Category Archives: NEWS

An Elvis Fan’s Farewell to Merle Haggard

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis Album

By now you all know that country music superstar Merle Haggard died yesterday on his 79th birthday. But did you know the he was so moved by Elvis’ death in 1977 that he paid tribute to the King by recording an album titled My Farewell to Elvis?

Here is the list of songs:

From Graceland To the Promised Land
In the Ghetto
Don’t Be Cruel
Jailhouse Rock
Love Me Tender
That’s All Right (Mama)
Heartbreak Hotel
Blue Christmas
Blue Suede Shoes
Are You Lonesome Tonight
Merle’s Farewell To Elvis

 

Merle Haggard's Farewell to Elvis CD

In 1995, My Farewell to Elvis was released on CD with a different cover. Both vinyl and CD versions are available on Amazon.

 

Goodbye Merle Haggard. You will be missed. 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.

ELVIS meets NIXON

Elvis and Nixon Shades and Flag

We are about to see a flurry of promos and media buzz for a new movie about Elvis’ famous December 21, 1970 meeting with President Richard Nixon. It is titled Elvis & Nixon and will premiere on April 22.

 

Elvis & Nixon Poster

As a big Elvis fan, I really want to see this film; and I really, really hope to like it a lot. But I have some doubts. For instance, the guy they chose to play Elvis is Michael Shannon. In the preview clips I have seen, he does not look like Elvis at all.

Michael Shannon Plays Elvis Presley

So, what do you think? See much Elvis there? Maybe he looks better wearing an Elvis wig and shades and clothes.

Michael Shannon as Elvis

Sorry. To me he looks more like Evil Elvis living a parallel existence in an alternate universe. Or maybe Keith Richards.

To be fair, Michael Shannon has been in dozens of movies and is an excellent actor. In 2008, he was nominated for an Academy Award — Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the Leonardo DiCaprio/Kate Winslet movie Revolutionary Road. But he primarily plays intense, scary, bad guys, so why pick him to play Elvis?

 

President's Day Kevin Spacey as Nixon

The choice to play Nixon is perfect – Kevin Spacey. He is going great guns in House of Cards, and he’s excellent playing all those characters on the E-Trade commercials.

Kevin Spacey as Richard Nixon

My worry after watching an Elvis & Nixon featurette on You-Tube, is that Spacey will dominate the movie with an inspired portrayal of Nixon. That won’t bother the casual movie-goer, but we Elvis fans want our guy to be the center of attention.

 

Elvis and Nixon in Oval Office

One thing we can count on to keep the story on track is that Elvis’ good buddy Jerry Schilling is an Executive Producer of the movie. He was with Elvis on the trip to Washington DC and was inside the Oval Office for part of the time Elvis was with Nixon.

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling with Nixon and Elvis

Sonny West and Jerry Schilling between Nixon and Elvis

This picture was one of 28 taken by the White House photographer that day. The public is very familiar with the famous one of Nixon and Elvis shaking hands. It is the most requested photo from the US National Archives

The Official Photograph of Elvis and Nixon

To see all the photographs taken, click here.

Colorized Photo of Elvis Meeting Nixon

They were all black and white, but here is a colorized version of one of them.

Photographer Taking Official Photograph of Elvis Meeting Nixon

And this is the scene from the movie where they posed for the famous photo.

 

Elvis and Nixon - Historical Drama

The key thing to me in the heading of this article is “Historical Drama.” This implies that they will be playing it straight. However, the whole story of Elvis’ visit to Nixon is bizarre and surreal. There’s little drama to it. To me, the best way to tell this story is with humor, and, in fact, that has already been done.

Elvis Meets Nixon -1997 vrs 2016

The above composite shows this is not the first time a movie has been made about Elvis and Nixon. I absolutely love the 1997 version, and will devote the next ElvisBlog post to it. It is one of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen, and there are three You-Tube video clips that will show you what a great fun romp it is. Next week is going to be a really great post.

 

Elvis & Nixon Title Block

 

 

© 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.

 

Elvis and the Grammy Awards — Revisited

Grammy Awards

Something weird happened on ElvisBlog two days ago. I can’t figure out why, but I’ll sure take it. Thursday, March 17, 2016, will forever rank as the day when the most people came to the blog – 11,370 visitors!!!

 

ElvisBlog March 17,2016 Stats

This chart shows the ElvisBlog visitors for the past month. Look how March 17 dwarfs the others (which represent the normal daily totals of 700-900 visitors).

