There were a few Elvis items in the news recently, and they have interesting aspects to mention in this week’s blog.
Graceland was designated a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service, joining a select list of 2300. That actually sounds like a lot, so I wondered why it took so long for Graceland to get the honor. A little research on the internet gave some answers. There is a lesser category called the National Register of Historic Places, which has over 79,000 designations. Graceland has been on this list since 1991. Historic Places are primarily of state or local interest and significance.
Two of the criteria for elevation to Historical Landmark status are that a property achieves national significance in American history and culture, and that it illustrates the nationwide impact of the person associated with the property. Graceland certainly meets these standards. It appears that the delay in getting the Historic Landmark recognition was this rule: “Properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years are not eligible for designation.” Well, Elvis bought Graceland in March 1957, so I guess it just got past that hurdle. By the way, Sun Records Studio was designated a National Historic Landmark on July 31, 2003, just 50 years after Sam Phillips changed the name of his company from the Memphis Recording Service to Sun Records.
A few weeks ago Elvisblog paid homage to the late Charlie Hodge. Recently I found an interesting little tid-bit on him while surfing Elvis-related web sites. Do you know which room was Charlie’s when he lived at Graceland all those years? It was one of several downstairs bedrooms occupied by various members of the Memphis Mafia. Most are being used for storage now. If you take the Graceland tour again, make a note when you enter the yellow-and-blue “TV Room.” The blue door to the left is Charlie’s old room. At least he didn’t have far to go when the parties were over and it was time to go to bed.
On Monday, March 27, the PBS series Antiques Roadshow broadcast from Los Angeles. One of the featured items was a collection of clothes from the late designer Nudie Cohn. Does that name sound vaguely familiar? Congratulations, if you knew Nudie was the man who designed Elvis’ famous Gold Lamé Suit. This creation rocketed Nudie to stardom and cemented his place in fashion history. He is also given credit for being the first designer to put rhinestones on the outfits of country music singers, which led to the term Rhinestone Cowboy. Nudie has an interesting website. Go to www.nudiesrodeotailor.com to check it out.
Last week’s article was about the Johnny Cash movie “Walk The Line.” Here’s a strange little fact. Remember the actor who played Arnold Schwarzenegger’s nemesis in Terminator 2? His name is Robert Patrick. Well, thirteen years later, looking older and heavier, he played Johnny Cash’s father in “Walk the Line.” Last summer he also played Elvis’ father in the CBS TV mini-series “Elvis.” If they ever do a movie about Carl Perkins, maybe Robert Patrick can play his dad, too.
© 2005 Philip R Arnold www.elvisblog.net