Monthly Archives: July 2013

ELVIS: The King Revealed

A recent news article on Elvis.com announced a so-called instant keepsake – the magazine ELVIS: The King Revealed.  This “Official Graceland Special Edition” is touted for going deep into their Elvis historical archives, accessing thousands of photos, documents, interviews and Elvis memorabilia, and sharing them with the public for the first time.

Elvis - The King Revealed

 

With over 350 ‘rare’ photos, the magazine is probably worth its $9.99 price.  But I wish they had used a different title.  The King Revealed just sounds too much like those Midnight Globe and National Enquirer tabloid headlines from the late 70s and early 80s.  I remembered that many of them proclaimed all sorts of different stuff they supposedly revealed about Elvis.

That was enough motivation to look in my large box of old tabloid issues with Elvis cover stories to see how many had the words Elvis and Revealed in the headlines. To my great surprise, there were none.

However, there were three Elvis tabloids featuring variations on the word revealed, like Starlet Reveals, or New Tapes Reveal.

 

Midnight Globe — November 22, 1977:

Midnight Globe - Nov 22, 1977

The starlet who revealed why she said no to Elvis is Joan Freeman, his co-star in Blue Hawaii and Kid Galahad.  According to the article, “When we first set eyes on each other, there was a spark, a magic in the air… There was just that special something between us, sometimes so warm and wonderful you could almost reach out and touch it.”

Wow, that special something sure sounds like lust to this reader.

Blackman claims she knew Elvis prior to working with him on Blue Hawaii in March and April 1961.  It’s possible she met Elvis in Hollywood in 1957, while she was filming her first role in Good Day for a Hanging, but all of her other parts were in movies made while Elvis was in Germany.  Anyway, she said Elvis begged her repeatedly to appear in one of his movies, but she turned him down each time.  “I wanted parts because of my ability, not because I was dating Elvis.”  She maintains she got the role in Blue Hawaii because producer Hal Wallis picked her.

The Starlet Who Said No

The special something between Blackman and Elvis heated up when they got to Honolulu in 1961.  The Midnight Globe asserts they had a wild, tumultuous love affair while there.  “We had rooms next to each other in the hotel, and for weeks we just lived together.” This led Elvis to propose marriage.  “He really wanted me to be his wife… But I said no… I was in love with another actor, Hampton Fancher III (mostly TV work, lots of westerns).

So, Elvis got shot down in his wish to marry Joan Blackman, but for some reason, he wanted her to appear with him two films later in Kid Galahad.  Who needs marriage when you can still have that special something?

 

The Star — June 27, 1978:

The Star - June 27, 1978

 

Elvis didn’t make the cover of this issue (just a promo tease in the bottom right corner), and he barely was shown in the centerfold photo-spread. The new tapes referenced came from Wanda June Hill, who used them to write her book We Remember Elvis.  She says she first met Elvis in a Hollywood studio and kept in contact with him for fifteen years, right up to his death.  Apparently, she had a tape recorder going much of the time during their phone conversations.

The Star article does emphasize the continuing love Elvis and Priscilla had for each other, even after their divorce in 1971.  That seems to be accepted narrative these days, but maybe it was considered a revelation back in 1978 when the article appeared.

The Eternal Love of Elvis and Priscilla

What’s interesting is the choice of photos under the banner “The Eternal Love of Elvis and Priscilla.”  There’s one tiny picture of them in the upper right-hand corner.

Priscilla and Mike Stone

There is a considerably larger photo of Priscilla and Karate trainer Mike Stone on the lower right.  He is not mentioned in the article, except for the photo caption that says, “He [Elvis] forgave the relationship she developed with Mike Stone after the separation.  (After?)

 

Priscilla and Hairdresser Elie Erzer

There is an even larger photo of Priscilla with her ‘latest escort,’ Hollywood hairdresser Elie Erzer.  What ever happened to calling them boyfriends or lovers?

 

Linda Thompson

There is also a great shot of Linda Thompson I’ve never seen before.  She gets treated rather kindly in the article.

Finally, there is a familiar glamour shot of Ginger Alden.  She doesn’t come out too well in the article.  In fact, the author says Elvis was about to cut off the relationship shortly before his death.  Supposedly, he had a beautiful blonde woman waiting in the wings.

