Monthly Archives: February 2011

Elvis Scrapbooks — Part 1

Throughout his life, Elvis’ adoring fans expressed their devotion by attending his concerts, buying his records, joining fan clubs, and keeping Elvis scrapbooks.  Look at the teenager below showing off her thick Elvis scrapbook to two friends.  At that point in her life, do you think she had any other possession she considered as valuable and precious as that Elvis book?

Twenty years ago, I bought an Elvis scrapbook at a record show.  One of the vendors had it in a box with a bunch of Elvis albums.  I took it home and studied all the pages.  Then I put it away in a cabinet crammed full of Elvis memorabilia.  I’ve probably pulled it out two more times since then and looked through all the pages again.

Then, last week a friend of mine showed me a box of old albums he got from his mom.  It was about 2/3 Elvis music, but it also had some old Johnny Cash, and Fabian, and a bunch of worthless stuff.  All the potentially valuable albums had been played to death and were in less than ideal shape.

However, in a bit of déjà vu, there was also an Elvis scrapbook in the box.  My friend let me take it home and photograph all the pages.  So, this week, we will look at the efforts of a true Elvis fan.  She was also a big Priscilla fan, as you will soon see.  Here is her Elvis scrapbook.

 

The cover has a black ink drawing of Elvis.  It was done by Dave Green, but I have been unable to find out anything about him.  I wonder if he was a high school friend with artistic talent who drew it for her. In any case, it’s a pretty good job.

 

Page 1 is all about young Elvis.  There’s the familiar toddler shot of Elvis in a pose with his hat at a rakish angle.  This photo has since been on the cover of an Elvis CD.  And last year, they came out with a T-shirt featuring this little Elvis wearing the famous 70s sunglasses. 

Just below is a non-descript photo of Elvis at a 1956 recording session.

To the right is young boy Elvis, again wearing a hat, but also two six-shooters in holsters.  Something about this picture has intrigued me for years.  Did you notice the two things that foretell aspects of Elvis’ future stage appearance?   Look at that big, wide belt.  It reminds you of the ones Elvis had with his jumpsuits, doesn’t it?   And look at his eyes.  If he’s not wearing eye make-up, what else would make his eyes look like that?  It’s been documented that Elvis wore eyeliner while performing at concerts in the 50s.  This is no casual photo.  It was posed, and I’m betting Elvis decided to dress up his eyes a bit for the shoot.  So, here are two things Elvis preferred as a kid that he carried forward and used as a performer years later.

Next is a rare photo of Elvis being weighed in Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas after he was inducted into the Army.  The photographer lined up the shot perfectly.  But how weird must that moment have been for Elvis?  Maybe it didn’t bother him after being in the spotlight for the previous four years and having a million photographs taken.  However, it does belie the belief that life in the Army for Elvis would be just like any other soldier.

Finally, there is a somewhat familiar photo of Elvis and his mother, Gladys.  I wish somebody that knows Photoshop would give Gladys a little bit of a smile.  She always looks so sad.  If she were happy, this would be such a cool photo.

 

Page 2 has just one photo – Bill Haley and Elvis.  Do you younger readers know anything about Bill Haley?  He was a country singer who slid on over to Rockabilly and Rock and Roll, and he was at the top of the heap until Elvis took over.  One look at this picture shows you why the kids dumped him and flocked to Elvis.  I love Bill Haley’s music, but look at that hair-do and bow-tie.  Then look at Elvis’ hair and outfit.  No contest.

 

Page 3 has four mid-fifties photos.  Natalie Wood was Elvis’ first Hollywood girlfriend, and she was a beauty.  She travelled back with Elvis to Memphis after the filming of Love Me Tender, and stayed for a week in Graceland during her visit.   The second photo was taken in Tampa, Florida in July 1955.  EPE has used this photo in various merchandising efforts.

Next is a rere right profile of Elvis showing the slicked back hair of his duck tail style.  The last photo is Elvis in a convertible in 1957.  I think this shot was snapped during the filming of Loving You, and the girl may be his co-star Lizabeth Scott.

 

Page 4 features all Army photos.  The small photo at the top is nothing special, but the second larger one is a good color shot of Elvis in uniform.  I like the line under the picture.  It says Elvis fans thought they’d lost him forever once he entered the Army.  Happily, he came back to us.

The other small photo shows Elvis pointing to his new Sergeant strips after getting promoted on February 11, 1960.  For a complete explanation of the ranks Elvis achieved in the Army, click here.  The last shot is Vernon with Elvis in his dress uniform.  The medals on Elvis’ chest are for expert marksmanship – one for rifle and pistol, the other for sharpshooting with a carbine.

 

Page 5 contains three pictures that are rather familiar.  The exception would be the first one, which shows Elvis in an Army uniform.  However, this is not from real life.  The large American flag background gives it away as a shot on the set of G I Blues.  The marriage reception photo of Elvis and Priscilla has gotten a lot of mileage over the years, same as that black leather picture from the ’68 Comeback Special.

The last photo shows Lisa and Elvis in a wonderful pose.  The text under the photo says Elvis spent the last night of his life playing with Lisa after giving her a special present.  I wasn’t aware of this, so I looked it up in Elvis: Day By Day by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.  They say Elvis spent his last night watching TV until 10:30, and then going to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned and two small cavities filled.  (Only Elvis would have a dentist appointment at 10:30 at night.)  They report he wore a black DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) sweatsuit with two .45s stuck in his waistband.


It would be nice if the story about Lisa were true, but you’ve got to admit, Elvis spending the last night of his life getting his teeth cleaned while packing heat is just classic Elvis lore.

 

Page 6 is not about Elvis, as you can see.  It is a large color photo of Priscilla, and there are three more later on (plus some newspaper photos in black and white).  Unfortunately, they all show signs of age.  I have never seen any of them before, and they all appear to be glamour photos done by a professional.  Certainly, that’s not everyday apparel Priscilla is wearing.  She looks great in all four photos, but you’ll have to wait for Elvis Scrapbooks – Part 2 to see the others.

 

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Live Like Elvis — For $25,000 per Month

Recently, Jade Mills, a California realtor specializing in large estates, posted a new rental listing on her website.  It was 1174 N. Hillcrest Rd, which you knowledgeable fans will recognize as one of the homes Elvis lived in while filming movies.  It is located in the very exclusive Trousdale Estates near Los Angeles, and it is huge – 5,367 square feet.  Elvis bought it in May, 1967 for $400,000, but for some reason he lived there for only six or seven months.  Memphis Mafia members Joe Esposito and Richard Davis lived in the house, and Charlie Hodge and Gee Gee Gambill lived in the quest house.  Elvis was surrounded with buddies no matter where he lived.

 


 

A friend of mine sent me a link to the Huffington Post website, where they had an article about the house.  They duplicated the wonderful photos by Simon Berlyn that are showcased on the realtor’s internet listing.   The Huntington Post also incorporated basic formation from the rental site, but they rewrote the text.  In so doing, they messed up a reference to floor-to-ceiling windows and called them floor-to-ceiling walls.  Read the listing below and then have some fun reading the comments it inspired.

 

Former Elvis Home Available For $25,000 Per Month

The four bedroom, five bathroom home once belonging to actor-singer Elvis Presley and his wife Priscilla is now available for rent at $25,000 per month.  Located in Beverly Hills' exclusive Trousdale Estates next to comedian Danny Thomas' former estate, the 1.8 acre property has both a main house and an attached guest house with a four-car carport.  The former celebrity pad sits behind a private, gated entry, and the front gate itself still has personal messages written from fans to Elvis on it. The rest of the property has undergone renovations however, and updates include a brand new kitchen with professional appliances, new laundry room, upgraded electrical, and resurfaced pool and spa.   Additional features include floor-to-ceiling walls throughout the home with city and ocean views and a media room.

 

 

Comments:

“The space is great, lots of light, big open rooms. BUT, the facade is horrible, that style is all over Beverly Hills.  Sort of a post modern Normandy style.  And that niched ceiling looks expensive and silly next to a contemporary open kitchen with the cut out walls.”

“Nice layout and views but I don't like the monochromatic “color” scheme at all. White, stainless steel, more white…ick.”

“Grand open spaces and large rooms with killer scenery for the view. That whole faux-mansard roof thing is a bit dated but still quite charming and definitely LA. “

 

“Gorgeous trees and light coming through them!   What a hoot the rounded entry portico is! “

“What?!   No Jungle Room?!”

“Are we certain that Elvis has left the building?”

“The building has left the building.”

“Did anyone else notice that the description included 'floor to ceiling walls'???  I am gonna up the value of my own house….I got 'em, too!”

“I always like my walls to go from the floor to the ceiling.”

“Floor to ceiling walls?  As opposed to…?”

”You can’t beat the address though, if that's what you’re into.  Bottom line, for 25 grand a month, you could do better.” 

