Author Archives: Phil Arnold

The King Revealed

I hope you will enjoy this reprint of an article  I posted back in 2013.

 

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 for me 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.

Instead, I found three tabloids with the words Elvis and (variations of) revealed  in the small print front-page teases for stories inside . Let’s take a look at them.

 

Midnight Globe — November 22, 1977:

Starlet Reveals Why She said “No” to the “King.” Elvis’ Secret 2-Year Romance

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:

New Tapes Reveal Elvis and Priscilla’s Eternal Love

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 :

Elvis’ Stepmom Reveals for the First Time.  Truth Behind the Presley Divorces

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.

 

Amusing Captions for Elvis Photos

Starting in 2008, I did a series of caption contests where readers could submit captions for a picture I posted.  Here are the 29 photos and the fun captions.

 

Caption Contest # 1 — November 2, 2008

Elvis’ new and improved Memphis Mafia stands by, ready for action.

.

 

Caption Contest # 2 — November 17, 2008

The result after Vernon lectured Elvis on not spending all his money so fast.

 

 

Caption Contest # 3 — November 30, 2008

“Stupid cow, wandering in here where we’re doin’ maneuvers.  Welcome to splatter city.”

 

 

Caption Contest # 4 — December 8, 2008

“I need that wrench on the floor behind you. Could you reach around and get it for me, please.”

.

 

Caption Contest # 5 — January 12, 2009

The real Elvis Presley and a Don King Impersonator

 

 

Caption Contest # 6, January 25, 2009

“Who brought that dog in backstage?”

 

 

Caption Contest # 7

{It appears I used somebody’s photo who did not approve, and he removed it.}

 

 

Caption Contest #8 —  February 23, 2009

I like the way my caddy drives much better then this!!!!!!!

 

 

Caption Contest # 9 — March 10, 2009

This is a great sandwich, Mama.  You wanna pass me four or five more.

 

 

Caption contest # 10 — March 22, 2009

“I’m all right, Mama
I’ll be all right you’ll see.
Driving off a bridge,
Is better than hitting a tree”

{Reader Jean Pyle sent a poem, not a caption for this.  She did it several more times as well.}

 

 

Caption Contest # 11 — April 7, 2009

Moments later, Elvis was doing the Jailhouse Rock.

 

 

Caption Contest # 12 — May 5, 2009

When a child claiming to be Elvis’ son showed up, Elvis wrote this on the return envelope:

“Return to Sender.
This child’s unknown.
No such offspring.
No boy I own.”

.

Caption Contest # 13 — May 28, 2009

Elvis tries out a new way to pick up girls.

 

 

Caption Contest # 14 — June 21, 2009

Elvis’ singing sets the beach on fire

 

 

Caption Contest # 15 — June 21, 2009

Hey, ditch that guitar and get me some towels.

 

 

Caption Contest # 16 — October 26, 2009

“Ghouls rush in, when intruders dare to tread.”

 

 

Caption Contest # 17 — December 3, 2009

Please step back , sir.  Mr Presley doesn’t need any help trying on new pants.

 

 

Caption Contest # 18 — December 27, 2009

“I won’t be home for Christmas.
You can’t count on me.
Here are a couple of reasons,
Beside my Christmas tree.”

.

 

Caption Contest # 19 — February 3, 2010

Shake it, baby, shake it

 

 

Caption Contest # 20 — March 11, 2010

There was no winner on this one because nobody submitted a caption. But seven years later, somebody went into the archives, saw the picture, and submitted this:

Hey, got a light?

 

 

Caption Contest # 21 — April 8, 2010

Elvis Incorporates Levitating Air Piano Into His Act

 

 

Caption Contest # 22 — July 8, 2010

FTD’s cover art team picks another winner.

 

 

Caption Contest # 23 — September 3, 2010

I Want the Man who Stepped on my Blue Suede Shoes To Come Forward.

 

 

Caption Contest # 24 — October 21, 2010

Hey.  Knock off the kissing.  You’re supposed to be throwing the ball with me.

 

 

Caption Contest # 25 — January 19, 2011

Hurry up, Doc.  Are you sure this will cure air guitar cramping?

 

 

Caption Contest # 26 — April 13, 2011

“I could have had a V-8”

 

 

Caption Contest # 27 — October 6, 2011

“Lamar, Red. Help!!! Get me out of here.”

 

 

Caption Contest # 28 — December 13, 2011

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“Now, girls.  Stay here.  I’ll ring room service for four fried peanut butter sandwiches. Thank You very much!!”

 

 

Caption Contest # 29 — April 22, 2018

Elvis and Anita Wood Close-up for Caption Contest

Anita:   Elvis My Darling, I will think of You every night                                   when I go to bed!

Elvis:    Honey, If You Do, You Won’t Sleep!!

 

I stopped posting caption contests in 2011, but when I saw this picture, I put in the quote clouds and challenged readers to come up with what Anita Wood and Elvis would say to each other.

 

Special thanks to Jean Pyle for submitting six winning captions.

 

FBI Investigates the Strange Elvis Pimple Scam

This is a post from back in 2009. It mentions the research I used to do in creating every new post.  That was very time consuming, so these repeats are a nice break for me.  Also, I didn’t get any angry comments before about the language in one of Elvis’ quotes. But you can skip this post if hearing him swearing will upset you.

 

Do you folks know about the South African self-described doctor who threatened to blackmail Elvis, and who had his plans thwarted by the FBI.  I hadn’t heard about it until I was doing research for a story idea and came across a very bizarre tale.

My research was prompted by a realization that next year we will experience  50th anniversary celebrations of many of major events in Elvis’ life. 1960 was full of them: Elvis’ homecoming from the Army; his first recording session after returning; appearing on the Frank Sinatra TV show; his first movie role since coming back; etc. I read more about them in the wonderful book Elvis: Day By Day, by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, which chronicles everything of importance in Elvis’ life. Then I realized we did not celebrate the 50th anniversary of any Elvis event during 2009, because Elvis spent all of 1959 in the Army.

Certainly, he put his career on hold that year, but life was never dull for Elvis. Something must have happened. I decided to go back exactly fifty years and find out what went on in Elvis’ life in November 1959. If it was interesting, I’d write about it. Boy, was it interesting.

The story began in October when Elvis saw a magazine advertisement for weekly herbal skin treatments available in Germany, where he was stationed. The treatments were offered by a South African, Dr. Laurenz Griessel-Landau, and he hyped them as his miraculous method for reducing enlarged pores and acne.

Even at age twenty-four, Elvis still experienced the lingering effects of his well-known teenage pimple problems. Famous photographer Al Wertheimer once noted that a German magazine licensed some of his 1956 Elvis photos, but chose to air-brush out the pimples on Elvis’ back.

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Photo showing pimple on Elvis’ chest

 

Elvis liked the sound of the skin treatments and had his secretary contact Dr. Griessel-Landau. Elvis received an immediate reply, a ten-page letter from the doctor who said he would be delighted to treat Elvis. In fact, it would cost nothing except the doctor’s expenses, unless it worked to Elvis’ satisfaction.

For the next few weeks Elvis went on maneuvers, so the herbal skin treatments didn’t begin until November. They lasted for two hours each, several times a week, and they took place in Elvis’ bedroom in his off-base home. The applications were applied to Elvis’ face and back. Elvis was positive he could see results, which he displayed to family and friends. However, no one else could recognize any change.

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Elvis in front of his home in Bad Nauheim, Germany with fans

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Inside the house with his father and grandmother

 

After about a month, the skin therapy sessions abruptly ended. It seems the good doctor got kind of carried away while he applied the treatments to Elvis’ body. Elvis accused him of making sexual advances. Think about it. We don’t know if Dr. Griessel-Landau was gay or not, but he certainly had maneuvered himself into an enviable position if he was. He was rubbing lotion on the body of the most handsome guy in the world (Carl Perkins’ words, not mine).

According to Guralnick’s other excellent book, Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, “Elvis emerged from a session with Dr. Landau in his bedroom with a look of horror on his face. The sonofabitch was queer he told Lamar and Rex, and he was going to kill the fucking sonofabitch. Landau was hustled out of the house right away, if only to keep Elvis from actually following through.”

Elvis’ reaction must have enraged the doctor, because he reappeared that night with a letter threatening to blackmail Elvis because of “a sixteen-year-old underage girl” he knew Elvis had been seeing. Uh, oh. It wasn’t very smart to challenge Elvis, especially about his special friend Priscilla, who was actually only fourteen at that time. This was practically a declaration of war, and Elvis came out with his guns blazing.

