, there were three Elvis tabloids featuring variations on the word revealed, like Starlet Reveals, or New Tapes Reveal.

 

Midnight Globe — November 22, 1977:

Midnight Globe - Nov 22, 1977

The starlet who revealed why she said no to Elvis is Joan Freeman, his co-star in Blue Hawaii and Kid Galahad.  According to the article, “When we first set eyes on each other, there was a spark, a magic in the air… There was just that special something between us, sometimes so warm and wonderful you could almost reach out and touch it.”

Wow, that special something sure sounds like lust to this reader.

Blackman claims she knew Elvis prior to working with him on Blue Hawaii in March and April 1961.  It’s possible she met Elvis in Hollywood in 1957, while she was filming her first role in Good Day for a Hanging, but all of her other parts were in movies made while Elvis was in Germany.  Anyway, she said Elvis begged her repeatedly to appear in one of his movies, but she turned him down each time.  “I wanted parts because of my ability, not because I was dating Elvis.”  She maintains she got the role in Blue Hawaii because producer Hal Wallis picked her.

The Starlet Who Said No

The special something between Blackman and Elvis heated up when they got to Honolulu in 1961.  The Midnight Globe asserts they had a wild, tumultuous love affair while there.  “We had rooms next to each other in the hotel, and for weeks we just lived together.” This led Elvis to propose marriage.  “He really wanted me to be his wife… But I said no… I was in love with another actor, Hampton Fancher III (mostly TV work, lots of westerns).

So, Elvis got shot down in his wish to marry Joan Blackman, but for some reason, he wanted her to appear with him two films later in Kid Galahad.  Who needs marriage when you can still have that special something?

 

The Star — June 27, 1978:

The Star - June 27, 1978

 

Elvis didn’t make the cover of this issue (just a promo tease in the bottom right corner), and he barely was shown in the centerfold photo-spread. The new tapes referenced came from Wanda June Hill, who used them to write her book We Remember Elvis.  She says she first met Elvis in a Hollywood studio and kept in contact with him for fifteen years, right up to his death.  Apparently, she had a tape recorder going much of the time during their phone conversations.

The Star article does emphasize the continuing love Elvis and Priscilla had for each other, even after their divorce in 1971.  That seems to be accepted narrative these days, but maybe it was considered a revelation back in 1978 when the article appeared.

The Eternal Love of Elvis and Priscilla

What’s interesting is the choice of photos under the banner “The Eternal Love of Elvis and Priscilla.”  There’s one tiny picture of them in the upper right-hand corner.

Priscilla and Mike Stone

There is a considerably larger photo of Priscilla and Karate trainer Mike Stone on the lower right.  He is not mentioned in the article, except for the photo caption that says, “He [Elvis] forgave the relationship she developed with Mike Stone after the separation.  (After?)

 

Priscilla and Hairdresser Elie Erzer

There is an even larger photo of Priscilla with her ‘latest escort,’ Hollywood hairdresser Elie Erzer.  What ever happened to calling them boyfriends or lovers?

 

Linda Thompson

There is also a great shot of Linda Thompson I’ve never seen before.  She gets treated rather kindly in the article.

Finally, there is a familiar glamour shot of Ginger Alden.  She doesn’t come out too well in the article.  In fact, the author says Elvis was about to cut off the relationship shortly before his death.  Supposedly, he had a beautiful blonde woman waiting in the wings.

 

Midnight Globe – Dec 13, 1977 :

Midnight Globe - Dec 13, 1977

 

Dee Stanley is the stepmom who reveals the truth behind the Presley divorces.  She and Vernon were married for fourteen years, but they separated in 1974 when she found out he had been seeing another woman he met in Las Vegas.  The article says she never thought for a second that the separation would lead to a divorce.  However, three years later, Vernon was still living with the woman.  A few months after Elvis died, Vernon and Dee had a quickie divorce in the Dominican Republic.

Ninety percent of the Midnight Globe article is about this divorce and the aftermath.  The only time Dee mentions Elvis and Priscilla’s divorce is when she compares it to hers.  “The two marriages… succumbed to the same sort of strains – Elvis’ work on the road, in Las Vegas and other places, and Vernon going off with him.  The two of them felt the same way, that there was a separate man’s world where women shouldn’t be allowed to enter… ”  Dee called it the reverse of an old saying: “Like son, like father.”

Dee Presley

Dee also discussed her divorce settlement as fair and generous, and that Vernon had always been that way.  Later in the article, she admitted it was enough for her to live an opulent lifestyle for the rest of her life.  Near the end of the article, Dee says she still feels for Vernon.  She tells him she still loves him and she prays someday they might marry each other again.  That didn’t happen for Elvis, and we know how that old saying goes.

 

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

 

Thumbnail Icon

 

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

 

Cashing In On Those Old Gifts From Elvis

I’ve been following auctions of Elvis memorabilia for so long that certain trends have become obvious.  One is that prices for Elvis’ rings really dropped after the recession hit in 2008, but they are coming back pretty strong now.  Another is that Elvis gave away a phenomenal amount of his wardrobe and jewelry to his Memphis Mafia buddies and other friends.

 

Heritage

My favorite auction house, Heritage Auctions, has a good one coming up on August 10.  Their Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction contains 49 Elvis items.  Some of the offerings do not need a Letter of Authenticity – stuff like rare records, movie posters, signage from Las Vegas performances.  But clothing and jewelry do.  And these LOAs tell us who Elvis gave the articles to, and who is converting their old Elvis treasures into cash.

Sonny West and Elvis -- 1970

Sonny West and Elvis — 1970

Sonny West must have decided to clean out the closet, because he offers seven items of Elvis clothing at the upcoming auction.  There are also one item each from Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Marty Lacker, and Joe Esposito.  A nice leather jacket has a LOA from Charlie Hodge, but this must be the second (or third?) time through the auction cycle for it, because Charlie died some years ago.

 

Patsy Presley -- 1976

Patsy Presley — 1976

A new name showed up this time on six Letters of Authenticity – Patsy Presley.  The item descriptions identify her as Elvis’ double cousin, and this peaked my curiosity.  She gets this interesting distinction because her father was Vernon Presley’s brother Vester, and her mother was Gladys Smith Presley’s sister Clette.  Seems like those Presley boys were both courting two of the Smith sisters back in Tupelo.  They married and had kids, making Elvis and Patsy double cousins.

 

Patsy Presley (center) at Graceland --1960

Patsy Presley (center) at Graceland –1960

 

Most Elvis fans will know that Elvis’ Uncle Vester presided as Graceland gatekeeper and good will ambassador for many years.

See the resemblance to Vernon and Gladys?

See the resemblance to Vernon and Gladys?

 

Some fans may also know Patsy Presley from her appearances at different Elvis festivals.

Patsy Presley -- 2013

Patsy Presley — 2013

 

An interesting piece of trivia about Patsy Presley is that she married Gee Gee Gambill in 1967, after which he became one of the Memphis Mafia, overseeing Elvis’ wardrobe.  He was also one of just five in the group invited to Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding.  While guys closer to Elvis, like Jerry Shilling, Red West and Charlie Hodge, were snubbed, Gee Gee got to be there because he was “family.”

At some point, Patsy Presley and Gee Gee Gambill divorced, and she later married Clayton Geranen.  Both Gambill and Geranen died in 2005.  According to internet search results, Patsy Presley worked as a secretary at Graceland for many years, and was devoted to Elvis.  She and Priscilla became close friends, often going shopping or to the movies together.  It was reported a few years ago that Patsy remains friendly with both Priscilla and Lisa Marie, the one Elvis relative that both have chosen to keep in touch with.

Finally, one website made reference some years ago to the existence of the Patsy Presley Collection on eBay.  I have been unable to find it there now, so perhaps she decided to move a group of Elvis items quickly by auction.  Here’s what she is offering on August 10.

Army Jacket, Pants, and Hat:

ARMY Jacket, Pants, and Hat (1960) MB 10,000

 

Diamond Ring:

Diamond Ring  14 carat gold MB 3,000

 

Gold Chai Pendant:

Gold Chai Pendant

 

Graceland Gate Openers:

Graceland Gate Openers

 

Graceland Office Wall Clock:

Graceland Wall Clock

 

Racquetball:

 Racquetball

 

Check out what the auction website says about this green racquetball:

“Elvis’ affinity for racquetball is well-documented.  On the eve of the King’s passing he had played with guests at Graceland – this was one of the balls used. LOA from Patsy Presley Geranen.  Estimate: $800 – up.”