“I just wonder if they throw in a free first and last month's rent – considering it would take a month to move in enough stuff to fill that place – and another to haul it out again… “

“How much to rent it for an hour? “

“How about for a weekend?  I could throw a killer party in that house.”

 

“The only thing is that you would have crazed Elvis fans scribbling on your gate. Weird.”

“Who is Elvis Presley?”

 

Several of the comments mentioned the fabulous view.  It is to the West, so I’ll bet the sunsets are awesome.  Who couldn’t throw a killer party at this place? 

Photos by Simon Berlyn with Berlyn Photography

 

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Elvis Lip Socks for Valentine's Day

I get e-mails from www.ShopElvis.com all the time, and I scan each one to see if anything new grabs my attention.  A recent e-mail subject line was:  Valentine’s Day Promotions / Winter Gear.

 

 

This promotion definitely had something that caught my eye.  It was

 ELVIS LIP SOCKS — $9.99

 

What the heck are lip socks?  So, I clicked on the link, and this is what came up:

 

Okay, I get it.  Graceland must have something in their memorabilia warehouse that shows the outline of Elvis’ lips.  To make it, Elvis would have had to put on lipstick and pressed his lips onto white paper.  Sounds pretty strange, but it probably happened for some promotional project.

However, if I was asked to describe what picture I would put on Elvis Lip Socks, that’s not the one I would use.  Here’s what I would think of:

 

Yeah, the famous Elvis lip snarl.  Without seeing the eyes, nose, or any other part of the face, you instinctively know it is Elvis.  Put this on the socks and see how well they sell.

If you want a drawing rather than a photograph, how about this?

 

No doubt about it.  Those are Elvis’ lips.  What other personality has lips as distinctive as these?  Here are some more examples:

              

 

 

The last photograph was used to make this interesting composite picture.  How do people come up with the idea to combine Mickey Mouse, KISS and Elvis?  An icon triple feature.

 

This is getting pretty far off from the original idea of a Valentine’s Day article.  So, let’s steer it back to the subject of love by looking at the absolute love of Elvis’ life.

 

Notice anything? 

 

Anyway, Happy Valentine’s Day to Elvis, and to you too, Lisa.

 ©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc.

Happy 6th Birthday, ElvisBlog

The first week in February marks the 6th birthday of ElvisBlog, and several milestones have been reached.  If you don’t want to read a little bragging about this blog, scroll down to a fun article, “Reagan, Obama, and Elvis.”

The first milestone occurred when the 2010 year-end numbers came in.  ElvisBlog had 728,833 hits as measured by total page views, more than double the 2009 total.

Elvis’ birthday, January 8, is always the biggest day of the year for visitors to the site, and this year, ElvisBlog had a phenomenal total of 13,306 hits on that day.

Boosted by that one day record, January 2011 was the best month ever, finishing over another milestone with 100,371 hits.

The website www.visualizetraffic.com reports that ElvisBlog gets a daily average of 1047 visitors.  It’s pretty cool to know a thousand people read your stuff every day. 

Thank you to everyone for your continued support.

Phil Arnold

Original Elvis Blogmeister… ElvisBlog

Reagan, Obama, and Elvis

Lately, there has been much in the press about Barack Obama’s shift to the center.  He is said to be thinking and sounding a lot like Ronald Reagan.  This, plus the 100th anniversary of Reagan’s birthday on February 6, has even prompted news magazines to pair the two presidents on their covers.

Current Time magazine cover featuring Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama

 

One thing the press hasn’t mentioned is that both presidents have been Elvis fans, and that they’ve worn clothing to give them that Elvis look.

               

Obama favors the young Elvis gold lamé coat from 1957.  Reagan looks great in the 1973 Aloha from Hawaii American Eagle jumpsuit.  Some clever folks did a nice job on Photoshop making these shots.

Do you know how many presidents Elvis met?  Of course there was Nixon in 1970.  Lesser known is that Elvis met both Jimmy Carter and George H W Bush – before they became presidents.

 

Jimmy Carter was the Governor of Georgia when he and Rosalyn visited Elvis backstage after a June 1973 concert in Atlanta.  George H W Bush was UN Ambassador when he was the guest speaker at the dinner where Elvis was honored as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of 1971.

 

John F Kennedy was one president Elvis never met, but a Photoshop jockey with questionable taste did try to give us picture simulating an occasion when they got together.

 

©  2010    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

Elvis, Elvis Presley, and Graceland are registered trademarks of Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc