Happy Birthday Elvis

A Look at Elvis’ First Weekend of Each New Year

I have a number of Elvis reference books I use when researching topics for new blog posts. Sometimes I just scroll through one to get an inspiration. That worked for me this week with ELVIS: Day by Day by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.

 

On a hunch, I said, “Let’s see what Elvis did on his first weekends of each new year.” I tutnrned out to be a good idea.

 

1955 – 01 Saturday:   Change in Manager

Elvis performed in a concert billed as the “Grand Prize Saturday Night Jamboree” in Houston, TX. That’s quite a name, but nothing notable occurred at the event. However, January 1, 1955 was the date Bob Neal’s contract to manage Elvis went into effect.

Scotty Moore was glad to turn it over to Neal, who he knew could do a better job. But you have to wonder how Neal let it slip away into the hands of Colonel Parker.

 

1956 – 01 Sunday: No More Concerts at High Schools

By now Elvis was part of a Grand Ole Opry package tour headlined by Hank Snow and featuring Webb Pierce. They performed that night at a concert in an auditorium in St. Louis.

However, the next night, Elvis teamed up with Johnny Cash for a concert in Charleston, MS. Elvis was billed as The King of Western Bop. I looked up Western Bop, and Wikipedia had nothing, but Google had this:

The significance of this concert is that it is the last time Elvis performed in a high school. He was had already appeared in larger venues, so this must have been contracted well before his popularity exploded, and Elvis was fulfilling the deal.

 

1957 – 04 Friday:   Pre-Induction Physical

Elvis drove his Cadillac Eldorado from Graceland to the Kennedy Veterans Hospital for his Army pre-induction physical. Then he left by train to New York for his third and final appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show two nights later.

The Memphis Draft Board held a press conference to announce that Elvis was classified 1A and he would be drafted in the next six to eight months. He wasn’t inducted until fourteen months later, so I guess Col. Parker did a good job negotiating some delays.

 

1958 – 03 Friday:   Side Show Medicine Pitch

Back in 2005. 101 Strings released an album of Elvis songs done in classical fashion.

However, the idea was originally brought to Col Parker on January 3, 1958, and he hated it. He had a brash response to the RCA executive that suggested it. Parker said it sounded like a “Side Show Medicine Pitch.” I guess a classical reworking of Elvis’ music was a better idea after he was dead.

 

1959 – 04 Sunday: The Dream

This new year found Elvis in the Army and stationed in Germany. The time difference between there and Memphis may not have mattered to Elvis as he called Col. Parker at 5 A.M. local time.

But Parker shook off his sleep and ended up talking to Elvis for an hour-long chat. Parker joked that the call interrupted a dream he was having about Elvis getting an early release. I know plenty of female Elvis fans dreamed about him, but I doubt the Colonel did.

 

1960 – 08 Friday:   Planning for Life After the Army.

There was nothing noted in the book for Elvis’ first weekend of 1960, but the second Friday, Elvis’ birthday on January 8, was very interesting.

Dick Clark had arranged to celebrate Elvis’ 25th birthday on American Bandstand by interviewing him by phone from Germany. It’s interesting that most of the conversation concerned up-coming plans for after Elvis returned home. This included a recording session (that resulted several singles and the album Elvis Is Back), his appearance on the Frank Sinatra TV show, and his next movie, G.I. Blues.

None of this would happen until late March or April, but obviously, Col. Parker had the deals already cut by early January.

Later in the day, Elvis hosted his own birthday party in Germany. The gang presented him a trophy with a wordy inscription.

“Elvis Presley: Most Valuable Player.
Bad Nauheim Sunday Afternoon Football Association, 1959.”

I tried to find a photo of this trophy, but apparently one does not exist.

 

1961 – 06 Friday:   King Karate

During the first week of 1961, Elvis was in Hollywood filming Wild In The Country. The cast and crew through him a birthday party two days before his 26th birthday.

In keeping alive the tradition of weirdly-titled awards, they gave Elvis a plaque saying:

“Happy Birthday, King Karate”

There is no photo to be found of it, either.

 

My reference book had nothing listed for the first weekends of 1962, 1963, 1965, and 1966, so we’ll skip them and move on.

 

1964 – 03 Friday:   Picking Out New Wardrobe Items.

The highlight of this weekend was apparently going to Lansky Bros. to shop for new clothes. Elvis’ visits to Lansky’s were frequent and continued over a long period of time.

 

1967 – 06 Friday:   Elvis Gets Into Horses

On this date, Elvis supervised the renovations of the Graceland barn to accommodate his recent horse purchases. He bought a registered palomino named Midget’s Vandy, that he promptly renamed Rising Sun.

Although Elvis also bought Midnight Sun for his father and a Tennessee walker named Traveler, he soon started calling the Graceland barn “The House of the Rising Sun.”

 

This was fun to do. We will return to this subject again someday and cover the last ten new years of Elvis’ life.  I hope there will be less about Col. Parker in them.  I’m not a big Col. Parker fan, but if he’s a factor on the date, I’ll have to write about him as well as Elvis.

 

© 2020 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

REMINDER:

There will be only four more articles posted to www.ElvisBlog.net. After that, ElvisBlog will be sent direct by email to those who want to continue for a very low fee. Please refer to the post on December 14 with all the details. Next week I will start sending out PayPal payment requests to everyone who has signed up as an ElvisBlog Subscriber.

If you want to continue receiving ElvisBlog by email, you approve the payment request. It will have alternate instructions if you would rather send a check. And, if it doesn’t seem worth $10 to get 100+ posts, just delete the payment request.

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Thank you, Phil Arnold

 

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

Happy New Year

The End of a Decade — 10 Years, 10 Elvis Pictures

How do you link Elvis and the years in the last decade? By finding pictures of Elvis with text on them that includes a year – calendars, Elvis Week logos, Photoshop creations, etc.

Then you remove all the text but the year.

 

These stamps come from Mustique, a small private island that is one of the Grenadines, a chain of islands in the West Indies. I wouldn’t mind having a strip of these.

 

You may recognize this as one of the many calendars featuring photos of Elvis taken by Al Wertheimer. They put a bit of color into this iconic Elvis photo.

 

I like the use of an Elvis silhouette in addition to a nice Elvis photo on this one.

 

I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen this picture before, but it’s in my files now. I like the scarf around Elvis’ neck.

 

I cropped and deleted parts of the original to get this. Apologies to Sandi Fox. She does nice work.

 

It also took some clean-up here to result in this. I’m glad I could save the silver and blue swirl that compliments Elvis’ jumpsuit. 2015 is my favorite picture, so far.

 

In an ElvisBlog article about Elvis caricatures, I included a quote about his sleepy-eyed look. It said, “It’s the low riding eyelids… the confidence and control factor half-mast eyes seem to exude.”

Elvis had that going here, didn’t he?

 

How cool is this? 2017 is my new favorite, slightly ahead of 2015.

 

This is another picture I don’t have in my files. Elvis has got some big-time sideburns goin’ here.

 

You could Photoshop this one and have Elvis smoking a pipe. If anybody can do that, please send me a copy.

 

This must be a picture from “Love Me Tender.” Serious-looking Elvis.

 

While I was researching this, I found a lot of earlier years, too.  There will probably be other decade pictorials like this in the future.

 

 

 

And I hope 2020 will be a great year for all of you, too.

 

 

© 2019 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.

 

Merry Christmas

Christmas Eye Candy for Elvis Fans.

What a great way to start this post. How many of you ladies said, “Oh, yeah” when you saw it?

 

There are many paintings on the internet showing Bogey, Marilyn, Elvis, and James Dean together in scenes like at a bar or around a poker table. This is the only one that has Elvis and Marilyn in Santa outfits.

I guess the scene is a movie theater – one that’s big enough to have a Christmas tree and presents in it.

 

Technically, this photo was not taken at Christmas. But it’s nice to see Graceland in winter.

There’s no snow in this side shot of Graceland, but it does show the large manger scene.

 

The most common shot of a Christmas tree in Graceland is this white artificial one with red balls in the living room.

But the next photo shows how the Graceland dining room is decorated now. You can’t tell if the tree is real or artificial, but it is covered with a variety of lights and ornaments.

I’m guessing they wouldn’t showcase tree decorations that weren’t there while Elvis was around. Or would they?

 

I love the looks on the young elves’ faces.

 

I don’t have information on the creator of this Elvis as Santa picture. It’s pretty good, but check out a very different Elvis Claus.

 

This takes a little explaining. It’s the artwork for the cover of my not yet published book called “Elvis Claus.” We see an older Elvis with a beard that had turned grey over time. After years of avoiding contact with people, he ventures out wearing festive Christmas apparel, and the people who meet him say he looks like both Elvis and Santa. He adopts the nickname Elvis Claus, which eventually gets shortened to Elvis. So, we have Elvis hiding in plain sight as Elvis.

As for this image, it is the work of a great graphic artist. I picked out the Elvis photo for her to age, as well as the other one showing the hat, beard, and coat. By the way, it was a promo photo of Tim Allen in “The Santa Claus 2”

 

I gave this one a title — “The Elves Have Left the Building.”

 

I like the design and colors of this. I may use it again as the title image for a future blog post.

 

You will recognize this as the cover of Elvis’ 1971 Christmas album. It looks OK, I guess. But they also made a promo piece that blows up the Elvis snowman, and it’s not so good.

See what I mean?

 

Now, let’s take a look at some Elvis Christmas tree ornaments.

 

?

I think this is pretty cool. Years ago I cropped off the name of the creator. Now I wish I knew, so I could give her a shout-out.  Although it is not a real ornament, I think EPE would have a winner if they came out with a line of Christmas ornaments done like this.

Now, here are some real ones produced during the early days of Elvis’ career.

 

For some reason, quite a few early ornaments were a TV with Elvis on the screen.

 

 

I like how this one plus two of those above come with tiny rabbit-ears.

 

Modern day concepts are interesting, too. How about an Elvis T-shirt ornament?

 

Or a mini Elvis lunchbox ornament?

 

There’s a lot going on with this one. Elvis in front of jailhouse bars dangles down, as do the three lower things.

 

Not a bad Christmas wish list.

 

This image of Elvis in a Santa hat is done in a style called pointism painting. It’s different, but I’m not that crazy about it.

 

I heard on the news that yesterday (December 20) was National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day.

So, I decided to see if there were any Elvis sweaters out there with this theme. It turns out that there are over 20 ugly Elvis Christmas sweaters for sale, but most of them aren’t really so ugly. Next year maybe I could do a review of them, like I do for Elvis T-shirts.

 

I could see me wearing this one, except it costs $60, so that prices it out of my reach.

 

Elvis had the unique ability to joke around and still look super-cool.

 

 

 

Merry Christmas, Everybody

 

Phil Arnold

 

A Change is Coming

On January 31, 2020, ElvisBlog will celebrate its 15th anniversary.

First ElvisBlog post

 

During that time I have done 891 posts. Last January I made a commitment to keep going until I hit the 1,000 mark. I am still determined to meet that challenge.

 

However, it will be reached in a different way. After January 31, ElvisBlog.net will become a static site. No new articles will be posted.

 

Instead, I will be sending new posts out by email. There are currently 449 “Subscribers” who get a new ElvisBlog post delivered to their email inbox every weekend, sent by my blog platform . This is the way it comes in:

 

Well, I have figured out how I can do it myself. The formatting, the bulk mailing, everything. The appearance of my email blog will look very similar to what’s coming in now. You will be able to read it right there in your inbox or open it up as a web page.

 

As you know, I have attempted to generate a little income by selling my book and some of the Elvis goodies in my collection. I’ve made barely enough money to cover the expenses involved with keeping the blog going. So, I’m going to try something different.

I’m going to ask you to pay $10 to continue enjoying ElvisBlog for the next 100+ posts until I hit the 1,000 mark. That’s 10¢ a week.

 

 

Starting in early January, I will send out PayPal payment requests for $10 to all the ElvisBlog subscribers.

If you have a PayPal account and want to continue getting ElvisBlog, just approve the billing.

If you don’t have PayPal, just send me a check. The mailing address for alternate payment will be noted on the invoice.

If you don’t wish to be a paid subscriber, cancel the payment request. I will be sorry to see you go, but that’s your call.

 

For those of you who haven’t previously signed up as subscribers but would like to continue getting ElvisBlog by email, the first step is to put your email address the box in the top right of this page and click on subscribe.

 

I assume some of you will have comments or questions about this change. So, please send them in on Comments. I’ll be happy to see what you have to say.

 

Thank you for your support.

 

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister (2005-2019)

 

The Muppets present “Great Moments in Elvis History”

As mentioned last week, the elves in the Muppet Classic Theater DVD were dressed in Elvis-type garb and had Elvis hair. And all three of them spoke and sang like Elvis. The picture above shows the three Elvises making blue suede shoes.

For those of you who got the incomplete postings last week on my first two tries, you missed the video of The Elves and the Shoemaker segment of the DVD where they do their stuff. This is fun, so here are two ways to check it out if you haven’t already.

The full 9-1/2 minute skit:

 

The 5 minute edited version showing the Bad Shoes Blues song sequence and a bit more:

 

The Muppets returned to TV in 1996 in a new show called Muppets Tonight. It was very similar to the original The Muppet Show.

It ran for three seasons, which was long enough for three more appearances by the Elvises in a recurring feature, “Great Moments in Elvis History.”

The concept is interesting. They chose three great moments in world history and substituted Elvises for three of the main characters in each.

 

The Declaration of Independence:

Sorry for the lame picture quality. The video I grabbed it from is the only one I could find. The story has some fun with quibbling going on between Washington and Jefferson, particularly when John Hancock tells them that all ties with the king have been severed, and they argue about who really is The King.

When Ben Franklin arrives and tells them he has discovered electricity, they cheer and bring up their electric guitars. They break into a song using the melody from “Blue Suede Shoes,” with brand new lyrics.

One if by land,
Two if by sea.
Let’s all rock for democracy.
Don’t you, don’t you tread on me.

At the end of the skit, we get a fake preview of next week’s Great Moments in Elvis History. This is Elvis of Arabia, but it was five more weeks until the next Great Moments is shown, and it was not Elvis of Arabia.

 

Elvis the King and His Knights of the Roundtable:

Here we have Guinevere, King Arthur, Lancelot, and Merlin. The gag here is that the dragon has captured Guinevere. Merlin goes to rescue her, and the dragon is glad to give her back. The song parodied in this skit is Jailhouse Rock, with these lyrics:

The dragon has captured Lady G.
Don’t you worry, Excalibur is here.
Everybody knows that dragon is hot.
We’re rockin’ here in Camelot.

I like this front shot of Muppet Elvis Merlin.

 

The gag preview at the end of this skit is Tarzan of Graceland.

 

Elvis Caesar:

Here the Elvises are playing Brutus, Mark Antony, and Julius Caesar. There is no singing in this short skit, but there are plenty of gags.

The bit with Brutus brandishing a large knife was interesting, considering the actual facts of Caesar’s assassination.

 

The gag preview at the end of this skit is Sir Elvis Newton.

 

Someone has put together a YouTube video that combines all three Great Moments in Elvis History. Check it out.

 

I hope you enjoyed my three-part series on The Muppets and Elvis.

 

© 2019 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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

 

The Muppets – Origin of The Elvises

Editor’s note.  My blog platform has been acting up.  The first two attempts at publishing this left out some important stuff.  I hope I’ve got it right this time.

 

Although The Muppet Show went off the air in 1981, the Muppets are still solidly ingrained in American pop culture.  This is because Jim Henson and his associates have used every media platform you could think of.  There were little things like calendars, coloring books and records, and big ones like TV specials.  These started coming out early in the show’s history. Here are some of the 15 post-Muppet Show specials that continued the tradition:

The Fantastic Miss Piggy Show (1982)
The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years (1986)
A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree (1995)
A Muppets Christmas: Letters to Santa (2008)

 

There were also two full-length television movies:

It’s a Very Merry Muppet Christmas Movie 2002)
The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz (2005)

 

And a number of theatrical movies, including:

The Great Muppet Caper (1981)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992)
Muppet Treasure Island (1996)
Muppets from Space (1999).

 

And, most important to Elvis fans, there were three direct-to-video DVDs:

Billy Bunny’s Animal Songs (1993)
Muppet Classic Theater (1994)
Kermit’s Swamp Years (2002)

 

Muppet Classic Theater is where the Elvises were born.

 

The Muppet Theater

 

Rizzo the Rat and Gonzo, the hosts for the show

 

Muppet Classic Theater was released in 1994 and contained six ten-to-twelve minute long skits inspired by fairy tales:

Three Little Pigs
King Midas
The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Rumpelstiltskin
The Emperor’s New Clothes
The Elves & and the Shoemaker

 

I guess the similarity of the words Elves and Elvis gave the Muppet’s brain trust the idea to show the elves as Elvises in The Elves and the Shoemaker.

 

The Muppet Classic Theater adaption of the story featured Kermit the Frog as the Shoemaker, who makes shoes so ugly that nobody will buy them. The banker demands that he pay half of what they owe him the next day, or he will toss them out. His nephew, Robin, wishes for a miracle and his wish is answered.

 

Later that night, three elves show up and start making blue suede shoes.

In addition to making shoes, the Elvises banter back-and-forth with some clever dialog.  And, of course, they sing.  They do an original song called “Bad Shoes Blues,” and it is excellent. It clocks in at over two minutes long, and they don’t just stand still and sing.  The puppeteers got very creative with the action.

 

Some of the lyrics of the verses are hard to understand, but the lyrics to the chorus are very clear:

Listen to the news
No more bad shoes blues
Any old rhythm you choose
I got the blue suede shoes

 

I’ve watched this video five or six times, so I’ve started to notice some cool little things.  Here, one of the elves moves around in front of the workbench, and the other two start doing choreographed moves behind him.

 

As they leave the shoemaker’s store, the host’s voice-over says, “Ladies and gentlemen, the elves have left the building.”

 

The blue suede shoes are a huge success, and the shoemaker pays off the banker.  In appreciation to the elves, he makes them sequined white jumpsuits.  They move to Las Vegas and play the big room at the Palace Hotel, two shows a night. The skit ends with them doing a reprise of “Bad Shoes Blues.”

 

Hopefully, this long introduction has you ready to watch The Shoemaker and the Elves video. It was posted online four years ago, and when I started this research, it had been viewed only 157 times.  Now it’s 169, so in addition to my views, some other folks pushed up the total.  I think some of you were intrigued with my tease last week and looked it up on Google. Now everybody can check it out, too. I can’t wait to see what the count is a week from now.

Here it is. The Elves and the Shoemaker.  I think you’ll love it.

 

The Muppets returned to TV in 1996 in a new show called Muppets Tonight.  It ran for three seasons, which was long enough for three more appearances by the Elvises in a recurring feature, “Great Moments in Elvis History.”

 

Next week, we’ll look at all three.

 

©  2019    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 and The Muppets

  

When I read that Sesame Street celebrated its 50th anniversary this fall, it gave me an idea for an ElvisBlog post.  I remembered seeing some of their Muppet characters dressed as Elvis on the internet.  But when I started researching it, I found that with two exceptions, it was mostly characters from The Muppet Show.  There is a difference.

The little guys in front of Big Bird above include Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, Elmo, Glover, and Oscar the grouch.  Jim Henson was already a successful puppeteer when he created them for Sesame Street in 1969.

 

 

Based on the popularity of his characters on Sesame Street, Henson introduced a whole new group for his The Muppet Show that debuted in 1976.  In addition to Kermit and Miss Piggy, there was also Fozzie Bear, Gonzo, Rowlf the Dog, Scooter, and Rizzo the Rat.

 

While Jim Henson had been pleased with the success of Sesame Street, that show had branded the Muppets as a kids’ act. Henson wanted to create a show that would be entertaining across all age groups. The Muppet Show had a zanier tone to their skits and some of their occasional characters were pretty strange – like Dr. Tooth and The Electric Mayhem band.

 

 

So, before we take a look at Elvis and the Muppets, let’s mention the two Sesame Street characters that did do an Elvis impersonation.

 

This is Elmo from a “Singing” episode on Elmo’s World where he sang “Blue Suede Shoes”.  To my eyes, his shoes look black.

 

 

This was corrected in 2000 when Fisher-Price released Elmo – The Legend plush doll.  He is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and sings some of his songs including, “Blue Suede Shoes”, and “All Shook Up”.

 

 

And this is Elmo dressed as a young Elvis singing “Viva Las Vegas” at the 2007 Consumer Electronics Show.  Believe it or not, this was for a discussion session on the effectiveness of children’s educational electronics.

 

 

This is The Count, a Dracula-like character that showed up occasionally on Sesame Street. Here he is dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit and singing a parody of “Blue Suede Shoes.”  It was an original song with different music and lyrics that mention the shoes.

 

So, now let’s look at The Muppets and Elvis.

 

This is a drawing of Gonzo obviously doing an Elvis impersonation, but I can’t find a picture or clip of him doing it on the show.

 

 

This is Fozzie at the Graceland gates.  I couldn’t find if this was part of a skit on the show or was created for some other purpose.

 

 

This is Blogg, a minor character, wearing an Elvis jumpsuit.  I couldn’t find out if he sang a song on the show.  I did find that on one episode he formed an Elvis head out of his earwax.  Man, did I ever waste a lot of time looking for a picture of that.

 

 

I think this is Gene the Genie.  I found that he did an Elvis impression when he mentioned spending a vacation in Las Vegas.  I don’t think he sang.

 

Next week we will take a look at the biggest Elvis presence with the Muppets – a wonderful creation called The Elvises.

 

 

You are going to love these guys.

 

 

©  2019    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.