Category Archives: HISTORY

Remembering DJ Fontana

DJ Fontana at center of Band

Perhaps you do the same thing I do when musicians we love pass away. Last year when Tom Petty and Chuck Berry died, I pulled out old albums and CDs and listened to their music as a way to connect with them and commemorate their impact on me.

But when DJ Fontana died two days ago, it didn’t seem as satisfying to listen to Elvis songs. I wanted something unique to DJ. Then I remembered I had his book.

DJ Fontana book - The Beat Behind the King

 

Although I had read it when it came out in 2002, I sat down and read it again. I was wonderful. Everyone who has met DJ knows he is a down-home good ole boy, and his personality shines through the words.

DJ Fontana at Drums

 

But there was a special bonus in DJ’s book. It contained a CD titled “Life on the Road,” and for some reason, I had never listened to it before.

 

DJ Fontana - Life on the Road CD

Well, I plopped that thing into the player and was mesmerized for the next 23 minutes. It was like DJ and I were sitting together at a bar, and he was telling all these wonderful old stories. Now, I’m going to miss him even more.

I’m not sure, but I suspect that the audio on this CD was the taped interview that publisher Darwin Lamm used to write the book chapter also titled “Life on the Road.” Of course, some language was cleaned up and some other editing changed things a bit. There were also short stories that ended up in the chapters titled “Recording with Elvis” and “68 Special.”

 

DJ Played with 20 Singers

Tributes to DJ Fontana are all over the web now, and I would like to offer you something different than the same stuff you’ve already read. For example, DJ was a much in-demand session musician in his career after Elvis. This page from his book lists twenty artists he has played or recorded with.

 

DJ Played with 19 more Singers

Here are nineteen more. And you could add a few more that came along after 2002. I’m not sure why mostly pictures of Elvis were used on these two pages. There are plenty of other photos in the book, half or even full page shots, and DJ is in most of them.

 

DJ in Lederhosen - G.I. Blues

Bet you won’t see this picture in any other tribute to DJ. It was taken on the set of G.I. Blues. All the guys playing in the band in the German bar were dressed in lederhosen. DJ tells a story in the book about how he had to allow make-up to be put on his knees “to give them a bit of color.’

DJ appeared in three other Elvis movies: Loving You, Jailhouse Rock, and King Creole.

DJ's Solo Scene in Loving You

This is DJ’s solo scene in Loving You where he comes out of a high school after a spring hop and removes the sign that announced the performance they just finished.

 

DJ-Fontana-and-Karen-Arrive-on-the-Red-Carpet-at-Rock-and-Roll-Hall-of-Fame-Inductions

This is DJ and wife Karen walking on the red carpet to his 2009 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Bill Black was also voted in posthumously.

DJ Fontana, Nancy Shockley & Louis Black at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction

This is DJ accepting his statuette. Beside him are Bill Black’s children, Nancy and Louis. At the far right is Max Weinburg, the drummer in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, who inducted DJ. Weinburg had campaigned for years to get DJ inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

Max Weinburg Article in Elvis the Magazine

 

Phil Arnold, Joe Esposito & DJ Fontana

This is a picture of me standing behind Joe Esposito and DJ Fontana at Elvis Week 2007. I was supposedly doing security detail (making sure nobody pushed in line or stole the books they were selling and signing), but all the fans were well behaved and it was just fun for me. I met Al Wertheimer a few minutes after this picture was snapped.

DJ Signing Books at Elvis Week 2007

This is a shot from behind the table. DJ signed a lot of books that day. Everybody loved DJ.

 

I’d like to close with words from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as they remembered DJ:

Drummer DJ Fontana was a rockabilly icon and the indispensable pulse at the center of Elvis Presley’s songs. For fourteen years he played alongside of Elvis as part of the band. Together they recorded hundreds of songs and blew audiences away with rollicking, fun-loving, informal jams.

 

 

DJ Looking Spiffy at Elvis Week 2007

 

Goodbye DJ. We’ll miss you. Say hi to Elvis for us.

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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ElvisBlog Mini-Nuggets # 22

Do you remember the above photo from an ElvisBlog pictorial post three weeks ago? No information was given about the crown on Elvis’ head by the site where I found it, so I asked if any reader knew something about the reason he was being crowned. Well, reader Jo remembered seeing it in a book she owned, and she sent in an answer.

Genuine Elvis by Ronnie McDowell

The book is The Genuine Elvis by Ronnie McDowell, Edie Hand and Joe Meador, published in 2009. It contained the following information from Louise Smith, widow of Elvis’ cousin Gene Smith:

“One day, Elvis came to our house and the press followed him inside. A man and woman accompanied the man from the newspaper. They presented Elvis with a trophy. Written on it was the fact that during Elvis’ movies in the theater, they had sold more popcorn than during any other movies. They took a picture of me and Elvis and the woman who presented the trophy and it was in the newspaper in Memphis. When (Elvis) left, I told him that he had forgotten his trophy, and he told me that he would get it later. He came over many times to our house, and I always tried to give him the trophy and he always said he would get it later. Guess what? I still have the trophy that was shown in the newspaper article.”

Elvis Receiving Crown in 1960

Jo even attached this photo and caption which accompanied the article in the book. However she said she was a bit puzzled. “The date is given as 1956, but Elvis actually looks older – his sideburns are missing and his jacket is the same as that worn in the Welcome Home Elvis rehearsals in 1960. Has Louise got her dates muddled????”

So, I did a Google search for Elvis Popcorn Award, and an article came up with this picture.

Louise Smith, Elvis and Popcorn Award

The woman on the left is identified as Louise Smith and the one on the right as the presenter of the trophy. Five decades after the event, it would appear Louise Smith’s memory was indeed a little muddled, because the crown was not what accompanied the award. A trophy did

Popcorn Trophy Plaque

I blew up the award to see what it said. You can see the word Kernel, then Popcorn, (something), U.S.A.

