Elvis Merchandise – Circa 1956

ElvisBlog does an article or two after each Auction at Graceland and usually covers an interesting mix of items. However, the recently completed auction held during Elvis Week had one item that provided more than enough for this post.

Don’t worry if you can’t make out the pictures on here. I will cover each one with a large enough image for you to make out not only the pictures but most of the texts as well.

What we have here is a 1956 Elvis Presley Enterprises merchandising guide poster featuring thirty-five items.  It measures 16 inches by 26 inches and sold for $250 at the auction to Glenn Johnson, a big Elvis collector in Texas.  I talked to him by email, and he said he owns all but five of these items.

Here is a part of the website description of this merchandising guide poster:

In 1956 as Elvis’ career was hitting the fast track, Colonel Parker partnered with Hank Saperstein to create a merchandising machine that would bring the superstar into the home and hearts of every youngster around the nation. Elvis Presley Enterprises placed Elvis’ image on everything from clothing and jewelry to toys, shoes, lipstick and so much more. This was a stroke of marketing genius.

The poster was sent to distributors with the notation that each of the creators of the items would provide advertising help to the local retailers.

 

Let’s look at the 1956 Elvis merchandise on this poster, going from left to right starting at the top of the poster.

 

Crew Hat:

This hat must have been one of the best sellers, because I’ve seen them in lots of photos of the fans. Here’s a larger photo in color.

And here’s one of Elvis wearing the hat when he performed in Tupelo.

 

Head Scarf:

I was a teenager in 1956, and I just don’t remember the girls wearing scarfs, so this item may have not sold very well.

Here it is in color. Elvis was known to wear a bit of eye make-up, and the artist shows it here.

 

Elvis Presley Fashions:

The text says iridescent 50/50 felt. I believe this is one of them.

 

Teenage Lipstick:

So, what would have been your preference, ladies? Hound Dog Pink or Heartbreak Hotel Red?

 

Skimmer Pump Shoes:

I never heard of skimmer pump shoes, so I looked them up, and It appears that skimmer pump is another name for flats.  This is one of the items that collector Glenn Johnson does not have.  I guess most of them got worn to death and were finally discarded.

 

Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog:

I tried to look up a good color picture of this Elvis stuffed hound dog. I couldn’t find it, but there are dozens of other licensed and unlicensed ones on Google. It might be fun to post a Top 10 Review of the best ones.

 

Elvis Presley Statue:

I’m not sure 7-1/2 inches tall qualifies as a statue, but, hey, what do you want for a buck?

 

Talking Record:

I did some research on this, but it’s still a little hazy.  I think in the beginning it was just a small 78 RPM record.  Collector Glenn Johnson has not been able to find this item for his extensive collection.

However, there are many photos of the record attached to the cover of a 32-page magazine.  Here’s one that sold at the Auction at Graceland in January 2017.

It sold for $312.50. Years later, a CD version of this talking record was released.

 

Crew Neck Polo Shirt and Girl’s Knit Pajamas:

 

The left side of the poster combines three clothing items with the same Elvis design. In addition to the crew neck polo shirt above, there was also a boat-neck version.

Unlike most items on the poster these don’t list the retail price. However, there was a polo shirt and hat combo on the recent Auction at Graceland that sold for $343.75.

This one looks like it had a lot of wear. Plus, they may have called it a polo shirt, but it’s really a T-shirt.

 

Canvas Sneakers:

A pair of these sneakers and the original box, both in pristine condition, were sold at the August 13, 2015 Auction at Graceland for $3,750.

 

Elvis Presley Handkerchiefs:

One of these handkerchiefs and the scarf sold for $312.50 at the last auction.

 

 

 

Billfolds:

They didn’t use a very good quality photo for these. Here are three of the billfold designs in color.

.

Bookends:

I found a pair of these on eBay, but they were sold and the price didn’t appear.


The eBay text says they are very rare.

 

Mittens:

I could not find another picture of the Elvis mittens. And Glenn Johnson has never found them to add to his collection.

 

Belts and Bolo ties:

Here’s one of the belts I found on eBay for $1,450.

There’s a surprising variety of Elvis bolos out there on the internet, none of them seem to the 1956 models.

 

Socks:

I couldn’t find any better pictures of these.

 

Rock and Roll Photo Wallet:

 

Combo Bag:

 

Medallion Necklaces:

I found this one on ebth.com.

I can’t believe it sold for just $30.

 

Black Twill Jeans and Simtex Shirt:

I couldn’t find either of these on the internet.  Maybe all that sold got worn out and thrown away.  Or maybe they didn’t sell at all because there was no image of Elvis on them.  Glenn Johnson doesn’t have either, so I’m guessing they will never be in his collection.

 

Charm Bracelet:

These were easy find on the internet.

 

I hope you enjoyed this look at all the Elvis stuff from 1956.  The Auction at Graceland has been the source for many ElvisBlog posts, but I think this was one of the most interesting.

My thanks to Glenn Johnson for the information he provided for this post.  If you want to see his collection in a 15 minute on YouTube, click here:

 

 

© 2019 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.

 

10 responses to “Elvis Merchandise – Circa 1956

  1. Paul Maringelli

    Headscarves for girls and women was very popular in the NYC area during the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Maybe because there were so many Catholic (Italian, Irish, Puerto Rican, Polish, etc.) girls around here. Back than Catholic girls and women were not allowed to enter a church bareheaded. All the girls who weren’t wearing a scarf usually kept one in their purse for when they needed to into a church. But who knows if any of the had an Elvis scarf? P.S. The “bad girls” wore scarves too because it kept their bee-hive hairdos in place.

    • Hi Paul: Thank you for this background info on girl’s headscarves. It kind of tickles me that this topic has so much interest.

      Phil

  2. Hi Phil,
    I don’t think it was regional. I was born in the fifties but I had older sisters and I remember lots of old pictures of their high school friends, etc. Along with poodle skirts and Bobby socks, there were also a lot of head-scarfs. The regular way was to tie it under the chin, the fancier way was wrap it around your neck and tie it in the back. I seem to remember movies from the fifties where you would see that a lot too. It was definitely a thing.

  3. Very interesting !

  4. Clementine Moriarty

    Phil….forgot to mention that I was a teenager in the ’50’s also….and I wore ‘headscarves’ all the time. They were very popular then. …I grew up in St. Louis. Missouri….maybe it was regional??

    • Hi Clementine: I think it may have been regional. My wife grew up in Atlanta, and she said she didn’t remember the girls wearing scarves.

      Phil

  5. Clementine Moriarty

    TCB! Phil! Loved every bit of this post! TYVM!

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