First, he went to the Army’s Provost Marshal Division. Good move. Get the Army’s legal boys involved. They probably jumped at the chance to go after a foreign slimeball trying to blackmail Elvis Presley. In fact, they even brought in more reinforcements: the FBI. The real heavy guns. It was time to teach this creep it doesn’t pay to mess with “the King.”

Well, the FBI quickly determined Dr. Griessel-Landau wasn’t a real doctor. He must have seen that things weren’t going too well, so he wrote another letter to Elvis saying he had decided not to take action against the singer. We can assume Elvis’ attitude was, “Too little, too late. You’re not getting off that easy.”

The FBI continued to put big-time pressure on Dr. Griessel-Landau, and soon the phony doctor flew to London and was never heard from again.

 

So, things worked out well for Elvis… except he still had pimples.

 

  

© 2009   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights reserved   www.ElvisBlog.net

I Can’t Believe It. An Elvis Photo I’ve Never Seen Before

Over the past 16 years doing this blog, I’ve looked at what seems like a million photos of Elvis.  And I have uploaded many thousands of them to my files.  So, I was surprised when a friend emailed this one to me.

 

Have you ever seen it before?  If you did, it was in black-and-white.  The website historydaily.com recently did a feature on colorized rare historical photos. I don’t know if the colorizer is the name in the upper right corner or the one in the bottom left, but whoever it is, they did a great job.  When I look at this photo on full-screen, it is just amazing.  The colors jump right out at you.

 

This is a photo that was in my files.  Elvis and Gladys are wearing the same clothes and Elvis is holding the same glass.  So, it happened just before or after the colorized one.  Even if you are generally against altering Elvis pictures, you have to agree that this colorization vastly improves the image.

 

A note of thanks:

I want to say how much I appreciate the wonderful response to last weekend’s sale of my Elvis mementos.  Within two hours after posting, all but one item was spoken for.  So, thank you to Kathleen, Irene, Angela, Sharys, and Noralyn.

Next sale in about 10 days. If you want to be sure of seeing these sales as soon as they are posted. sign up as a subscriber to ElvisBlog, and get the posts delivered to your email inbox.

A Nice Assortment of Elvis Goodies That Need a New Home

For the first time since February I am posting a sale of Elvis items. There will be more, because I certainly misjudged the amount of Elvis memorabilia I collected over the years. Here’s some you might like.

Keep in mind that the prices are delivered – no shipping costs get added. Also, the price delivered to Canada would be at approximately 50% higher.

 

License Plate and Metal Sign:

Editor’s note – These items have been sold.

Elvis, TCB, and the lightning bolt. Cool black and gold (sorry, my photo didn’t pick up the gold color very well)

 

This metal sign is a little bigger than the license plate, and still sealed. It’s been stored with the other plate, so they go as a pair.

$10

 

Scotty Moore Autographed pictures:

Editor’s note – This item has been sold.

 

I got to spend a lot of time backstage during two Good Rockin’ Tonight concerts at Elvis Week 2007. It was a wonderful opportunity to get autographs, and I have already sold several issues of Elvis International magazine that had autographs by Scotty, DJ, the TCB guys, and more.

But I was especially interested in getting Scotty Moore’s autographs, so I brought three nice photographs with me for him to sign. The one above was taken on December 5, 2005 when the Rolling Stones invited Scotty Moore backstage before their concert in Memphis. Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood joined Scotty around a cardboard stand-up of Elvis in the gold suit.

 

This is a colorized photo of Scotty and Elvis on stage. I don’t know if Elvis actually wore a red coat, but he looks great in it.

 

Did you know that Scotty and Eric Clapton played three Elvis songs together back in 2005? “That’s All Right,” “Money Honey,” and “Mystery Train.” This picture is a screen grab from the video A Tribute to Elvis — by Scotty Moore and Friends.

Filming was done at Abbey Road Studios. Clapton got to pick the songs he wanted to play with Scotty, and he went for the early stuff, including two Sun Records rockabilly numbers. He and Scotty were seated and backed by a minimal band, but the sound is just wonderful. For the first and only time  in history, these two guitar immortals played together. It really was a magic moment.

I wrote a blog about this video that tells the backstory. It details all the English rockers that played with Scotty. Unfortunately, it also explains how Scotty got screwed by the British producers. Click here.for a very interesting read.

So, here’s the package deal for a Scotty Moore fan out there — All three autographs on outstanding photos, plus the A Tribute to The King video.

$25

 

Elvis Comic Books:

 

These didn’t sell when I offered them back in February, let’s price them down and see if that works.

Elvis Shrugged is a three-issue satire based on Ayn rand’s magnum opus “Atlas Shrugged.” You may recognize on the cover Madonna, Michael Jackson, Frank Zappa, Willie Nelson and others. (Spoiler alert – Elvis and Madonna end up together). Very rare set. I went to eBay and the best price for the full set was $18.37.

$10 for all three.

 

Editor’s note – This item has been sold.

Part 7                                    Part 6                                      Part 1

The Elvis Presley Experience tells the story of his life in comic book form. There is a bit of sci-fi stuff at the beginning before the real story begins. I have Part 1 about Elvis’ early days up until he signed with Col. Parker, and Part 6 which covers the’68 Special, Las Vegas, the split with Priscilla, and finally his death. Part 7 is all fiction about a cosmic return to the stage. If this doesn’t sell, I might go on eBay and buy Parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 to make it a complete set. That will be worth some real money. But you can save me the effort by snapping up this deal.

$7 for all three.

 

Elvis Clock:

Editor’s note – This item has been sold.

 

I went to eBay to see what this clock was selling for, but surprisingly, it wasn’t there. But everything else was. I had no idea there were so many different Elvis clocks out there. This one is 14 inches in diameter and runs on a single AA battery. It is done in a muted distressed-looking motif .

With all the protective packaging, this will ship in a pretty big box, so I will be covering a lot of freight on it.

How about $12 delivered.

 

Elvis Sheet Music:

Editor’s note – These items have been sold.

Here are five Elvis songs:

Good Luck Charm
It Won’t Seem Like Christmas Without You
Steamroller Blues
Heartbreak Hotel
Can’t help Falling in Love

Plus the tribute song, “The King is Gone” written and sung by Ronnie McDowell.

How about $6 for all of them?

 

Elvisopoly:

Editor’s note – This item has been sold.

I went on eBay to see what other sellers wanted for this. The highest delivered price was $39.99, and the cheapest was $24. This was for still-sealed, the same as mine.

Let’s cut that best price in half. This game box is big, so postage is a lot, but I’ll still let it go for $12 delivered.

 

Comic Elvis Christmas Cards:

Editor’s note – This item has been sold.

Ten cards and envelopes. The inside says Merry Christmas in a red font. Here’s a card you can send to your Elvis buddies at Christmastime.

Just $5

 

Recently, a commentor said she didn’t understand why I have to sell my Elvis mementos. The truth is that I am 78 years old, my wife is in very poor health, and it is prudent to downsize. I am trying to sell, or give to charity, or throw away a great deal of the stuff we have accumulated during 48 years of marriage.

So, If you would like to help and want any of these offered items, let me know by email at philarnold@charter.net. Please don’t put it in Comments. Do indicate if you want a PayPal invoice, and I’ll get one right out. If you’d rather pay by check, I’ll hold your selection for you until it arrives.

Thank you so much for your support.

Phil Arnold
Original ElvisBlogmeister

 

Elvis Photos in the American Cool Exhibition

On this date in 2014, the Smithsonian Institution  wrapped up a long-running exhibition  titled  American Cool.   Here is another look at the ElvisBlog post it inspired.

 

American Cool Photo - Elvis Peforming at Tupelo 1956

This is the picture chosen to represent Elvis in the American Cool exhibition presented by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The exhibition shows photographs of 50 men and 50 women selected as typifying cool during the last century in America. It runs through September 7, 2014.

 

American Cool Exhibition at National Portrait Gallery

 

It’s not surprising that many of the American Cool are rock singers or other assorted musicians. The list includes:

James Brown, Jay-Z, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Kurt Cobain, Bob Dylan, Marvin Gaye, Deborah Harry (Blondie), Jimi Hendrix, Chrissie Hynde (The Pretenders), Gene Krupa, Willie Nelson, Charlie Parker, Prince, Selena, Bonnie Raitt, Lou Reed, Carlos Santana, Tupac Shakur, Patti Smith, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, and Muddy Waters.

One notable omission is Michael Jackson. I guess too many things have happened that diminished his cool factor.

 

Andy Warhol and Elvis Paintings

Andy Warhol also made the list, and look at the photo of him they chose to show the exhibition.

 

In addition to the list and the photos of each cool person, the website and related links have passages explaining what qualities represent cool. I culled out some of the best ideas and matched them up with appropriate Elvis pictures.

 

Elvis - exudes the aura of something new and uncontainable
To be cool means to exude the aura of something new and uncontainable.

 

 Elvis - the opposite of innocence

Cool is the opposite of innocence.

 

Elvis - an original artistic vision carried off with a signature style

[A cool person has] an original artistic vision carried off with a signature style.

 

 Elvis - a charismatic edge and a dark side

Someone cool has a charismatic edge and a dark side.

 

 Elvis - an earned form of individuality

Cool is an earned form of individuality.

 

 Elvis - a recognized cultural legacy

[A cool person has] a recognized cultural legacy.


 Elvis - the opposite of innocence

Cool referrers to a combination of wildness and intensity in men unconcerned with social conformity.

 

Elvis - has situation under control, and with a signature style

A cool person has a situation under control, and with a signature style.

 

Elvis - created an original persona without precedent in American culture

Every individual here created an original persona without precedent in American culture.

 

Elvis - contributed an original artistic vision to American culture symbolic of a particular historical moment

[A cool person] has contributed an original artistic vision to American culture symbolic of a particular historical moment.

 

Elvis - rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery

Cool carries a social charge of rebellious self-expression, charisma, edge and mystery.

 

Elvis - iconic power, or instant visual recognition

[A cool person has] iconic power, or instant visual recognition.

 

For my money, the National Portrait Gallery could have posted nothing but photos of Elvis for their American Cool exhibition.

 

© 2013 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.

 

The End of ElvisBlog — Part 2

Here is an interesting fact for you. Sixty-seven people have subscribed to ElvisBlog since I announced last year that it would be closing down on January 31, 2020, its 15th anniversary.

If they had gone go back far enough in the archives, they would have read that I planned to make ElvisBlog.net a static site. No new articles would be posted on line.

Well, that didn’t happen. I had hoped to continue ElvisBlog as a new subscription service with the posts sent directly from me to the readers’ email inboxes. Only 18 people thought it was worth $10 to get new posts every weekend for two years (over 100 posts). That really disappointed me, and I dropped the idea.

However, I did realize that I still had a lot of Elvis collectibles and needed to offer them for sale to blog readers while I still could. So, I paid for another year on my blog platform (until January 31, 2021) and posted this:

“I keep finding more Elvis stuff that you fans might possibly like to own, so I need to do more posts to put them all out there. These will be balanced by an equal number of regular posts. When that’s all done, ElvisBlog will come to an end.”

That plan went well until Covid 19 hit. There was so much fear and uncertainty, that it just didn’t seem like the right atmosphere for selling Elvis mementos. And I stopped.

I did keep posting regular articles, but with a slight change. One of the reasons for retiring ElvisBlog was to be freed from all the time it takes to produce good blogs. Instead, I posted a lot of one-picture blogs with a simple caption underneath. And I started reposting old articles from the archives. This saved me a lot of time.

It also pumped up the total number of posts since inception. I am now at 965 and am on target to reach 1,000 posts by January 31 next year when my blog platform would be up for renewal.

So we have five months left together. I want to find new homes for everything in my Elvis collection, and I want to hit post number 1,000 on the day before I close it all down.

So, stay tuned to see some interesting Elvis collectibles offered at really low prices.

Thank you,

Phil Arnold

Original ElvisBlogmeister

 

Auction Results and Backgrounds on Six Elvis Rings

Two weeks ago, we previewed six rings Elvis owned that were up for bidding at the August 27 Rockhurst Auction.  The results are in, and here’s how the bidding went, along with background information on the rings.

 

20-Diamond 14K Gold Ring:

 

 

Min Bid: $15,000
Estimate: $30,000 – $40,000

Final Price – Pass

 

 

The bidding reached the minimum bid of $15,000 on this ring, but the seller decided it didn’t reach a high enough price to suit him.  So he passed.  Here”s what the auction website had to say about this ring.

 

The offered 20-diamond 14K gold ring was owned by Elvis Presley and gifted to his Aunt Delta Biggs, who lived with Elvis at Graceland for many years. Photo research indicates that this ring was most-likely worn on stage on a number of occasions.

The accompanying Elvis Presley Museum Certificate of Authenticity is signed by Jimmy Velvet and reads in part:

Elvis gave this ring to his Aunt Delta while she lived at Graceland. It is 14K gold and has 20 beautiful diamonds with a rhodium finish over the top to add to the brilliance and sparkle of the ring. This is one of three of these rings known to me, two of which I have owned. 

The size 9 3/4 ring weighs 26.35 grams and boasts 20 diamonds, with 12 making up the center presentation and four flanking it on the top of each flank. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear, but the “14K” stamping can still be made out on the interior. Excellent to Mint condition.

 

Gold Ring with Large Black Star Sapphire Stone and 32 Diamonds:

 

 

Min Bid: $5,000
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Final Price – $9,200

 

 

Offered is gold ring with a large black star sapphire center stone circled by 32 small diamonds that was owned by Elvis Presley and gifted to his dear friend Charlie Hodge. Charlie lived with Elvis at Graceland for many years, and he had a number of jobs as a member of the Memphis Mafia, including, but not limited to, stage director, backup singer for harmonies, and he was the one who handed Elvis all those scarves to give out to fans from the stage. Elvis and Charlie connected while in the Army together, and Hodge stayed on with Elvis until he passed. Elvis gave Charlie any number of pieces of jewelry, clothing, cars, you name it. The accompanying signed letter on “Charlie Hodge” pictorial stationary reads in part:

The yellow 14K oval shaped black star sapphire surrounded by diamonds was owned and worn by Elvis. Black star sapphires was [sic] one of Elvis’ favorite stones, and he purchased many of them through the years. I usually was wearing one on my hands that Elvis had gifted me. On one particular evening we were sitting in his suite at the Las Vegas Hilton and Elvis was showing everyone some of the new rings he had purchased from the jewelry store Barda of Milan in the Hilton lobby store. I wasn’t wearing mine that Elvis had given me and Elvis said ‘we’ve got to fix that, Charlie, you have to have a least (one) black sapphire ring on.’ He slipped this beautiful ring off his finger and gave it to me.

The size 10 3/4 ring weighs 24.4 grams and has a large black star sapphire stone that measures 15 x 20 mm. There are 32 small diamonds surrounding the center stone. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear, and any interior stampings have worn away. Excellent condition overall.

 

 

Sterling Silver Ring with Large E on the Face:

 

 

Min Bid: $4,000
Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

Final Price – $4,600

 

The offered Sterling silver ring with a large, capital letter “E” on the face was owned by Elvis Presley and was given to his cousin Patsy Presley. Elvis was partial to pieces of jewelry with his initials and even his whole name on them. He owned many such rings, cuff links and necklaces. The ring is accompanied by a letter from noted collector Tom Salva detailing his acquisition of the ring among other items he purchased from Patsy. The letter states,

The item listed and shown above has been in my personal Elvis Presley collection since 1988. I purchased this item, and many others, from Patsy Presley, Elvis Presley’s cousin who worked as secretary in the offices at Graceland for many years during Elvis’ career. The item was originally from a jewelry box from Elvis’ bedroom dresser. I purchased the jewelry box and all its contents from Patsy in 1988. While it didn’t contain any of Elvis’ ornate jewelry with diamonds and gold, etc., it did contain many rings, watches, money clips, cuff links, bracelets, pins and other items of this sort that were often gifted to Elvis by family, friends and even fans.

Also accompanying is a color copy of the original letter from Patsy Presley Gambill, as referenced in Tom’s letter. The size 10 1/2 ring has “STERLING +10” stamped on the interior, most likely indicating the adornments on the shanks of the ring are 10K gold. The ring presents with moderate wear. Excellent condition.

 

Lion-Head Figural Gold and Diamond Ring:

 

 

 

Min Bid: $10,000
Estimate: $20,000 – $25,000

Item Withdrawn

 

 

 

Unfortunately, one of the most interesting of the rings was withdrawn before the completion of the auction.

 

Offered is perhaps the most badass pieces of Elvis Presley-owned jewelry we have ever seen–a lion head figural 14K gold and diamond ring gifted from Elvis  to his karate instructor and bodyguard Ed Parker. Ed was close with Elvis for many years, and eventually became one of his karate teachers and worked as his bodyguard on tour in the 1970s. The offered ring is a masterpiece of figural jewelry, with a host of small diamonds accenting the strands of the lion’s mane as it drifts down your finger from the violently opened mouth of the King of the Jungle. The accompanying signed letter from Ed Parker on “International Kenpo Karate Association” letterhead tells about Ed meeting Elvis and the story of receiving the offered ring:

In late 1960 Elvis Presley attended a karate demonstration that I was giving at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in California. Elvis had attended unbeknownst to me until I was informed later. Elvis apparently liked what he saw and we both immediately bonded and developed a kindred friendship. I grew to love Elvis as a brother over the years. I began teaching Elvis on and off for the remainder of his life, eventually accompanying him on his nationwide tours to be there to protect him.

This beautiful large lion yellow 14kt ring with flowing mane set with diamonds and rubies was a ring Elvis wore quite often, but with Elvis giving to someone was more of a pleasure that receiving, and nothing pleased him more than the look on someone’s face when he would bestow jewelry, cars or some other gift. Consequently, what was at one moment Elvis’ favorite piece of jewelry the next moment it would find a new home and bring joy to someone else. At the end of one of the tours, Elvis took this beautiful lion head ring off his finger and put it on mine. I tried to turn him down but with Elvis that was impossible.

The size 9 1/2 ring weighs over 37 grams and is littered with dozens of tiny diamonds in the lion’s mane. There are three larger, red stones in the lion’s eyes and mouth. The “14K” stamping from the interior of the band is almost all worn away. The ring presents with moderate to heavy wear. Near Mint condition.

 

Gold Ring with Large Lapis Lazuli Stone and 14 Diamonds:

 

 

Min Bid: $10,000
Estimate: $20,000 – $30,000

Final Price – $23,000

 

The offered gold ring with 14 diamonds and a large lapis lazuli center stone was owned by Elvis Presley, and he gave it to Memphis Mafia member Joe Esposito. The ring was sold to Elvis by his Memphis jeweler Lowell Hays, and interestingly, Joe Esposito eventually sold the ring back to Lowell Hays in the late 1970s.

Elvis was fond of a variety of stones and gems with the enchanting blue of lapis lazuli being one. Lapis lazuli is a semi-precious stone that has been prized since ancient times for its celestial blue color. Since lapis lazuli is a symbol of royalty, no stone is more fitting to adorn the finger of the King than the offered 14-karat yellow gold ring with a deep blue, oval lapis lazuli stone.

The ring is accompanied by a copy of a 1978 letter from Lowell Hays detailing the purchase of the ring back from Joe Esposito, as well as a 1980  “Bill of Sale” from the gentlemen to whom Lowell Hays sold the ring, Jack Johnson and James Ledford, when they in turn sold the ring to Mike Moon’s Elvis Museum in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Whew! A ring this beautiful is likely to get around! Finally, a Certificate of Authenticity from the Moon family’s Elvis & Hollywood Legends Museum is included which also details all the history of the ring. The ring remained with Mike Moon’s collection for more than 35 years.

The size 9 ring weighs 22.9 grams and presents with the interior stampings worn away. The lapis stone measures 7/16 x 5/8 inches and has an identifiable silver impurity in one small spot. Excellent to Mint condition.

 

Elvis’ US Army Insignia Ring:

 

 

Min Bid: $4,000
Estimate: $8,000 – $10,000

Final Price – $4,600

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I added this second ring picture to show what the seal originally looked like.  This is not the same ring, but it illustrates how much wear Elvis’ ring had.

 

The offered Sterling silver United States Army Insignia ring was owned by Elvis Presley and was given to his cousin Patsy Presley. Elvis was extremely proud of his Army service from 1958 to 1960. He had a great respect for the United States Armed Forces, making many donations to various military causes, the most famous of which was his large donation for the construction of the memorial for the U.S.S. Arizona in Hawaii. The offered ring shows signs of being worn proudly and extensively, with the Army insignia suffering the heavy wear. The ring is accompanied by a letter from noted collector Tom Salva detailing his acquisition of it among other items he purchased from Patsy. The letter states,

The item listed and shown above has been in my personal Elvis Presley collection since 1988. I purchased this item, and many others, from Patsy Presley, Elvis Presley’s cousin who worked as secretary in the offices at Graceland for many years during Elvis’ career. The item was originally from a jewelry box from Elvis’ bedroom dresser. I purchased the jewelry box and all its contents from Patsy in 1988. While it didn’t contain any of Elvis’ ornate jewelry with diamonds and gold, etc., it did contain many rings, watches, money clips, cuff links, bracelets, pins and other items of this sort that were often gifted to Elvis by family, friends and even fans.

The “STERLING” stamping on the interior of the ring is well-worn but still mostly visible. The size 9 1/4 ring presents with significant wear, with the insignia worn heavily. Excellent condition.

 

I think it is interesting that each ring is a different size — ranging from 9 to 10-3/4.  There was a watch in this Rockhurst Auction that went for $195,500.  I may do a post on it soon.

 

Will Vandals Attack Elvis Statues Next

Remember this post from June 23rd?

Could It Happen?

 

Could mobs of radical crazies decide Elvis appropriated the music of black people — and tear down his statues?

The trend with these anarchists is scary.

 

I don’t know why I didn’t consider the Graceland Wall as another target – but it was yesterday.

 

Elvis and Southern Maid Donuts

After a post last week with no photos, here’s one from 2012 that is loaded with them.

 

Most serious Elvis fans know he did only one advertisement during his career.  It was for one of his favorite food items – donuts.  Elvis recorded a radio jingle for Southern Maid Donuts.

 

Elvis’ association with Southern Maid Donuts started when he began regular appearances on the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, LA, in October 1954.

 

Elvis performing at the Louisiana Hayride

 

Elvis frequented The Southern Maid Donut store in town, getting an early foundation for his well-publicized lifetime affinity for donuts.

 

 

Southern Maid Donuts began in Dallas, Texas in 1937, and the total of company-owned or licensed stores now exceeds 100.  The Southern Maid name came about because the founders wanted a name that encompassed humble southern traditions, memories, and feelings.

 

 

The Louisiana Hayride was a perfect venue for marketing their product, and Southern Maid Donuts provided large sponsorship on the show’s radio broadcasts for several years.  The radio spots featured a strange little jingle that deserves some explanation.

 

 

One of Southern Maid Donuts claims to fame is the sign above their stores with giant red neon letters lighting up the night sky  — HOT, HOT, HOT.  The stores sell donuts, éclairs, bear claws, apple fritters and other goodies all day long, starting at 6AM.  But after 4PM, you can order a box of twelve glazed donuts made especially for you and served to you piping hot.  Southern Maid Donuts have no preservatives.  They are made to be eaten HOT, not saved for later.  If you want hot, light-textured donuts that literally melt in your mouth, these are hard to beat.

 

 

So, it follows that their radio jingle was:

You can get them piping hot after 4PM,
you can get them piping hot,
Southern Maid Donuts hit the spot,
you can get them piping hot after 4PM.

A number of Louisiana Hayride performers sang the jingle, including Minnie Pearl, Johnny Cash, and Johnny Horton.  Elvis’ version aired on November 6, 1954.

To my knowledge, there is no remaining copy of Elvis singing the Southern Maid Donut jingle.  I wonder what that would be worth if it ever did surface.  A caller on George Klein’s radio show said that he had obtained the commercial in 2009.  If so, why hasn’t it been aired by now?

 

 

For some reason, the Johnny Cash version of the jingle was preserved, and it can be heard on the CDs, The Best of the Louisiana Hayride, Volume 4, and Johnny Cash: Hayride Anthology.

 

©  2012    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.

 

Editor’s note: A reader named Paul Soums commented on the original post from 2012.

“Indeed there is a old copy of Elvis Presley commercial from Southern Maid Doughnuts. Mr. Scott Tubbs did obtain the reel to reel audio along with video of Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash singing together. I met with Scott Tubbs when I heard about this and saw it with my two eyes. I asked Scott why he hadn’t turned this over to EPE. He explained he did speak with Jim Sikes and George Kline after the court battle but no one got back with him. He would not sell it because it’s truly a piece of rock ‘n’ roll history and it is priceless. I must admit it was strange to hear Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley singing together.”