 

ElvisBlog March 17, 2016 Pages Viewed

My blog software showed that about 95% of the total came from searches for “Elvis won only three Grammy Awards,” which is the exact wording in the first line of a 2006 ElvisBlog article. The search results had the article, Elvis and the Grammy Awards, at the top of the list.

I did some research to see if there was something in the news about Elvis’ Grammies that would have sparked this spike in interest. I found nothing.

Then I realized a lot of todays’ regular readers might not have ever read the post from 2006, so I am reproducing it here. Several formatting changes and new pictures have been added to bring it up to the style used today.

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Elvis and the Grammy Awards

 

Elvis Presley's Three Grammy Awards

Most fans are aware Elvis won only three Grammy Awards, and that they were all for Gospel recordings. There’s a lot more to the story.

How could the King of Rock & Roll not win any Grammys for his rock & roll records? One big reason is that the Grammy awards did not start until 1958. In 1956 and 1957, Elvis changed the sound of popular music and had hit after hit. If there had been Grammy Awards for those years, Elvis surely would have won a cabinet full of trophies. There is no way he could have been denied the award for these categories:

Best Vocal Performance, Male

Best Performance by a Top 40 Artist

The same goes for his hit singles. An Elvis song would have been a shoo-in for Record of the Year in 1956 with choices like:

“Heartbreak Hotel,”
“Love Me Tender,”
“Hound Dog,”
“Don’t Be Cruel.”

The Album of the Year for 1956 would undoubtedly have gone to Elvis’ first RCA album, Elvis Presley.

 

In 1957, there would have had to be a winner in this list for Record of The Year:

“Too Much,”
“All Shook Up,”
“Teddy Bear,”
“Jailhouse Rock”.

Elvis’ Christmas Album was the definitive rock & roll Christmas album of the period and would have been a strong contender for Album of The Year in 1957.

 

Elvis was off in Germany in the Army when the Grammy Awards were created in 1958, and he had no nominations. However, the next year he received three.

 

Elvis Hit - A Fool Such as I

“A Fool Such As I” was a 1959 nominee for Record of The Year, but got beat by Bobby Darin’s “Mack the Knife,” a really huge hit.

 

Elvis Hit - A Big Hunk of Love

“A Big Hunk of Love” received two nominations in 1959. However, Nat King Cole won Best Performance by A Top 40 Artist for “Midnight Flyer” (I can’t say that I even remember the song), and Dinah Washington won Best R&B Performance for “What A Difference A Day Makes.”

 

Elvis Hit - Are You Lonesome Tonight

1960 was Elvis’ best year for Grammy nominations with five, but he was up against Ray Charles who was having a huge year. “Are You Lonesome Tonight” had three nominations: Record of the Year, Best Vocal Performance, Male, and Best Performance by a Pop Singles Artist. “Theme From a Summer Place” by Percy Faith won the Record of the Year, and Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles took the other two categories. He won a total of four Grammys in 1960.

 

Elvis presley - G.I. Blues Album

Elvis also had two album nominations in 1960, both for GI Blues. However, Ray Charles beat him again. The Genius of Ray Charles took the award for Best Vocal Performance, Male, Album. The Best Soundtrack Album award went to Ernest Gold for Exodus.

 

Elvis Presley - Blue Hawaii Album

Elvis had another shot at Best Soundtrack Album in 1961 with the nomination of Blue Hawaii. Ray Charles didn’t beat him, but Henry Mancini did with Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

 

For the next five years, Elvis’ priority was making movies, and none of his songs or albums received Grammy nominations

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Elvis Presley - How great thou Art Album

In 1967, he finally won a Grammy for Best Sacred Performance for the album How Great Thou Art, which sold over a million copies and reached #18 in the Top Albums Chart.

In 1968, he was nominated again in the same category for the single “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” but the award went to Jake Hess for “Beautiful Isle of Somewhere.” This was ironic because Hess had been a big influence on Elvis.

As the lead singer for the Statesman Quartet, Jake Hess made an impression on young Elvis at the monthly “All-Night Gospel Singing” at Ellis Auditorium in Memphis. Elvis particularly admired Hess’ powerful voice and unique styling. One year before beating Elvis in the singles category, Hess was part of The Imperials who did backing vocals during the recording session for Elvis’ Grammy winning album How Great Thou Art. In 1977, Jake Hess was part of an elite group of Gospel music stars to sing at Elvis’ funeral service.

 

Elvis Prslet - He Touched Me Album

In 1972 Elvis won his second Grammy when his album He Touched Me took the Best Inspirational Performance award.

 

Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis

In 1974 Elvis won this category again for his third and last Grammy. But instead of winning for a single or an album, Elvis won for the live version of the song “How Great Thou Art” from the album Elvis Recorded Live on Stage in Memphis.

 

Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

It should be noted that the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences partially rectified their earlier snubs of Elvis by granting him their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1971.

 

If you would like to read more about Elvis’ Grammy Awards, you can check out the Elvis Awards section on Graceland.com. or the Graceland Blog article Elvis Presley and the Grammy Awards.

 

 

© 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.

 

Living Like a King at the Guest House at Graceland

Guest House at Graceland Entrance

Last week we looked at the 430 regular one and two-bed rooms available when the Guest House at Graceland opens in October. Today, we’ll take a peek at the four choices in special, luxurious suites. Warning, they’re budget busters, especially the eleven suites on the top floor, nicknamed “The Upstairs.”

The first step up is the Living Room Suites, and all four of them have a courtyard view. Although they feature only one bed, their open floor plan is touted as the special attraction of these suites. They all have a view of the courtyard.

TCB Suite and Living Room Suites at Guest House at Graceland

It’s hard to tell in this rendering (and the reservations lady had no idea), but it looks like that might be the king-size bed behind the partition holding the TV. If that is the bed against the back wall, we can assume there is another TV on the opposite side of the partition.

The hotel website says there is a separate living room area, and you can see two chairs or maybe it’s a chair and a couch, plus a coffee table. Hopefully there is more seating that we can’t see beyond the area shown in the rendering. The reservations lady said the suite also included a Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator. I guess they are over near the bathroom, which is out of frame.

The cost for Sunday through Thursday bookings is $349 (plus $30 more for weekends, and that hefty 21% taxes). This compares to $179 for the basic room with the view. It seems like a big premium for a rather small living area. You certainly couldn’t do much hanging out with friends with so little seating.

 

Lobby at Guest House at Graceland

Artist’s rendering of the Lobby at the Guest House at Graceland

 

Next, we take a big jump up to the TCB Suites. Big price jump, anyway. The Guest House website shows the exact same rendering for these eleven suites as for the Living Room Suites above. The reservation lady could offer no explanation for this, and to be fair, she hasn’t seen any rooms yet, as they are still under construction.

So it could be that the TCB Suite picture is correct, and that there is much more space beyond what it shows. The website says it contains a separate living room with a sofa and dining table and is perfect for entertaining. There is no kitchenette to prepare meals, however, just the Keurig coffee station, microwave and mini-refrigerator.

Considering the price, we can probably assume there is much more floor space and seating than is shown. The tab is $549 plus $30 for weekends, and the taxes. That’s $370 more than the basic room. They will probably book out early for Elvis Week and other big occasions at Graceland, because they work well as hospitality suites. But, on the off days, especially in the middle of week, it’s not hard to imagine many of the TCB Suites sitting empty. Who knows?

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Now, if you want to do some serious entertaining, the choice for you could be one of the two Vernon and Gladys Suites. These look like party central.

Vernon and Gladys' Suite at Guest Guest House at Graceland

Again, there is just one bedroom, but surely there is at least one extra bathroom. You can host a lot of people in 1,100 square feet. So, there must be more space we can’t see in this rendering. The website says there is a dining room table, which we can immagine holding a big buffet spread of food. You can see the wet bar on the left. Needless to say, there is a view of the courtyard.

The décor is inspired by the colors in Elvis’ parents’ room at Graceland. What do you think? I think the lobby picks up the colors better. Scroll back and check it out.

Elvis' Parents' Room at Guest House at Graceland

The tab for a night in a Vernon and Gladys Suite is $1,049 (plus 21% taxes), so booking it for a few days will cost a bundle. Wouldn’t you love to go to Elvis Week or the Birthday Celebration and get invited to a party here? That would be so much fun.

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Finally, the top of the line are the two King’s Suites, one styled after Elvis’ bedroom, and the other with a Las Vegas theme. The hotel website describes them as luxurious and one-of-kind.

