My credentials as an Elvis fan have taken a severe blow. I’ve been to Las Vegas four times since the Elvis-A-Rama museum opened in 1999, and I’ve never been to see it. Now it’s going to close, maybe before I can correct my mistake.
In fairness, these trips to Vegas were all on business. My employer puts on a huge annual trade show at the Paris Hotel, and the schedule of mandatory events and meetings each year is killer. But, if I had really wanted to see Elvis-A-Rama badly enough, I could have skipped dinner with a vendor or spent a little less time at the slots in the hotel.
To be honest, I believe the reason I didn’t visit Elvis-A-Rama was because the name made me think it was just some tacky little tourist trap. However, the research for last week’s Elvisblog article produced a startling revelation – this is a large, high-quality exhibit not to be missed by Elvis fans. Here’s what I found on the internet about Elvis-A-Rama.
It was named one of the “Top 3 Attractions” in Las Vegas by The Travel Channel and was 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 contains over 2000 artifacts valued at over $6 million. Some of the key exhibits are:
Elvis’ 8-passenger 1955 Cadillac Fleetwood limo
The “Peacock” and “Cisco Kid” jumpsuits
A pair of blue suede shoes autographed by Elvis and
valued at $1 million
The famous gold lame’ suit
Elvis’ 1962 Glastron powerboat
A 1975 purple Lincoln Mark IV
Every commercially released 45, EP and LP ever recorded
In addition there are guitars, a piano, handwritten lyrics, personal clothes, outfits from the movies, furniture, army stuff, various papers, and lots more.
Here is some history about Elvis-A-Rama, that name I didn’t like. It comes from the largest display, a magnificent 10-foot tall, 85-foot long mural that celebrates Elvis’ life and career. It incorporates Elvis’ music, synchronized to clips of his television appearances, scenes from his movies, and concert footage. It also contains a signature board with thousands of personal notes to Elvis, many of them by famous celebrities.
Now I get it. Elvis-A-Rama is a perfect name for this spectacular mural. The reason why this name was used for the museum itself is an interesting story. Also intriguing are Chris Davidson, who sold the museum, and Jimmy Velvet, the man who sold him the mural and many other goodies. More on all this in future articles.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold