Monthly Archives: August 2014

The Movie Theater: One Building Elvis Will Never Leave — Part 6

Elvis Cinemas

Have you noticed how Elvis continues to loom so large in American pop-culture? One significant example of this is his presence in a dozen or so movies every year. Not necessarily as a character, but in more subtle ways, like his name being used in dialog, or his image in video clips or photos visible in a scene, or his songs playing in the background (or over the credits), or familiar Elvis trappings like jumpsuits and those famous sunglasses, or even his well-known moves and mannerisms.

Every August I enjoy going to  Memphis Commercial Appeal’s website and reading John Beifuss annual report on movies that contain something, anything, about Elvis in them.

 john beifuss

John Beifuss is a reporter and movie critic for the Commercial Appeal, and this nifty job has him watch every movie that comes to town.  And, because that town is Memphis, Beifuss makes note of every Elvis connection he sees in them.  As Elvis Week is going on each year, he posts his annual report on Elvis allusions in the movies during the past twelve months.

Beifus should have a wider audience for this unique chronicle.  Since 2010, ElvisBlog has helped to spread the word by highlighting his annual discoveries and offering a link so readers can read his original comments.  In 2014, he found sixteen movies with Elvis allusions, but half of them were low-budget local productions or documentaries.  Let’s take a look at the ones you could actually find on the on-demand cable channels or Netflix and might want to watch.

 

The Art of the Steal:

The Art of the Steal

This is the only one of the eight movies I have seen, and it’s pretty good.  Kurt Russell plays a former get-away driver for a group of art thieves.  He’s trying to stay straight as a motorcycle daredevil, until his age and injuries take their toll.  As we remember with Evil Kneivel, he wears a jumpsuit for his performances.

 Kurt Russell on The Art of the Steal

 It looks a good bit like an Elvis jumpsuit, and he does a series of Elvis-like moves to pump up the crowd before doing his big jump.

 

Godzilla:

 Godzilla

Turns out Godzilla isn’t the only terrifying creature in this movie.  A giant winged-creature dubbed MUTO is unleashed from a massive cocoon-like structure that feeds on radiation.  When the fierce insectoid attacks Las Vegas, Elvis’ song “Devil in Disguise” can be heard in the background.

 MUTO in Godzilla

I’m not sure that’s really an appropriate theme.  That MUTO thing is definitely not in any disguise.

 

Devil’s Knot:

Devil's Knot

I like Reese Witherspoon, but must admit I never heard of this movie.  Possibly, it was really crappy and had a very short run.  Witherspoon’s character has an eight-year-old son in the movie, and they have several references to Elvis in their dialogue.

 Reese Witherspoon and Son from Devil's Knot

As she walks him to school, the boy sings “That’s All Right, Mama.”  Later, he tells her, “I’m gonna buy you a Graceland, Mama, just like Elvis has got.”  She replies, “How ’bout you buy me a Promised Land since he’s got the other one?”

After the son is murdered, the boy’s “Merry Christmas from Elvis” tree ornament is featured in two scenes.  She sings “That’s All Right” and caresses the ornament to console herself.  Later, when she moves on and cleans out the boy’s mementos including the ornament, we hear him singing the song again in the background.

 

I Origins:

I Origins

Despite a successful screening at the 2014 Sundance Music Festival, this movie also seems to have had a limited run in theaters.  It centers on medical student who specializes in the evolution of the human eye.  The Elvis allusions does not appear in the movie, but in a post-credits sequence where retinal scans of famous people in history are compared to living people for matches.  Elvis’ eye shows up here in a shot from “Jailhouse Rock.”

 

Muppets Most Wanted:

 Muppets Most Wanted

 You have to be alert or you’ll miss this brief Elvis reference.  When the Muppets start to organize a talent show, Fozzie Bear says, “I can do an Elvis impersonation.”  You know, I’d actually like to see that.

 Fozzie-Bear-from-Muppets-Most-Wanted

 

Birth of the Living Dead:

 Birth of the Living Dead

 AllMovie.com says this movie examines the volatile social climate that gave birth to George Romero’s highly-influential horror classic Night of the Living Dead, while paying tribute to the staunchly independent filmmaker and his unconventional methods.  That’s not going to entice me to watch it, so I’ll miss the scene where a famous film critic says, “The electricity generated by a first encounter with [Night of the Living Dead] was like… seeing Elvis Presley for the first time.”

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The Wolf of Wall Street:

The Wolf of Wall Street

When Leonardo DiCaprio dances with his new wife at their wedding in the Bahamas, guess what’s playing?  An Elvis classic – “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

 Wedding Scene in The Wolf of Wall Street

 

Unfortunately, this has not been a classic year for reference to Elvis in the movies.  Maybe there will be a better collection for John Beifuss to discover next year.

 

 

©  2014    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.

The Auction at Graceland — Postgame Show

We looked at the losers last week, so now it is time for the winners. I’ve followed dozens of Elvis auctions over the years, and there is no question that having this one at Graceland was a brilliant move. Some of the selling prices were incredibly high.

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Gemstone, Diamond and Gold Lion Pendant:

Elvis' Lion Head Pendant Pendant

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $20-30,000: Sold for $82,500

This 18-karat gold lion’s head pendant contains two emeralds for the eyes, a cabochon ruby in the mouth, and brow and mouth set with 24 single-cut diamonds with a total weight of approximately 0.48 carats. It was designed specifically for Elvis by his favorite Memphis jeweler Lowell Hays.

Elvis Wearing Lion's Head Pendant

Elvis wore this pendant on multiple occasions, including his meeting with President Nixon, his acceptance of the Jaycees Award as one of the Top Young Men in America, and Sonny West’s wedding.

Elvis and Nixon

As has been stressed here repeatedly, nothing boosts the price of Elvis clothes or jewelry like a photograph of him wearing it. The famous Elvis/Nixon picture (bestselling item at the Nixon Presidential Library gift shop and most requested document reproduction from the National Archives) probably added $50,000 to the value of this item, and made it the big winner at this auction.

 

1977 Cadillac Seville:

Elvis' 77 Cadillac from Auction at Graceland

Minimum bid – $50,000, Estimate – $100-120,000: Sold for $81,250

Although this car was number two on the high bid listing, it went for well under the estimate. Keep in mind that the estimate price is before the auction house tacks on their 25%. The sell price shown above includes this charge; actual bidding stopped at $65,000. Two weeks ago, Elvisblog posted a photo and report from a 1994 auction where this Caddy brought in $101,000 at auction. That came from an Elvis chat room, so it could be off. But, if not, I can’t figure out why the car didn’t sell for that much or more.

Elvis’ 1977 maroon and silver Cadillac Seville – V8 automatic is the last known Cadillac he drove (the night before his death), and it was also the last Cadillac that he purchased for his own personal use.
Note: The next highest priced item was Elvis’ opal and diamond ring at $38,750. There were two other rings, but we’ll skip them all here. They will show up soon in the next edition of the series Elvis Fabulous Rings.

 

Graceland Blueprints:

Blueprints for Graceland's First Floor

Blueprints for First Floor of Graceland

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $25-35,000: Sold for $35,000

On several TV shows prior to the auction, Priscilla stated the estate would be bidding on some items. This certainly had to be one of them.

Blueprints for Graceland Upstairs

Upstairs at Graceland

There are three framed and matted 1939 blueprints measuring 32 by 54 inches in this lot. I can see the value, but if I had $35,000 to spend on Elvis memorabilia, I’d get a couple of rings or some clothes.

 

Shooting Target:

Elvis' Graceland Shooting Target

Minimum bid – $500, Estimate – $1,200-1,500: Sold for $27,000

I couldn’t believe my eyes as the bidding unfolded on this police silhouette target. There must have been two or three collectors who really wanted this, because they bid it up to a ridiculous level. Yes, we know Elvis had these 36 by 44 inch targets set up inside the old Graceland smokehouse, so he and the boys could shoot through the door at them. But, I agree with the woman in the auction chatroom who questioned whether the bullet holes were made by Elvis or by his bodyguards when he wasn’t using it.

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1969 Las Vegas Show Agreement:

Elvis' Las Vegas Show Agreement

Minimum bid – $10,000, Estimate – $20-25,000: Sold for $27,500

This isn’t just any contract Elvis signed with the Las Vegas International Hotel. This is for his1969 return to live performances after the movie years. Elvis was to be paid $100,000 per week for fifteen performances. The full contract is thirteen pages long.

 

Overnight Army Pass:

Military Leave Pass Issued to Elvis Presley, 1958

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $4-6,000: Sold for $20,625

I don’t get it. What makes this worth so much more than any other Elvis signed article? It’s not something big like his enlistment papers or release documents. It’s an overnight pass.