 

Midnight Globe – Dec 13, 1977 :

Midnight Globe - Dec 13, 1977

 

Dee Stanley is the stepmom who reveals the truth behind the Presley divorces.  She and Vernon were married for fourteen years, but they separated in 1974 when she found out he had been seeing another woman he met in Las Vegas.  The article says she never thought for a second that the separation would lead to a divorce.  However, three years later, Vernon was still living with the woman.  A few months after Elvis died, Vernon and Dee had a quickie divorce in the Dominican Republic.

Ninety percent of the Midnight Globe article is about this divorce and the aftermath.  The only time Dee mentions Elvis and Priscilla’s divorce is when she compares it to hers.  “The two marriages… succumbed to the same sort of strains – Elvis’ work on the road, in Las Vegas and other places, and Vernon going off with him.  The two of them felt the same way, that there was a separate man’s world where women shouldn’t be allowed to enter… ”  Dee called it the reverse of an old saying: “Like son, like father.”

Dee Presley

Dee also discussed her divorce settlement as fair and generous, and that Vernon had always been that way.  Later in the article, she admitted it was enough for her to live an opulent lifestyle for the rest of her life.  Near the end of the article, Dee says she still feels for Vernon.  She tells him she still loves him and she prays someday they might marry each other again.  That didn’t happen for Elvis, and we know how that old saying goes.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Cashing In On Those Old Gifts From Elvis

I’ve been following auctions of Elvis memorabilia for so long that certain trends have become obvious.  One is that prices for Elvis’ rings really dropped after the recession hit in 2008, but they are coming back pretty strong now.  Another is that Elvis gave away a phenomenal amount of his wardrobe and jewelry to his Memphis Mafia buddies and other friends.

 

Heritage

My favorite auction house, Heritage Auctions, has a good one coming up on August 10.  Their Entertainment and Music Memorabilia Auction contains 49 Elvis items.  Some of the offerings do not need a Letter of Authenticity – stuff like rare records, movie posters, signage from Las Vegas performances.  But clothing and jewelry do.  And these LOAs tell us who Elvis gave the articles to, and who is converting their old Elvis treasures into cash.

Sonny West and Elvis -- 1970

Sonny West and Elvis — 1970

Sonny West must have decided to clean out the closet, because he offers seven items of Elvis clothing at the upcoming auction.  There are also one item each from Alan Fortas, Richard Davis, Marty Lacker, and Joe Esposito.  A nice leather jacket has a LOA from Charlie Hodge, but this must be the second (or third?) time through the auction cycle for it, because Charlie died some years ago.

 

Patsy Presley -- 1976

Patsy Presley — 1976

A new name showed up this time on six Letters of Authenticity – Patsy Presley.  The item descriptions identify her as Elvis’ double cousin, and this peaked my curiosity.  She gets this interesting distinction because her father was Vernon Presley’s brother Vester, and her mother was Gladys Smith Presley’s sister Clette.  Seems like those Presley boys were both courting two of the Smith sisters back in Tupelo.  They married and had kids, making Elvis and Patsy double cousins.

 

Patsy Presley (center) at Graceland --1960

Patsy Presley (center) at Graceland –1960

 

Most Elvis fans will know that Elvis’ Uncle Vester presided as Graceland gatekeeper and good will ambassador for many years.

See the resemblance to Vernon and Gladys?

See the resemblance to Vernon and Gladys?

 

Some fans may also know Patsy Presley from her appearances at different Elvis festivals.

Patsy Presley -- 2013

Patsy Presley — 2013

 

An interesting piece of trivia about Patsy Presley is that she married Gee Gee Gambill in 1967, after which he became one of the Memphis Mafia, overseeing Elvis’ wardrobe.  He was also one of just five in the group invited to Elvis and Priscilla’s wedding.  While guys closer to Elvis, like Jerry Shilling, Red West and Charlie Hodge, were snubbed, Gee Gee got to be there because he was “family.”

At some point, Patsy Presley and Gee Gee Gambill divorced, and she later married Clayton Geranen.  Both Gambill and Geranen died in 2005.  According to internet search results, Patsy Presley worked as a secretary at Graceland for many years, and was devoted to Elvis.  She and Priscilla became close friends, often going shopping or to the movies together.  It was reported a few years ago that Patsy remains friendly with both Priscilla and Lisa Marie, the one Elvis relative that both have chosen to keep in touch with.

Finally, one website made reference some years ago to the existence of the Patsy Presley Collection on eBay.  I have been unable to find it there now, so perhaps she decided to move a group of Elvis items quickly by auction.  Here’s what she is offering on August 10.

Army Jacket, Pants, and Hat:

ARMY Jacket, Pants, and Hat (1960) MB 10,000

 

Diamond Ring:

Diamond Ring  14 carat gold MB 3,000

 

Gold Chai Pendant:

Gold Chai Pendant

 

Graceland Gate Openers:

Graceland Gate Openers

 

Graceland Office Wall Clock:

Graceland Wall Clock

 

Racquetball:

 Racquetball

 

Check out what the auction website says about this green racquetball:

“Elvis’ affinity for racquetball is well-documented.  On the eve of the King’s passing he had played with guests at Graceland – this was one of the balls used. LOA from Patsy Presley Geranen.  Estimate: $800 – up.”

Now I’ve seen it all.  A racquetball gets a Letter of Authenticity, and the auction house thinks it will bring $800.  If this represents a new trend, it’s pretty weird.  Oh, well.  That’s what makes Elvis World so interesting.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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

 

Six Degrees of Elvis Presley

Do you remember the game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon that became popular in the late 90s and still enjoyed by some folks to this day.  It was created by four students at Albright College in Pennsylvania who came up with the concept while watching Footloose.  It was invented on the notion that any actor could be linked to Kevin Bacon through no more than six connections.  Originally, connections meant appearing in a movie together, but over time it has come to include spouses, siblings, parents or children, girlfriends/boyfriends, etc.

b

If it takes six connections to make the chain from someone to Kevin Bacon, that person is said to have a Bacon Number of 6.  Elvis has a Bacon Number of 2.  It goes like this:  Elvis appeared in Change of Habit with Ed Asner, and Asner appeared in JFK with Kevin Bacon.  Two steps (degrees of separation) = a Bacon Number of 2.

So, let’s look at a variation of this we will call Six Degrees of Elvis.  Believe it or not, we can find an Elvis/Bacon Number of 6 for this guy.

Kanye West

Kanye West

 

As scary as that connection sounds, here’s how it works.

Former beauty queen Linda Thompson was Elvis’ girlfriend for four years.  She moved out of Graceland in 1976.

Elvis and Linda (in Through Dress)

Elvis and Linda (in see-through dress)

 

Then, in 1981 Linda Thompson married former Olympic decathlon champion Bruce Jenner.  They had two boys, but ultimately ended up divorcing.

Linda Thompson and Bruce Jenner - 1981

Linda Thompson and Bruce Jenner – 1981

 

In 1991, Bruce Jenner married Kris Kardashian. They remain married to this day, and have two teenaged daughters.

Recent Photo of Bruce and Kris Jenner

Recent Photo of Bruce and Kris Jenner

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Kris Jenner has three daughters from her previous marriage, including media favorite Kim Kardashian.

Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian

Kris Jenner and Kim Kardashian

 

Kim Kardashian and Kanye West just had a baby, although they aren’t married.

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

 

So that’s the six degrees of separation between Elvis and Kanye West.  Maybe it would have been smart to stop after the five degrees of separation between Elvis and Kim Kardashian.  She’s a lot easier to look at than an arrogant rapper.

 

Speaking of good looking women, let’s go back to Linda Thompson and look at some interesting photos of her.

Linda on Jungle Room Chair

Linda on Jungle Room Chair

 
Linda and Son Brody Jenner

Linda and Son Brody Jenner

 

Autographed Glamour Photo

Autographed Glamour Photo

 

Linda Thompson at 58

Linda Thompson at 58

 

Elvis and Linda - 1975 or 76

Elvis and Linda – 1975 or 76

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If you’ve ever played six degrees of separation between Elvis and another star, e-mail your successful connection to philarnold@charter.net.   If enough come in, we’ll look at them on an ElvisBlog post.

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©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

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

 

Elvis T-shirt Review – Summer 2013

An ElvisBlog summer tradition that started in 2008 is back.  This will be the fifth review of the latest in Elvis T-shirts offered by www.ShopElvis.com.  We will look at ten winners, and unfortunately, five that just don’t cut it (for me, anyway).

The Winners

Long Live the King:

Long Live the King

I always prefer T-shirts that don’t spell out ELVIS but still get the message across with the graphics.  And this reproduction of a Joe Petrucio design is just terrific.  Gold letters on a black shirt are a perfect combination, and the Elvis pose is just a knock-out.  I love this shirt.