Now I’ve seen it all.  A racquetball gets a Letter of Authenticity, and the auction house thinks it will bring $800.  If this represents a new trend, it’s pretty weird.  Oh, well.  That’s what makes Elvis World so interesting.

 

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

 

Thumbnail Icon

 

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

 

Priscilla, Lisa, and John Travolta

The other day I stood in the supermarket checkout line and spotted the February 6 issue of the tabloid National Enquirer.  Lisa Marie and John Travolta were side-by-side on the cover, just above the headline “Divorce Shocker: Whose marriage can be saved.  Whose can’t.”

 I immediately flashed back to something in my collection of tabloids with Elvis cover stories.  However, the issue I remembered wasn’t about him.  It was the August 12, 1978 issue of Midnight Globe, and the cover featured Priscilla and John Travolta.  The headline reads “Priscilla Presley, Travolta in New Romance.”

 

So, in the span of 33 years, John Travolta has appeared on tabloid covers with both Elvis’ wife and daughter.  Let’s take a look inside and see what’s going on.

First, it should be pointed out that the current magazine does not link Travolta and Lisa together in any kind of divorce shocker.  Rather, there are two separate stories about the marital problems each supposedly has going on.  In Lisa’s case, some of the problems between her and husband Michael Lockwood are related to different opinions on how to raise their three-year-old twin daughters and to how she keeps him removed from anything to do with the Presley finances.

However, Midnight Globe says the biggest source of stress is Lisa’s relentless determination to restart her singing career.  She apparently considers her third album (and first since 2005) to be a do-or-die effort.  Lisa is now 44, and she hasn’t had a hit song in seven years, so this might actually be the case.  The CD, titled Storm and Grace, comes out on May 1, so we should know pretty soon if her singing career will continue.  One way or the other, let’s hope everything works out for Lisa and Michael.

Travolta’s problems stem from the fact that he is an accomplished pilot and has his own airplane and airstrip right at his house.  According to National Enquirer, he has recently developed a penchant for taking unannounced flights to Tahiti, Miami, San Juan, Mexico, Central America, and even Bosnia.  The good news supposedly is that his wife Kelly Preston had threatened Travolta with divorce if it continued, and he has sworn off his globetrotting ways.

The John Travolta and Priscilla story back in 1978 is much more interesting, and it also includes Lisa Marie.  According to Midnight Globe, Elvis’ ten-year-old daughter was a big fan of Vinnie Barbarino, the character Travolta played on the hit TV show Welcome Back Kotter.  Lisa knew her mom had Hollywood connections, and talked Priscilla into arranging a visit to the set.

When they got there, Travolta was charming and gracious, and took them to lunch at the studio commissary.  Supposedly, there was immediate chemistry between Priscilla and Travolta.  At the time the article was published, “sources” reported they had three or four secret dates.


They each had their own reasons for not appearing in public together.  Travolta did not want to take any chances of offending his hoard of loyal teeny-bopper fans.  Priscilla had a TV special about Elvis in the works and didn’t want any publicity that might distract from it.

Midnight Globe did mention that Priscilla was 33 and Travolta was only 24, but had no mention that either of them considered their age difference any problem.  It is interesting that Priscilla had previously experienced the reverse of this.  She was only 14 when she came into the life on 24 year-old Elvis.

John Travolta is now 57, and his career continues with meaty roles in movies.  It is a safe assumption that his face will again grace the covers of the tabloids.  After sharing them with Elvis’ wife and daughter, maybe he will make it a trifecta and share one with Elvis’ granddaughter.  If Riley Keough and John Travolta ever appear on the same cover of National Enquirer, I’m buying that one, too.

 

 

© 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.

 

Gladys and Elvis — A Mothers' Day Commemorative Stamp ?

 

Did you see the news earlier this week that the US Postal Service has changed its rules and will now consider stamp designs that feature people who are still alive.  According to the Postmaster General, “This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor.”

But, several news articles speculate that this could be as much about money as admiration.  We all know the Postal Service is in bad shape financially.  Could this new policy be a move to bring in extra profit, as they hope many of the new popular designs might be bought as collectibles and not used as postage?

There is one stunning example of this phenomenon – the Elvis stamp from 1993.  The USPS issued 500 million of them, but reported in 2002 that over 124 million were never used to mail a letter.  That resulted in a cool $36 million profit for the post office.