While stationed in Germany, Elvis was issued this military leave pass granting him permission for an overnight leave of absence to visit a “US Area of Interest” from noon on October 4 and ordering his return prior to midnight on the evening of October 5, 1958.

So, what was this US Area of Interest? Elvis, Vernon, Grandmother Minnie, Red West, and Lamar Fike travelled to Bad Homburg. They ate dinner and spent the night at the Ritters Park Hotel.

 

Personal Message to Vernon:

Elvis' Personal Message Christmas Gift to His Father

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $3-5,000: Sold for $18,750

In 1976, Elvis wanted to give his father Vernon something special for Christmas, so he asked his friend Janelle McComb of Tupelo, Mississippi, to calligraph a personal message. It has Elvis’ signature at the bottom. The framed and matted message measures approximately 17 5/16 by 14 3/16 inches.

 

Baldwin Upright Piano:

Elvis' Baldwin Piano

Minimum bid- $10,000, Estimate – $25-35,000: Sold for $15,000

This upright piano from Elvis Presley’s Palm Springs home. The plate in the center says “Baldwin.” Includes attached music stand and bench. Too bad they couldn’t find just one photo of Elvis sitting on that bench playing the piano

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“Love Me Tender” Script:

Elvis' copy Love Me Tender Screenplay

Minimum bid – $1,500, Estimate – $4-6,000: Sold for $14,375

There were six items featured in the pre-auction promotion. The Martin guitar and the marriage certificate were over-valued and scared off bidders. The Caddy sold for much less than the estimate. However, the lion’s head pendant went for much more, and so did this script.

A number of things about the cover are interesting. The original title was The Reno Brothers back in August 1993. The script languished for years in pre-production, until hot young star Elvis was considered for a role in 1956. When his hit song “Love Me Tender” dominated the charts, the title was changed, as noted on the cover. Of course, many copies of the screenplay were printed, but this was Elvis’ own copy, as stamped in the upper left: “Please forward to: ELVIS PRESLEY.”

 

Library Card:

Elvis' Library Card from Auction at Graceland

Minimum bid – $5,000, Estimate – $12-15,000: Sold for $10,000

This is an important Elvis signature, a steal at half the price of the overnight pass. It is the second oldest known full Elvis signature, not counting a crayon box from when he was in first grade with ‘Elvis’ scrawled on it.

This signed library card was found by the librarian at the school which Elvis attended in Tupelo. Once the librarian realized Elvis’ fame, she searched through all of the books borrowed from the library by Elvis to find his signature, and discovered two cards. The second, from two days earlier than the offered card, is now in a private collection,

 

Okay, that is the top ten highest bid items (excluding the three rings to be covered later) at the Auction at Graceland. We’ll skip now to a couple of articles of Elvis clothing.

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White Puffy Shirt:

Elvis' White “Puffy Sleeve

Minimum bid – $3,000, Estimate – $7-9,000: Sold for $8,125

This is the shirt that one auction chatroom lady said she would love to sleep in because it touched Elvis’ body. Made for Elvis by the IC Costume Company, this shirt has puffy sleeves and cuffs that were a particular favorite of Elvis’ during the 1970s.

 

Used Concert Scarf:

Elvis Presley Used Concert Scarf

Minimum bid – $300, Estimate – $6-700: Sold for $5,625

Before the actual live auction on August 14, there had been a week of internet bidding. I checked it several times and noted very spirited bidding on this scarf. By the time the live auction started, forty-six bids had been made, so you knew something interesting was going to happen. And it did with the winning price going for eight times the estimate.

There have been other Elvis stage-worn scarves up for auction before, and they didn’t bring in this much money. It’s not because Elvis signed this one – the autograph is a printed facsimile. Maybe the included ticket stub added some value. Or, maybe the winning bidder was at that concert in Pittsburgh in 1976. Then it just might be worth shelling out $5,600 to get.

 

© 2014 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Too Pricey to Sell at the Auction at Graceland

Auction At Graceland

August 16 is the apex of Elvis Week, so a blog article posted on this date usually celebrates Elvis’ legacy and marvels at how the fans come back to honor him each year. Unfortunately, this theme has been covered by ElvisBlog several times already, and it’s hard to find new ways to say it. So, this year we’ll do a report on the marvelous auction of Elvis memorabilia that unfolded on Thursday night and early yesterday morning.

Everybody who follows ElvisBlog knows I cover several Elvis auctions every year. But the Auction at Graceland was different. We were able to watch all three-and-one-half hours of it on streaming video via LiveStream. I found it fascinating viewing.

 Terri Walker at Auction at Graceland

This is Terri Walker of Walker Auctioneers, a local Memphis company. This woman should have been hoarse after the first hour, because she talks non-stop. She’s pretty, funny, and excellent at pulling higher bids out of people. Once in a while you’d think the bidding stalled out at say $2,000, but she’d spike it up and the item would end up going for $6,000.

 Auction at Graceland View Screen

She had a staff of about ten people helping her, things like describing each item, spotting bidders, taking phone and internet bids, and recording all the pertinent stuff. Behind her is the screen showing the item under bid, often including alternative views.

 Chatroom at Auction at Graceland

The unexpected bonus to this online streaming of the auction was the chat room on the right of the screen. There were a hard-core group of folks doing most of the texting, and I found reading it strangely addicting. Here are three to give you an idea how it went.

Wendy Auliff: His body was in that…. I want it to use as my PJs. (describing the White Puffy Shirt)

Deborah: The same thing happened to me. I woke up and remember seeing the stage covered with flowers. I truly felt like I had stepped out of a dream and I don`t remember it to this day. (Response to someone talking about her first Elvis concert experience)

Kyle Vanover: This would be even cooler than having Fonzie’s little black book! (Comparison to Elvis’ Personal Address Book).

 

It will take more than one post to cover all the interesting items at this auction. So, let’s start with the ten who didn’t reach the minimum starting price or failed to meet the reserve (whatever that is).

 

1975 Martin D-28 Guitar:

Elvis' Martin D-28 Guitar

This Martin D-28 Guitar was gifted by Elvis to his friend and bodyguard Sam Thompson in January of 1977 and has an interesting history. It was later sold to the National Enquirer for use as a contest prize, which helped Thompson fund his college education. What it lacks is pedigree. It’s not one of Elvis’ early Martin guitars from the 50s. As they stated on the auction floor, Elvis used Gibson and Fender guitars before coming back to Martin in the late 70s.

This Martin D-28 guitar was one of six items featured in the pre-auction promotions, so they obviously had high hopes for it. Quite a few Elvis-owned guitars have brought in big bucks, but this one failed to generate the $30,000 minimum bid. The pre-auction estimate of $70-90,000 was wildly over-optimistic.

 

Address Books:

Elvis Address Book 1

Considering that there are four address books in this lot, I was very surprised no one offered the minimum bid of $7,000.

Elvis Address Book 3

The description on the auction website tried to beef up interest.

The books contain names, numbers and addresses for almost everyone in Elvis’ life including Priscilla, Colonel Parker, J.D. Sumner, Jerry Schilling, all his entourage members, old girlfriends both pre-and-post Priscilla, and countless others. Transport yourself back in time and live the life of Elvis through his personal contacts and business associates. The address books offer a peek into the life of the King.

 Elvis Address Book 2

Penguin Suit:

Elvis' Black and White “Penguin” Suit

Elvis jumpsuits are among the most desirable memorabilia items and sell for lots of money. This must have been the consideration when the targeting the estimate for this outfit at $70-90,000. However, although Elvis wore it one time on stage, it is not a jumpsuit and collectors bid accordingly (or didn’t bid, as it turned out).

This black and white suit, is referred to as the “penguin suit,” and was made in the mid-1970s for Elvis by the IC Costume Company. Elvis wore it as part of his off-stage wardrobe. On September 19th, 1975, in Las Vegas, Elvis was dressed in this suit, and because he was running behind schedule without time to change into a jumpsuit for the show, Elvis wore this suit on stage for that particular performance.

The Penguin Suit is still a valuable piece of Elvis clothing, so we will see it up again at auction. However, it needs to have a lower minimum bid than $40,000 it had this time.

 

Bean Bag Chair:

Elvis' Faux Fur Bean Bag Chair and Two Pillows

This faux leopard fur bean bag chair with small and large matching pillows was used in Elvis’ Chino Canyon, Palm Springs home. I saw it back in 1999 in Las Vegas when Graceland held a huge auction at the MGM Grand Hotel. I’ve often wondered why EPE dumped a lot of good stuff then. I’ll bet they wish they had most of it back now that they have opened the new Graceland Archives Experience.

Elvis Auction in Las Vegas, 1999

Anyway, the beanbag and pillows failed to generate the minimum bid of $2,000. It probably would have soared past that if a photo of Elvis sitting on it had been provided.

 

Molds for Elvis Sunglasses:

Molds Used to Create the Emblems for Elvis' TCB Sunglasses

When I saw the projected sell price of this item at $10-15.000, I said no way. You can buy the actual sunglasses for less than that, and they are much cooler. Here’s what the auction website description had to say about them.

An iconic part of Elvis history, Elvis’ sunglasses, whether aviator or neo-nautic style, are recognizable anywhere and all Elvis tribute artists and fans alike want “the look.” These iconic shades were customized by Dennis Roberts of the Optique Boutique in Los Angeles. The offered three molds are the original molds used by Dennis to create the gold and silver emblems that adorned Elvis’ glasses. The “EP” was typically placed on the bridge of Elvis’ aviator glasses, and the TCB logo with the lightning bolt adorned the temple arms.

Sounds good, but not worth the minimum bid of $4,000.

 

The Impersonal Life:

Elvis' The Impersonal Life” Book

There were a number of items at this auction that originally came from Ginger Alden. The folks in the chat room didn’t much like her. Maybe the bidders didn’t either, because not one would cover the $4,000 minimum on this book.

This surprised me, because it has a lot going for it. This copy of The Impersonal Life is signed on the interior “To Ginger, with love, E.P.” Ginger Alden states in an accompanying letter that the book was one which she and Elvis read together in bed. It also shows many passages and phrases underlined by Elvis, highlighting meaningful parts of the book or placing emphasis on certain words. Perhaps the fact that Ginger also made similar marks soured the bidders.

 

Numerology Pages:

Two Pages of Notes by Elvis on Numerology

This thing is really strange, and it’s no surprise that bidders didn’t think it worth the minimum of $5,000, let alone the projected $12-15,000. There is no way I can describe it better than this from the auction website.

Two pages of handwritten notes by Elvis written ten days prior to his death. These note pages were obtained directly from Ginger Alden, Elvis’ fiancée. Accompanied by a letter of authenticity from Ginger Alden stating that Elvis had written these notes during his visit to her Memphis home. She discusses in detail his interest in numerology and words and the ways in which each can be broken down into smaller parts, such as “his-story” or how the word woman is so appropriate because when you break it down into its two syllables it can be pronounced as “wo-man.

What???

 

Wrought Iron Chair:

Elvis' Yellow Wrought Iron Guitar

Like the beanbag chair, this yellow wrought iron chair came from Elvis’ Palm Springs home on Chino Canyon Drive. And it suffered the same fate. Bidders did not find it worth the $2,500 minimum. Again, a picture of Elvis sitting on it would have made a world of difference.

 

Personal Checkbook:

Elvis' Personal Checkbook

I thought this personal checkbook would make the minimum of $6,000, if not the estimate of $12-15,000. It got neither. It has 43 entries for checks Elvis wrote, so it certainly has his handwriting if not his autograph. He used it from May 21, 1975 to January 22, 1976. The checks totaled $89,000, showing Elvis’ incredible generous to his friends, family and even to strangers. This checkbook also contained a handwritten note giving his foreman an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii and a new car. The auction says, “This checkbook is a treasure trove of examples of Elvis’ generosity.” I can’t believe the stupid high prices some bidders paid for certain items at this auction, but passed on this checkbook register.

 

Marriage Certificate:

Elvis and Priscilla's Marriage Certificate

So, what do you think Elvis and Priscilla’s original marriage certificate would sell for? The pre-auction estimate was $40-60,000. Sorry, it didn’t even bring the minimum of $15,000. Again, I’m mystified by this, compared to what some other much less significant items went for.

This original Las Vegas, Nevada marriage certificate, dated May 5, 1967, is signed by Justice David Zenoff and best men, Marty Lacker and Joe Esposito, but not Elvis or Priscilla. The Clark County Nevada clerk claimed that the marriage certificate was mailed to Elvis and Priscilla, but came back to the county office marked “return to sender.” The clerk retained it in a file until selling it to Chris Davidson in 1995.

Can’t you just imagine her thinking: “That Elvis marriage certificate has been in the file for 28 years, and I’m the only one that knows it’s there. Screw it, I’m selling the thing and making some money.”

 

So, that’s Part 1 of our look at the Auction at Graceland results. Stay tuned for the big winners next week.

 

© 2014 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 Week’s Best Kept Secret

Elvis-Presley-Memorial-Trauma-Center-Sign

Have you ever heard of the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center in Memphis? If you a member of an Elvis fan club, you probably have. If you are just an Elvis fan with no club affiliation, perhaps not. I’ve been to Elvis Week four times, but I never knew about this trauma center until a few weeks ago.

 Outside View of Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

 

So, I also didn’t know they had an annual fan reception during Elvis Week. This year, it is one of the 45 events listed in the official schedule of events on Graceland.com.

Announcement of Trauma Center  Fan Donor Reception

Maybe the receptions were not listed in the schedule of events for those four years when I was there, or if they were, I just skimmed past looking for something more interested to do. That was very short sighted of me.

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First a little background. The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center is part of a huge hospital system called Regional One Health.

Regional One Health

Regional One Health Entrance

A scene from the 1997 movie The Rainmaker was filmed here with Matt Damon and Danny DeVito going up the steps and into the hospital

Established in 1983, the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center was named in honor of Elvis by then Memphis Mayor Bill Morris, a personal friend of his. When it was dedicated, many loyal Elvis fans conducted a fundraising campaign and donated $50,000 to the hospital. The Trauma Center is the only free-standing building that bears Elvis’ name and the only healthcare institution named in his honor.

Elvis fans and fan clubs have continued to contribute to the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center for the past thirty years. To express its appreciation for this generosity, the center holds a fan reception each year during Elvis Week. If you are heading to Memphis in the next four days, you should definitely take in this event.

 

Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center Fan Reception

As you can see, the guest speaker this year is George Klein, one of Elvis’ closest friends, and someone who knows a treasure trove of great stories about Elvis. Klein’s book Elvis: My Best Man is full of them. Klein does several events during Elvis Week each year, but the Trauma Center fan reception has one difference. It is free.

Plus they are serving “Elvis-style” refreshments.  I have it on good authority that this includes fried peanut butter and ‘nanner sandwiches done the way Elvis liked them.

The notice in the official Elvis Week schedule of events says that tours of the facility will be conducted. This includes the lobby and the Elvis family waiting room, full of large photographs of Elvis engaging with various charitable organizations he supported during his life.

Waiting Room at Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

Next up would be the shock trauma rooms (if they aren’t in use) and the ambulance bay.

Inside Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center

Two interesting walls complete the tour. The Mural Wall is covered with huge reproductions of Elvis photos showing him in various stages of his life and arranged in chronological order.

Mural Wall 1

Photo credit — Andrea Zucker Photography

Mural Wall 2

Mural Wall 3

Photo Credit — Andrea Zucker Photography

The last part of the tour is officially called the Donor Recognition Wall, but fans know it as the Wall of Honor. It is covered by more than 300 brass plaques honoring those who have made a donation of $1,000 or more to the Regional One Health Foundation for the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center.

 

Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center Wall of Honor

Pamela Castleman, Regional One Health’s Nursing Director, in front of fan plaques in this 2009 photo

Some of the $1,000 donors are individuals, a few are corporations, but most are fan clubs. And many of these fan clubs are based in other countries.

Fan Plaques at Wall of Honor

The Wall of Honor is anchored by a bust relief of Elvis in the middle. Note the size of this in the photo above.

Brass Plaque of Elvis at Trauma Center Wall of Honor

 

The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center maintains an email list of all donors, not just those who gave over $1,000, but also those who have contributed any amount. These folks get updates each year about the date of the Fan Donor Reception and who will be the featured speaker. However, the event is open to all fans, so if you are at Elvis Week this year, consider attending.

We all know how generous Elvis was giving to charities. Now you can see how his fans are following in his footsteps. Elvis has reached people all over the world, and they still love him and do generous things in his name. Don’t be surprised if you come away motivated to join that list of donors.

 

© 2014 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.

 

Check out the Facebook page for the Regional One Health Foundation. If you “Like” them, you can keep up on any news regarding the Trauma Center.