King's Suite - Las Vegas Style at Guest House at Graceland

This picture shows the Las Vegas design. The website says it features “a royal blue and purple color palette with plush fabrics and furnishings, vintage touches and contemporary twists.” I guess I’m too decorating-challenged to appreciate how this reflects a Las Vegas vibe.

That really doesn’t matter because the suite looks so great. There are two bedrooms with king-size beds, a dining room (visible behind the couch), and a living room. A separate wet bar is not shown. Naturally, these suites have a view of the courtyard.

So far, there is no rendering of the Elvis’ Bedroom option, which “draws inspiration from Elvis’ master bedroom at Graceland and features rich red and black tones with metallic gold and silver finishes and a custom draped canopy bed, with TVs overhead.” I’ll bet that will be spectacular. Because it “provides guests with an unparalleled opportunity to live like The King,” I predict it will be way more popular than the Las Vegas version.

The King’s Suites contain 1,540 square feet (that’s more than my first house with three bedrooms and two baths). They could certainly be used for entertaining, but I envision them as the place where a well-healed guest wants to stay in maximum luxury while on an Elvis pilgrimage. And he will have to shell out $1,379 a night to do it.

 

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

Artist’s Rendering of the Lobby Bar at the Guest House at Graceland.

 

I’ve been to Graceland five times in the last twenty-three years (four times were during Elvis Week). I’ve stayed at the Days Inn just down from the Car Museum, Wilson’s World Hotel (before it became Heartbreak Hotel), the Peabody Hotel downtown twice and the Holiday Inn Airport once. If I ever get back, I’m staying at the Guest House at Graceland. And I’m going to hang around the Vernon and Gladys Suite to see if there is a party going on I can crash.

 

Tip on Making Reservations.  The listed number is 800-238-2000, but this is the regular Graceland number.  To save time listening through the series of prompts about tickets, gift shop, Elvis Insiders, etc, simply push O,O,O. 

 

 

© 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.

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First Look – -The Rooms at the Guest House at Graceland

GuestHouse at Graceland

Back in July 2014, ElvisBlog reported EPE’s announcement that they would be building a 450-room luxury hotel in Memphis. It was be located across Elvis Presley Blvd from the Graceland Crossing shops and Heartbreak Hotel.

For some reason I never followed up with any additional news as construction went on. The photo below shows the progress on the Guest House at Graceland as of December 2015.

Guesthouse at Graceland under construction

We can be sure EPE had hoped it would be completed by Elvis Week this year, but they must have recently accepted the reality that it wasn’t possible. So, last Thursday they made the official announcement that the Guest House will open on October 27. They also posted on Elvis.com/news renderings of what the rooms would look like and what they would cost.

 

King Size Bed in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is the basic room for two people. You can see the king-size bed with two small night stands on either side. Between the bed and the window there is a chair, ottoman, floor lamp, and a small modernistic table with a square glass top. The rate on Sunday through Thursday nights is $159. For an additional $20 you can get a room with a view of the courtyard.

Pool Area at Guesthouse at Graceland

The Courtyard is this area between the two wings in the back. It seems like it would be worth the extra $20. The first picture above shows that the other rooms look out over the front parking area or wooded areas on each side.

 

Wide View of Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s a view of the basic room as you come in the door. There is a Keurig coffee machine and lots of beverage choices on the left. At the end of the room you can see the back of a desk chair at a desk with a Bluetooth-enabled media hub. The room rate for Friday or Saturday nights is $30 higher.

 

More Desk in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

This is a picture from the opposite direction with a better view of the desk. There is a smart-phone charger just out of sight. As you come in the door, there is the closet on your left and the bathroom on the right. There is nothing unusual about this room floor plan. Pretty standard. For $10 over the base rates you can get connecting rooms.

 

Bed and Chair in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

I like the jumpsuit picture on the wall. I wonder if every room has the same one.

 

Elvis Inage on Shears in Basic Foom at Guest House at Graceland

Here’s another image of Elvis printed into the window shears.   It copies the one on the gates of Graceland.  Very nice touch.

 

Bathroom in Basic Room at Guest House at Graceland

And here is the bathroom featuring a terrific looking walk-in shower with a Kohler overhead rain shower and wall-mounted body spray that features 120 jets of water.

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There are four taxes added to the room rates – state tax, local tax, tourism tax, and occupancy tax – totaling another 21%. Man, everybody gets a cut. So that weeknight rate for the room without the courtyard view at $159 actually costs you $192. And the weekend rate with a view jumps from $219 to $265.

