Monthly Archives: July 2020

A Better Use of Time

Don’t we all wish he could.


Elvis’ Most Valuable Sunglasses

According to a Heritage Auction catalog from 2011, Elvis had over 400 pairs of custom-designed sunglasses specially made for him.  He gave away so many pairs that there has been a steady parade of them showing up in numerous Elvis auctions. Most have been of this familiar design:

Note the three holes of descending size on the temples. There are variations of this one, especially on the arch over the nose.


The early versions did not contain the EP.



But there is another unique and stunning sunglasses style that Elvis loved.  There were several design variations on this too, mostly on the temples.


This has been called Nautic or Neo-Nautic design.  Here’s an early version of it.

You can see there is no design on the temples.


Then the TCB lightning bolt design was added to the temples.  This pair sold at Heritage Auctions for $11,950 in 2011.


Note on this pair that there are the three holes of descending size plus the TCB lightning bolt design.  This pair sold at the January 2015 Graceland Auction for $15,000.  According to the online catalog:

“These Neo Nautic style prescription sunglasses with TCB custom embellishments on both arms were made for Elvis to wear for his concerts at Madison Square Garden by Dennis Roberts of Optique Boutique. Elvis often sent his sunglasses to Dennis for repairs and these glasses were sent in and never collected.”


And here, the lenses on this pair are half-tinted in Elvis’ favorite Dove Blue shade.


As you can see, collectors shelled out some big bucks for Elvis’ Nautic style sunglasses.  They even paid $6,853 for a broken pair at a 2011 Gotta Have It auction.

Elvis wore these Nautic 14 KT gold sunglasses during his concert at the Las Vegas Hilton on July 22, 1974.  Between songs, he gave a karate demonstration, and somehow he broke the glasses.


When I studied the online catalog for the recent Rockhurst Auction, I blew past a pair of Elvis Nautic sunglasses.  I had covered them so much in previous posts that I didn’t think they were that interesting.  That changed when Jeff Marren at Rockhurst sent me an email with his choice for the five most noteworthy items, and it included the Nautic sunglasses.


So, I took a second look and realized why they were noteworthy.  The top bid was $43,125.

The online catalog had this to say about this pair:

‘The offered Neostlye “Nautic” model sunglasses were customized for Elvis Presley with the addition of his trademark 14k gold “TCB” logos to each arm, creating one of the most iconic items he ever wore. The glasses were eventually gifted to his close friend and Memphis Mafia member Sonny West.”

“Elvis discovered the Nautics in the early 1970s at Optique Boutique in Beverly Hills, and had them customized by the shop’s owner Dennis Roberts. Based on an interview with the creator of the Nautic glasses, He liked them so much he ordered 5 there and then a further 3 solid gold frames ornately embellished on temples.”

“The offered sunglasses were one of those pairs. The gold-tone frames (not solid gold) are embellished with the “TCB” logo and a lightning bolt near each temple applied to the arms. On the interior of the right arm is stamped “NEOSTYLE MADE IN GERMANY 140,” and on the interior of the left arm is stamped “140 NEOSTYLE 822 60 18.”


On the back of the bridge the initials of Dennis Roberts “DBR” are engraved.”


I guess this extra detailing and engraving has something to do with why these glasses went for $43,125 in 2020, and the very similar-looking pair pictured earlier went for only $11,950 in 2011.  Maybe the first one had just gold-tone TCB accents, not 14K gold.

Maybe some folks got caught up in a bidding war.  There were 17 bids.

Maybe it was partly due to the general upward trend in values for premium Elvis collectibles.

Maybe it’s because this is one super-cool pair of sunglasses.



©  2020    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved



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


Another Item at the First Rockhurst Auction I Found Interesting

During the past decade I have featured 56 auctions containing Elvis collectibles on this blog. I have seen many checks signed by Elvis, but they didn’t bring in anything like the $4,600 for this one. The reason is right there in the title — Completely in His Hand.



Elvis not only signed his name, he filled out the entire check.  Apparently, by late December of 1955, other people had already started taking care of his checks, and he just signed them, so checks completely in Elvis’ hand are very rare.


Here’s the other reasons I find this check interesting

I like that Elvis printed National Bank of Commerce, but wrote the amount of the check in cursive.

I like that he signed it E. A. Presley.

I like his home address – 1414 Geltwell drive.  Elvis and his family stayed there for just four more months before moving to Audubon Drive.

I like that Elvis could use a counter check without putting an account number on it. And this was very early in his career.


The Rockhurst Auction website provided some interesting information.  They presume Elvis was out shopping for Christmas presents when wrote this check on December 23. If he needed to get gifts for the guys in his growing entourage and and possibly some family members, a bunch of cameras could fit the bill.  He certainly had plenty of money to spend.

“Elvis was flying high that holiday season having just signed with RCA weeks earlier.”



So, just imagine Elvis heading on down to Ed’s Camera Shop two days before Christmas.  None of the guys were with him, because he wanted to keep this secret.  Did Elvis have any money or credit cards with him?  It would not seem to matter. The shop owner produced a handy Universal Check for Elvis when he brought all his stuff to the counter.



The amount on this check was $310.77, which is $2,975 in today’s money.


“Other records from the period indicate that Elvis spent of total of nearly $700 {$6,700 today} at Ed’s Camera shop that week, so we imagine there were quite a few cameras in people’s stockings that year!  He may have bought film cameras, as well.”


I’m guessing part of the cost was for gift-wrapping at the store.  I can’t see Elvis bringing everything home and wrapping them himself.  But I can see a group of happy folks sitting around Graceland opening their gifts from Elvis on Christmas day.


A Word about Rockhurst Auctions

 Over the past seven years, Graceland Auctions has produced over $7.5 million in auction revenue for just Elvis items.  The man who ran that program was Jeff Marren.  As I covered the Graceland Auctions on ElvisBlog, I had numerous email conversations with Jeff, and a couple of phone calls.  He even sent me some pictures to use in a post.

Jeff is now the owner of Rockhurst Auctions that will cover many disciplines: sports memorabilia, historicals, rock and roll, Hollywood entertainment, and more.  The first Rockhurst Auction on July 9 contained 170 Elvis items.  I have done posts on two, and there several more to come.

If you would like to scroll through the catalog, here is the link.


©  2020    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved



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






Benjamin Storm Keough: 1992 – 2020

This blog post is difficult to write. I know all of you readers join me in praying for Lisa to get through these trying times. You have probably already read reports on Elvis websites and mainstream media about the sad circumstances of Elvis’ grandson’ suicide at age 27.  So, I would simply like to remember him in happier times.

All the current news photos of Benjamin Keough show him in his 20s or late teens.  However, there was an ElvisBlog article back in 2009 that featured some photos of young Ben. Here is a partial reproduction of that post.


This photo was posted on ElvisBlog about nine months ago, and it generated more comments than any other article in the four year history of this site.  Some of them discussed whether Ben had any resemblance to Elvis.  However, more folks were concerned about that beer bottle sitting on the table in front of a sixteen-year-old.  Not me.  I know a lot of us drank a beer at that age, and we all turned out okay, right? {Editor’s note.  Maybe I was too accepting of this behavior back then.}


The next three photos are of young Benjamin, first posted on ElvisBlog in December 2007.  Considering his age in the pictures, they were all taken well before 2007, but they sure weren’t in general circulation until then.  Lisa took great care to keep Benjamin out of the public eye when he was little.


This one was supposedly taken at Elvis Week 2004, so Benjamin would have been twelve then.


I have no information about this photo, but the fan forum website where I found it says it is Benjamin, so I am going with that.


This is the earliest photo of Benjamin in this collection.  Cute kid.


Benjamin Keough, you died too young.  Your grandfather died at 42.  That was also too young. When you meet each other in Heaven, I hope you can spend happy times together.


©  2020    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved


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


Elvis’ PIG Pin

This is the website picture of an item that just sold at the new Rockhurst Auction.  I want to write more on this new source for serious Elvis collectors later, and also about a few auction items that caught my fancy. But, right now I want to take a look at Elvis’ PIG Pin.  It is just ¾ inches in diameter, so the detail looks suprisingly good on the big blown-up below.

Jimmy Velvet, President of the Elvis Presley Museum, has certified, “This Elvis personal Lapel Pin (was) worn by him on many photos.



You might wonder why Elvis would wear a pin showing a pink pig in a policeman’s uniform.  In today’s screwed up world, someone who hates the cops might draw that image as a derogatory slam at the police.

The key to Elvis’ appreciation of this pin is the three words that make the acronym PIG — Pride, Integrity, and Guts.  He loved the police and surely saw those qualities in them.


According to the Rockhurst auction website, “As the term “PIG” became more frequently used to describe police in the 20th century, law enforcement decided to embrace the moniker.”   They were the ones who came up with the three words that make the PIG acronym.

For them, “Pride, Integrity, and Guts” were the attributes associated with the tough and honest men in the police force. You can believe Elvis wore this PIG pin with pride.


I wish more people today thought of the police the same way.


One last note.  You saw in the first image that no one hit the minimum bid of $750, so the pin did not sell. If its owner could find one of those many photos of Elvis wearing the pin mentioned by Jimmy Velvet, they’d be able to ask even more — and probably get it.


©  2020    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved



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



The Worst Movie about Elvis – Ever


The early promotional material for this movie said it will be released tomorrow, July 7, on Apple TV and Prime Video.  I made a follow-up check today and was advised, “It will be available everywhere on Digital/VOD.”  I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t matter. This thing is awful.

Here’s a “secret CIA file” that gives the back-story prior to the action on screen.  I enlarged the critical stuff below.


I can’t believe they actually thought Elvis fans would enjoy this.  It gets worse.  Next, Elvis is transferred to a planet in outer space.

Here are a few clips from the movie:

Elvis got some special powers while he was in outer space.



This is Elvis beaming back to earth.  Look how skinny he is.  That’s because when he went into space, the transporter put him back together a little different from the original. But, it didn’t reverse the process coming back.  Did they really think Elvis fans would willingly watch him in a skinny altered form?


The early press release included a link for advance viewing of the movie.  I lasted about ¾ of the way through before saying, “This sucks.  I’m not wasting any more time on it.”

Somebody else watched it and posted a review on Rotten Tomatoes:

It’s too bad Mystery Science Theater 3000 isn’t on the air any more.  The host and his two robot buddies had fun berating crappy sci-fi movies.  Elvis from Outer Space would have been perfect for it.




Colonel Parker’s Secret Rules for Elvis Scriptwriters

Last year I posted a big Elvis salute to the 4th of July — and used up all my good pictures.  So, this year we will take a look at an ElvisBlog article from 2009.


Everybody knows that Colonel Parker killed Elvis’ chances of becoming a serious actor.  All Parker wanted was simple, light-weight plots with lots of songs.  To him, the movies were simply a means to sell soundtrack albums.  Of course, the films made a nice profit, too, for a long time, as the fans kept coming no matter what was served up to them.

What is not so well known is that Colonel Parker had a secret list of seven rules which all potential screenwriters had to comply with if they wanted their scripts to become Elvis movies.  Recently, Parker’s secret rules list was uncovered in a 2004 post in a blog (Ed. Note – now-defunct). Let’s take a look at Colonel Parker’s seven rules for Elvis movies and note a few of the rare exceptions.


