Author Archives: Phil Arnold

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 3

This is the last post in my trilogy of Elvis Week 2007 memories.  I have added some photos that weren’t in there originally. 

Elvis Week has changed significantly with the Graceland Guest House, Elvis Presley’s Memphis, and the Graceland Soundstage affording new experiences. But, I’ll tell you, even without them, we had a ball back in 2007.

 

More Stories from Elvis Week 2007

If you were willing to allocate a bunch of time and money for Elvis Week, you would come back from Memphis with one terrific experience. Over the course of ten days, there was a wonderful array of Elvis stuff for you to do and see, and most people tried to cram in several every day.

Good for them. I didn’t get to do many, but what I did was a super intense Elvis experience, so I’m happy. And, I did pick up a few stories that will be fun to pass on.

While talking with Millie Kirkham backstage, I asked her about once wearing a mini-skirt on stage with Elvis, and she brightened up and got very talkative. Here’s the story. Back in 1970, Elvis, along with the TCB Band, The Imperials, The Sweet Inspirations and Millie traveled to Las Vegas for the filming of Elvis, That’s The Way It Is. Millie went to one of the better clothing stores on the strip and bought an evening gown to wear during the concert filming. When everybody showed up, Millie saw the Sweet Inspirations were all wearing mini-skirts. Millie thought she would look out of sync with them, so she hurried out and bought a mini-skirt.

In the film, they show Elvis and everybody walking briskly from backstage toward the International Hotel concert stage. The clip lasts a few seconds, and you can clearly see Millie moving along on in the group. The mini-shirt is plainly visible.

Millie says she didn’t have mini-skirt legs, and she cringes every time she sees that footage. What really bugs her is that so many new Elvis DVDs have come out in the past twenty years, and they all seem to include that clip.

Another story is about a rumor that floated around the mezzanine level of the Peabody Hotel. Two days before the finals of the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest, the word was that Shawn Klush already had it wrapped up. One reason offered was that he was already signed up to perform on The Elvis Cruise in September. But the big reason was supposed to be that Shawn had done the Elvis part in the filmed helicopter trip that would be the lead-in for Elvis, The 30th Anniversary Concert.

Well, it turned out that Shawn Klush was crowned the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist. I don’t have a clue if there is anything to the rumor, and I don’t care. I were a judge, he’d get my vote. Shawn Klush is a terrific talent and the ideal package of Elvis looks, voice and moves. I don’t know what Darwin Lamm paid him this year to perform in his Spirit of The King concerts, but he’ll never get Shawn for that price again.

If you went to Scotty Moore’s tribute concert, The Last Man Standing, you were treated to a fine vocal performance by Billy Swan. Billy is good. He was very approachable, and autographed my mint-condition 45 record of his hit “I Can Help.” He also gave me a copy of his 1990 CD, Billy Swan’s Best. It is excellent, and I just love his cover of “Don’t Be Cruel.” Billy does it real slow, and it’s like a different song.

Billy has done this sort of thing before — his 2000 CD of Elvis covers called Like Elvis Used To Do. That’s a strange title, considering that Billy doesn’t do any of them the way Elvis did.   “Mystery Train” gets speeded up and gets some heavy guitar work,   “Viva Las Vegas” is done as a gospel number, “Too Much” become a blues song, “That’s All Right” is done as reggae, and “Jailhouse Rock” and “King Creole” are combined into a speeded-up medley. It is a very clever and most refreshing change from the usual. If you can’t top Elvis, you might as well put a new spin on his songs. The CD is available on Amazon, and I recommend it highly.

 

Me as Fill-in Security Guard for Joe Esposito and DJ

When Joe Esposito came to our sales tables to sign books and photos, he quickly drew a crowd. Part of the security staff was unavailable then, so I was asked to put on a security shirt and fill in. When I showed the above photo of me  ‘guarding’ Joe and DJ to a real security man, he said one thing was wrong: “Security guys never smile.” Sorry, I couldn’t help it.

The last Elvis Week story is about Scotty Moore. There was also a rumor about him. His traveling group showed up at the sales tables with 1000 CDs autographed by everybody in The Mighty Handful band. Everybody, including Scotty Moore. Well, we wondered how Scotty could have signed all of them, considering his arthritis problem. The rumor was that he was OK with the repetitive motion of signing his name. It was the salutations, like “To Rosemary,” or “To Katherine” that were the problem. The 1000 CDs had just his name, so it sounded pretty logical.

Scotty Moore and 63 Gibson Super 400

My wife’s name is Bev, and she admonished me to bring back some autographed pictures of Scotty and DJ addressed to her. I probably broke protocol when I asked Scotty to sign for Bev. I provided an article I wrote in the Birthday Tribute ’07 issue of Elvis…The Magazine. It contained a sharp color photo of Scotty, in his mid-forties, holding his beloved Gibson Super 400 guitar. Scotty had absolutely no trouble signing “To Bev,   Scotty Moore.” I have to admit, I kind of wish that one said “To Phil.”

 

© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

 

Editor’s Note: If I could go a a time-machine trip, I’d head back to Elvis Week, 2,007, for sure.

Elvis Week Flashbacks — Part 2

This is the second post of my personal Elvis Week 2007 story.  Reading it again brought back so many good memories for me.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

So, How Was Elvis Week?

 

If it is possible for an experience to be both a letdown and an exhilarating success at the same time, then that is the summary of my Elvis Week 2007. I’m not real happy about never getting over to Elvis Presley Boulevard and soaking in some of the Graceland aura.   It’s hard to believe I never got down to Beale Street to party… and it was only two blocks away. But the worst thing was that I never left the Peabody Hotel for four days, except to walk across the street to restaurants each night.

Wow. Sounds like a bad Elvis Week for sure. On the other hand, I don’t know how anyone else in Memphis could have had a more Elvis-connected experience than I had. Over a three-day period, I had breakfast with Joe Esposito, sat ten feet away from Priscilla at the restaurant in the Peabody, and hung around in the Grand Ballroom backstage area with Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, the Jordanaires, and the TCB Band. Nobody else did that.

I got people to take 30 photos of me with these music legends, and I got dozens of autographs from them, signed on articles I had written about them in Elvis…The Magazine. My mission had been to use this unique opportunity to gather a treasure trove of memorabilia, and it worked out perfectly.

Darwin Lamm, Publisher of Elvis…The Magazine certainly got plenty of work out of me at the tables selling concert tickets, magazines, books, DVDs and T-shirts.

I’m not used to standing on my feet for eight hours a day, so my legs got plenty sore. For some reason, our sales group had the same club sandwiches and fries brought in for lunch all four days, and that was pretty lame.

The trade-off for the other workers was free tickets to three great concerts. The trade-off for me was unlimited backstage access. The reason I got the better deal is because of all the articles I had provided Darwin for the magazine and various promotional pieces.

The TCB guys got their performer badges from me, so they were comfortable around me from the start. When everybody got backstage, they seemed fine with me sitting around the table with them in one of the two rooms. I mostly just listened and laughed at their stories. They all seem to genuinely like each other, and backstage is fun for them. When the subject of Elvis impersonators came up, they called them “impersonators,” not “tribute artists.” As you might expect, the TCB guys are not too fond of Elvis impersonators. That figures; they were around the real thing and have the best possible basis for comparison.

Jerry Scheff got some grief about thinning hair, but James Burton avoided the same fate. He wore a black TCB baseball cap all week. In 2004, he had very little hair left, so the hat is a good look for him. Ronnie Tutt has been wearing a ball cap for years, but I’m betting he’s got plenty of hair. He certainly has plenty of beard.

DJ Fontana looked so smart in his shiny grey suit and red shirt and tie. He complained about his favorite men’s store in Nashville closing down. We spoke about his upcoming performing schedule. He has a continuing tour with Shaun Klush, who is probably the top ETA right now. (I have no trouble calling them Tribute Artists.) We spoke about his new podcasting venture. I want to follow up on that, because it sounds like some interesting stuff he talks about. And, all his recorded conversations so far have been with special Elvis people.

I have enough stories from Elvis Week to fill up several articles, so I’ll save some stuff for future posts. One thing I have to write about now is my wonderful experience with Scotty Moore. Everybody loves this man, and I got to experience hanging out with him for almost half-an-hour. Again, I mostly listened to Scotty and the other guys in the Mighty Handful band talk around the table.   But every three minutes or so, I slid something over to him, along with an open Sharpie pen. I knew his arthritis problem was the reason he wouldn’t be signing autographs after the show, so I didn’t want to be a pest. But after a three-minute rest, I figured his hand was OK for another one.

I ended up with five Scotty Moore autographs: two on photographs, two on my magazine articles, and one on a reprint of an article I wrote that is posted on Scotty’s website.  He is always gracious and accommodating to fans, but this was something special he did for me.

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The photo above is Scotty Moore as he exited the stage after “The Last Man Standing” concert. The future will determine if Scotty ever chooses to do another live performance. If not, maybe I caught Scotty’s last two seconds on a concert stage.

I guess I can give up Graceland and Beale Street for one year. Not a bad trade.

 

© 2007 Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

 

Editor’s Note:  Some of you are still sending comments even though I can’t get them to post after the blog articles.  I read them all and appreciate the personal messages.

 

 

Elvis Week Flashbacks

We are right in the middle of Elvis Week 2021, so I’d like to repost something from 2007 to celebrate the event.

If you are a long-time reader, you know I went to Elvis Week four times. My experience in 2007 was outstanding. I knew it would be, so I did a post in anticipation of going, and two more after I got home.

I think you will enjoy reading them for the next three days, back to back to back.

 

I’m Going to Elvis Week!

Lately, I’ve been walking around saying (practically singing), “I’m going to Elvis Week.” I’d better cut it out, or my wife is going to get mad. Being gone for four days is problematic enough, so there is no point in broadcasting how much fun I’m going to have.

This will be my fourth Elvis Week, and it may be a while until I take in another. After this year, there won’t be any more “Good Rockin’ Tonight” concerts from Darwin Lamm, Editor of Elvis… The Magazine. That’s been the connection that brought me to Memphis each time, but he says this is the last. He has been host to concerts in most years from 1992 on, but 2007 will be end the  run of great Elvis Week shows for Darwin Lamm.

Elvis fans from all over the world have regularly supported his concerts, and they’ll be glad they made the trip this year. For his grand finale, Darwin is presenting a incredible six shows. I’m excited; being a ‘gofer’ backstage is a great job.

I also have a sad, personal story about this Elvis Week. Five months ago, I bought a bunch of albums and 45s from an old guy, and it included a near-mint copy of Boots Randolph’s Christmas promo release “Sleigh Ride/White Christmas.” I was planning on taking it to Memphis and getting Boots to autograph it. That won’t happen now. We’ll miss you, Boots. But, we’ll carry on.

I recently sent e-mails to eight people I expect to see during Elvis Week. One of them is a musician coming in from Nashville to perform during the festivities. The thing that struck me was his enthusiasm. He is as excited as a fan.

Who wouldn’t be, in his situation? He said, “It will be nice to see many old friends, including many of Elvis’ friends we have become close to over the years.”

How would you like to have that going for you next week? The quote comes from Steve Shepherd, who will be playing keyboard at two Scotty Moore tribute concerts. The last time I saw Steve play behind Scotty, Steve also served as stage manager and ran rehearsals, so he will probably do that again this year.

The concerts where Steve will appear are called Scotty Moore: The Last Man Standing. There’s a code word in the title. If you can find a Las Vegas bookie who will give you odds that this will not be the last time Scotty Moore is up on stage, it might be smart to put a little money on the bet.

I know another person who is going to Elvis Week and is super happy about it. She gets to celebrate her 50th birthday in a bar across the street from the Peabody Hotel. Kathy DeNike booked the “Big Foot Lodge” for the blast, and it is shaping up to be great fun. I’m going with two lovely ladies, Judy and Shirley, wonderful friends from near Toronto.

Kathy DeNike is a talent manager for a gang of Elvis Tribute Artists, and several will perform in Memphis. She has a huge e-mail list of contacts and Elvis fans, so it must have been a chore to pare it down to the short list of the people who got invitations. The invitations were e-mailed, and must be printed out and presented at the door. What a great touch. It will be fun to come up to the door with my invitation clutched tightly in my hand. I even printed it in color.

For a lot of reasons, I’m pumped to be going to this Elvis Week. I’m prepared to experience some bittersweet moments as I get an up-close view of aging artists performing. Maybe, that will make it more special.

Any way,  “I’m Going To Elvis Week. I’m Going To Elvis Week.”

 

© 2007   Philip R Arnold   All Rights Reserved   www.elvisblog.net

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Editor’s note: Sorry there were no photos in this.  I wasn’t very good at posting them back in 2007

Getting Back to the Elvis Scrapbook Reposts

Back in June, I reused a post from 2011 about a fan’s huge Elvis scrapbook. It was so big that it took four posts to cover everything in it.  Here is part 2 in the series.

 

Last week we started a discussion on Elvis Scrapbooks and took a look at the first six pages of one I recently borrowed.  50s teenagers enjoyed compiling Elvis items in organized scrapbooks.  It should come as no surprise to you that Col. Parker saw the fad for Elvis scrapbooks and marketed a few to meet this demand.  Of course, there was no shortage of newspaper and magazine articles to cut out and past in the books.  Here are three scrapbooks that went on sale early in Elvis’ career.

                        

                    

Zippered 3-Ring Elvis Scrapbook

 

The Elvis scrapbook we looked at last week was totally a home-made endeavor.  Here are the next four pages with a few comments.

 

Page 7 gets into older Elvis – a shot from the ’68 Comeback Special, a color Jumpsuit shot (probably from a magazine) and two black-and-white jumpsuit newspaper photos  Finally, there is the second Priscilla picture.  It is another look at Priscilla around the time she parted with Elvis.  Although it’s not full page like the first one, it does have a nice caption: “Friends say he never got over their divorce – and never stopped loving her.”

 

Page 8 is a real hodge-podge of pictures.  We get a shot of Elvis on the set of Flaming Star with an unidentified woman, probably a fan.  Then, yet another picture of Elvis and Natalie Wood.  The caption reports that Wood said Elvis had almost mystical beliefs.  At the bottom of the page, Elvis hangs out with film crew on location.  Too bad they didn’t say what movie it was.  Next, we get our second look at Lisa Marie, perhaps a little older than in the earlier photo.  Finally, we get the scrapbook’s third shot of Priscilla, and she looks young in all of them.  Priscilla was twenty-eight when she and Elvis divorced, and it would seem all these photographs were taken shortly after that.

 

Page 9 is a strange one.  The three newspaper photos are nothing unusual.  You can see the date 9/12/77 written on the picture of Elvis performing, so it appeared in the weeks after his death.  The photo on the right side seems to be from Viva Las Vegas.  And the bottom one says, “Elvis leaves a concert in a flurry of action and tension.”

The newspaper article is sort of interesting.  It quotes Richard Fulcher of the Brentwood Historical Society in Tennessee, who traced Elvis lineage through eleven generations..  He states that Elvis father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all struggled as sharecroppers in the Mississippi bottom land.  It was during Reconstruction after the Civil War that the fortunes of Elvis great-great-grandfather turned for the worse and he moved his family to Mississippi.

According to Mr Fulcher, things were much better for the earlier generations of Presleys, who lived in Tennessee.

 

Page 10:  This does not look like a casual photo snapped at random.  I know it was done during a professional session, because I have another pose in the same outfit. 

 

In these shots, Priscilla is twenty-eight or so, and she has an appearance that is different from both the early black hair and heavy makeup period and the mature period when she appeared on Dallas on TV and the Naked Gun movies.  I’ll go out on a limb and say her peak of beauty was at the time of these photos.

More Elvis Scrapbook stories to come.

 

©  2011    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.

 

Editor’s Note:  The problem with comments not appearing has still not been fixed.  I have approved all those sent in since the problem began.  Hopefully, they will be visible soon.

An Interesting Little Story About Jailhouse Rock

As promised last week, here is an old post about Jailhouse Rock.  It is from 2012 and tells a story about Elvis and a young actress who appeared with him in the movie.  I think you will enjoy this.

 

Making The Most of a Bit Part in

Jailhouse Rock

Do you remember the scene in Jailhouse Rock when Elvis tries to convince a club owner to hire him as a singer?  Elvis jumps on stage and starts singing, but a drunk keeps laughing and talking very loud.  When Elvis can’t get the jerk to quiet down, he slams his guitar on their table and storms out.

Well, the pretty young thing at the table with the much older drunk was an aspiring actress named Tracy Morgan.  Her part was so small, you wouldn’t think she had much of a story to tell, but she does.

 

Her agent set up a meeting with the movie’s casting man, whose first impression was that she was too young for the part.  They had already cast the actor to be opposite her, and he was old enough to be her father.  The casting man said he would let the director decide, so he sent her from the casting office to the set on the MGM back lot.

 

It was a long walk, and she had on high heels.  Then, a limousine pulled up and Elvis stepped out.  “Where are you goin’ little lady?”

Tracy was a huge fan and she thought her heart would stop.  “I’m going down to the set.”

Elvis said, “Oh, you mean where they’re doin’ my movie?”  When she said yes, he asked, “Are you gonna be in my movie?”

“I don’t know, it depends on the director.”

“Here, let me give you a ride.”

Tracy got in the limousine, and Elvis put his arm on the back of the seat and chatted with her during the several block ride to the set.  The director, Richard Thorpe, was standing there and noticed who was riding with Elvis.  Later, Tracy reminisced that Thorpe probably assumed she and Elvis were friends, or were dating.

When they walked over to the director, she introduced herself and said, “I’m here to see if you like me for the part in the bar scene.”

Thorpe looked at Elvis and said, “Well, Elvis, I assume you like her.”

Elvis replied, “Oh, yeah, she’s really nice.”

That must have been enough for the director, because he said, “OK, you’ve got the part.”

What could be a better start for a young actress trying to break into the movies?  She not only met the hottest entertainer in the world, but also rode with him in a limo, and then his presence got her the part in Elvis’ third movie.

 

However, that was not the end of Tracy Morgan’s unusual experiences with Elvis during the filming of Jailhouse Rock.  There were problems during her scene which resulted in one of the continuity bloopers some Elvis fans love to look for in his movies.  (Count me in that group.  When I watch an Elvis movie for the sixth or seventh time, I start looking for little things to keep it interesting.)

In her scene, Elvis was singing a “Young and Beautiful” on the Club La Florita stage. when the man with Tracy kept talking and laughing.

 

Elvis told him to shut up, but the guy mocked him and did it more.  This enraged Elvis, so he jumped off the stage and ran over to their booth and smashed his guitar on their table.  Unfortunately, on the first take, the guitar didn’t break as desired, and the drinks spilled on to Tracy’s blouse and skirt.

So, a second take was necessary.  First, they had to have the wardrobe people take Tracy back where they had a matching back-up outfit.  She put it on and they tried filming again.  The second attempt worked better as the guitar smashed somewhat.  A third take was considered, but that would have required her clothes be dry-cleaned first.  Elvis said, “Maybe if I keep doing this, you’ll have some more time on the film.”