So, the reason for the crown still remains a mystery, but the trophy picture confirms one thing:

Elvis was the King of Movie Popcorn Sales

 

 

More Elvis Armpit Sweat Revealed:

Elvis and Horses

This photo also appeared in that pictorial three weeks ago. I said I thought it had been taken on the set of Love Me Tender. However, I was corrected by reader Delores, who is quite a font of Elvis knowledge. She said the picture came from Loving You when young Susan Jessup (Delores Hart) took Elvis out to the family farm.

Elvis and delores Hart in Loving You

In the article I suggested that there couldn’t be many other pictures out there showing Elvis armpit sweat. Wrong!! Reader David did considerable detective work and found it in photos from three other movies.

Elvis Arm Sweat in 1960 GI Blues

G.I. Blues

 

Elvis Arm Sweat in 1962 follow that dream

Follow That Dream

 

Elvis, armpit sweat in1960 Flamig Star

Flaming Star

 

Of course, what I didn’t think we would ever see were any photos in real life of Elvis armpit sweat. David had that covered, too.

1970 Photo of Elvis Arm Sweat

Elvis in 1970

 

The Anniversary of the Opening of Graceland to the Public:

I get emails all the time from Graceland.com/news, Graceland Insiders, Shop Graceland, and probably some others. When I see the word Graceland, I click on them pretty much automatically to see what’s new. Yesterday, this came up.

Graceland Opened on June 6, 1982

 

I thought I would get to read about the history of this event. Then I scrolled down and saw this:

15% Off Graceland Gear

In the span of one month, we will see four reasons for a sale: Aloha from Hawaii anniversary, Memorial Day, Graceland’s opening anniversary, and Father’s Day. And I’ll bet there is some other reason for a sale prior to the 4th of July.  I hope they are selling ELVIS Gear at the next one.

So, Thursday was the 36th anniversary of the opening of Graceland. In four years, I expect a big event will be held with special guests, concerts at the Soundstage, special packages at the Guesthouse, etc. Here are a couple of pictures that will probably show up then on Graceland.com/news.

Aunt Delta and Jack Soden at opening of Graceland, June 7, 1982

This is EPE president Jack Soden and Elvis’ Aunt Delta (who continued to live in Graceland after the tours began) cutting the ceremonial ribbon.

 

Graceland Opening Flyer

Here is an advertisement for the opening of Graceland to the public. I wish it was a clearer image so we could read the ticket prices. The fine print down at the bottom says “Tours may be closed on Monday after September 1.” Of course, that never happened. The public response was too great.

 

Editor’s Note: Reader responses came in quickly confirming that the follow two photographs were definitely not taken the first day Graceland opened to the public.  As I had speculated, they were taken the day after Elvis died as fans poured into Memphis.  Sorry for the confusion.

You might want to scroll past them and look at two new photos giving a much clearer accounting of the opening of Graceland to the public.

 

These next two pictures, supposedly taken at that opening show amazing response on the first day.

Fans at Opening of Graceland

That looks like Elvis Week, doesn’t it? Or possibly the day after Elvis’ death was announced.  The internet source I used says it was taken on June 7, 1982, but the amount of mis-labeled Elvis photos on the internet is cause for a little skepticism. .

Fans at opening of Graceland

And this is supposed to be an aerial view of the event. You can barely see the mansion in the top right corner surrounded by trees. I never knew the opening of Graceland was such a highly attended event.

 

3,024 Tickets sold on the first Day Graceland opened to the public

This is a cropped photo that contains a significant fact in the text at the bottom. 3,024 tickets were sold the first day Graceland was opened to the public.

 

Fans Line Up outside Graceland on Day it Opened to the public

These are fans lining up to enter Graceland on the first day it was open to the public.

 

Jungle Tree Fuzzy Room

I would like to thank everyone who purchased one of the Elvis treasures I brought out from the Fuzzy Room and offered for sale. The three T-shirts were the last to go earlier this week. Next week I will show more items from the Fuzzy Room. Here’s a little tease – a set of Elvis Presley Salt and Pepper Shakers with a 50s look. Bet you haven’t seen these before.

Elvis Salt and Pepper Shakers

 

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis and National Donut Day

National Donut day

By now you have probably heard that Friday, June 1 has been proclaimed National Donut Day.  To join in the celebration, I would like to repeat an ElvisBlog post from 2012 with a little updating.

 

Elvis and Southern Maid Donuts

 

Most serious Elvis fans know he did only one advertisement during his career. It was for one of his favorite food items – donuts. Elvis recorded a radio jingle for Southern Maid Donuts.

Hot Hot Hot Southern Made Donuts

 

Elvis’ association with Southern Maid Donuts started when he began regular appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA, in October 1954.

 

Elvis performing at the Louisiana Hayride

Elvis performing at the Louisiana Hayride

 

Elvis frequented The Southern Maid Donut store in town, getting an early foundation for his well-publicized lifetime affinity for donuts, especially jelly donuts.

Box of Southern Made Donuts

 

Southern Maid Donuts began in Dallas, Texas in 1937, and the total of company-owned or licensed stores now exceeds 100. The Southern Maid name came about because the founders wanted a name that encompassed humble southern traditions, memories, and feelings.

Southern Made Sign on Stage at Hayride

 

The Louisiana Hayride was a perfect venue for marketing their product, and Southern Maid Donuts provided large sponsorship on the show’s radio broadcasts for several years. The radio spots featured a strange little jingle that deserves some explanation.

