Monthly Archives: November 2009



Below is a snapshot of a page on the website  The site is a tremendous resource for anyone interested in on-line gambling, but their varied menu also contains reviews of real casinos in the UK and the United States, as well as general gambling news and commentary.  On November 20, they posted the column below:  “What Ever Happened to Elvis Presley's Casino?”

CasinoOnline Editor Holly Emblem had contacted me earlier to see if I would be interested in adding some comments.  She said, “I actually came across your blog via Google when researching the article. I noticed you'd discussed a lot of what I planned to include in the article and wanted to gain your thoughts on the topic. Elvis is such a huge part of so many people's lives that I wanted to do him justice, which is why I wished to gain your opinion on Elvis attractions.”


Well, I certainly wasn't going to turn her down after those nice words.  In fact, it sounded like a lot of fun.  Holly e-mailed me a copy of her text so far, and after I had read it, she sent me five questions:

1)  While a new museum dedicated to Elvis has just opened up in Imperial Palace Hotel, there haven't been many “permanent” fixtures since Davidson's museum closed. Do you believe Las Vegas has been lacking in Elvis attractions since the closure of Elvis-A-Rama?
2)  Even though FX Real Estate has gone into bankruptcy, do you think there's still a chance an Elvis themed casino could be developed in Las Vegas?
3)  Do you think it's appropriate for a casino to bear Elvis' name?
4)  Over the past few years, the EPE have been criticized for their treatment of Elvis fans, collectors and museum owners such as Davidson. Do you think there's any truth in the allegations that they ran Davidson “out of town”, or do you think Davidson and EPE came to a mutual agreement?
5) Have you ever visited any of the Elvis attractions in Las Vegas?

Holly used parts of my answers to questions 1, 2 and 5.  I was pretty sure she wouldn't use another part of my answer to number 1, because I wrote about Cirque du Soleil's Viva Elvis opening and how it would be a draw to get me to go back to Las Vegas.  This didn't exactly jibe with the narrative of the article that Las Vegas wouldn't be much of an attraction for Elvis fans without a monster Elvis Hotel/Casino.  And what a monster it would have been — 2,269 rooms, 14 restaurants, 2,000 slot machines, and 130 table games.

I'm not terribly sad about the prospects of no Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino in Las Vegas.  As I told Holly, I would be quite happy if some smaller Elvis attractions opened up.  My complete answer was:

“…there is hope for smaller projects.  Elvis Presley Enterprises has a huge warehouse filled with Elvis memorabilia.  An Elvis restaurant along the lines of Hard Rock and Planet Hollywood would be a natural in Las Vegas.  EPE could display revolving exhibits there that change every twelve months.  They could exclude eating for one or two hours every afternoon, allowing folks to come in and take a close look at everything (for a small charge, of course – or maybe, not so small).  Fans would come back each year looking forward to seeing a whole new exhibit of Elvis items.  An adjacent theater would work as well.  The best of the Elvis Tribute Artists already make a nice living in venues all over the country.  Las Vegas could offer them a shrine to perform in, and fans would support it.  Finally, my warped mind can envision the “Virtual Elvis Experience.”  By using rotoscope/green screen technology, fans could sing along with Elvis like Celine Dion did on American Idol.  For a mere $50, you could take home a DVD of it as a treasured memento of your Las Vegas trip.”

A look at the map below shows the proximity of the planned Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino to the Cirque du Soleil show Viva Elvis.  The large open space in the center (which is between Monte Carlo and Bellagio) is the site of the huge Las Vegas CityCenter, including the Aria Hotel and its theater where Viva Elvis will be performed.  Looking straight down from there, you see a green X-shaped structure which is the MGM Grand.  Between it and Harmon St. is the 17.72 acre property FX Real Estate owned where they planned to build the Elvis Presley Hotel/Casino.

It certainly would have been the destination of choice for fans coming to Las Vegas intending to take in Viva Elvis.



Please click here to read the entire CasinoOnline article and find out what happened to the Elvis casino.


©  Philip R Arnold    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved




Because turkeys are synonymous with Thanksgiving, here are some photos of Elvis and turkeys I found on the web:



I've seen pictures of Elvis jumpsuits on dogs and cows, but somebody went to a lot of trouble to sew this jumpsuit and put it on a fake turkey:



Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, everyone.


(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved



Your Elvis blogmeister is in the middle of a busy week leading up to Thanksgiving, with two different groups of relatives coming to stay for a few days.  So, it is time to take it easy and share with you an interesting Elvis article posted by my friend Ty at  Ty gave me the OK to reprint his article, and in return, he may reprint my Elvis/Star Trek Connections.  Believe it or not, his blog contains both Elvis and Star Trek features, a very interesting combination.

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How Michael Jackson's This Is It could help Elvis fans


Posted by Tygrrius, October 15, 2009


Many fellow Elvis fans seem to have tired of all of the recent comparisons with Michael Jackson. However, they should take notice of one Michael Jackson project. Filmed just days before Jackson's death in June, This Is It opens in theaters and IMAX later this month.


Assembled from over a hundred hours of footage, the documentary captures rehearsals and other behind-the-scenes moments for Jackson's concert engagement that ultimately was not to be. If This Is It turns out to be a big success, Jackson's fans can expect to see even more of that footage in sequels or at least in an expanded version on Blu-ray with lots of bonus material.

Why should we Elvis fans care about this? Success for This Is It may well lead someone at Warner Home Video to finally wake up and remember that they are sitting on dozens of hours of valuable behind-the-scenes, rehearsal, and concert footage of another singer known as “The King.”

In 1970, MGM's cameras filmed several rehearsals and concerts for his Elvis Summer Festival engagement at the International Hotel in Las Vegas. Released in November of that year, the resulting Elvis: That's The Way It Is documentary was grand and captured Elvis in his prime–but left dozens of hours on the cutting room floor.


1970 VHS


In 1972, MGM's cameras rolled again, this time for Elvis On Tour, capturing rehearsals, behind-the-scenes, and concerts in March and April. The film went on to win a Golden Globe, the only Elvis movie so honored. Again, dozens of hours of footage were filmed but not used.



Since that time, we've seen a bit of these outtakes. In 1992, Warner released Elvis: The Lost Performances, an incredible one-hour VHS video that included outtakes from both films. In 2001, Warner released a new edit of That's The Way It Is, containing so many outtakes and changes as to actually be a different film than the original. Though both were compelling, these projects were just the tip of the Elvis documentary iceberg.


 In 2001, Warner released a new edit of That's The Way It Is, containing so many outtakes and changes as to actually be a different film than the original. Though both were compelling, these projects were just the tip of the Elvis documentary iceberg.


2001 New Edit DVD

Though both versions of That's The Way It Is are available, Elvis On Tour and The Lost Performances never received DVD releases. Maybe we can't go back in time just yet, but Elvis fans should at least be able to experience these historic films and outtakes.

First off, the original versions of Elvis: That's The Way It Is and Elvis On Tour should be fully restored in high definition and digital sound and released on Blu-ray (as well as DVD for those fans who have not yet upgraded), with top-notch bonus features.

Why stop there? Next, Warner should choose whichever That's The Way It Is and Elvis On Tour concerts are most complete (not all were filmed in their entirety) and release them as separate, all-new concert experiences. Don't tag them as Elvis On Tour or That's The Way It Is re-edits, just make completely new projects and leave the original documentaries to stand alone as accounts from the time. Most important, don't over-edit these concerts. Use Elvis' original setlist and flow as much as possible.

Why shouldn't a That's The Way It Is concert be given a full-fledged theatrical release, with an Elvis marketing blitz unheard of since his death? Can you imagine watching one of the That's The Way It Is concerts on an IMAX screen?

Sure, theatrical and IMAX releases are long-stretches, but I think at least Blu-ray releases for Elvis: That's The Way It Is and Elvis On Tour are real possibilities if Michael Jackson's This Is It takes off.

A fan can dream, can't he?

                                                               Tygrrius, Webmaster of the Film Frontier


Editor’s Note:  There is one other option for Elvis: That’s The way It Is that might be of interest to fans.  In 2007, Warner Home Video released a Two-Disk Special Edition that contains both the original 1970 release and the 2001 redone version.  As Ty said, they are completely different films.  Gone from the newer version is footage of the fans, venue set-up, and an interview with the editor of Tiger Magazine.  This is replaced by footage of Elvis goofing around at rehearsal, his false starts on songs in concert, his pre-show jitters when he worries about forgetting song lyrics, and the jokes he makes with the band and the audience.  Several songs are dropped in the redone version, including “Sweet Caroline” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and are replaced with others including “Suspicious Minds” and “Polk Salad Annie.”


2007 DVD with Both Original and New Edit Versions

While the films are not restored in high definition Blu-ray with digital sound, getting both versions for less than $10.00 at is a real bargain.  Of course, like everything put out in recent years, the set includes some never-before-officially-released bonus material.   

Hat Trick of Elvis Stories


If you have been a reader of ElvisBlog for some time, you know I like to follow the Elvis auctions and the general memorabilia auctions that include some Elvis goodies.  I follow the offerings online and pass judgment on whether or not the actual winning bids will exceed the estimates.  There is a lot of variance both up or down compared to the experts’ appraisals, so this is a challenging game.  I tend to guess high a lot.

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The most recent auction I checked into was Heritage Music & Entertainment Memorabilia.  Part of their tag line is, “Treasures of music icons can now be yours…”  Yeah, sure, if you have lots of money.  Just for fun I decided to dream about wanting one item, wanting it bad enough to lose my mind and actually put in the winning bid.  Of course, that’s not part of the financial plan at this household, so it’s only a fantasy.


The object of my attention was a black leather hat.  That’s right.  If Elvis’ 1968 black leather suit is the ultimate rock and roll outfit, a Elvis’ black leather hat ought to be pretty cool, too, right?  One thing for sure is that it wasn’t meant to be worn with the ’68 suit.  This hat is a fedora.



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I wear a lot of baseball caps, but I would gladly put them away and wear this Elvis’ black leather hat.  I’d wear it all the time, no matter how worn out it ultimately became.  In fact, maybe that would make it better — more casual.  This is a unique item that would last for a long time, and provide endless happiness knowing you are wearing a fun Elvis hat.  What other piece of Elvis’ wardrobe could you get that much use from?


Well, the hat went for $2151, well over the minimum bid, just as I had expected.  It certainly confirmed that my bidding fantasy was just that.  To whoever bought it (you lucky dog), please wear it.  Don’t put Elvis’ hat in a glass display case.  Have some fun with that baby.


One of the reasons for the high bid was the inclusion of a Letter of Authenticity.  It came from Richard Davis, who is one of the lesser known Memphis Mafia members.  However, he had a great job as Elvis’ wardrobe manager.  He spent the 60s and early 70s deeply immersed in Elvis’ clothes, so he later seemed to evolve into the go-to authority when owners of Elvis items knew they could sell them for much more money if they supplied verification.  A photo showing Elvis wearing the item is best, but a Letter of Authenticity by Richard Davis is a close second.  Here is his LOA for the leather hat with a date that indicates it has been sold for once before.






His other jobs with Elvis included body guard and stand-in for Elvis in 23 movies.  He was a regular on the field when Elvis organized a bunch of guys for football games.



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Young Richard Davis         Richard Davis in 1971        Elvis and Group Including Richard Davis 



Here is part of his Letter of Authenticity on an Elvis item currently open for bidding on the Julien’s Music Icons and Steven Tyler Auction:


 “This black double breasted vest, with white trim and a MGM Studio tag was a vest Elvis wore in his film for MGM called Spinout.  Elvis kept the vest after the movie wrapped and wore it for his own personal use.  He gave me this vest sometime in the late 1960s when he was cleaning out his closet.”    

                                                                                                            Richard Davis



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Black vest from movie Spinout                  Shot from Spinout with Elvis Wearing Vest



The bidding on the vest is currently at $2050, with seven days until the auction closes.


There is some Richard Davis/Elvis trivia I like.  Because he was almost exactly the same build as Elvis, Davis sometimes went on shopping trips to clothing stores.  Each time he would try on many, many articles and purchase a  large selection of clothing that fit Elvis perfectly.  In the privacy of Graceland, Elvis would pick what he liked, and Richard Davis took the rest back to the stores.  That sounds like a pretty good gig, to me.



(C)  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights reserved

FBI Investigates the Strange Elvis Pimple Scam

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If you folks read Elvisblog hoping to find some new things about Elvis, this week you’ll get a really good one.  I will bet you don’t know anything about the South African self-described doctor who threatened to blackmail Elvis and who had his plans thwarted by the FBI.  How about it?  Did you ever hear of this story before?  I hadn’t either, until I was doing research for a story idea and came across a very bizarre tale.


My research was prompted by a realization that next year we will experience celebrations of many 50th anniversaries of major events in Elvis’ life.  1960 was full of them: Elvis’  homecoming from the Army; his first recording session after returning; appearing on the Frank Sinatra TV show; his first movie role since coming back; etc.  I read more about them in the wonderful book Elvis:  Day By Day, by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, which chronicles everything of importance in Elvis’ life.  Then I realized we did not celebrate the 50th anniversary of any Elvis event during 2009, because Elvis spent all of 1959 in the Army. 


Certainly, he put his career on hold that year, but life was never dull for Elvis.  Something must have happened.  I decided to go back exactly fifty years and find out what went on in Elvis’ life in November 1959.  If it was interesting, I’d write about it.  Boy, was it interesting.


