Every trip to Graceland now includes a visit to the new Elvis the Entertainer Career Museum. Same thing for Presley Motors Automobile Museum. Everybody takes in those two during a trip to Graceland.
Did you know that hundreds of the items displayed in these venues were featured in the Elvis-A-Rama Museum in Las Vegas fifteen years ago?
Back in 2005, I did an ElvisBlog article on Elvis-A-Rama. This was two years before I started adding photos to the posts, so it was all text. Like this information I found on the internet:
Named one of the “Top 3 Attractions” in Las Vegas by The Travel Channel
Voted “The Best Museum” in the city by the Las Vegas Review Journal
Elvis-A-Rama has been on the cover of USA Today, People, and Forbes magazines
It contained over 2000 artifacts valued at over $6 million (in 2005 dollars)
From this you can see that Elvis-A-Rama was a large, high-quality exhibit not to be missed by Elvis fans.
Here are the key exhibits that were noted in the 2005 research I did.
Elvis’ 8-passenger 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood limo
The “Peacock” and “Cisco Kid” jumpsuits
Elvis’ 1962 Glastron powerboat
A pair of blue suede shoes autographed by Elvis and valued at $1 million
The famous gold lame’ suit
A 1975 purple Lincoln Mark IV
Every commercially released 45, EP and LP ever recorded by Elvis
In addition, there were guitars, piano, handwritten lyrics, personal clothes, outfits from the movies, furniture, army stuff, various papers, and lots more.
I got to see Elvis-A-Rama in April 2006. And that was good timing, because it was closing for good in a couple of months. Elvis-A-Rama had been purchased by Elvis Presley Enterprises the preceding November… and they were moving out all the stuff.
So, I kind of slid in under the wire and got to see it all. I spent half a day in there. Read every word on the plaques and other signage. Sat through a show by an ETA in a little theater. Browsed the gift shop thoroughly.
I loved my lucky visit to Elvis-A-Rama.
I like their tag line: Experience the King as if He Never Left the Building.
At first I didn’t think “Elvis-A-Rama” was a very good name, sounding kind of schlocky. Then I found out it was originally the name of the largest display — a magnificent 10-foot tall, 85-foot long mural that celebrated Elvis’ life and career.
It incorporated Elvis’ music, synchronized to clips of his television appearances, scenes from his movies, and concert footage. It also contained a signature board with thousands of personal notes to Elvis, many of them by famous celebrities.
The Elvis-A-Rama mural had been created in 1979 by songwriter Mitchell Torok (If you’re old like me, you may remember his 1959 hit “Caribbean”), and it was on display for 18 years, first in Nashville, and then Branson, before being sold and moved to Las Vegas.
But there was something else factoring into that sale. The mural had a solid trademark for a name that had Elvis in it. That meant its new owner could use it as the name for his new Las Vegas museum, and he did. Elvis-a-Rama was now the whole show, not just the mural.
More in Part 2.
I have never been to the Elvis the Entertainer Career Museum. But some of you readers have. Please tell me in Comments if there is a 10 feet high, 85 feet long mural in there.
If not, do you think it’s in safe storage, waiting to be brought out to great fanfare in a few years?
I hope so.
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