In case you don’t know what trauma center means, it is a multidisciplinary team of highly trained specialists: surgeons, anesthesiologists, trauma nurse practitioners, certified registered nurses, anesthetists, nurses, respiratory therapists, orderlies, x-ray techs, and lab techs. They care for injuries caused by motor vehicle collisions, falls, poisonings, burns, suffocation, and drowning. Injured patients treated at trauma centers have a 25% greater chance of surviving 30 days than patients treated at non-trauma centers. The Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center serves over 6,000 patients a year.

Many thanks to Joe Brandenburg, Director of Development, Regional One Health Foundation for much of the information and some of the photos used in this article.  The two professional photographs of the Mural Wall are provided by Audrea Zucker Photography.

 

The Auction at Graceland – Pregame Show

If you watch any of the morning shows on the networks or cable news channels, you have seen Priscilla promoting the upcoming Auction at Graceland.

Priscilla on Fox and Friends

If not, you probably have received emails about it. They’ve come in to me from four senders: Elvis Presley Enterprises, Graceland Insiders E-Newsletter, Graceland Insiders E-Blast, and Graceland.com. So, there is obviously a big push on to promote this auction.

 The Auction at Graceland

What’s the reason for all the hype? Well, it takes place on August 14, so that makes it one more thing to attract folks to Elvis Week. All 72 items will be on display at the new Graceland Archives Studio that opens on August 9. Sounds good, but don’t forget that the only way to get in the Archives Studio is by buying one of the Graceland ticket packages, the cheapest of which costs $37.

On her TV appearances, Priscilla has stated that the items for sale at the auction are not any that EPE owns. Rather they come from the private collection of Greg Page. So, who is this guy?

Greg Page

He was born in Sydney, Australia in 1972. In 1991 while attending Sydney’s Macquarie University to study Early Childhood Education, he teamed up with two fellow students to form The Wiggles, one of the world’s largest children’s entertainment brands.

The Wiggles

The Wiggles travelled all over the world to entertain children, live performances before more than 4 million people. They also recorded well over 20 CDs and 22 DVDs with combined sales of over 17 million. Greg Page obviously made a lot of money, and he used much of it to amass a sizeable collection of memorabilia from his favorite singer, Elvis Presley. In 2009, he opened The King’s Castle, Australia’s only permanent exhibit of Elvis artifacts.

 The King's Castle

Page’s collection has totaled as many as 1500 items, so he is selling just a small portion at the Graceland auction. The photo below shows a few of the items on display at the King’s Castle, but that room is pretty bare now. The piano is now Item #55 at The Auction at Graceland. The gold ‘throne chair’ is item #63, and the couch is item #68.

King's Castle Display

 

Greg Page also combined his affection for Elvis with his own musical ability and worked with the TCB Band in several concert settings.

Las Vegas 2003

The above Las Vegas show took place in 2003.

Las Vegas wwith Jerry Schiff

In this photo, bass player Jerry Scheff is on stage with Greg Page at the Stardust concert.

Greg Page and James Burton and Glen D. Hardin

Here we see Glen D. Hardin, James Burton, and Greg Page in concert in Sydney in 2006.

Greg Page and James Burton 2006 Sydney

This is a better shot of James Burton and Greg Page

 

When I took my first look at the items to be auctioned at Graceland, some of them looked familiar. Over a dozen auctions of Elvis memorabilia have been covered on ElvisBlog, so this is no surprise. Look at Item #1, a signed library card.

Elvis' Library Card from Auction at Graceland

It has a minimum opening bid of $5,000 and an estimated top bid of $10-12,000. It is accompanied by a letter from the archives of Graceland stating that they have no full Elvis Presley signature pre-dating it. The only earlier signature of Elvis they have is a scrawling of “Elvis” on a crayon box from when Elvis was in 1st grade. I’m sure this item will get the minimum bid and probably beat the estimate as well, because another Elvis Presley signed library card from a year later went for $7,500 at a November 10, 2010 Heritage auction.

Elvis' Library Card from 2010 Heritage Auction

Next, we see Item #62, Elvis’ 1977 Cadillac Seville. The minimum bid is $50,000, and the estimate is $100-120,000.

Elvis' 77 Cadillac from Auction at Graceland

Again, I have no doubt they will get this, maybe more. Here is the photo of it from a 1994 auction where it sold for $101,000.

Photo of Elvis' 77 Caddy for 1991 Auctions

 

There is so much more to write about with the Auction at Graceland. There will definitely be a Postgame Show, so stay tuned.

 

 

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