 

Hot Donuts at Southern Made

 

One of Southern Maid Donuts claims to fame is the sign above their stores with giant red neon letters lighting up the night sky — HOT, HOT, HOT. The stores sell donuts, éclairs, bear claws, apple fritters and other goodies all day long, starting at 6AM. But after 4PM, you can order a box of twelve glazed donuts made especially for you and served to you piping hot. Southern Maid Donuts have no preservatives. They are made to be eaten HOT, not saved for later. If you want hot, light-textured donuts that literally melt in your mouth, these are hard to beat.

Neon Sign at Southern Made

 

So, it follows that their radio jingle was:

You can get them piping hot after 4PM,
you can get them piping hot,
Southern Maid Donuts hit the spot,
you can get them piping hot after 4PM.

 

A number of Louisiana Hayride performers sang the jingle, including Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, and Johnny Horton. Elvis’ version aired on November 6, 1954.

 

To my knowledge, there is no remaining copy of Elvis singing the Southern Maid Donut jingle. I wonder what that would be worth if it ever did surface. A caller on George Klein’s radio show said that he had obtained the commercial in 2009. If so, why hasn’t it been aired by now?

In a comment to the original post, reader Kelly said:

“The caller’s name is Scott Tubbs from Shreveport. He used to work for Forost Dairy, a local milk company back in 1997. At that time, Mr. Tubbs did not know the importance of the jingle. He did in fact obtain the tape from a ex-employee of Sothern Maid, but she was later fired for selling it to him as it did not belong to her. As I understand it a court battle for it pursued . Mr. Tubbs was invited to join George Kline on his radio show when he was visiting his TWO sets of twins who live in Crodova, TN.”

 

Johnny Cash -- Southern Maid Jingle

 

For some reason, the Johnny Cash version of the jingle was preserved, and it can be heard on the CDs, The Best of the Louisiana Hayride, Volume 4, and Johnny Cash: Hayride Anthology. In another comment to the original post, according to reader Mark,

“Unfortunately’ the recorded Johnny Cash ”Southern Maid Donuts” commercial on the Louisiana Hayride is just Johnny ”talking” about the donuts — no jingle is sung!”

 

Donut Worry, Be Happy

.

 

© 2018  Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 5

Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon with1956 Messerschmitt KR200

It’s been two months since I last posted a review of Elvis photos that I’ve recently discovered on the internet. So, let’s do it again, and hope no Photoshopped images slip in. I know the one above is for real. Isn’t that a great picture of Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon? It was cropped from a larger 1956 shot showing the whole odd car and an old man.

Elvis in 1956 Messerschmitt KR200

There they are. The car is a 1956 Messerschmitt KR200, a three-wheeled, two-seated microcar. One website says Elvis owned and drove the car for at least a year, before trading it to Memphis clothes store owner Bernard Lansky in return for a three-hour shopping spree in 1957. Another website says Bernard’s brother Guy bought the car. My guess is that Elvis never drove it again once he started buying Cadillacs.

 

Elvis and Horses

I believe this was taken on the set of Love Me Tender. Looks like the horses wanted to be in the picture. Let me know the next time you see another Elvis photo showing armpit sweat. There can’t be many out there.

 

Elvis in Deep Thought

This post had no tag on this, so can anybody place it? Obviously a movie set. Elvis sure is in deep thought.

 

Elvis Mobbed by Fans

Did Elvis have it good, or what? The girls fawned all over him. Elvis looks pretty amused by the whole thing.

 

Elvis is crowned

Elvis is being crowned, but there was no info with the posting. I wish it was a picture of him alone, wearing the crown. Does anybody know anything about this one? If so, please post them on Comments.

 

Elvis - sitting in the audience watching Tom Jones at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV-- 9-3-1974

Isn’t this a great shot? I love the shading effect. It looks like the work of a professional photographer, but it could have been just be a lucky shot by a fan in the audience who caught Elvis looking up to watch Tom Jones at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV, September 3, 1974.

 

When Elvis Presley was across the street from Lauderdale Courts

This is a fan photo taken when Elvis lived at Lauderdale Courts. Is that a sleeveless shirt Elvis is wearing? What’s the strap around his ribs?

 

Young Elvis and girl

It’s pretty rare when a new picture of teenaged Elvis pops up. This young lady was so thrilled with the snapshot that she kept it in her blue-jeans pocket for weeks –  with obvious results.

 

Elvis Presley Boston Garden November 10, 1971 8.30 pm Boston, MA.

Here is a shot of Elvis from behind while performing at the Boston Garden, November 10, 1971.

 

Young Elvis in Swim Trunks

Young Elvis in a swim trunks. He filled out one much better in Blue Hawaii in 1962. I’ve got some more pics of him waterskiing at a young age that we’ll review next time.

 

Scotty, Elvis, and Bill

We all have seen many photos with Elvis, Scotty, and Bill together. Have you ever seen this one? Does Elvis’ clothing give any clue where it was shot? Bill Black looks a bit like Brad Pitt, doesn’t he?

 

Closest Haircut On Elvis

With the exception of his Army induction haircut, this is the closest cropped I’ve ever seen Elvis.

 

Elvis mother with a donkey at Graceland

The tag on this was “Elvis mother with a donkey at Graceland.” I guess that could be right because they had so many acres originally. You can notice a little smile on Gladys’ face. I wish there were more photos of her smiling. They’re pretty rare.

 

Elvis kissing his mom Gladys goodbye before deployment to Germany.

Here’s a shot that had a tag under it saying Elvis is hanging out of a troop train window and kissing his mom goodbye just before deployment to Germany. Alert reader Jo advised that it couldn’t be Gladys because she was already dead by the time he took the train to NY and embarked on the SS Randall for Germany. Jo says the train made a stop in Memphis and that’s why George Klein is in the picture.  The woman is a fan.

 

Elvis chatting with fans at the Graceland gates.

I believe this would be inside the Graceland wall. Elvis probably had the gatekeeper let in some pretty girls to chat with him. Along with Alan Fortas and Joe Esposito, at least that’s what the tag says. I’m not so sure. Any clues?

 

Young Elvis wiith Sandy Hair - 2

All Elvis fans know his real hair color was a sandy brown. I found three shots recently showing him before he started dying it black.

 

Young Elvis with Sandy Hair - 3

This one is a colorized version of a shot snapped on  August 7, 1954 when Elvis first played The Eagles Nest in Memphis.  Looks like they got the hair color about right.

 

Elvis with Sandy Hair - 1

At first I thought this was Elvis playing Jodie Tatum in Kissin’ Cousins, but that was filmed in 1964 when he was 29. He doesn’t look that old here.

Elvis Playing Jody Tatum in Kissing Cousins

This is a clip from the movie. But look at the big cigar in the first pic. Elvis didn’t smoke them as a teenager, did he?

 

Elvis Presley On The Set Of Loving You 1957

The tag on Pinterest said it was taken on the set of Loving You in 1957. Otherwise, you’d think it was a Photoshopped picture. Either way, it’s a very strange one.

 

 

© 2018 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.

A Look at Elvis’ Taste in Hats

Elvis - Black Fedora

Last week we looked at a bunch of Elvis baseball caps available at GracelandOfficialStore.com, and it generated a lot of comment. Some folks even sent pictures of other caps they like. We’ll look at a few of the comments next time as part of Mini-Nuggets.

At the end last week’s post I said we would next cover the hats Elvis actually wore in his personal life. I really researched deep, especially in his younger years, and there were no real photos of him wearing a baseball cap. None. The best I could find was this:

Elvis Wearing Baseball Cap at Concert-1976

This is obviously Elvis performing on stage in a jumpsuit. The tag said 1976. So the best guess is that somebody threw it up onstage and Elvis put it on. If anybody has a different photo of Elvis wearing a baseball cap please send it to me at philarnold@charter.net.

 

The first photo in this article shows Elvis’ favorite style of headgear — snappy, narrow-brimmed Trilby and Fedora hats.

Elvis wearing Trilby Hat

Trilby hats have very narrow brims, like this one. Wikipedia says the trilby was once viewed as the rich man’s favored hat; it is sometimes called the “brown trilby” in Britain and was frequently seen at the horse races

In her book Elvis Style, author Zoey Goto reports that Elvis purchased his extensive collection of headwear from Baltimore Beaver, Resistol, Oleg Cassini, and Lansky Brothers.

 

Elvis in Fedora

Sorry this one is so blurry.

 

Elvis in Caddy, Weatring Fedora

Elvis looks sharp in his Caddy wearing this fedora.

 

Elvis Posing wearing Fedora hat

The first thing you notice is Elvis’ cool pose; then it looks like he is singing to a shower door. The hat is perfect in this shot.

 

Elvis Black Leather Hat sold for $2,151

This is a black leather fedora that Elvis owned. It sold at auction a few years ago for $2,150.

 

Elvis also liked motorcycle hats and the very similar boat captain’s hat.

Elvis in Motorcycle Hat

This is the same hat Elvis wore in the famous Al Wertheimer Harley photo.

 

Elvis in Boat Captain's Hat

I don’t know if this was snapped on a movie set or in private time.

 

Priscilla and Elvis wearing a Police cap

Is that a police hat? Priscilla looks pretty good, doesn’t she?

 

Priscilla Wearing a Baseball Cap

Whoa. Here she is wearing a baseball cap. I don’t know the year on this one. Help, anybody?

 

Elvis Wearing Two Army Hats

If you look close at this one, Elvis appears to be wearing two Army hats. Looks like it was pretty cold for maneuvers that day.

 

Elvis wearing Double Army Hats

He’s definitely wearing two in this shot.

 

Next week we will see some reader comments on Elvis baseball caps and look at the hats Elvis wore when he was fooling around.

 

 

© 2018 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.

 

Caption Contest Results and a Little History on the TV Elvis Shot

Elvis and Anita Wood Close-up for Caption Contest

There weren’t as many replies as expected to the caption contest last weekend. The idea was to come up with what Elvis and Anita Wood were thinking in the shot above.

Reader Tracy:

Anita:   Elvis My Darling, I will think of You every night when I go to bed!
Elvis:    Honey, If You Do, You Won’t Sleep!!

Reader Nancy:

Anita:  Marry me
Elvis:  If only you were 14

Reader Isabelle:

Anita: Take the helmet from your hair
Shake it loose, let it fall
Lay it soft against my skin
Like the shadow on the wall

Elvis: Come and lay down by my side
Till the early morning light
All I’m taking is your time
Help me make it through the night

Reader Leon’a:

Anita: ”I promise Baby, I’ll write you every day.
Elvis: “You better, and I don’t want any of them to be ‘ Dear John ‘ letters either !!!!”

Reader Clementine:

Anita:. “Elvis, won’t you be my ‘Special Hound Dog’… Please Baby’ ??”

Elvis:…”Sure Baby, as long as you‘ll be ‘My Devil in Disguise!! “

 

(And here are the thought quotes I came up with)

Original Elvis Blogmeister

Anita: “I’m gonna miss you so much.”

Elvis: “That loser Robert Goulet better not be hangin’ around you while I’m gone.

 

If you do get the humor in that one, it’s because you know the story. But some of you might not get it, so it would help to hear about what happened — leading up to Elvis shooting a TV.

Color Drawing of Robert Goulet on Elvis' Shot-up TV

The best explanation is a quote by old Elvis buddy Marty Lacker in an interview he did with www.elvisinfonet.com:

“Elvis harbored some bad feelings about Goulet from back in the late 50s when he was in the Army. Elvis’ girlfriend Anita Wood was a singer and she did shows with Goulet and Buddy Hackett. Anita would often write Elvis in Germany, and one time Goulet added a postscript to one of them telling Elvis in a sly way that he was personally taking care of Anita. Elvis didn’t like that and he never forgot, so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out.”

No wonder Elvis got mad. He’s overseas in the Army and gets a letter from his girlfriend Anita Wood back home, but slimy Robert Goulet writes on the bottom something like, “Don’t worry, Elvis, I’ll take care of Anita while you are gone.”

Not only did Elvis mad, he carried that grudge against Robert Goulet for years. Sixteen years later, in 1974, he got a measure of satisfaction. It happened while Elvis was working at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. He was in his top-floor suite when he saw Goulet on TV. Elvis took out his gun, shot the TV, and (according to Allexperts.com) said, “Get that s**t outta my house!”

 

Photo of shot-up Elvis TV

 

The shot-up TV has had an interesting journey since then. It currently resides in one of the exhibits at Elvis Presley’s Memphis across the street from Graceland.

Elvis Presley's Memphis

PBS even did an online feature about the TV being on display at the new complex.

PBS Story on Elvis Shooting TV Mar 3, 2017

 

This was actually the second time the TV had been on display at Graceland. On March 20, 2006, It was featured at the opening of the new exhibit called Elvis After Dark. Of course, the items in these exhibits are cycled off and replaced by others periodically, so the TV went into a Graceland storage room.

 

nnie Leibowitz Exhibit at Smithsonial Museum Showing Elvis' Shot-uo TV

Then in 2011, famous photographer Annie Leibowitz went to Graceland and photographed the TV. It became part of her exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute.

 

So, let’s think about this. After thirty-two years (1974 — 2006), the Goulet TV shows up at Graceland. How did it get there? Allexperts.com reported:

“The TV is currently on display at Graceland. It was found a few years ago in the attic above his father’s office.”

Vernon's Office at Graceland.

It looks like a TV could fit the attic on the right..

Okay, Elvis blasts the Goulet TV in Vegas in 1974, and then has it crated up and shipped back to Memphis, so it could be stored in his dad’s office for thirty-two years. Of course, Elvis paid the hotel for the damaged TV. But it was junk, so why would it be saved? Was there any reason to lug a ruined big-box 25 inch TV up to the office’s attic?

Seems like a stretch, but maybe there’s more to this story that we don’t know that would explain things.

 

 

© 2018 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 Images Found in Archaeological Collections

1,800 Year-Old Roman Bust

In 2008, famous antiquities collector Graham Geddes of Melbourne, Australia, revealed his discovery of a 1,800-year-old marble bust that looked like Elvis Presley. The ‘Elvis’ sculpture is 2nd Century AD Roman acroterion – a kind of architectural ornament often found on the corners of a sarcophagus, a stone tomb or burial chamber. According to antiquities specialist Georgiana Aitken: ‘It bears an uncanny likeness to Elvis Presley. It’s the quiff that does it.”

Ms. Aitken made other statements that caused quite a commotion within the archaeological community:

“Looking at this face with its Elvis-like quiff, strong jaw and nose, one is inevitably led to the thought that the human face, for all its diversity and subtlety, has after all an ability to repeat itself.”

“Fans of the King of Rock ‘n Roll, seeing this face from the distant past will be forgiven for thinking that their idol may well have lived a previous life.”

This notion caused many collectors, archaeologists, and museum curators to take a second look at their collections and to do extensive searches in their photographic reference books to see if Elvis images may have been found in other ancient cultures.

 

A ROMAN MARBLE ACROTERION CIRCA MID TO LATE 2ND CENTURY A.D.

An even better likeness of Elvis was found in this Roman burial vault acroterion circa mid-to-late 2nd century AD.

 

Here are some of the other Elvis likenesses found in archaeological collections:

Adalaid, Australia – Cave Drawing – 300,000 BC

 

 

Luxor, Egypt — Giant Bust Sculpture — 2,000 BC

 

Belize River Valley, Belize – Cave drawing – 60,000 BC

 

Sultan Kala, Turkmenistan – Stone Carving – 1,400 AD

 

Florence, Italy – Bronze Bust – 900 AD

 

Pylos, Greece – Marble Bust – 600 BC

 

St. Lucia, West Indies – Wall Art – 1,200 AD

 

Iraklio, Crete — Giant Carved Cameo — 1,100 AD

 

Sagalassos, Turkey – Stone Tablet – 400 AD

 

Kyota Japan –Bamboo Wood Carving – 1,500 AD

 

Burial and Ritual Sites, Central Mongolia – Cave Drawing — 150,000 BC

 

Tiwanaku, Bolivia – Painted Stone Tablet – 1,600 AD

 

Moon Landing – Clue to Earlier Visitors — 1971

 

 

If you’re starting to wonder if this story is on the level, scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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Elvis’ 7 Day Journey from Soldier to Civilian

Elvis' Seven Day Journey

Elvis’ tour of duty of duty in the U.S. Army ended in March 1960.  However, getting home from Germany was a long seven-day process that included two military troop transport air flights, a secret limousine ride, two private car rail trips, and a special police escort from the Memphis Airport to Graceland. Here is a look at Elvis leaving the Army and going home.

 

DAY 1 – March 1, 1960:

The first of three press conferences during Elvis’ week-long trip took place on this day at the base near Bad Nauheim, Germany. It was the Army, not Col. Parker, who scheduled this one for the Armed Forces Radio and Television, and there were more than one hundred reporters and photographers in attendance.

Elvis Presley Discharge Press Conference March 1 1960

The Enlisted Men’s Club provided the venue for Elvis’ commanding officer to present him with a certificate of merit. It cited his “cheerfulness and drive and continually outstanding leadership ability.”

Elvis and His Army Certificate of acheivement

The reporters were allowed to ask Elvis questions, and here is his response to one about serving as a real soldier rather than as a Special Services entertainer at military clubs:

“People were expecting me to mess up. To goof up in one way or another. They thought I couldn’t take it and so forth, and I was determined to go to any limits to prove otherwise, not only to the people who were wondering, but to myself.”

I believe any objective analysis would have to agree that Elvis accomplished his goal.

 

(Editor’s note: Last week when I posted the photo of Elvis and former Sun Records office manager Marion Keisker, I did not realize the shot had been taken at this press conference marking Elvis’ discharge from the Army. I found that out researching for this new post.)

A highlight of the press conference was surprise appearance of Captain Marion MacInness (her Air Force rank and married name).

Marion Keisker

When Elvis saw her, he was overjoyed and excitedly asked her, “I don’t know whether to kiss you or salute.” Showing her sense of humor, she answered, “In that order.”

 

DAY 2 – March 2, 1960:

Although Elvis was later asked if he left behind any special girl, and he replied “not really,” the truth is that he showed up at the Rhine-Main airbase with Priscilla Beaulieu in the car with him. There is a famous photo of Priscilla waving goodbye to him that appeared in the March 14 issue of Life magazine. They must have figured out what was going on, because the caption read, “Girl He Left Behind.”

Elvis with Priscilla Before He Leaves Germany

 

Once on the plane, Elvis had plenty of other female attention. He entered the plane through a rear door and took a seat in the back to keep a low profile. However, the word of his presence soon spread throughout the plane. For the next two hours, stewardesses and the wives and children of other GI’s made a line to the back of the plane asking for Elvis’ autograph.

The Air Force troop transport plane flew from Frankfort, Germany to a base in Prestwick, Scotland, where there was a two-hour layover before a different plane continued the trip to the U.S. Apparently, the Air Force had made extensive plans for his short stay, and word of Elvis’ impending arrival had leaked out. Here is what the Scottish Daily Mail said about Elvis’ only visit to Great Britain:

“Hundreds of screaming teenagers drowned the noise of the jet engines when Sergeant Elvis (the Pelvis) Presley flew into Prestwick last night.”

Elvis shook hands, signed autograph books, posed for pictures – then bewilderedly whispered to an Air Force Lieutenant, ‘Where am I’?”

Elvis was allowed to speak to reporters for five minutes on the tarmac and then was whisked away in a staff car to meet the troops at the local NCO club. Next, he was shuffled off to the base Teenage Club for more interaction with young fans.

Elvis Fans get All Shook Up at Prestwick airport

 

Finally, Elvis and seventy-nine other soldiers boarded a Military Air Transport Service C-118 for the trip back to America.

 

Day 3 – March 3, 1960:

At 7:42 AM, Elvis arrived at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey during a driving snowstorm. The welcoming party included Col. Parker, already in full Elvis-promotion mode. He was accompanied by nineteen-year-old Nancy Sinatra, who had announced her engagement to singer Tommy Sands just one week earlier. The Colonel had signed a deal for Elvis to appear on TV with Frank Sinatra, and daughter Nancy’s presence was the perfect start to the PR campaign.

Elvis With Nancy Sinatra

 

Also present was actress Tina Louise from the TV show Gilligan’s Island, representing the Mutual Radio Network. A March 9 Variety article noted that Tina Louise was dressed in a “tight white dress with her bright red hair peeking out of a turban,” She made Elvis blush when she asked him, “Are you still going to use suggestive movements?”

Elvis Presley and Tina Louise at Discharge Press Conference

 

There were hundreds of reporters on hand to gobble up the news, as the Army held its second Elvis discharge press conference. The New York Times ran a front-page story of the event.

New York Times - Elvis

The article contained two quotes I find interesting.

“Maj. Mark Bottorff announced that Sergeant Presley had ‘behaved himself in a manner so to cast great credit on the Army.’”

“Tom Parker, the singer’s manager, said his client had a gross income of $1,600,000 in 1959. But Parker admonished: ‘Please state carefully the Government gets 91 percent in income tax.’”

So, the Army brass talked about Elvis’ great behavior and being a credit to the Army, but Col. Parker talked about money.

In their People section, a Time magazine article had two of Elvis’ press conference answers to reporters’ questions, including this nugget:

“Elvis, proudly wearing medals for good conduct and marksmanship, promised he will soon climb into his gaudiest working mufti [Ed. note: civvies], agitate his pelvis of yore (‘If I stand still, I’m dead’), and ‘never abandon rock ‘n roll as long as people keep appreciatin’ it.’”

Of course, the writer for Time magazine had no idea what Elvis’ gaudiest working outfit would become in another decade.

 

Day 4 – March 4, 1960:

Elvis was back on US soil, but he wasn’t free from the Army, yet. He spent this entire day going through the involved Army discharge procedures. However, his presence back home was enough motivation for Estes Kefauver, the Tennessee Senator, to read a tribute about him in the U.S. Senate chambers. So, Elvis is commemorated forever in the Congressional Record with this passage:

“To his great credit, this young American became just another G.I. Joe…. I for one would like to say to him, yours was a job well done, Soldier.”

 

Day 5 – March 5, 1960:

It was never reported if Elvis slept well the night before, but if not, his excitement at being discharged would certainly have been the cause. Finally, at 9:15am, the Army gave him a formal honorable discharge and a mustering out check for $109.54 (The TV appearance with Frank Sinatra would pay him $125,000).

Elvis Presley's Last Army Payday

Note the three stripes on his sleeve.

Elvis and the Colonel left the base in a limousine and traveled along a snow-packed and fan lined highway. Somehow, they eluded the press and went to Trenton, NJ, where they waited at a hotel for most of the day. They were joined by Col. Parker’s assistant Tom Diskin, Parker’s brother-in-law Bitsy Mott, and Elvis’ buddies Lamar Fike and Rex Mansfield. That night, they all went to the train station to board a private railroad car that took them to Washington, DC.

Day 6 – March 6, 1960:

In Washington, Elvis and his party boarded a second private railway car on the “Tennessean” line, which would take him home to Memphis. The train left at 8:05 a.m., and made many stops along the way. The Colonel had made sure Elvis’ private car was at the end of the train and included an observation platform. At each stop along the way, Elvis would stand on the platform and wave to the adoring crowds. He was wearing a specially tailored blue dress uniform, complete with white gloves. Somehow, either through error or perhaps at the instructions of Col. Parker, Elvis’ rank insignia gained an additional fourth strip, indicating he was a Staff Sergeant.

Elvis in Custom Army Uniform after Discharge

 

Day 7 – March 7, 1960:

There were a few reporters on the train, and one of them reported that Elvis did not sleep through the night. Who could blame him? In a matter of hours he would be home. Elvis arrived at the Memphis train station at 7:45 a.m.

Elvis Welcome Home

He mingled with the fans for a while, and then he and Col. Parker got in a police car for the ride to Graceland. The driver was Memphis Police Captain Fred Wollard, and Elvis received a full police escort.

Elvis Getting Police Escort in Memphis

When Elvis arrived at Graceland, he stood outside looking at it. He took a deep breath before going in. This has been generally interpreted as his reflection on his mother’s death while he was in basic training and his sadness in knowing she would no longer be in the home he bought for her.

That afternoon, Elvis held his third press conference in seven days. This time it was with fifty reporters in his father’s office in a building behind Graceland.

Elvis Presley Press Conference at Graceland March 7, 1960

The most famous quote to come out of this event was this:

“I just can’t get it in my mind that I’m here.”

 

(Editor’s note: I wanted to include an image of Elvis’ Army discharge certificate in this post, but this is all I could find.  It appears that  some Photoshop jockey produced a bogus one. I wonder why he didn’t put in the correct date while he was at it. The oval marks are mine.)

Elvis Presley- Discharge Certificate

© 2018 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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60th Anniversary — Elvis’ Army Induction

Graceland Blog - 60th Anniversary of Elvis' Induction into the Army

Graceland posted this two weeks prior to the actual anniversary date of March 24, 1958, and I’ll be a little early here as well. Their blog post is a good one, and I recommend that you read it. There are nine big photos and a short video. I had never seen the picture of Elvis sitting in front of the Christmas tree looking at his draft notice.

Other highlights include Elvis’ famous quote that the Army was “a duty I’ve got to fill and I’m going to do it.” I also got a kick out of learning that Col. Parker handed out “King Creole” balloons to the fans outside the induction center. Leave it to Parker to turn it into an opportunity to promote the movie Elvis had just finished filming.

 

Elvis in army - Lip Snarl

I’ve been collecting Elvis Army photos for about twelve years and now have hundreds of them. So, I’ve culled through them and tried to find the most interesting. How do you like him doing his signature lip curl while in Army uniform and carrying a duffel bag on his shoulder?

 

Elvis Company D 80th Battallion

You’ve probably seen this photo before, but do you know what “Armor” means?

Elvis in Tank

It means tanks.

Elvis on tank

 

So far, we have seen Elvis in three different Army hats. Here are some more.

Elvis Wearing Army Helmet

Elvis In Army Uniform

Elvis - Dec 17, 1958 Grafenwoehr exercise camp

 

Elvis was photographed with a lot of fans while he was stationed in Germany, but this one takes the prize.

Elvis and Four German Babes

 

Speaking of fans, check out this letter from three young Elvis Presley lovers. They actually sent it to President Eisenhower imploring him exempt Elvis from a G.I. haircut – “If you cut his sideburns off, we will just die.”

1958 letter to President Eisenhower about Elvis' haircut

 

And here is Elvis with his Army haircut and no sideburns.

Elvis with Sleeves Rolled up

Now, take a look at one of the lesser known photos of Elvis getting that haircut at Ft. Chaffee in Arkansas.

Elvis Getting Army haircut at Ft. Chaffee Barber Shop

Have you ever had some guy sweeping up your hair clippings the minute they hit the floor? This was arranged by Col. Parker who saw yet another promotional opportunity. He ordered that all of Elvis’ hair clippings from his Army induction haircut be gathered up and sent to his fan clubs. One lock ended up at the Tulsa World newspaper, and they used it in a contest. Winner Sybil Coughman completed this sentence “I think the US Army can make the best use of Elvis by…

“…letting him give hip exercises to the soldiers to keep them trim and in good shape like he is.”

Hip exercises. Yeah, the Army will surely go for that.

 

Elvis with Army Haircut

Here’s one last rare haircut photo. It appeared in a six-page pictorial spread in a magazine called Cool Hep Cats.

Elvis on Cover of Cool Hep Cats

This may be the only magazine in history to superimpose text over Elvis’ face.

Cool Hep Cats Cover with Printing on Elvis' Head

 

Okay, that was going off on a tangent. Let’s get back to Elvis in the Army.

You probably know that Elvis’ Memphis friends Red West and Lamar Fike travelled to Germany to continue their roles as buddies in residence. Elvis also made friends with two future Memphis Mafia members while in the Army – Joe Esposito and Charlie Hodge. Here is a shot of Elvis and Charlie in uniform.

Charlie Hodge and Elvis in the Army

They originally connected at Ft. Chaffee during Elvis’ four-day stay there. They shipped off to Ft. Hood, Texas together and also on the USS Randall troop ship to Germany.

Charlie Hodge and Elvis on USS Randall

Look at the white box below Elvis’ left hand. It was another Col. Parker idea, and guess what it contained? Dozens of playing-card-sized autographed photos of Elvis. As the tug boats began pushing the USS Randall out into New York Harbor. Elvis flipped the cards, a hand-full at a time, over the railing and they fluttered down to lucky fans standing on the dock four decks below. Parker must have had advance knowledge that the US Army Band would be present on the dock the day Elvis shipped out. So, he printed up copies of the music to several Elvis songs and delivered them to the band leader who in turn passed them out to all the musicians. Songs they played that day included “That’s All Right,” “Hound Dog,” “Don’t be Cruel,” “Tutti Fruitti” and others.

There were no John Philip Sousa marches to mark this occasion. Col. Parker really could pull off some good schemes to promote Elvis.

 

Elvis in Battle Fatigues Playing Guitar

I have four different photos of Elvis in his Army uniforms playing guitar. I suppose he entertained the guys during off hours.

 

Elvis Visiting Bill Haley in Stuttgart 1959

Elvis (plus Red West and Lamar Fike) were entertained by Bill Haley while on leave in Stuttgart, West Germany in October 1959.

 

Elvis Meeting Marion Keisker in 1960

Do you remember Marion Keisker, the studio manager for Sam Phillips at Sun Records who is credited as being first to recognize Elvis’ potential? She left Sun Records in 1957 and joined the Air Force. While she was in Germany as assistant manager of the Armed Forces Television Network in 1960, Marion Keisker and Elvis held a reunion

 

Elvis the Soldier

And one last look at Elvis, the soldier.

 

There have been two other ElvisBlog articles about Elvis in the Army.  If you would like to learn more, click on these:

Elvis in the Army — By the Numbers

Sergeant Elvis A. Presley

And next week we will look at Elvis’ discharge from the Army and his trip home to Memphis.   It’s only the 58th anniversary, so the Graceland Blog probably won’t cover it for two more years.

 

 

© 2018 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.

Some Elvis Pictures I’ve Never Seen Before – Part 4

Elvis and Lisa

I haven’t done one of these picture posts in a month. They are so much fun because they generate a lot of reader response. Just as a reminder, these are shots I have found on Pinterest, some with descriptive tags (often wrong) and some untagged. Ever since I signed up with Pinterest and set my interest as Elvis Presley, they constantly send me emails linking to new photos people have recently Pinnned. So, let’s take a look at some of them.

 

Elvis and Dolores Hart at set of Loving you 1957. She was the first woman who kisses Elvis Presley in a film

The tag on this one was very good: “Elvis and Dolores Hart at set of Loving You 1957. She was the first woman who kisses Elvis Presley in a film.”

Director Hal Kanter giving Dolores Hart and Elvis Presley instructions on how to do a scene Elvis Forum

This is also from Loving You. I love the caption on Pinterest: “Director Hal Kanter giving Dolores Hart and Elvis Presley instructions on how to do a scene.” Can’t you just imagine that Elvis is thinking, “Hey, man, move over. I’ll teach her how to kiss.”

 

Dan Blocker and Elvis

Elvis with Dan Blocker form the TV show Bonanza. How many celebrities do you think Elvis met in his life?

 

Elvis and Lee Majors

Here’s another one. Lee Majors was called a “blond Elvis Presley” because of his resemblance to Elvis, but his hair doesn’t look too blond here.

 

Bond, Elvis Bond

I know some of you readers hate Photoshopped Elvis pictures, but you have to admit that Elvis makes a great-looking James Bond. (My name is Bond. Elvis Bond.)

 

Elvis and Buddies - Two Unidentified Men

Here’s one taken on the set of Speedway:  Standing – Jerry Schilling, Marty Lacker, Larry Jost (sound department), Elvis, Don Sutton (Pitcher for the LA Dodgers), and Richard Davis.  Kneeling – George Klein and  Joe Esposito.

Elvis Eating Soup on the Way Home from the Army 1961

This shot of Elvis eating soup actually didn’t come from Pinterest. It is a screen grab I made from a video on YouTube. It was filmed in 1961 on Elvis trip back to Memphis after his discharge from the Army.

 

Sunday July 30, 1961, Elvis visited the park Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida, While filming Follow that Dream

This is also from 1961. It was shot when Elvis visited Weeki Wachee Springs during free time while filming Follow That Dream in Florida. These pretty girls played mermaids during the underwater shows.

 

Elvis Guitar Zap

Does this look like Elvis shooting some kind of zap ray out the neck of his guitar? I made this one, too. In a behind-the-scenes video about the filming of That’s The Way It Is, they used interesting tricks to morph from one shot to the next. It took several attempts, but I finally got the screen grab to look like this.

 

Elvis Sleeping

There was no tag to indicate when and where this was snapped. Some readers have stated this is actually Anthony Perkins and not Elvis.  Does anybody have definitive proof either way?

 

Elvis and Shadow

I love this image, and I sure hope it’s not Photoshopped.

 

Elvis Presley cutting Billy Smith;s Hair 1957

I know the Pinterest tag on this is completely wrong. It says,” Elvis Presley cutting Johnny Cash’s hair. 1960.” First, Elvis is wearing the western outfit from Loving You, which filmed in 1957. Second, this is not Johnny Cash. I believe it is Elvis’ cousin Gene Smith. Here he is with Elvis on the set of Love Me Tender.

Elvis - Love Me Tender on Set 1956

Looks like the same guy, right?

(Editor’s note:  I had originally made a typing error and called him Billy Smith.  Within eight hours of posting this, six alert readers made comments pointing out this error.  Sorry)

 

Let’s close with some reader comments from the last time we did these pictures.

 

Elvis Pondering Nashville recording session in April 14, 1956

Reader Dolores R commented, “Elvis Pondering — the photo is a Nashville recording session in April 14, 1956.” I checked the photos in the book Elvis Presley – The Complete Recording Sessions for this date, and they all have Elvis wearing this shirt. You nailed it, Delores.

 

Elvis and Big Tree

My friend Gerard Montz came up with a great tag for this photo:

“Tree Be Nice”

 

 

© 2018 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.