 

The news sources also reported the Postal Service is now inviting suggestions for new stamps featuring people who are still alive.  Although they get 40-50,000 suggestions every year, most of the resulting stamps don’t inspire folks to hang on to large numbers of them as collectibles.  What they want now are pop culture icons like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber with rabid fans who will buy lots and lots of stamps.

               

 

I have an idea for the Postal Service.  Based on their prior experience with Elvis fans buying and hoarding the Elvis stamps, why not go back to the well one more time.  How about a Mothers’ Day commemorative stamp featuring Elvis and his mama Gladys?  Can you think of any image that would better show a son’s love for his mother?  I went into my files to see if there were any photos of the two that would make a good stamp picture.  Here’s what I found.

 

This shot from 1956 is pretty good, but we can’t see either of their eyes, so, it’s probably not the one to use.

This would be a good one if it were a sharper image.

 

Probably the best so far.  Elvis is his usual bad self and Gladys looks about as good here as she ever did in her last years.

 

This won’t work.  Gladys just doesn’t look her best here.
 

Another shot with Gladys in profile and she looks pretty good.  It would be better if they were closer and Elvis wasn’t wearing the hat.

 

It’s a nice image of Elvis kissing his mom, but Gladys looks so sad.  I believe this shot was taken as Elvis prepared to join the Army.

 

When I finally found the picture I liked best for an Elvis and Gladys Mothers’ Day stamp, it turned out to be a Photoshop composite. The shot of smiling Gladys below had to have been taken several years before the one of Elvis.
 

 

The picture on the stamp idea above was cropped from a larger one created by Tommy Piretos, who has designed at least two dozen great Elvis images.  You can see fourteen of them on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/52594605@N02/   I have tried to find a way to contact Tommy Piretos and Piretos Creations using Google, Bing, and Flickr, but have had no success.  I’d like to do a feature about these wonderful images and their creator.  If you know of an e-mail address or website for Tommy Piretos, please let me know at philarnold@charter.net.

So, if you like the concept of an Elvis and Gladys Mothers’ Day Commemorative stamp, you can boost the chances of it happening by sending your proposal to:

Creative Stamp Advisory Committee

C/O Stamp Development          

US Postal Service           

475 L’Enfant Plaza SW,  Room 3300        

Washington, DC  20260

You don’t need to send a picture with your proposal.  That’s another long involved process, and the Postal Service has a group of preferred artists they use most of the time.

 

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

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

Elvis Scrapbooks — Part 4

This will be the last installment of the series on Elvis scrapbooks.  Here’s a look at several more Elvis scrapbooks I found on the internet.

 

 

           

 

Now, let’s take a look at the last six pages of the Elvis scrapbook we have been covering this month.

 

 

Page 16 lacks much interest.  The top left photo caption says, “Birth of sideburns during high school years.”  Next to it is a photo of Elvis and director Norman Taurog on the set of one of the eight Elvis movies he directed.   At the bottom there is a cropped photo of Elvis’ head and a familiar shot form Aloha From Hawaii.

 

Page 17:  The main thing of interest here is the one color photo.  Most of photos of Elvis doing his lip snarl are from the earlier days.  I can’t remember too many jumpsuit shots of his lip curl.  It sure looks like the jumpsuit top is open all the way to the belt.

 

Page 18:  This is the forth and possibly the most interesting photo of Priscilla in our scrapbook.  She obviously spent some time with a top-notch photographer to produce these glamour shots.  Perhaps it was part of the healing process after splitting with Elvis.  Maybe something to bolster self-esteem?  I have pictures of Priscilla covering fifty years, and I strongly believe she hit her peak of beauty at age 27 or so when these were taken.

 

Priscilla looked substantially different in her mid-thirties, but still a beauty, as shown on this magazine cover from the early 80s.

 

Page 19:  This clipping came from the National Enquirer, so you know it has to be pretty strange. It appeared shortly after Elvis’ death.  The guy with the white hair is Dr. George Nichopoulos, Elvis’ personal physician.  Readers of this blog know I don’t think too much of Dr. Nick, and this story didn’t change my mind.  He touched on drugs ever so briefly, and then blamed Elvis’ problems on the Graceland cooks.  Seriously!   Here are some of Dr. Nick’s quotes:

“They [the cooks] mothered him to death.  They couldn’t believe they were doing him harm by making a fuss of him.”

So, the cooks are what did Elvis in, not anything out of Dr. Nick’s bag.  He did offer up an example to prove the cooks were the problem.

“He’d say fix up a hamburger and some fries, and they’d send up enough for six people.”  … He’d nibble on it until it was all gone.”

What a heinous plot — death by hamburger.  The National Enquirer writer contributed to the slant Dr. Nick was pushing by adding that Elvis had an insatiable craving for junk food.  Believe it or not, the article got worse after that.  Dr. Nick explained that food consumption was only part of the reason for Elvis’ weight problem,

“Part of his obesity was diet, part was that enlarged colon he had.  His colon was four or five inches in diameter – and when there is several feet of it, it fills a lot of space.”

Too Much Information!  This article filled a lot of space in the National Enquirer, but I’m not sure why an Elvis fan would put it in her scrapbook. 

 

Page 20 has beautiful flowers from Elvis’ funeral and another jumpsuit shot.  The other shot is the interesting one.  It shows sharp-dressed Vernon Presley briskly walking out of Probate Court in Memphis where he was “given ironclad control over the huge estate, as executor and trustee.”  Vernon surely mourned for his son, but he also seems to have adapted well to the spotlight.  No boring suit and tie for this appearance.  Very natty, Vernon.

 

Page 21:  The scrapbook ends with this one large color photo, as kind of a tribute to Elvis.  Notice how a puffy-looking Elvis still had that magic with the fans.  He had it to the end.

 

Nice scrapbook.

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

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

Elvis Scrapbooks — Part 2

Last week we started a discussion on Elvis Scrapbooks and took a look at the first six pages of one I recently borrowed.  50s teenagers enjoyed compiling Elvis items in organized scrapbooks.  It should come as no surprise to you that Col. Parker saw the fad for Elvis scrapbooks and marketed a few to meet this demand.  Of course, there was no shortage of newspaper and magazine articles to cut out and past in the books.  Here are three scrapbooks that went on sale early in Elvis’ career.

                        

 

                    

Zippered 3-Ring Elvis Scrapbook

 

The Elvis scrapbook we looked at last week was totally a home-made endeavor.  Here are the next four pages with a few comments.

 

Page 7 gets into older Elvis – a shot from the ’68 Comeback Special, a color Jumpsuit shot (probably from a magazine) and two black-and-white jumpsuit newspaper photos  Finally, there is the second Priscilla picture.  It is another look at Priscilla around the time she parted with Elvis.  Although it’s not full page like the first one, it does have a nice caption: “Friends say he never got over their divorce – and never stopped loving her.”

 

Page 8 is a real hodge-podge of pictures.  We get a shot of Elvis on the set of Flaming Star with an unidentified woman, probably a fan.  Then, yet another picture of Elvis and Natalie Wood.  The caption reports that Wood said Elvis had almost mystical beliefs.  At the bottom of the page, Elvis hangs out with film crew on location.  Too bad they didn’t say what movie it was.  Next, we get our second look at Lisa Marie, perhaps a little older than in the earlier photo.  Finally, we get the scrapbook’s third shot of Priscilla, and she looks young in all of them.  Priscilla was twenty-eight when she and Elvis divorced, and it would seem all these photographs were taken shortly after that.

 

 

Page 9 is a strange one.  The three newspaper photos are nothing unusual.  You can see the date 9/12/77 written on the picture of Elvis performing, so it appeared in the weeks after his death.  The photo on the right side seems to be from Viva Las Vegas.  And the bottom one says, “Elvis leaves a concert in a flurry of action and tension.”

The newspaper article is sort of interesting.  It quotes Richard Fulcher of the Brentwood Historical Society in Tennessee, who traced Elvis lineage through eleven generations..  He states that Elvis father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all struggled as sharecroppers in the Mississippi bottom land.  It was during Reconstruction after the Civil War that the fortunes of Elvis great-great-grandfather turned for the worse and he moved his family to Mississippi.

According to Mr Fulcher, things were much better for the earlier generations of Presleys, who lived in Tennessee.

 

Page 10:  This does not look like a casual photo snapped at random.  I know it was done during a professional session, because I have another pose in the same outfit. 

 

 

In these shots, Priscilla is twenty-eight or so, and she has an appearance that is different from both the early black hair and heavy makeup period and the mature period when she appeared on Dallas on TV and the Naked Gun movies.  I’ll go out on a limb and say her peak of beauty was at the time of these photos.

More Elvis Scrapbook stories to come.