Now for the blooper.  Take a look at these back-to-back shots from the movie:

Elvis Swings the Guitar, Glasses on Table in Front of Tracy and Loudmouth

 

Elvis Slams Guitar on Table, Glasses Flying

 

Elvis Storms Off, Glasses Back on Table

Elvis throws the guitar on the floor and storms off.  Tracy’s gentlemen friend is now bent over in front of her.  The angle has changed, so none of Tracy shows except her head.  Was this a clever way to continue the scene filming without showing her wet blouse?   And how about those glasses magically reappearing on the table?

Tracy had more memories of her experience with Elvis in Jailhouse Rock.  Here they are as told to Stu Olson and published in a 1990 issue of Elvis International magazine.

On the movie sets there are prop people who bring you hand props, a drink or a cigarette, or whatever you need in the scene.  Whenever they handed Elvis a prop, fixed his hair, or touched up his makeup, he always turned and said, “Thank you, sir,” or “Thank you, ma’am.”  The whole set was buzzing.  Here was a superstar who could have acted like a real idiot about everything, but he didn’t.

He always knew his lines, not just the scene, or the day’s shooting, but the whole script, and everyone else’s part, too.  He was always helpful and not temperamental.

The first day, when we were all breaking for lunch, he came over and said, “Would you like go to lunch with me at the commissary?”  Well I was excited.  Unfortunately, when we went, his entire entourage went with us, which, for a young girl, was a lot of people to go to lunch with.

Now I had taken a lot of ribbing in my drama class about being such a fan of his, because I played his records all the time.  I knew I was going to class the following night, so I asked Elvis at lunch if he could stop by my class, and I thought to myself, “That’ll show ‘em.”  Elvis graciously said, “Yes.”  But later in the day he came over and said that the Colonel told him he couldn’t, because everyone would be asking him to stop by their group or whatever.  I felt bad, but I understood.  Then he asked me where my class was, and I told him the address.

I went on to class that night and everybody was teasing me.  “So, you got to work with your hero, “Elvis Pelvis,” and so forth.  All of a sudden, the door opened and there stood Elvis!  The whole class stopped and stared.

Elvis looked at me and smiled.  “Hi, Tracy, how are you?  I just thought I’d stop by and say hello.”

I answered, “Hello,” but he quickly left and got back in his car and drove off.

I thought to myself, Well, wasn’t that a sweet thing to do?”

I was a celebrity for months because I had gotten Elvis Presley to come to class.  But, I really hadn’t.  Elvis… made sure he was riding around in the drama class neighborhood.  That’s what I remember most about him, he was always kind, he was always polite, and he never acted like the “star.”

He was just a very sweet, talented, gorgeous man.  I’ll always love him.

©  2012    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.

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Editor’s Note:  The Elvis movie on TCM at 8pm this Thursday is Tickle Me.  I wanted to post the old 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial of it, but I already did that back in November.

Editor’s Note 2:  The problem with the missing comments has not yet been resolved.  I’m not getting any response from the Help Desk, so I don’t know what’s going on.  I think it may have something to do with the program that filters out spam.  Hopefully, all your comments can be restored.

Two Good Movies That Didn’t Get Celebrated

Hi Folks.  I haven’t published anything of substance for ten days, but even worse, I missed the opportunity to do two easy re-posts.

 

Remember the post about Elvis being the Star of the Month for Turner Classic Movies?  TCM scheduled 20 Elvis movies in July. Four movies a night on each of the five Thursdays in the month.

The only films I could stay up for were the ones starting at 8pm, so it seemed a good idea to repost the 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorials on them in the weeks they aired.  It started out good with Kissin’ Cousins, then I missed Viva Las Vegas. I managed to get Blue Hawaii posted about five hours before the movie started.  Then, it turned out I had never posted a 50th anniversary pictorial on Jailhouse Rock, (started the series when it was already 55 years old), and nothing got posted that week.

I hate for Viva Las Vegas and Jailhouse Rock to miss being celebrated. So here’s  the 50th anniversary pictorial on Viva.  Something on Jailhouse will follow soon.