 

Two Bed Basic Room

However, if you take kids with you and want everyone to stay in the same room, you can get one with two queen-sized beds. You get an extra chair and a bigger night stand between the beds. On weeknights (Sun – Thurs) the rate is $189 plus the 21% taxes. Just like the one-bed room, add $30 for weekends, $20 for the view and $10 for connecting.

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There is one more goodie you can add to your room reservation. For $20 per person more, you can have the Breakfast Package. If that is supposed to save you something compared to just paying at the restaurant, meals must be pretty pricey at the Guest House.

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 A price break is available to all senior citizens, whether AARP members or not. It is just $7 for the rooms with one bed and $8 for the rooms with two, but it helps a little. You can also save $15 if you want the Advanced Deposit Rate. But, if you cancel your reservation, you get no refund. That extra $15 in the regular rate allows cancellation up to 6pm the day prior, so if you make your reservation many months in advance, this might be good insurance to have in case of unforeseen circumstances.

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In addition to the 430 regular rooms, there are nineteen specialty suites, eight of which are on the top floor called “The Upstairs,” a name inspired by the part of the Elvis’ mansion we aren’t allowed to see on the tour – Upstairs at Graceland.

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Next week we will take a look at these fabulous suites what kind of money it takes to stay in them.

 

Guest House at Graceland Logo

For more information on the Guest House, click here.  (Disreguard the lobby picture. omebody screwed up.  That is the one for Heartbreak Hotel.)  To make room reservations, click here.

 

© 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.

 

Big E Promotion Violates Space/Time Continuum

Elvis Reading BIG E

This picture makes no sense. It contains Elvis circa 1957 reading a book that takes place in late 1977. I don’t care. I think it looks cool.

Plus, it pushes the message about my long range goal for BIG E and the SANTA MAN – to have EPE make it into an animated Christmas special on TV. With every book I ship out, I ask readers to email me back if they agree, and the results so far are awesome. Not only do they like the book. They also can’t wait to see it as a TV Christmas special.

The quote above supposedly attributed to Elvis reveals an interesting aspect of the story. Every fantasy needs to have some magic in it, and my book has it big time. The North Pole is not just a geographic marker. It is the source of many magical properties. Including one that enables Santa to fly around the world and deliver presents to all the children in just one night. And, some of the daring deeds done by Big E and Santa to save Christmas are made possible by North Pole magic.

 

The Beatles Reading Big E and the Santa Man

This picture is equally impossible. The Beatles of the mid-sixties cannot read a book that is published in 2015.

So, what’s the point? I must make an admission. The cover of the book declares it is a Rock and Roll Christmas fantasy. Fantasy writers have the liberty to create the world their story takes place in, so I decided to add an allusion to the Beatles in mine. However, I have found out it is so subtle that most readers miss it.

Therefore, consider this picture as a hint of something to look for in the book. Big E needs a band if he is going to make music, so he teaches three musically inclined elves how to play guitar. Together with a great elf drummer, they develop into a kick-butt rock band. And the name they choose for the band is the ELVI’s (pronounced elv-eyes). You can be sure BIG E and the ELVI’s make some terrific music. Have you ever wished Elvis and the Beatles had performed together? My book’s fantasy of this mind-blowing combination is as close as you are ever going to get.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover
Look at this cover for a second. The building is Santa’s castle at the North Pole. The workshop is in the back out of sight, but so much fun stuff in the story takes place there. The main elves are Gears, a mechanical genius, and Corky, who overflows with creative and artistic talents.

About half-way through the story, Gears and Corky realize they are attracted to each other. I’m pretty sure there’s never been a Christmas fantasy with a romance between two elves, but now in BIG E and the SANTA MAN, there is.

So, my story has a magical North Pole, an elf romance, and allusions to the Beatles. Plus other allusions as well. Dicken’s A Christmas Carol is one you might expect, but believe it or not, a popular feature of Star Trek is part of the plot to ruin Christmas.

If you are thinking that this all sounds like a goofy hodge-podge and couldn’t possibly be any good, I urge you to click here and read the praise from four early readers of the book. They are not my friends or neighbors, they are men of stature in the Elvis universe.

We are getting closer to Christmas and you should seriously think about giving this book as a gift, or better yet, a present for yourself. If you are an Elvis fan, you will love him as a real hero. Big E is everything you would want Elvis to be in a fantasy story.