The story began in October when Elvis saw a magazine advertisement for weekly herbal skin treatments available in Germany, where he was stationed.  The treatments were offered by a South African, Dr. Laurenz Griessel-Landau, and he hyped them as his miraculous method for reducing enlarged pores and acne.


Even at age twenty-four, Elvis still experienced the lingering effects of his well-known teenage pimple problems.  Famous photographer Al Wertheimer once noted that a German magazine licensed some of his 1956 Elvis photos, but chose to air-brush out the pimples on Elvis’ back.



Photo showing pimple on Elvis’ chest


Elvis liked the sound of the skin treatments and had his secretary contact Dr. Griessel-Landau.  Elvis received an immediate reply, a ten-page letter from the doctor who said he would be delighted to treat Elvis.  In fact, it would cost nothing except the doctor’s expenses, unless it worked to Elvis’ satisfaction.


For the next few weeks Elvis went on maneuvers, so the herbal skin treatments didn’t begin until November.  They lasted for two hours each, several times a week, and they took place in Elvis’ bedroom in his off-base home.  The applications were applied to Elvis’ face and back.  Elvis was positive he could see results, which he displayed to family and friends.  However, no one else could recognize any change.


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Elvis at home in Bad Nauheim, Germany – with fans, father, and grandmother


After about a month, the skin therapy sessions abruptly ended. It seems the good doctor got kind of carried away while he applied the treatments to Elvis’ body.  Elvis accused him of making sexual advances.  Think about it.  We don’t know if Dr. Griessel-Landau was gay or not, but he certainly had maneuvered himself into an enviable position if he was.  He was rubbing lotion on the body of the most handsome guy in the world (Carl Perkins’ words, not mine).


According to Guralnick’s other excellent book, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, “Elvis emerged from a session with Dr. Landau in his bedroom with a look of horror on his face.  The sonofabitch was queer he told Lamar and Rex, and he was going to kill the fucking sonofabitch.  Landau was hustled out of the house right away, if only to keep Elvis from actually following through.”


Elvis’ reaction must have enraged the doctor, because he reappeared that night with a letter threatening to blackmail Elvis because of “a sixteen-year-old underage girl” he knew Elvis had been seeing.  Uh, oh.  It wasn’t very smart to challenge Elvis, especially about his special friend Priscilla, who was actually only fourteen at that time.  This was practically a declaration of war, and Elvis came out with his guns blazing.


First, he went to the Army’s Provost Marshal Division.  Good move.  Get the Army’s legal boys involved.  They probably jumped at the chance to go after a foreign slimeball trying to blackmail Elvis Presley.  In fact, they even brought in more reinforcements: the FBI.  The real heavy guns.  It was time to teach this creep it doesn’t pay to mess with “the King.”


Well, the FBI quickly determined Dr. Griessel-Landau wasn’t a real doctor.  He must have seen that things weren’t going too well, so he wrote another letter to Elvis saying he had decided not to take action against the singer.  We can assume Elvis’ attitude was, “Too little, too late.  You’re not getting off that easy.” 


The FBI continued to put big-time pressure on Dr. Griessel-Landau, and soon the phony doctor flew to London and was never heard from again.


So, things worked out well for Elvis… except he still had pimples.




©  2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights reserved



As speculated here on September 18, Cirque du Soleil has chosen Viva ELVIS as the name of their new Las Vegas show.  The opening date has not yet been announced, and the Cirque website does not yet have any information on ticket prices.  Earlier rumors have pegged the official opening night to be January 8, 2010, Elvis' 75th birthday.  If so, scalpers should have a field day reselling tickets for that birthday bash.  Supposedly, preview shows in late December will be attended by family, friends and other VIPs.


Star Trek Elvis Connection — Part 2


Laurel Goodwin:


Laurel Goodwin was the biggest omission in ElvisBlog’s original “Star Trek Elvis Connection”.  She played Laurel Dodge, Elvis’ love interest in Girls, Girls, Girls.  Actually, it was more like “the winning love interest,” because Stella Stevens was a former flame that still hoped for a future with Elvis’ character, Ross Carpenter, and she kept popping up throughout the movie.  The dance that Elvis and Laurel did (pictured above) is one of my favorite scenes from his films.  It must have been difficult to come up with a dance routine that was funny, but this one was.

On Star Trek, Laurel appeared as Yeoman Colt in an episode that contained Spock, but not Captain Kirk or any of the other familiar Enterprise crew members.  That’s because she was in “The Cage,” the one hour pilot that was produced to sell NBC on the series.  Parts of it were used for flashback scenes in a later two-part episode, but “The Cage was not broadcast intact until 1988, twenty years after the series ended.  I like Goodwin’s look in this better than in the Elvis movie.  That’s Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike.  Don’t you bet he and Laurel Goodwin would have had significantly better careers if they had kept their roles when the series went into production?


Nancy Kovack:

Nancy Getting Elvis' Eye in Frankie and Johnny



Nancy Kovack also had a major role in an Elvis movie.  She played Nellie Bly, the “losing Elvis love interest” in Frankie and Johnny.  (Not to say Elvis’ movies were formulaic, but do you notice the pattern here?)  Nellie Bly was immortalized in the song as the girl who caused Johnny (Elvis) to do Frankie wrong.  Actually, Johnny just believed Nellie was a good-luck charm for his frequent gambling, but Frankie and the riverboat owner (Nellie’s former boyfriend) thought otherwise.  Skullduggery ensued, and Johnny discovered the real a good-luck charm was the one Frankie gave him.  He carried it in his breast pocket, and it saved him from a bullet to the chest.  Of course, Frankie and Johnny got together at the end of the movie, but Nellie did okay too, as she went back to the riverboat owner.

On Star Trek Nancy Kovack played Nona in “A Private Little War,” and got to wear the nifty warrior witch outfit you see above.  Nona was the wife of Tyree, leader of the Hill People on the planet Neural.  However, she wanted power and betrayed him.  She stole Dr. McCoy’s phaser and sought out the leader of a rival faction, but ended up being stabbed to death.

Julie Parrish:



Julie Parrish played Joanna, an employee of the Kahala Hilton hotel in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but she did not play an Elvis love interest.  However, she was part of a scene that requires much willing suspension of disbelief.  She had Elvis’ character (a helicopter pilot named Rick) transport a consignment of pedigreed dogs to a dog show.  The dogs freaked out and Elvis lost control of the helicopter.  Before he could gain control, he ran a car off the road and into a ditch.  Well, the driver of that car just happened to be a big shot in the Federal Aviation Administration (oops).  Gee, what a coincidence.

Her Star Trek role was as Miss Piper, Starfleet Adjutant to Commodore Mendez on planet Talos lV in the two-part episode “The Menagerie.”  This is the show where parts of “The Cage” were shown in flashback.  Captain Pike was also in the newer plot, but he had been badly disfigured by delta rays.  Fortunately, Julie Parrish’s figure was just fine, and it was well displayed throughout the story.

Emily Banks:



The credits for Live A Little, Love A Little list Emily Banks’ character as “Receptionist.”  I know it’s hard to notice with that voluptuous stand-up occupying so much of the photo above, but look closely, there is a receptionist here.  Hey, Elvis, don’t stare.  Emily Banks fared a bit better with dialogue, as she had enough lines to be the fifth woman listed in the credits.

For her Star Trek appearance in “Shore Leave,” Emily Banks played Yeoman Tonia Barrows and got to do considerably more acting.  When some of the Enterprise crew beamed down to Omicron Delta for badly needed shore leave, a mysterious energy field (they show up at lot, don’t they?) caused strange things to happen individually to each crew member.  For Yeoman Barrows, it was a visit from Don Juan.  Too bad for Dr. McCoy, who thought scoring with her would be the perfect form of R&R.

Shari Nims:


Shari Nims was listed way down on the credits of Easy Come, Easy Go as Mary, although this name was never revealed in the film.  In fact, her only part came in the Easy Go-Go nightclub scene where Elvis sand “I’ll Take Love.”  Elvis was rocking so good that Mary came up on stage, grabbed a tambourine, and boogied along with him.

There was a bit of real acting by Sheri Nims as Sayana in “The Apple.”  Kirk led a landing party to Gamma Trianguli VI, where they noted an abnormal electromagnetic field (geez, another one) was causing subsurface vibrations.  When they investigate further, they discovered the flower-child-like people of Vaal, including Sayana, who had no concept of love or sex.  Do you think maybe the Enterprise crew educated them?

Tanya Lemani:



Tanya Lemani did not appear in an Elvis movie, but she was featured in the ’68 Comeback Special.  She had significant screen time as a belly dancer in the segment where Elvis sang “Little Egypt.”

She had a much larger part playing Kara in the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold.”  Kirk, McCoy and Scotty beamed down to the hedonistic pleasure planet Argelius II, and went to a favorite café.  Kara’s dancing infatuated them all, especially Scotty.  When she came over to their table, Scotty put his best moves on her and she agreed to leave with him.  As you can see in the picture above, Scotty was really pleased with this development.  Unfortunately, Kara was attacked out on the street and stabbed to death (awww, not that again).


©   2009    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved