Category Archives: THE MOST UNUSUAL ELVIS ARTICLES ON THE WEB

EPE versus OKC — The Battle over Elvis’ Planes

Elvis' Hound Dog ll

On April 26, Graceland.com posted a surprisingly brief news item.

“Graceland is pleased that an agreement has been reached for Elvis’ two airplanes, the Lisa Marie and Hound Dog II to remain at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis permanently. The planes have been available for tours in the Graceland visitors’ center since 1984.”

Pretty short on detail, and there has been no elaboration since. Lisa Marie had a little Twitter message the same day.

Lisa Marie's Twitter Message about Elvis' Planes

I guess the plan is to move forward with no mention of the battle that has been going on since last July between Elvis Presley Enterprises and OKC Partnership, the company that actually owns the planes. In case you don’t know the history here, Graceland has displayed the planes under an agreement that gives OKC an a specific percentage of the ticket revenue.

Things seem to have worked fine for all the years that Graceland charged separate prices for each attraction. Then, package tickets came into the picture, but you could still buy the individual tickets. Well, those days are over. You must now choose between two package plans, or simply see the mansion and nothing else..

Graceland Ticket Prices

These are two options on the cheaper  package. The only difference is that the top one includes the airplanes for an extra $5.00. The more expensive Elvis VIP Entourage package works the same way. When this set-up started, it effectively established a considerably lower ticket income for the planes exhibit, and thus, a big drop in revenue for OKC. Which, of course, they weren’t happy about. So, OKC called EPE’s bluff by threatening to remove their planes.

From here on it was like a boxing slug fest, with each side making moves to get the advantage.

First EPE countered their bluff by saying okay, get the planes out of here. Might have been a smart move. Realistically, where could OKC set up the planes and attract as many customers as they get at Graceland?

Advantage EPE

.

Soon, OKC announced a deal with Julian’s, the Beverly Hills, California, auction house to offer both planes, and they were expected to fetch between $10 million and $15 million.

Advantage OKC

.

Uh, oh. The auction closed on February 2, and nobody bid on the planes. Same results when they tried to sell them on an aviation website and eBay.

Advantage EPE

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3850 Elvis Presley Blvd.

Earlier this month (April 2015), Shelby County’s land use board approved a proposal by OKC Partnership to move the planes to a 5.3-acre lot at 3850 Elvis Presley Blvd, not far from Graceland. The plan was approved Tuesday, April 21 by the Memphis City Council.

ABC News Headline on Moving Elvis' Planes.

The approved plan called for the planes to be installed as an outdoor display and museum for tourists to visit.  And the news release said it would be up and running in time for Elvis Week 2015.

Advantage OKC

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To show you how feasible this plan could have been, look at the location of the lot in question.

Property for Elvis' Planes Across from Days Inn

The lot is across the street from the Days Inn that is just down the street from the car museum. I stayed there on my first visit, and it’s no walk at all to Graceland.

 

Aerial View of Graceland Area

This aerial view shows the property just to the right of the marker. Look above it and you can see the Graceland drive and the mansion behind the cluster of trees. A little higher and to the left you can see where the planes are now. So, OKC had a viable plan to move the planes, start their own attraction, and attract all the folks in town to see Graceland.

EPE had to cut a deal, or they would lose the planes. You can bet some hot and heavy negation went on, and now they own the plans.

Advantage EPE

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Yes, Graceland seems to have won, but the price had to be a lot higher than they originally expected.

Look at the aerial map again. Above the planes is the U-shaped Heartbreak Hotel. Behind it is the Graceland Trailer Park and a primitive tent camping area. In an ElvisBlog article last July, I speculated that if EPE wanted to move the planes to allow room for a huge entertainment complex, they might eliminate the tent area and put them there.

One other interesting fact came to light while I researched this story. There is another possible location where EPE might move the planes. Directly behind Graceland Plaza Visitors’ Center is a sixteen-acre property that used to be the Craft Manor Apartments. It has been razed and EPE has owned it since 2007. So the planes could be moved there as part of some new development.  Like Lisa cryptically said, “We own them and have fun plans 4 them.”

Overhead Shot of Elvis' Planes in Current Location

Or the planes might stay right where they are. Either way, the fans win.

 

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

 

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What’s An Elvis Autograph Worth — Part 5

Elvis Autograph Sample

It’s been a year-and-a-half since we last looked at Elvis autographs. For some reason, not too many came on the market during that time, at least not at the five auctions I’ve followed – three Heritage rock memorabilia auctions and two Auctions at Graceland. What was for sale tended to be more expensive, partially because of the items Elvis put his autograph on. Here’s a look at them in ascending price order.