 

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

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

Elvis' Wedding Reception Redo

Lots of Elvis fans celebrate the anniversaries of events in Elvis’ life, including May 1, the day he and Priscilla married.  However, not many folks this week celebrated the forty-third anniversary of Elvis’ second wedding reception on May 29, 1967.  This event is pretty far down on the list of Elvis lore, but it is still an interesting story.

In her book, “Elvis and Me,” Priscilla Presley devotes a few pages to the special wedding party she and Elvis hosted in Memphis four weeks after they were wed in Las Vegas.  The most telling line was: “We threw a big reception at Graceland for all our friends and relatives.”  The italics were provided by Priscilla, to indicate she and Elvis were not happy with way some of the folks in their circle were excluded from the wedding ceremony.  She categorized them into three groups:

Those who hadn’t known about the wedding.

Those who knew but couldn’t attend.

Those who knew but weren’t invited.

Yes, there were a few people, especially among Elvis’ Memphis Mafia pals, who got cut out from the wedding.  And guess who cut them out – Col. Parker, who was running the whole show, as usual.

Elvis had assembled a large wedding party at his Palm Springs home the day before the wedding.  Then, two leased jets took everybody to Las Vegas.  Shortly before the scheduled time of the wedding, Col Parker advised most of Elvis’ entourage and their wives that there was no room for them at the ceremony.  They had to sit and wait until the reception room opened and they could join the celebration.

 

Here are the five Elvis buddies that actually got into the wedding:

        

             

Joe Esposito is no surprise.  He was Elvis’ tour manager and has been called Elvis’ best friend.  He was the logical choice to be Elvis best man.  However, Elvis actually had two best men.

Marty Lacker was the other.  He was Elvis’ personal bookkeeper and secretary.   This probably involved a lot of contact with Col. Parker, so my guess is that the Colonel liked him better than the rest of the guys and allowed him to be at the wedding.  Another guess that would logically follow is this:  Elvis knew there would be big trouble with the excluded guys if Marty Lacker got to go and they didn’t.  Do you think Elvis might have named Lacker Co-Best Man to justify him being at the wedding?

George Klein was a buddy of Elvis’ dating back to high school.  He did not work for Elvis, but he hung around a good bit with Elvis, and travelled with him sometimes, so his place at the wedding ceremony was natural.  If anybody should have been Co-Best Man with Joe Esposito, it was George Klein.  A few years later, Elvis was the best man at George Klein’s wedding

Billy Smith was a cousin on Elvis’ mother’s side.  He took care of Elvis’ wardrobe and served as his valet.  Billy and his wife lived in Graceland for many years.

Gee Gee Gambill was married to a cousin on Elvis’ dad’s side.  He had just married Elvis’ cousin three months earlier, but that gave him the family status it took to be assured a place at the ceremony.

 

So, Colonel Parker excluded some men very close to Elvis, most notably Jerry Shilling, Red West and Charlie Hodge.  In the photo below, you can see Shilling and Hodge (second from left and second from right, respectively) as they joined Elvis at the reception.  Red West was so furious about being excluded from the wedding that he refused to attend the reception.

Farther down on the pecking order, Alan Fortas and Lamar Fike did not receive invitations to anything.  Larry Geller first learned of the wedding from a supermarket tabloid (Parker really did not like him).

According to Priscilla, the second wedding celebration at Graceland was a lot more fun.  “Elvis and I wore our wedding clothes, greeted everyone, sipped champagne, and shared cake just as if the party were taking place after the wedding ceremony.”

                          

                    Cake at First Reception in Vegas                               Cake at Second Reception in Memphis

It would appear she had a lot less cake to share with a lot more people at the second party, but that didn’t really matter.  They had lots of champagne.  “It was much more comfortable and relaxed than Las Vegas.  Laughing and somewhat high from the champagne, we could really have a good time.” 

 

Elvis and Priscilla Enjoying Champagne at Their Wedding Reception Redo

 

“There were no photographers watching our every move.  It was fun seeing Vernon get loose.”   Here is a favorite memory Priscilla has from this reception:

“Daddy, you want some more champagne?”  Elvis asked, his eyes twinkling.

“Don’t mind if I do, Son.  That’s pretty good stuff.”

“Yeah.  Well, don’t drink too much.  I don’t want my daddy gettin’ in trouble.  I see that blonde you’ve been eyein’.”

Vernon stole a glance at the girl and, with the same twinkle replied, “She ain’t too bad, is she?  Think I’ll go see if she needs anything.”

 

Go for it Vernon, you old hound dog.

 

The New Bride and Groom Start their Honeymoon

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

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

Elvis' Grandchildren Cut 75th Birthday Cake

In the last ElvisBlog article, we looked at the sketch of the winning design for the special Elvis 75th birthday cake to be unveiled at Graceland on January 8.  I promised to show a photo of the actual cake as soon as it was available.  Well, here it is, and there is a big surprise.  Cutting the cake are Riley and Ben Keough, Elvis' oldest grandchildren.

Riley and Ben Keough

 

Danielle Riley Keough is twenty years old.  She is a successful model and has a supporting role in the soon to be released Joan Jett biopic The Runaways.  Benjamin Storm Keough is seventeen years old.  It was recently reported that he signed a $5 million recording contract, but his mother Lisa Marie has refuted that.  Her ex-husband, musician Danny Keough, is Ben and Riley's father.

You can't see much of Riley's face in the above photo, and that's too bad, because she is a beautiful young lady.  Here's a recent close-up:

 

Riley and Ben's grandmother, Priscilla Presley, was asked it was like to have them at the 75th Birthday event:  “I thought, my gosh, if Elvis only knew that he would have such beautiful grandchildren, so supportive to him, and how beautiful they are. It is bittersweet. He would have been very, very proud, absolutely very proud of his grandchildren.”

 

(C)  2009    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.

More New Ben Keough Photos

 

In addition to being fans of Elvis Presley, some of the regular Elvisblog readers are also fans of his grandson Benjamin Keough.   They must appreciate it when we post new photos of Ben, because now they are sending in other photos they have found on the web.  Here are a few new ones.  

    

These three photos were taken when Benjamin, his mom Lisa, and his grandmother Priscilla left a restuarant in London recently.   It's too bad the one taken through the car window has so much glare, because he really looks like Elvis in it.

 

     

 

These next two appear to be taken at the birthday bash thrown by popular singer Ryan Cabrera this summer.  Benjamin's sister, Riley Keough, had dated Ryan for some time, and he and Benjamin seem to have become friends.  Just a guess, but do you think Cabrera's influence had as much to do with Ben's decision to pursue a career in music as did his famous heritage?

    

 

Last week we looked at a comparison of two tight shots of Elvis and Benjamin to see how much resemblance there was.  Let's try it again with the two photos above.

          

 

There is now a story going around on some forums that the news about Benjamin signing a $5 million recording contract is not true.  First, an unnamed spokesman for Lisa Marie supposedly said it ain't so.  Then, the People magazine website posted this denial by Peter LoFrumento, Executive Vice President of Universal Music Group, “This story is totally untrue.” 
 

To be continued.

 

(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

Benjamin Keough Signs Recording Contract

 

According to the UK Telegraph, Elvis Presley's only grandson, Benjamin Keough, has reportedly been offered a $5 million contract by Universal, the world's biggest record company.  To earn this nice chunk of change, Benjamin will make up to five albums.   

The news was reported by Mr. Tim Walker in his regular Telegraph on-line column.  He says he spoke with Benjamin at the Inspiration Awards for Women in London to get the scoop.  Benjamin told him he is already recording his first album, and it will be very different in style from the music Elvis made.  “The music will be nothing like Elvis, nothing like him at all.”  He hopes to release the first album next year.

For some reason, Mr. Walker referred to him as Benjamin Presley.  I hope ElvisBlog will be the first of many voices calling on him to use his given name, Benjamin Keough.  If he wants to create his own identity, his own musical style free from any connection to Elvis, he should not capitalize of his famous grandfather's name.  He will get plenty of press without it.

                                  

Benjamin Keough                                             Elvis Presley

According to Mr. Walker, Benjamin bears a strong resemblance to Elvis.  Here's a couple of pictures for comparison.  What do you think?  It appears that the resemblance gets stronger as Benjamin ages, as we can see in this earlier ElvisBlog column.

Apparently Benjamin already has a “spokesman,” who issued this quote, “He's a typical 17-year old.  He doesn't get up before midday and then he grunts at you.”   If you think about it, while Benjamin doesn't want his music to sound like Elvis', he already has one of Elvis' traits down pat.  Elvis was famous for getting out of bed in the middle of the day. 

 

(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net