Rule #1:

Elvis plays the main character in the movie.  His occupation is one that allows him regular access to one of the following: race car, motorcycle, airplane, or speedboat.  A racing contest in one of these vehicles will occur near the end of the film, with Elvis winning the contest.



How many Elvis movies can you think of that fit this rule perfectly?  The Colonel really had those screenwriters trained, didn’t he?  I can think of only one race Elvis didn’t win.  Brutus, the 200 pound Great Dane, beat him in a race on the beach in Live A Little, Love A Little.


Rule #2:

Elvis must have a strong, All-American, regular guy kind of name… like Lucky Jackson, Rusty Wells, Mike McCoy or Tulsa McLean.

Obviously, four smart screenwriters figured out the best way to have the Colonel pick their screenplay was to use those exact names for Elvis’ characters in Viva Las Vegas, Girl Happy, Spinout, and G.I. Blues.  My pick for the two worst names for Elvis characters are Toby Kwimper from Follow That Dream and Walter Gulick from Kid Gallahad.  I wonder how those two slipped through.


Rule #3:

Elvis’ character must be given ample instances to sing songs.  There will always be one or more of the following:  a party, carnival, soda shop, or public bazaar, thus giving Elvis an opportunity to perform in front of a crowd.

Well, as it turned out, there were other acceptable locations for Elvis to sing.  Bars and clubs showed up in a lot of Elvis movies, and he sang in all of them.  There were a few swimming pool scenes, too, and Elvis never missed a chance to sing there, either.

 I can’t believe Col. Parker left out singing on the beach.  Elvis did a lot of that.  Sometimes it was at big parties, sometimes it was the more intimate two-people variety.  Either way, the music of a full band, nowhere in sight, backed him up.


Rule #4:

If the leading female character is not in love with Elvis at the beginning of the picture, she will be by the end of the film.

Although this rule was almost always followed, there was a strange variation of it that managed to get Colonel Parker’s approval.  In Spinout, three women in love with Elvis early in the story all end up marrying other men at the end of the picture.  It must have been one heck of a pitch that convinced Parker to go along with that odd development.


Rule #5:

The movie may have one male supporting role whose function is to be either Elvis’ friend or rival, occasionally providing comic relief.

I believe Elvis had a buddy or two in just about every movie in the 60s. Spinout managed to overload that rule with two buddies and a rival. 


Rule #6:

Every business venture, contest, race, lottery, scientific inquiry, game of chance, or bar-room wager that Elvis enters must be won by Elvis.

Believe it or not, there actually was a scientific inquiry in one of Elvis’ movies.  In Clambake,   Elvis tried to find a special hard coating to help his speedboat win a race.  He gave his invention a highly technical name: Goop. 

There was also one business venture that bombed for an Elvis character.  In Stay Away Joe, Elvis played a Native-American living on a reservation.  His people received a herd of cattle from the government under a program to prove that Indians on reservations were not lazy, heavy-drinking, girl-chasing screw-ups and could care for and grow the herd.  Unfortunately, Elvis and his Indian buddies had a big drunken party and barbequed their only bull.  So much for growing the herd.


Rule #7:

Elvis must engage in at least one fistfight per movie.

Usually, it was more than one fight in most of the Elvis movies.  Can you name one film that did not have a fight?  My favorite fight is in the soda shop scene in Loving You.  Elvis knocks the local smart-ass around pretty good while Elvis’ hit “Got a Lot of Living to Do” blasts from the jukebox the whole time.

Who knows where Elvis’ acting career would have gone if it wasn’t for Colonel Parker.  He even turned down a role for Elvis co-starring with Barbra Streisand in a major movie, A Star Is Born.  I think Parker also had an unwritten rule:  If anyone comes to Elvis with an idea for a serious acting role, kill it.

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


If you enjoyed this article, hopefully you won’t be too upset to learn that it is a work of fiction.  Colonel Parker did not have a list of rules for Elvis movies.  There was one Comment to the original post that is kind of interesting:

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