Tag Archives: Ginger Alden

Too Pricey to Sell at the Auction at Graceland

Auction At Graceland

August 16 is the apex of Elvis Week, so a blog article posted on this date usually celebrates Elvis’ legacy and marvels at how the fans come back to honor him each year. Unfortunately, this theme has been covered by ElvisBlog several times already, and it’s hard to find new ways to say it. So, this year we’ll do a report on the marvelous auction of Elvis memorabilia that unfolded on Thursday night and early yesterday morning.

Everybody who follows ElvisBlog knows I cover several Elvis auctions every year. But the Auction at Graceland was different. We were able to watch all three-and-one-half hours of it on streaming video via LiveStream. I found it fascinating viewing.

 Terri Walker at Auction at Graceland

This is Terri Walker of Walker Auctioneers, a local Memphis company. This woman should have been hoarse after the first hour, because she talks non-stop. She’s pretty, funny, and excellent at pulling higher bids out of people. Once in a while you’d think the bidding stalled out at say $2,000, but she’d spike it up and the item would end up going for $6,000.

 Auction at Graceland View Screen

She had a staff of about ten people helping her, things like describing each item, spotting bidders, taking phone and internet bids, and recording all the pertinent stuff. Behind her is the screen showing the item under bid, often including alternative views.

 Chatroom at Auction at Graceland

The unexpected bonus to this online streaming of the auction was the chat room on the right of the screen. There were a hard-core group of folks doing most of the texting, and I found reading it strangely addicting. Here are three to give you an idea how it went.

Wendy Auliff: His body was in that…. I want it to use as my PJs. (describing the White Puffy Shirt)

Deborah: The same thing happened to me. I woke up and remember seeing the stage covered with flowers. I truly felt like I had stepped out of a dream and I don`t remember it to this day. (Response to someone talking about her first Elvis concert experience)

Kyle Vanover: This would be even cooler than having Fonzie’s little black book! (Comparison to Elvis’ Personal Address Book).

 

It will take more than one post to cover all the interesting items at this auction. So, let’s start with the ten who didn’t reach the minimum starting price or failed to meet the reserve (whatever that is).

 

1975 Martin D-28 Guitar:

Elvis' Martin D-28 Guitar

This Martin D-28 Guitar was gifted by Elvis to his friend and bodyguard Sam Thompson in January of 1977 and has an interesting history. It was later sold to the National Enquirer for use as a contest prize, which helped Thompson fund his college education. What it lacks is pedigree. It’s not one of Elvis’ early Martin guitars from the 50s. As they stated on the auction floor, Elvis used Gibson and Fender guitars before coming back to Martin in the late 70s.

This Martin D-28 guitar was one of six items featured in the pre-auction promotions, so they obviously had high hopes for it. Quite a few Elvis-owned guitars have brought in big bucks, but this one failed to generate the $30,000 minimum bid. The pre-auction estimate of $70-90,000 was wildly over-optimistic.

 

Address Books:

Elvis Address Book 1

Considering that there are four address books in this lot, I was very surprised no one offered the minimum bid of $7,000.

Elvis Address Book 3

The description on the auction website tried to beef up interest.

The books contain names, numbers and addresses for almost everyone in Elvis’ life including Priscilla, Colonel Parker, J.D. Sumner, Jerry Schilling, all his entourage members, old girlfriends both pre-and-post Priscilla, and countless others. Transport yourself back in time and live the life of Elvis through his personal contacts and business associates. The address books offer a peek into the life of the King.

 Elvis Address Book 2

Penguin Suit:

Elvis' Black and White “Penguin” Suit

Elvis jumpsuits are among the most desirable memorabilia items and sell for lots of money. This must have been the consideration when the targeting the estimate for this outfit at $70-90,000. However, although Elvis wore it one time on stage, it is not a jumpsuit and collectors bid accordingly (or didn’t bid, as it turned out).

This black and white suit, is referred to as the “penguin suit,” and was made in the mid-1970s for Elvis by the IC Costume Company. Elvis wore it as part of his off-stage wardrobe. On September 19th, 1975, in Las Vegas, Elvis was dressed in this suit, and because he was running behind schedule without time to change into a jumpsuit for the show, Elvis wore this suit on stage for that particular performance.

The Penguin Suit is still a valuable piece of Elvis clothing, so we will see it up again at auction. However, it needs to have a lower minimum bid than $40,000 it had this time.

 

Bean Bag Chair:

Elvis' Faux Fur Bean Bag Chair and Two Pillows

This faux leopard fur bean bag chair with small and large matching pillows was used in Elvis’ Chino Canyon, Palm Springs home. I saw it back in 1999 in Las Vegas when Graceland held a huge auction at the MGM Grand Hotel. I’ve often wondered why EPE dumped a lot of good stuff then. I’ll bet they wish they had most of it back now that they have opened the new Graceland Archives Experience.

Elvis Auction in Las Vegas, 1999

Anyway, the beanbag and pillows failed to generate the minimum bid of $2,000. It probably would have soared past that if a photo of Elvis sitting on it had been provided.

 

Molds for Elvis Sunglasses:

Molds Used to Create the Emblems for Elvis' TCB Sunglasses

When I saw the projected sell price of this item at $10-15.000, I said no way. You can buy the actual sunglasses for less than that, and they are much cooler. Here’s what the auction website description had to say about them.

An iconic part of Elvis history, Elvis’ sunglasses, whether aviator or neo-nautic style, are recognizable anywhere and all Elvis tribute artists and fans alike want “the look.” These iconic shades were customized by Dennis Roberts of the Optique Boutique in Los Angeles. The offered three molds are the original molds used by Dennis to create the gold and silver emblems that adorned Elvis’ glasses. The “EP” was typically placed on the bridge of Elvis’ aviator glasses, and the TCB logo with the lightning bolt adorned the temple arms.

Sounds good, but not worth the minimum bid of $4,000.

 

The Impersonal Life:

Elvis' The Impersonal Life” Book

There were a number of items at this auction that originally came from Ginger Alden. The folks in the chat room didn’t much like her. Maybe the bidders didn’t either, because not one would cover the $4,000 minimum on this book.

This surprised me, because it has a lot going for it. This copy of The Impersonal Life is signed on the interior “To Ginger, with love, E.P.” Ginger Alden states in an accompanying letter that the book was one which she and Elvis read together in bed. It also shows many passages and phrases underlined by Elvis, highlighting meaningful parts of the book or placing emphasis on certain words. Perhaps the fact that Ginger also made similar marks soured the bidders.

 

Numerology Pages:

Two Pages of Notes by Elvis on Numerology

This thing is really strange, and it’s no surprise that bidders didn’t think it worth the minimum of $5,000, let alone the projected $12-15,000. There is no way I can describe it better than this from the auction website.

Two pages of handwritten notes by Elvis written ten days prior to his death. These note pages were obtained directly from Ginger Alden, Elvis’ fiancée. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Ginger Alden stating that Elvis had written these notes during his visit to her Memphis home. She discusses in detail his interest in numerology and words and the ways in which each can be broken down into smaller parts, such as “his-story” or how the word woman is so appropriate because when you break it down into its two syllables it can be pronounced as “wo-man.

What???

 

Wrought Iron Chair:

Elvis' Yellow Wrought Iron Guitar

Like the beanbag chair, this yellow wrought iron chair came from Elvis’ Palm Springs home on Chino Canyon Drive. And it suffered the same fate. Bidders did not find it worth the $2,500 minimum. Again, a picture of Elvis sitting on it would have made a world of difference.

 

Personal Checkbook:

Elvis' Personal Checkbook

I thought this personal checkbook would make the minimum of $6,000, if not the estimate of $12-15,000. It got neither. It has 43 entries for checks Elvis wrote, so it certainly has his handwriting if not his autograph. He used it from May 21, 1975 to January 22, 1976. The checks totaled $89,000, showing Elvis’ incredible generous to his friends, family and even to strangers. This checkbook also contained a handwritten note giving his foreman an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii and a new car. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” I can’t believe the stupid high prices some bidders paid for certain items at this auction, but passed on this checkbook register.

 

Marriage Certificate:

Elvis and Priscilla's Marriage Certificate

So, what do you think Elvis and Priscilla’s original marriage certificate would sell for? The pre-auction estimate was $40-60,000. Sorry, it didn’t even bring the minimum of $15,000. Again, I’m mystified by this, compared to what some other much less significant items went for.

This original Las Vegas, Nevada marriage certificate, dated May 5, 1967, is signed by Justice David Zenoff and best men, Marty Lacker and Joe Esposito, but not Elvis or Priscilla. The Clark County Nevada clerk claimed that the marriage certificate was mailed to Elvis and Priscilla, but came back to the county office marked “return to sender.” The clerk retained it in a file until selling it to Chris Davidson in 1995.

Can’t you just imagine her thinking: “That Elvis marriage certificate has been in the file for 28 years, and I’m the only one that knows it’s there. Screw it, I’m selling the thing and making some money.”

 

So, that’s Part 1 of our look at the Auction at Graceland results. Stay tuned for the big winners next week.

 

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

 

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Elvis Speaks to Me from Beyond the Grave

Look at this tattered May 16, 1978 National Enquirer cover.  Even though it’s a really sorry-looking thing, I still keep it in my collection of tabloids with Elvis on the cover.

May 16, 1978 National Enquirer

It’s in there because the story page is in great shape, and it tells such a wacky story.