So, please send a check for $10 to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr.
Greer, SC 29560

And I will promptly mail you a copy of the book.

This will not be the price when I bring the book back for the next Christmas season. It will be available on Amazon then, but my introductory discount will be gone, and they will add a big chunk to the price. There will be an eBook available next year, too, that will probably sell for less than $10, but right now you can get the real book for that.

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Big E and the Santa Man teams up the two most famous icons in the world for a thrilling adventure. You will totally love the most unlikely buddy story ever written.

Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

 

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister

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BIG E Has Entered the Building

Santa's World Cover

Yeah. Who is this BIG E guy, anyway?

Perhaps this excerpt from the back cover of BIG E and the SANTA MAN will make it clearer.

Author's Message

Where indeed? What could possibly be more remote and special than Santa’s castle at the North Pole? And because he is trying to start a new life, Elvis would naturally choose a new name. So, when he got there, he told Santa to call him Big E.

Okay, but why Santa Man, not just plain old Santa? We fans know Elvis gave nicknames to everybody. A few include “Satnin” for Priscilla, “Dodger” for his grandmother, “Hog Ears” for Alan Fortas, “Putts” for bass player Norbert Putnam, “Thumper” for Ann-Margret, and many more. “Santa Man” follows in this tradition of Elvis giving pet names to people close to him.

One name I won’t mention here is the evil villain who wants to ruin Christmas. He is someone you are already familiar with, and you will be very surprised when his identity is disclosed in the book.

 

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover

 

Because it is a Christmas story, BIG E and the SANTA MAN will be offered on ElvisBlog in future holiday seasons. By next Christmas, PayPal will definitely be available, and I now see that an e-book version is necessary to reach international markets at an economical price. But this year, I’m just trying to keep it simple. You send me a check for $10 (17 Canadian), and I send you a copy of the book. It will go by Media Mail which will take about 10 days or so.

So, get moving and send your check to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr
Greer, SC 29650

Buy this book, or I'll smash your house

Just kidding. But you really should want to read this book without coercion. You’re an Elvis fan, so you will love him in hero mode when dire circumstances force him into action. Your heart will be warmed by his close relationship with Santa and Mama Claus and all the elves. And you will marvel at his ingenious plans for beating the villain and saving Christmas.

So, how about it? Are you ready to order BIG E and the SANTA MAN?

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Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

 

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Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister

Serious Praise for BIG E and the SANTA MAN …….. by people of stature in Elvis World

The last promotional post for BIG E and the SANTA MAN was tongue-in-cheek, pretending that famous politicians have read the book.

Trump-Hillary-Biden withe Big E and the Santa Man

But some very real people with very real credibility in the Elvis community have read it. Here’s what they have to say.

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Jerry Osborne

Elvis collector, historian, and editor of:
ELVIS – Just Like Any Other Soldier
ELVIS Word for Word
Presleyanna: The Elvis Presley Price Guide

 

Website: http://jerryosborne.com

 

Jerry Osborne Books

 

Because Big E and the Santa Man is “A Rock & Roll Christmas Fantasy,” anything that can be imagined can happen … and does.

In the first chapter of this delightful little story, Elvis arrives at the North Pole to visit Santa and Mama Claus. He tells them to call him Big E. Ultimately, he and Santa are on a mission to see that all the presents get delivered on Christmas Eve, but a nasty villain, and his dreaded transporter beam, is out to sabotage the journey.

Of course both sides have their soldiers, good elves and bad, along with some very cool science fiction and futuristic gizmos. You’ll have to read the book to know how the battle ends, and more importantly, whether or not the presents get delivered.

I give Big E and the Santa Man a big “E” for “Entertaining.”

Jerry Osborne

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Alan Hanson

Elvis Biography Author, 
Elvis ’57, The Final Fifties Tours
Elvis Blog Creator,
Elvis-History Blog – http://www.elvis-history-blog.com/

 

Alan Hanson Book and Blog

 

Have you ever wondered where Elvis Presley is now and what he’s doing? Phil Arnold, the original Elvis blogger, has provided intriguing answers to those questions in his new book, Big E and the Santa Man.

It’s fitting that Elvis should partner with another cultural icon to combat the forces of evil and continue spreading joy to people of all ages. This book affirms what all fans of the “King of Rock ’n’ Roll” know to be true—that the spirit of Elvis Presley will live on forever.

Every Elvis fan, young and old, will enjoy reading Phil Arnold’s Big E and the Santa Man this and every Christmas season to come.

Alan Hanson

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Red Robinson

Legendary DJ —Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, 1995

 

Website: http://blog.redrobinson.com

 

Red Robinson Website and Pic with Elvis

 

Big E and the Santa Man is a fantastic world that Phil Arnold has created. Taking two magical characters and bringing them together works in this very imaginative story. Elvis always loved Christmas and I am sure he would have enjoyed this tale.

Red Robinson

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Jeff Schrembs

Elvis collector, historian, commentator, and blogger

 

https://theelvispresleyexpert.wordpress.com
http://www.elviscollector.info

 

Jeff Schrembs Website and Blog

 

Phil Arnold has written a witty and insightful Christmas fantasy… a good read you will enjoy this Christmas and each one to come.

In chapter after chapter of BIG E and the SANTA MAN, the characters, the dialog, and the surroundings become more vivid. The exchanges involving “Big E” convey Elvis’ mannerisms, his good heart, and his vocal Inflections, and in doing so breathe life into the pages.

I have often said that part of Elvis’ genius was his heart. His charitable interests and giving. His true caring for others. These qualities far too often are overlooked.

Thank you Phil Arnold for giving of your time and passion concerning Elvis Presley. And for writing this enjoyable book that is light hearted but carries a strong message. Take care and may God bless you always.

Jeff Schrembs

___________________________________________________________

So, there it is…. Positive reviews of BIG E and the SANTA MAN from four people of stature in Elvis World. If you had been skeptical before that the book could be any good, this should give you confidence that it is. You will love the book as much as these people.

And did you notice that all four reviews mentioned Christmas?  This is a Rock and Roll Christmas fantasy.  As I’ve said before, BIG E and the SANTA MAN is the:

PERFECT CHRISTMAS Present FOR ELVIS FANS

 

So, tell somebody you want this book for Christmas, and tell them to send a check for $10 to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr.
Greer, SC 29650

That’s right, a mere $10. I’ll get the book out to you immediately, and even with slow Media Mail service, you’ll have it within ten days or so. If you have any questions, email me at philarnold@charter.net.

 

Big E and the Santa Man - Cover - Smaller

 .

Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

PHIL ARNOLD

Original ElvisBlogmeister

 

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Even Politicians Love BIG E and the SANTA MAN

Donald Trump and BIG E and the SANTA MAN

 

Hey, if you’re not a fan of Donald Trump, don’t let that turn you off about BIG E and the SANTA MAN. The important thing is that you are a fan of Elvis, and this book is the:

Perfect Christmas Gift for Elvis Fans

 

Why? It’s a Rock and Roll Christmas fantasy and you can see by the cover who the hero is. Don’t leave it up to family or friends to find just any old Elvis something to give you for Christmas. Tell them you want BIG E and the SANTA MAN under the Christmas tree.

 

Hilary and Stolen BIG E and the SANTA MAN

You would be mad, too, if you started reading this book and somebody stole it. You would want it back so you could find out who’s behind a succession of evil plots to ruin Christmas. You would want to see how Santa and Big E team up to foil these plots. You would want to learn about all of the North Pole’s magical properties, in addition to those introduced in Chapter 1.

 

Joe Biden and BIG E and the SANTA MAN

He’s not the only one who loves BIG E and the SANTA MAN. And the list of people who do will be really long after it appears under Christmas trees all over the country. You need to make sure you are in this group.

So, tell one of those folks that gives you an Elvis item for Christmas each year to send a check for $10 to:

Phil Arnold
159 Browning Dr.
Greer, SC 29650

I’ll get a copy mailed right away, and it takes about two weeks to deliver as Media Mail. As I said before, $10 really is a cheap introductory price and a bargain. For now, I just want to make it easy to get copies of BIG E and the SANTA MAN into the hands of Elvis fans and generate some buzz.

So, be decisive and get a copy ordered.  And be sure to let me know if you want it to be inscribed and autographed.

Big E and the Santa Man Final Cover

 

Thank you, thankyouverymuch,

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister

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Graceland West


Elvis' Graceland Looking West

Study this aerial photo for a minute. In the middle of the big wooded area is the Graceland Mansion and all the other buildings. You can see the swimming pool and the Meditation Garden on the left. Now look across the street. You can’t miss Elvis’ plane, the Lisa Marie, and the rest of the buildings of Graceland Plaza, home to the ticket office, shops and restaurants. At the far left end you can barely make out the blue Caddy in front of the Car Museum.

Current Graceland Plaza in Memphis

Here’s a couple of ground level shots of Graceland Plaza. Like me, you probably have good memories of time spent there on our pilgrimages to Memphis.

More Current Graceland Plaza

Well, soon memories will be all there is. EPE is going to tear the whole thing down. And wait ‘til you see what they want to build instead.

 

Memphis Commercial Appeal Article on Graceland Expansion

This article appeared on the Memphis Commercial Appeal website dated September 3, 2015. The key words in the headline are “files plans,” which means there may be a few snags before this becomes a reality. Here is what EPE is proposing.

They are seeking approval for a $30-35 million entertainment complex tentatively named Graceland West on 45 acres. According to the application to the Office of Planning & Development, the project will include “a car museum showcasing cars owned by Elvis, two restaurants, a soundstage, a retail component, and a museum highlighting and named Elvis the Entertainer.’’

Sounds pretty good, but where did this 45 acres come from?

 

Aerial View of Graceland Plaza and Land behind it

Let’s study another map. At the bottom center we see the current Graceland Plaza. All that land behind it used to be the Craft Manor Apartments. Some years ago, EPE purchased the whole thing, and as you can see, all the buildings have been demolished. So, EPE can build their new Graceland West complex there without any interruption of the business at Graceland Plaza. Things will get a little messy when the existing buildings are demolished to make way for a park-like setting with trees, landscaping, etc.

Graceland West Concept Plan

This drawing takes a little time to understand, but you will see a curving entrance road come off Elvis Presley Boulevard and lead to a turn-around area for the busses that move people to-and-from the mansion. You can see this entrance road has a gate, but what is harder to see is that a six-foot-high ornamental metal fence surrounds the entire property. There will be trees planted along the bottom of it fronting Craft Rd, but the view along Elvis Presley Boulevard will be unobstructed.

Now, see the grey area in the center. That is sort-of an open pedestrian plaza with sidewalks, benches, fountains, etc. Right in the center is an irregular-shaped building that obviously will house the ticket office and plenty of other stuff.

Around the perimeter of the plaza area, you can see a sprawling E-shaped building. And I believe there is one more building northeast of the central one. It flanks the entrance from the large parking lot at the top.

Other tid-bits of information in the news release included:

They hope to have it completed by October 2016, the same as the new 450-room Guest House at Graceland.

Total acreage for all the various EPE properties now is 120 acres. It started out with just Graceland at 12 acres.

Landscaping in front includes willow oak, tulip poplar and maple trees.

Memphis and the state of Tennessee will make $43 million worth of improvements to Elvis Presley Boulevard over the next three to five years. I believe this includes much more than just the section in front of Graceland.

“Graceland West” is not expected to be the final name of the entertainment complex.

Heartbreak Hotel will be knocked down. In its place, more parking will be added.

A 35-foot-high lighted sign will be part of the project. (Sounds like Las Vegas, doesn’t it?)

Memphis Commercial Appeal Article on Graceland Expansion

At this meeting, nearby residents gathered to listen to the President and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Jack Soden. He told them that Elvis’ memorabilia and displays will be moved across the street and showcased in a new 22,000 square-foot Elvis “career museum.”

“We’re going to move an awful lot of what’s presented in the trophy building and the racquetball building on the Graceland tour, which, if you think about it, we just kinda shoe-horned the entire story of Elvis-the-entertainer into what was a rec room and a racquetball court. We’re going to do all of that justice, the gold records, the jumpsuits, the guitars, the awards, all the things related to his amazing, iconic career.”

The new complex will include seven retail spaces totaling 30,047 square feet, at least two restaurants totaling 15,016 square feet, and an orientation/ticket building of 12,428 square feet.

A writer on elvisinfonet.com posed an interesting question: “What will become of the newly cleared spaces in the trophy and racquetball buildings? Will EPE seek to restore those rooms to appear exactly as they were when Elvis was alive, and then will visitors have to pay more to see both the mansion and the memorabilia?” You can be sure the answer to that question is Yes.

The Land Use Control Board gave its unanimous endorsement to the project on Thursday, October 8.  Now all it takes is vote by the Memphis City Council to approve. Looks like Graceland West (or whatever the choose to call it) is going to happen.

 

 

© 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.