 

One and Only (Ladies T, sublimated):

One & Only Ladies Sublimated

They’ve started putting the same design on both the front and back of a few Elvis T-shirts.  For some reason, this is being called Sublimated, although two dictionaries give the word totally unrelated definitions.  You will note the One and Only shirt contains no lettering at all, and none is needed to mark the wearer as an Elvis fan.  They ought to make this design available in Men’s shirts, too.

 

Red Cape:

Red Cape

As mentioned in previous reviews, I have a distinct preference for black T-shirts.  Here’s one that’s the essence of simplicity – a great jumpsuit shot of Elvis with his name in a large fancy font.  This shirt is definitely a winner.

 

Black Leather:

Black Leather

This follows the same concept as the on above.  There are many Elvis T-shirt designs featuring ’68 Comeback Special images, and this probably the best.  I like the red hi-lites on the black leather.  The shirt might have been a bit better if the image was on a shirt color that complimented the red and black of the leather suit.

 

TCB Ornate:

TCB Ornate

At first glance, this seems to be a simple design, but look carefully at everything in it.  You’ve got young Elvis in the center with sort-of a sunburst radiating outward from him.  This is superimposed over his famous TCB jewelry design.  Then, superimposed over everything is his Elvis Presley signature.  But, there is even more.  Look closely at the letter C, and you will see a crown floating over Elvis’s head.  No wonder they called this shirt TCB Ornate.

 

American Eagle Jumpsuit (Ladies T):

American Eagle Jumpsuit Ladies

Talk about ornate!  I included this design in last summer’s review when it was introduced as a Men’s shirt.  Now it is back as a Ladies T, and that makes better sense.  It might actually look a little weird on a guy.  Too bad they didn’t print the back design of the jumpsuit on the back of the T-shirt.

 

The King (Ladies T):

The King Ladies

With the possible exception of Elvis’ face being purple, there is much to like about this design.  A black shirt, an excellent image of Elvis wearing his famous shades, and THE KING in large clean lettering.

 

Good Rockin’ Tonight:

Good Rockin' Tonight

This is the second T-shirt I’ve found that includes the image of my favorite, Scotty Moore.  The other was Elvis Live featured in Elvis T-shirt Review – 2011, which featured a photo from 1956 by Albert Wertheimer.  Scotty is much more visible in this image, and DJ Fontana can be seen in the darkened background.

 

Fighting King:

 Fighting King

This is a fine image of Elvis wearing his Karate gi and showing one of his moves.  Whatever that is behind him is too pale to figure out, but Elvis’ hair is certainly interesting.  My only complaint is that this would have been much better on a colored shirt, say maybe maroon.

68 Special (Ladies T, sublimated):

'68 Special Ladies Sublimated

This is the third new Elvis T-shirt winner this year that features an image from the ’68 Special.  Never can have too much black leather, right?  I love tie-dye shirts, and if you look closely, that makes this look like Elvis has a bunch of small black spikes coming out of his hair.  Maybe they did that on purpose.

 

The Losers

 

68 Special Rock:

68 Special Rock

Come on, give us more than a reproduction of a poster.

 

Sun Rockin’ Rooster:

Sun Rockin' Rooster

When I look at an Elvis T-shirt, I expect to see Elvis on it, not a rooster.  There have been several cool Sun Records shirts, but this isn’t one.

 

Jailhouse Pop (Ladies T):

Jailhouse Pop Ladies

Sorry, but to me this looks like Elvis has been tied at the hands and feet to a wall and is getting tortured by having red paint splashed on his body.

 

Jailhouse Rock Replica:

Jailhouse Rock Replica

Another bad Jailhouse Rock shirt.  This one is hideous.  I wouldn’t wear it even if it was given to me for free.

 

Neon Shades:

Neon Shades

Could there be an uglier image of Elvis than this?  The glasses are creepy and the shading under the chin looks like a beard.  If you didn’t know better, you might think this is a guy that organizes migrant farm workers.  Uuugh.

 

All of these designs are available in the ShopElvis online catalog under the New Arrivals tab of the Hot Items section.  If you saw anything in this post that appeals to you and want to buy it, click here.  If you buy any of the Losers, send me a picture of you wearing it.  I’ll post it on ElvisBlog and try not to make any snide remarks.

 

©  2013    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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