 5-16-78 National Enquirer Story

 

Ginger Alden was Elvis’ girlfriend during the last two years of his life.  She was only twenty years-old when she found him dead in the bathroom.  Supposedly, Elvis proposed marriage to Ginger on January 26, 1977, and gave her an 11.5 carat diamond ring.

 Elvis - Ginger Engagement Ring

Ginger Wearing Engagement Ring

 

This strange National Enquirer story is loaded with interesting quotes from Ginger, her mother, and her sister.

Ginger:  “Elvis started speaking to me three days after he died.”

Elvis didn’t waste any time, did he?

 Ginger:  “Elvis was sitting on a chair beside my bed.”

So, she didn’t just hear him, she saw Elvis.

Ginger’s Mom:  “I saw him once in our living room.  His figure floated through the air…”

Mom had a really cool vision.  Who wouldn’t prefer to see Elvis floating through the air over Elvis sitting on a chair?  Fortunately, Ginger also saw Elvis float in other visions.

Ginger’s Sister:  According to Mom, sister Rosemary “has seen Elvis’ outline two times in the living room.  Each time he was wearing one of his jump suits.”

Wow, everybody gets visits from Elvis.  I wonder if he also said hi to Ginger’s dog while he was there.

Ginger and Odyssey, a gift from Elvis

Ginger and Odyssey, a gift from Elvis

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Ginger:  “He comes to me in strange psychic dreams about every third night.”

Now this is getting weird.

As you might expect, these visits didn’t come off in an understated manor.  They had all of the proper fanfare.

Ginger:  “I remember vividly how it happened.  I was lying in bed, drifting off to sleep.  Suddenly, I felt his presence in the room. He was in his white jumpsuit and a flowing white cape.”

Wow, even a flowing cape, too.  Very impressive.

Ginger:  “He appeared above the bed and began singing our song, my all-time favorite, ‘Since I met you Baby.’”

How’s that for a pretty good dream, you female Elvis fans?  Ever dreamed about a floating, singing Elvis?

And what if Elvis touched you while he was there?

Ginger:  “When the song was over, he leaned forward and put his hand on my tear-stained cheek.”

Great image.  Well done, Ginger.

Ginger, Still Looking Good in 2010

Ginger, Still Looking Good in 2010

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And, of course, Elvis talks in the dreams

Elvis:  “Don’t worry, Gingerbread.  Everything is going to be all right.  You can make it.  You’ve got what it takes.”

Good for Elvis.  We knew he’d be a nice guy and give assurance and encouragement to Ginger.

 Elvis and Ginger (1)

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The article talks about a visit when Elvis gave career advice to Ginger.

Ginger:  “It was Elvis who told me to accept the role in “The Living Legend.” When I was first offered the part by a movie producer, I turned to Elvis for help.”

Let’s see, you’re a beautiful model and Elvis’ former girlfriend.  Is there any doubt you are going to take the part?  But, you got in a nice plug in for the movie, so that’s cool.

Ginger:  “I locked myself in my bedroom and said out loud, ‘Elvis, what should I do?’”

I love his answer to her.  She said his voice came through to her soft and tender… but firmly.

Elvis:  “Take it honey. “ You have the talent.  You have the looks.  This is your opportunity… Grab it.”

It seems highly probable that Ginger Alden ‘grabbed it’ when National Enquirer offered to do this article.  Pretty good free PR.  How do you like the photo of her that dominates the story page?  As Elvis said, she’s got the looks.

 Elvis and Ginger (2)

If you notice a resemblance between Ginger and Priscilla, just listen to what George Klein (who introduced Ginger to Elvis) had to say in his book, Elvis: My Best Friend.

“[Ginger was] one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen in my life… and to my eyes, she looked like a taller version of Priscilla.  I knew Elvis would just melt when he saw her.”

I don’t know for sure how many times Ginger Alden appeared on tabloid covers, but I own two others.  You will note that Elvis does not appear with her on either cover.  Maybe someday I’ll do a blog article about them.  But it won’t be as much fun as hearing about how Elvis talked to Ginger from beyond the grave.

November 15 Midnight Globe

11-15-77 Midnight Globe Story.

.June 27, 1978 Midnight Globe

6-27-78 Midnight Globe Story

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

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ELVIS: The King Revealed

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

Elvis - The King Revealed

 

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

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

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

 

Midnight Globe — November 22, 1977:

Midnight Globe - Nov 22, 1977

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

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

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

The Starlet Who Said No

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

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

 

The Star — June 27, 1978:

The Star - June 27, 1978

 

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

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

The Eternal Love of Elvis and Priscilla

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

Priscilla and Mike Stone

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

 

Priscilla and Hairdresser Elie Erzer

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

 

Linda Thompson

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

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

 

Midnight Globe – Dec 13, 1977 :

Midnight Globe - Dec 13, 1977

 

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

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

Dee Presley

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

 

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

 

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