 

Autographed Fan Photograph (1965):

Elvis Autographed Photograph

In 1965, Elvis signed the back of this 5” x 4” b&w photo taken by a fan club president at Elvis’ Bel Air, California home. For some reason, the back with the autograph was not shown on the auction website. The signed photo went for $650 including the 25% auction house service charge. One reason for the low price has been noted here before. Photos, postcards, etc. signed on the front make a much better display in a proper frame, with matting, and non-glare glass, and they bring a higher price. With this one, you would just see the autograph on a blank piece of paper.

 

Signed Promotional Photograph:

Elvis Wild in the Country Group

The group of items above were part of a promotional package for Elvis’ 1961 movie Wild in the Country, when it had its national premier at the Malco Theater in Memphis. The b&w photo at the bottom left is 7.5” x 9.5” and is signed on the back. Elvis must have turned it sideways when he signed it.

Elvis Wild In the Country Photo Autographed -- Blow-up

This one went for $1,375, but certainly part of that value is from the accompanying eight-page premier program and the bumper sticker. How do you like that message? “Official Teenage Press Agent – Ask Me”

Example of How Presentation Affects Value:

Elvis Signature and Color Photo

See that little piece of white paper under the color photo of Elvis? It measures just 2.5″ x 2.5”, and may well be the smallest thing Elvis ever autographed. So, how do you turn this tiny item into something that brings $1,500 at auction? Easy, put it in a nice matted frame with a good Elvis photograph.

Elvis Signature Blow-up

Over the years, I have seen so many scraps of paper with Elvis’ autograph up for auction that had no attempt at proper presentation. Why don’t these sellers spend some money and make displays of their autographs. They’d come out hundreds of dollars ahead, like this seller did.

 

Autographed German Postcard:

Elvis Signed Postcard

There is certainly some intrinsic value to German Elvis postcards from 1959. Although Elvis’ autograph is on the backside, this went for $1,500. The auction website said another not-autographed German postcard was part of the lot, so that probably added to the total value.

Elvis Signed Postcard - back

The German text on the back is promotion for Pulverdampf Und Heibe Lieder (Love Me Tender). One thing I don’t understand is that the postcard front is rectangular and the back is square. How can that be? The auction website offers no explanation.

 

Signed 1956 Promotional Photo:

Elvis Signed Photograph

Well, this one is big (8” x 10”) and it goes back to the early days of Elvis’ career. Is that enough to make it bring $1,625 at auction? It was for one bidder. The auction description states that all four corners display Scotch Tape residue. We can assume the young fan thought it was more important to display Elvis’ face than his autograph. I wonder what the new owner will decide.

 

Autographed Envelope, 1955

Elvis Signed Envelope

You need to know the history behind this autograph to appreciate why it sold for $1.625.

The front of this envelope is postmarked “Mar 20 1955 / Greenville Tex.,” and addressed to “Carol Eldred.” The original letter to Carol is still enclosed inside. It is from Bobby Belew of the teenage singing act, The Belew Twins — two young brothers who performed around the South in the early 1950s, and who crossed Elvis’ path a few times at various gigs. Carol obtained this autograph in May of 1955 when she went to see her friends The Belew Twins perform at “The Big D Jamboree” at the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas. Elvis was also on the bill that night.

Carol remembers not caring much for Elvis, but when she saw him backstage while she was waiting for Bobby Belew, Elvis asked her if she wanted his autograph. She didn’t, but she also didn’t want to be rude, so she fished this letter out of her purse and the future King signed the back of the envelope for her.

You know it had to be real early in Elvis’ career if he had to ask a girl if she wanted his autograph. That soon changed drastically.

 

Early Elvis Autograph:

Early Elvis Autograph

This has to be the crappiest-looking Elvis autograph ever offered, but removing the piece of white notepaper to crop and display it would lose another cute story about how the fan obtained her cherished treasure.

The handwriting says, “Elvis Presley’s autograph. One Sat, Helen, Miriam Whipple & I were driving by his house & he was out on his motorcycle & we ran up and got his autograph. I touched him & his motorcycle too!!”

Don’t you love it? – I touched his motorcycle, too!! Also note that she misspelled Elvis on her first attempt.

The auctions website warns, “The note shows evidence of being well loved and admired by an adoring fan. The note has stains and folds and signs of tape and residue. Slightly torn and creased.” In spite of that (or maybe because of it), this autograph went for $2,000.

 

Signed “Suspicious Minds” Picture Sleeve:

Elvis Autograph on Suspicious Minds Picture Sleeve

This went for more than I expected, topping out at $2,250. The 45 RPM picture sleeve is in excellent condition, which certainly helped, but the auction site doesn’t mention whether the actual record is in there.

Elvis Suspicious Minds Autograph - Blown Up

I can see top value in an Elvis autographed picture sleeve for one of his 1956 hits, but “Suspicious Minds” was released in 1969. The auction site noted that the song was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as #91 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

 

Elvis-Signed Note to a Fan:

Elvis-Signed Note to a Fan

The supporting documents say Elvis signed this piece of lined notebook paper backstage at the San Francisco Civic Auditorium on October 26, 1957. I have no idea why nine people wanted it so much that they ran the top bid up $3,250.

However, it was sold at the second Auction at Graceland in January 2015. The idea of an Elvis-only auction held in Memphis on his birthday was brilliant, as almost every item sold for more (sometimes much more) than comparable items had at general Rock & Roll memorabilia auctions previously.

 

Signed Letter to MGM (July 24, 1964):

Elvis Signed Letter to MGM

This letter looks like it was typed by MGM Studios and included in the mailing package for the reels of Viva Las Vegas film sent to Elvis. Elvis returned it signed, and it and confirmed, “I agree that said print will be used by me only for my personal library purposes,” plus some other legalese. I don’t find it a particularly compelling collectible, but somebody did and paid $3,750 for it.

 

Elvis and Priscilla Autographed Print:

Elvis Signed Color Portrait

Back in 1967, a devoted fan, Marilyn Tittle from Ohio came to Memphis determined to see (and maybe meet) Elvis. She hung out at the gates of Graceland, ultimately impressing the guard with her perseverance. First, he gave her this 16” x 20” color portrait of Elvis. Then he told her Elvis and Priscilla were honeymooning at the Circle G Ranch, and he facilitated her getting on the grounds.

Elvis Signed Color Portrait - Close up

It worked, and Ms. Tittle got both Elvis and Priscilla to sign the portrait. A month later, she returned to Memphis with the portrait and got Vernon to sign it. I don’t know if there are any other collectibles signed by Elvis, Priscilla, and Vernon, but this one sold for $3,875 a few weeks ago.

 

Signed Checks to Red West and Jerry Schilling:

Elvis Signed Check Written to Red West, 1975

Elvis Signed Check Written to Jerry Schilling

These two checks were offered at the first Auction at Graceland on August 16, 2014. They were both issued to members of Elvis’ Memphis Mafia. The interesting thing is that the check to Red West went for $5,125, while the one to Jerry schilling brought in $6,250.

Why the difference? My opinion is that many fans feel the same way I do about these two men. Schilling was a true buddy until the end and waited thirty years before he wrote a book about Elvis, a very positive book. Red West wrote that hatchet job in 1977 that hurt Elvis deeply. I would be happy to display an Elvis collectible with Jerry Schilling’s name on it. Red West, not so much.

 

 

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

 

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Elvis Missed Out on National High Five Day

National High Five day - 3rd Thurday in April

Did you observe National High Five Day last Thursday? This strange celebration started in 2002 at the University of Virginia and has spread to a national event every third Thursday in April. We can imagine if Elvis was still around, he would happily join this celebration and give high fives to everyone he encountered on the special day.

Apparently there are no photos in the Graceland archives of Elvis actually giving a high five, but they still saluted the day with this post on Graceland.com.

Graceland.com Salute o National High-Five Day

That sure looks more like a wave. Well, I’ve got zillions of Elvis pictures, so I went through them to see if there was an Elvis high five. There wasn’t, but there were some photos of Elvis’ hands doin things at least as interesting as the one above. Here they are, with comments.

Elvis Spanking Troublemaker

You probably recognize this one from Blue Hawaii. I didn’t come up with the cloud comment, but it works pretty well.

 

Elvis incorporates levitating air piano to his act

I love this one. It looks like Elvis incorporates levitating air piano to his act.

 

Elvis' Army Physical

How about this shot of Elvis during his Army physical. Eyes up, ladies. Look at his hands.

 

Elvis' Face Covered by Hands

This doesn’t inspire any sage comment, so use your imagination to figure what Elvis was doing.

 

Elvis Writing Graffiti on Bathroom Wall

Oh, oh. Elvis writing graffiti on a bathroom wall.

 

Yarn Around Elvis; Hands

It’s hard to figure out why Elvis would let this woman wrap her yarn around his hands.

 

Elvis Helping a Woman Get in Jeep

Elvis is putting his hands to good use in this one, but the expression on his face is priceless.

 

Elvis -- Oh My

Here’s a caption: “Oh. Man. What made me do that last night?”

 

Elvis Putting A Spell On Guy

It looks like Elvis and this guy are trying to put spells on each other.

 

Elvis Shielding Eyes

Whatcha looking at, Elvis?

 

Elvis Getting A Shot

It looks like Elvis is about to get a second shot, and he didn’t have a good reaction to the first one.

 

Elvis -- Watch That Hand, Mister

And my favorite: “Watch that hand, mister.”

 

 

© 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.

 

A Look at Riley Keough’s Movie career

Riley Keough Modelling

Three weeks ago, I surfed the internet looking for information about Elvis’ first grandchild, who had just gotten married. I found very little about the marriage, but there was plenty about Riley Keough’s modelling career and her movie work.

