Elvis’ Opening Act in Las Vegas: Comedian Sammy Shore was the opening act for Elvis in Las Vegas from 1969 to 1972. Shore’s act relied on wacky physical comedy, but he was an old-school comic who kept it clean. Both Elvis and Col. Parker liked that about Shore when they saw him open for Tom Jones three weeks before Elvis’ engagement at the International Hotel began. Parker offered him the slot as opening act for Elvis, and Shore jumped at the chance. I like the line he worked into his act about all of the bodyguards Elvis needed to keep away the hordes of girls. Shore said, “Why don’t you go where all the girls won’t bother you – my dressing room.”
An Elvis Asteroid: I’m always a little hesitant to repeat assertions about Elvis that I read on Wikipedia, but this one has a ring of authority. Asteroids are all given a number and some get a name. #17059 is Elvis. Other notable asteroids include #2309 – Mr. Spock, #2001 – Einstein, and #5450 – Socrates.
Frank Sinatra Quotes about Elvis: Look how Frank Sinatra changed his opinion of Elvis over the years.
1956 – “His kind of music is deplorable, a rancid smelling aphrodisiac. It fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.”
1977 – “There have been many accolades uttered about Elvis’ talent and performances over the years, all of which I agree wholeheartedly. I shall miss him dearly as a friend. He was a warm, considerate and generous man.”
Elvis Versus Beethoven: Two freshmen Yale students spent their Christmas 1956 holiday in Manhattan. Their taste in music did not include Rock & Roll, and they became alarmed at the number of “I Like Elvis” buttons they saw. For a $45 investment they produced 1,000 “I Like Ludwig” buttons, referencing classical composer Ludwig van Beethoven. According to Time Magazine, they set up placards with this slogan on it: “Combat The Menace! Get Your Ludwig Button.” In a matter of hours, they sold all 1000 for 15ȼ each to their former classmates at the New York High School of Music and Art. That’s pretty amazing, and it earned them a few bucks. However, I’ll bet it can’t compare to what Elvis made on his buttons.
Something Different in an Elvis Poem: There have been hundreds of poems written about Elvis and most of them been sincere, adoring, and gushing with syrupy sweet sentiment. You don’t find many like this one. The author is unknown, but he obviously didn’t like his daughter’s obsession with Elvis.
ENOUGH OF ELVIS
I’ve simply had all I can take
I’ve got an Elvis bellyache
My teenage daughter’s in a trance
I fear she’ll get St. Vitus dance!
That be-bop business was bad enough
But this Presley Hound Dog stuff
On radio, records and TV
It’s just too dog gone much for me.
I think I’ll down some real corn liquor
Then go after that cotton-picker
Fix them sideburns with the shears
And wrap that geetar ‘round his ears.
Just think how peaceful it would be
Without that guy from Tennessee.
Colonel Parker Cheerleading for an Elvis Movie Contract: Col. Parker never missed an opportunity to promote his client, Elvis Presley. On March 26, 1956, Elvis had a screen test for Hal Wallis at Paramount Studios, but Wallis did not immediately offer Elvis a contract. After two weeks of waiting, Col. Parker decided to drum up some fan support. During the intermissions at two Elvis concerts in the Denver Coliseum on April 8, Col. Parker went on stage and announced, “If you want to see Elvis Presley in the movies, write to Paramount Pictures.” This same tactic was probably used at the other shows on this tour, and it may have worked. On April 25, Elvis finalized a seven-movie deal that paid him $15,000 for his first film, $20,000 for his second, and so on. In retrospect, it seems Parker should have held out for more. Elvis was getting that kind of money for TV appearances later in the year.
Worst Dressed Males: In 1957 columnist Hedda Hopper presented her list of the worst-dressed personalities, and Elvis was one of the offending males. However, he had some pretty good company. Also included were Marlon Brando, Spencer Tracy, Tab Hunter, Dennis Hopper, Paul Newman, and Bing Crosby.
Who Started Elvis Week?: Graceland did not open to the public until 1982, but the genesis of Elvis Week occurred a few years earlier with no assistance from EPE. In 1978, one year after Elvis died, a number of fans gathered outside the gates, lit candles and spent the evening talking and reminiscing. The next year there were more. The first organized ceremony is credited to the Elvis Country Fan Club based in Austin, Texas. Each year, more and more fans came to Memphis for the candlelight tribute, and various other activities were organized. Graceland opened to the public in the summer of 1982, and fans urged EPE management to open the gates at midnight, August 16, during the candlelight tribute. Management agreed, and allowed the fans to walk single-file up the driveway to Elvis’ gravesite and back down. With the growing influx of fans to Memphis each August, Graceland/EPE took the lead in organizing Elvis Week from then on. But, it was the fans that got it started.
Kelly Osbourne’s Elvis Themed Wedding?: Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne has a daughter named Kelly who will wed model Luke Worrell in Las Vegas next spring. So what will the daughter of the former Black Sabbath frontman have for her wedding décor? Bats? Coffins? Vampires? No, Kelly Osbourne is planning an Elvis-themed affair. A friend is quoted, “They want their wedding to be fun rather than a big, solemn occasion. They share the same sense of humor and unconventional streak, so they want to celebrate with something different and memorable.” OK, just so an Elvis impersonator doesn’t come out of a coffin and bite the head off a bat.
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