Riley Keough Movie Credits

According to AllMovie.com, Riley has appeared in five movies so far and has number six coming out in May – Mad Max: Fury Road. Let’s take a look at them in chronical order.

 

The Runaways – 2010:

The Runaways

Riley Keough already had a successful modelling career going when she got her break in the movies. In 2010, she appeared in a small part in The Runaways, a film about the groundbreaking 70s all-girl band. She played the Marie Currie, the sister of main character Cherie Currie (played by Dakota Fanning). Riley’s character had to stay home and take care of their sick dad while her sister went on the road to tour with the band.

Dakota Fanning and Riley Keough

Although Riley was twenty at the time of filming, she was very believable as a sixteen-year-old in the movie. She would play teenagers in her next two films.

 

The Good Doctor – 2011:

The Good Doctor

Riley graduated to a co-starring role in her next film. She was very credible as a sick teenager in The Good Doctor. Her condition required a soft-spoken, often frail-sounding dialogue, and she was easy to accept in the role.

Riley Keough in The Good Doctor

The doctor turned out to be a real slimeball, and he eventually killed her. That’s not really a spoiler – you can see it coming a mile away. But, I won’t reveal if he gets away with it or not.

 

Jack & Diane: — 2011:

Jack & Diane

Riley also co-starred in her next film, and it was a bold leap into a radical role. See the dark haired person at the top of this picture. That’s Jack, a butch lesbian, played by Riley.

Riley as Jack in Jack& Dianne

Here’s a better shot. Talk about transforming yourself to fit the role. I must admit, I enjoyed this movie the least of Riley’s movies, especially when it veers off into horror movie territory at the end.

 

Magic Mike – 2013:

Magic Mike

Next, Riley took a supporting role in a big movie. She played a stripper in Magic Mike. I couldn’t find a clip from the film showing her, but here she is with the whole cast.

Magic Mike Cast

You can see that Riley is not playing a teenager in this movie. Scroll back, and see how different her characters look in the films.

 

Kiss of the Damned – 2013:

Kiss of the Dammed

I’m not a real big fan of vampire movies. This one confused me with the concept of good vampires and bad vampires, but Riley was neither. She appeared near the end in a minor part as an innocent foil of an older female vampire.

Riley in Kiss of the Damned

 

Mad Max: Fury Road – Premiering in May 2015:

Mad Max Fury Road Poster

Riley must be thrilled to have sixth billing in this new installment of the Mad Max franchise. It is her first role in an action-adventure film. Hopefully the crazy special effects leave her some room to show her acting chops.

Mad Max Cast

Riley plays one of the “five wives” that Charlize Theron’s character must transport across the desert.

Mad Max Clip 4

That’s Riley right on the right. She’s changed her look again, this time as a redhead. Here’s another look, with Riley in the middle.

Mad Max Group Shot

 

And one more look of Riley in a shot containing one of the less freaky-looking male characters.

Mad Max Clip 5

The trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road sure makes it look like it will be a big film, a summer blockbuster. Riley’s role in her only other big movie, Magic Mike, was very brief and she didn’t stand out. This time could be different. A credible performance in a meaty role could move her up in the Hollywood hierarchy of female actors.

 

Lee Jeans Ad 2011

If not, Riley can always fall back on her ultra-successful modelling career. Either way, Elvis would be proud of what his granddaughter has achieved.

 

© 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.

 

Graceland to Muscle in on the Vegas Elvis Wedding Chapels

Elvis with bible

 

Did you see this recent announcement on Graceland.com?

Graceland Presents Elvis
Part of it could be good for Elvis fans going to Las Vegas… if you bring enough money. “Elvis Is Back in the Building” refers to a partnership between EPE and the Westgate Las Vegas Resort. If that name is unfamiliar to you, it used to be called the Las Vegas Hilton, and it is where Elvis performed over 600 concerts from 1969 to 1976. The showroom he once dominated is now renamed the Elvis Presley Theater. From April 23 to May 31, it will be home to the “Elvis Experience,” a large-scale production replicating one of Elvis’ legendary Las Vegas shows. It stars Martin Fontaine and features 24 musicians and eight-member choir. According to the press release, “This critically-acclaimed production will take guests back to the early 1970s to fully experience one of the king’s sold out Las Vegas concerts.”

Elvis Experience

A little research shows that Canadian entertainer Martin Fontaine is a solid member of the top tier of Elvis Tribute Artists. He has been performing for almost twenty years, and has had an ongoing show at the Capital Theater in Quebec City.

Priscilla and Martin Fontaine

Priscilla took in his show last year and had great things to say about him. Here’s a shocker. That is Martin Fontaine next to her. He wears an Elvis wig when he does the show.

Elvis Wig

Here’s what he looks like when wearing a jumpsuit and the wig. He looks pretty good, doesn’t he?

Martin Fontaine as Elvis

The “Elvis Experience” will be a single show every evening Tuesday through Saturday from April 23 to May 31. Cheapest seats are $59.85, and the near-stage ones in those semi-circular booths will go for $93.95. So what do you think, will enough folks fork over that much money for an Elvis Tribute show to fill up that large venue five nights a week? EPE is hedging their bets. After this five week trial run, the theater will feature “other limited-run, Graceland-produced live shows.” Who knows what that means?

 

The other major feature mentioned in the EPE news release is “ELVIS: The Exhibition.” The Las Vegas Sun reported it “will encompass more than 28,000 square feet of the former Star Trek:The Exhibit space and include hundreds of artifacts from the Graceland archives.

ELVIS The Exhibition

Some of the artifacts include Elvis’ high school yearbooks, first gold album, 1957 Harley Davidson motorcycle, 1962 Lincoln Continental, 1971 Stutz Blackhawk, jewelry and stage wear, including the outfit worn onstage for his first concert at the International Hotel in 1969. Select artifacts will be rotated regularly with those in the Graceland archives to keep the exhibit fresh. Graceland-produced videos will be prominent, including a 26-minute retrospective on Elvis’ greatest performances.

The exhibit will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and tickets are $22, plus taxes and fees, but they are being sold only for the same five-week period as the tribute show. Why?

 

The Elvis Presley's Graceland Chapel

The last item in the news release really caught my eye. “Another exciting feature will be the new, “Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel.” It is also scheduled to open on April 23, but information on the chapel and its special packages will not be announced until later in March.

It is safe to say that this will put a hurt on the Las Vegas wedding chapels with an Elvis theme.  So, let’s take a look at a few of them and spotlight some of their unique offerings that might help them survive.

 

An Elvis Chapel:

An Elvis Chapel

I’m not sure how these folks got away with that name without hearing from Graceland’s lawyers. One of their packages includes an Elvis/Marilyn Monroe combination wedding. I doubt that the official EPE sanctioned chapel will do that.

 

Graceland Wedding Chapel:

Graceland Wedding Chapel

These clever folks have a package that includes dueling Elvises: You know, EPE might actually try that idea.

 

A Little White Chapel:

A Little White Chapel

See where the sign says 24 Hr Drive Up Wedding Window? We can be pretty sure Graceland’s Elvis Chapel won’t include that.

Little White Wedding Chapel Drive Thru Window

This window is inside what they call The Tunnel of Love. So, if you want to get married inside, it provides a covered shelter for your friend’s bikes in case of rain.

Bikes in Tunnel of Love

 

Chapel Bar and Elvis Shrine:

Chapel Bar and Elvis Shrine

This is my favorite. A travelling party bus where sixteen of your friends can join you for your marriage ceremony and reception. Then you get a tour of Las Vegas with return to your hotel.

 

Although the “Elvis Presley’s Graceland Wedding Chapel” won’t be doing most of this stuff, you can be sure they will attract a lot of business away from the established chapels in town.

Vegas Wedding Chapels

 

It does seem that Graceland likes to control or at least dominate all-things-Elvis. We’ve seen it before with the tribute artists.

Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest

 

Then came the auctions of Elvis memorabilia.

The Auction at Graceland

 

Now it’s the Vegas Elvis Wedding Chapels.

Hot Elvis Wedding Chapel Special Offer

 

What’s next? I have an idea.

Velvet Elvis

Velvet Elvis

 

I can just see it now: The EPE officially sanctioned Velvet Elvis Art Gallery

 

 

© 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.

Crummy Elvis Shit

Crummy Elvis Shit -- Elvis Blog

Back in 2007, I wrote an ElvisBlog post about Elvis’ 1964 movie, Live A Little, Love A Little. In the text, I used the words Elvis, crummy, and shit. They were in three different sentences in three different paragraphs.

Then in 2008, somebody Googled “Crummy Elvis Shit.” The Google algorithm went searching out in the internet for those three words, and it found my little blog article. Out of 6,330 results. ElvisBlog ranked #7 in Crummy Elvis Shit. I mentioned this strong performance in a subsequent Mini-Nuggets post. I didn’t know it at the time, but that section’s subtitle, “Crummy Elvis Shit,” would have consequences.

In 2012, I Googled it again. Wow, what a change. They now had over one million results for Crummy Elvis Shit. I wrote a post about this sizable jump, noting, “It would appear the worldwide supply of Crummy Elvis Shit had grown appreciably in four years.” I also bragged because ElvisBlog had moved into the highly coveted #1 position, probably because of that 2008 section subtitle named “Crummy Elvis Shit.”

2012 Mini-Nuggets Post

 

Well, curiosity got the best of me in March, 2014, so I Googled it again. The total results dropped a little, but were still over a million. The big change was that Google now had ElvisBlog #1 and #2 in “Crummy Elvis Shit.” Hey, we’re on a roll. Up we go. That old 2012 post (under two different URLs) had moved to the top of the list. So, of course I had to write another Mini-Nugget section to tell the news, and it too was titled “Crummy Elvis Shit.” I said to myself, “OK, Google, here’s another one for you.”

It worked. On New Year’s Eve, 2014, I Googled it again. Would you believe ElvisBlog now occupies the top three spots on their results for Crummy Elvis Shit? Did you notice that is also the title of this post? I’m not leaving anything to chance. Next time I check, I want ElvisBlog to fill up an entire first page of Google results for “Crummy Elvis Shit.”

Google Top 3 for Crummy Elvis Shit

 

Oh, by the way, Bing now has 7,350,000 results for “Crummy Elvis Shit.” And ElvisBlog has the top three spots over there, too.

What a great year.

 

Happy New Year from ElvisBlog.

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

Keep Those Links Coming In

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody 2

My family and friends all know I am a big Elvis fan and have been doing ElvisBlog for ten years. So, when they come across something Elvis-related on the internet, they send me a link by email. Sometimes one of these will result in enough good stuff to turn into a blog post. Most don’t. However, the four links I’ve received over the past month are interesting, so here they are all together in one post.

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Unchained Melody:

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody 3

How many of you have seen this footage of Elvis singing “Unchained Melody” on April 24, 1977, barely four months before he died? If you have, you’ll never forget it. Elvis was bloated, sweating profusely, and performing through a cloud of painkillers. And yet, he gave an utterly moving rendition of the song. A great triumph for Elvis.

Elvis Singing Unchained Melody

I’ve seen it several times over the years, so it seemed like old news when both my son and an old high school friend sent me links to it recently. However, there was something new. Instead of just the film of Elvis singing to his own piano accompaniment, the new video included two minutes of Elvis getting ready to sing. He and Charlie Hodge talked, got the coke cup put where Elvis wanted, fiddled with the mike, and other little stuff. Realizing the delay, Elvis asked the audience, “How do you like it so far?”

So, the plan was to give you readers a link to see this very rare video. Sorry, look what comes up now:

Elvis Video No Longer Available

Come on Graceland. Give the fans a break. We know Elvis wasn’t well when this was filmed, but seeing it won’t diminish him in our minds one bit.

At least they haven’t removed the shorter video of Elvis’ performance. Click here to see a video that has been viewed over 1,300,000 times. (However, I believe they show the wrong date)

 

CMT All Time Top 40:

CMT All Time Top 40

Country Music Television conducted a poll among the biggest stars in country music to find out what artists influenced them the most. The top influence was Merle Haggard, followed by Hank Williams and Elvis. Then CMT interviewed some of the country stars that voted for each of the winners. In addition to Lisa Marie, the artists who spoke about their personal Elvis connection were Wanda Jackson, Trace Adkins, Brenda Lee, Charlie Daniels, and a pretty young lady I’m not familiar with named Ashley Monroe. However, when she said she has “Elvis” tattooed on her hip and “Love Me Tender” tattooed on her back, I became a big fan. Click here to view the Elvis video.

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Could Elvis Be Alive in a Parallel Universe?

Sounds like a cover story on the National Enquirer, doesn’t it? Believe it or not, this is the title of an article on BBC online.

Elvis Alive in Parallel Universe

Instead of the article being an absurd tabloid story, this is actually a highly scientific tome talking about fast-moving protons and other boring stuff. They could have used anybody’s name in the title, but there’s nothing like another “Elvis is alive” theme to suck in unsuspecting readers. I’m not going to bother putting a link here.

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Your 10 Favorite Rock ‘n’ Roll Stars of All Time:

AARP  - Ten Favorite Rock and Roll Stars

Over the years, I’ve studied many varied Rock and Roll polls and even posted some articles about a few. One thing, I’ve noticed in that Elvis’ popularity (or his songs or albums) drops lower as the newer voters or selection committees are folks farther and farther removed from Elvis’ heyday. So, I was tickled when my neighbor sent me a link to a poll by AARP members selecting their Top 10 Favorite Rock ’n’ Roll Stars of All Time. I knew there would be no Lady Gaga or Foo Fighters in this poll.

Elvis Seated

I wish I could say that Elvis came in Number 1, but that honor went to the Beatles. It’s hard to see much in the little thumbnail strip above, but it shows the top eight (the first box shows screaming fans). The ten winners are:

Beatles
Elvis
Rolling Stones
Bill Haley and the Comets (obviously some real old-timers voted in this poll)
Little Richard
Chuck Berry
Jerry Lee Lewis
Beachboys
Buddy Holly
Everly Brothers

We can wonder what the list will look like when today’s twenty-somethings grow old and join AARP. I think maybe Elvis and the Beatles will still be on it.

 

I love discovering fun things about Elvis on the internet. Keep those links coming in.

 

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

 

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Graceland’s Elvis Pumpkin Contest Winners Announced

ElvisBlog Pumpkin Entry

No, this is not the the contest winner.  It is the ElvisBlog entry. Because there were actually three winners, the best I call it is the unofficial 4th place winner. Here are the top three:

Winner Graceland Pumpkin Contest 1

This appears to be carved on one of those foam craft pumpkins mentioned in the post two weeks ago (especially in the Comments). This medium certainly does offer enhanced design possibilities with all the variety of colors possible depending on how deep into the foam you cut.

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Winner Graceland Pumpkin Contest 2

I’ve got this figurine and several others, so maybe i’ll get an inspiration on how to use one without totally plagiarizing this concept.  I particularly like the hole in the top allowing Elvis to be lit from below.  Pretty clever.

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Winner Graceland Pumpkin Contest 3

I’m ambivalent about this one.  It probably isn’t up to the caliber of the other two winners, but it is certainly ahead of the losers.

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Speaking of losers, I have a photo file called Elvis Impersonator Losers (some are featured here). I think I should start one called Elvis Pumpkin Losers, and this group from the 2014 contest should be in it:

Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 1

How do you like the stem growing out of Elvis’ head?  Or the pink lips?  I always wondered why anyone would buy the fake Elvis shades with black sideburns hanging down.   Now I know.

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Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 2

OK, how about Albino Elvis?   Just love the hair.

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Graceland Pumpkin Contest Loser 3

So, maybe Magic Marker hair is even worse.  The blue suede shoes are a nice touch.

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Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 4

Is this Elvis or the Pillsbury Dough Boy?  With that huge nose, its hard to tell.

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Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 5

Another weird nose.  And hair line.  Interesting pendant and colorful collar, though.

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Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 6

If you showed this one to ten people on the street, how many do you think would recognize this as Elvis?

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Graceland Elvis Pumpkin Contest Loser 7

The mouth on this one is way better than the ones above.  But the hair?

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Presumably, there will be another Elvis Pumpkin Contest next year.  All, I can say is that hopefully Elvis fans will up their game and make better submissions.

Hope you all had a great Halloween.

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

 

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Long Live Digital Elvis

Reworking Elvis Digitally

Hey, what are they doing to Elvis here?  There was no narrative in the You Tube video containing this shot, so we don’t know the technical details.  What we do know is that some Brazilian digital engineers took Elvis images from the movie Spinout to use in a TV commercial.

Spinout Poster

That commercial was for fashion retailer C&A, which operates in Europe and Brazil, but not the United States.

 C&A Fashion Retailer

The ad is a fast-paced 30-second look at Elvis singing and kissing girls at a modern-day party.  The video’s director created a set and filmed beautiful people dancing and talking.  Then his digital team extracted Elvis’ image from the Spinout sequence where he sings the song “Smorgasbord” and placed him in the middle of the modern party.  The footage of Elvis came from this:

Elvis Singing in Spinout

And ended up like this.  Keep in mind that this was not just a single image transfer.  It was several seconds of Elvis doing some classic moves.

Elvis Singing at Modern-Day Party in Ad

 

Several other snippets from the song were lifted and placed in the modern setting.

Elvis Walking Past Girls with Guitar in Spinout

Elvis Walking Past Couple with Guitar in C&A Ad

 

Elvis enjoys a lot of fast kisses while he sings “Smorgasbord,” and all of them are transferred to other girls in the ad video.

Elvis Kissing Two Girls Sitting on Couch in Spinout

Elvis Kissing Girls on Couch in Ad

Here’s a shot from the footage they shot before Elvis was added to the scene. Each girl had to pose for their air-kiss with the right timing to match Elvis’ movements in the film.

Girl Air-Kissing Elvis' Cheek in Ad

 

A bit later, Elvis ditches the guitar, strolls over to two standing girls and kisses them on the cheek.

Elvis Kissing Standing Girls In Spinout

Elvis Kissing Dancinging Girls in Ad

Here’s a shot of the two party girls before Elvis kisses them.  Notice that they are dancing on a bench.


Two Girls Dancing Alone in C&A Ad

Then the images of Elvis jumping up between them on that bench are added.

Elvis Jumping Between Dancing Girls in Ad

The footage of Elvis doing this spin-around jump came from a different segment of the movie.

Shadow Elvis

It looks like they flipped it from left-to-right for some reason.

Elvis Doing Spinning Jump

 

The last kiss in the commercial is between Elvis and a beauty in a white dress.

Girl Coming Down Steps to Kiss Elvis in Ad

Here’s the footage of Elvis kissing Deborah Walley in Spinout.

Elvis Kissing Debrah Whalley in Spinout

After a little digital trickery, the kiss looks like this.

Elvis Kissing -- in C&A Ad

 

Check out how they posed the girl for the kiss.

Posing for the Kiss with Elvis-- C&A Ad

 

 

Now that virtual/digital/holograph technology has advanced so much, I think we will be seeing much more of Elvis in contemporary media.  That prospect will probably rankle some folks, but it’s fine with me.  The more Elvis the better.

 

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

 


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Elvis Scrapbooks — Part 6

Elvis Fan Scrapbook Cover

From time to time I acquire an old Elvis scrapbook. I keep hoping to find one started by a fan back in 1956 when Elvis took over the world. However, what seems to be more common are scrapbooks by fans who were motivated to start them when he died in 1977. ElvisBlog took a look at one of these in January 2014, and it contained fifteen pages of stuff plus two dozen folded-up newspaper and magazine articles in the back. That’s enough for two blog posts, so here are some of the more interesting items not covered earlier.

 

Elvis and White Slavery

The Elvis photos on this page aren’t especially notable, but the question-and-answer text is interesting.

Q. When the late Elvis Presley brought different girls to live with him at Graceland in Memphis, didn’t he bribe their parents with lavish gifts in a form of white slavery?

Whoa. Good thing TMZ didn’t exist back then, or they would have certainly dug up the scoop on Elvis’ white slavery action. Give me a break.

The answer did say that Elvis was an extremely and spontaneously generous man. Then it stated that Elvis did verbally promise Ginger Alden’s mother that he would pay off her $40,000 mortgage. But Elvis died before doing so, and Mrs. Alden sued the Presley estate. The Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the estate was obliged to pay the $40,000 and retire the note. You can bet Vernon wasn’t too happy to write that check.

 

Elvis Compared to Valentino

After Elvis’ death, it seemed like hundreds of articles came out extolling the legacy of cultural change he left behind. However, the writer of this Associated Press article tried to make it different from the others by including a comparison between Elvis and silent film actor Rudolph Valentino.

 Valentino

They were American originals — “The Sheik” and “The Pelvis.”

In the 1920’s, Valentino danced the tango on a movie screen and women swooned. In the 1950s, Elvis wiggled his hips on TV and girls fainted.

Valentino gave us slickeddown hairdos, the tango, and the term “matinee idol.” For Elvis, it was long hair, tight pants, and a remarkable new sound called “rock ‘n roll.”

A half century apart, Valentino and Elvis inspired audiences with the same magic. You might call it “sex-appeal.”

Might call it??? One other comparison the writer might have made is that both stars died too young. Rudolph Valentino at age 31; and Elvis at age 42.

 

 Elvis Photo Montage

This page was one of several where the fan had cut out photos of Elvis from various media and mounted them to create a montage. I guess you have to say these pictures have stood the test of time. Now, thirty-seven years later, most of them are familiar images for Elvis fans.

 

 Elvis at Guiness Hall of World Records

This scrapbook covers the period from 1977 to 1983. Based on the newspaper clippings in it, the fan who compiled it lived in Anderson, SC. She apparently made a trip to Myrtle Beach, SC during this time and visited the Guinness Hall of World Records.

Elvis made the brochure cover, and his world record was the Most Gold Records. Guinness also presented A Tribute to Elvis, described on another page of the brochure. The print is too small for you to read, but this tribute included:

One of his original cars
Personal jewelry – gold, diamonds, silver
Items from his Hollywood home
Stage clothing

And don’t forget to visit the souvenir booth.

 

 Hand-Sketched ELVIS 1935-1977

The bottom of this page shows five books about Elvis (three of which I own). The article at the top describes the feelings by students at an Anderson, SC high school about how they miss Elvis and what he meant to them. But the most interesting thing to me is the pencil drawing of ELVIS 1935-1977. It is on white lined tablet paper, and was lovingly sketched by the fan herself. The only thing missing is a teardrop on the paper.

 

Elvis ' RCA Camden Albums

Our Elvis scrapbook fan cut this full-page advertisement from SuperTeen magazine. The record albums shown were all on the RCA Camden label, a budget-priced offshoot of RCA Victor. These Elvis albums were released between 1969 and 1973, and primarily consisted of repackagings of his 60s movie soundtrack recordings and previously unreleased material. Can you believe they are still finding unreleased Elvis recordings today, forty plus years later.

 

 Newsweek Review of Elvis by Albert Goldman

I’m not sure why our Elvis fan included this 1981 Newsweek book review in her scrapbook. It covers the horrible hatchet-job done by Albert Goldman in his book Elvis. Certainly, any young fan who read how Newsweek characterized Goldman and his book would never buy it.

Elvis Presley seems to fill Goodman with nothing but disgust.

Never has a writer lavished such contempt on his subject’s life.

Like a smug Victorian imperialist, Goldman sniffs at [Elvis’] curious native customs.

Newsweek’s review mentions several of the depictions Goldman made of Elvis – a freak attraction, little cracker boy, a carnival of gluttony, and several others too nasty to print here.

 

Elvis by Albert Goldman

So, as a public service, if you are ever tempted to purchase a cheap used copy of this book —

DON’T

 

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

 

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