 

Viva Las Vegas on Screen Title 

Since October 2009, ElvisBlog has run 50th Anniversary Pictorials each time an Elvis movie reached that historical milestone. Looks like EPE saw the value of these tributes and decided to celebrate Viva Las Vegas themselves. The picture below is from the News Feed at the website Graceland.com, a spin-off of Elvis.com.

 Graceland.com 50th Anniversary of Viva Las Vegas

 

The Elvis Insiders email newsletter of May 23 announced the release of a new Premium Blu-Ray Digibook version of Viva Las Vegas.

Elvis Insiders Announcement May 23, 2014

Also, you can go to a link to see photos of some sites used for the filming of the movie, or to an exhibit of original Viva Las Vegas posters in various languages.

Viva Las Vegas Film Locations and Posters

And finally, Graceland.com offers a look at the original preview trailer for Viva Las Vegas.

Graceland.com Viva Las Vegas Preview

Wow, after a blitz like that from EPE, it seemed like something more than the usual ElvisBlog movie pictorial was in order. So instead we will do a retrospective of blog posts done over the years that featured Viva Las Vegas. There were sixteen starting back in 2005, the first year for ElvisBlog. Here are the best.

 

Viva Las Star Wars: Posted July 8, 2008

A very original post on The Film Frontier website compared the similarities of the race scenes in Viva Las Vegas and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. My friend Troy Yeary graciously allowed me to reproduce his very time-consuming analysis on ElvisBlog. Troy matched up frames from Elvis racing in the Las Vegas Grand Prix and young Anikin Skywalker at the controls of a pod racer in the Boonta Eve Classic podrace in the Tatooine desert.

 

Elvis and Anikin Skywalker

Here’s our two racers. Although these photos don’t show it, both vehicles were silver-grey while their mail rivals had orange-red.

Supporters watching races with mounting dred

Here are shots of supporters of the two racers looking on with mounting dread.

 

Elvis at the Clinton Presidential Library: Posted May 3, 2012

From its beginning over a decade ago, the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock has always contained dozens of Elvis items. They were accumulated over the years by Bill Clinton, a self-proclaimed lifelong fan of Elvis. Then in 2011, a large exhibit of Elvis memorabilia from the Graceland archives was loaned to the library. The framed lobby poster below was one of three Viva Las Vegas items.

Viva Las Vegas Poster at Clinton Library

The other two shown below are the original script and a red shirt Elvis wore in the movie.

Viva Las Vegas Shirt and Script

 

Dancing Elvis (In the Movies): Posted March 11, 2012

This pictorial essay showed photos of Elvis dancing with a number of leading ladies in his movies. This one from Viva Las Vegas is probably my favorite, as you can see by the comments under the photo.

Elvis and Ann-Margret Dancing

 

Elvis Clothing at the Most Recent Auction: Posted May 8, 2011

The auction mentioned was the March 2012 Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction from Gotta Have It Auctions. It was loaded with articles of Elvis clothing and thirteen were featured in the blog article.

Red Jacket Black Pants from Viva

Note: Even though the colors are the same, this is not the item on display at the Clinton Library. However, the yellow version of this jacket is worn in the dancing picture above.

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Turner Classic Movies Delivers an Elvis Bonanza on August 16: Posted August 10, 2012

As a treat for fans during Elvis Week 2012, cable channel TCM offered fourteen consecutive Elvis movies. I thought it would be interesting to show the rankings and comments for each in the book Hollywood Rock by Marshall Crenshaw.

Hollywood Rock

Here’s the book’s ratings for Viva Las Vegas in three categories, plus its choice for the favorite scene in the movie.

Ratings for Viva Las Vegas in Hollwood Rock

According to the total of the multiple stars rating system, Viva Las Vegas tied Kissin’ Cousins tied for the highest rating. ElvisBlog agreed, but said Viva should have four stars for Music.

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Elvis Movie Bloopers: Posted June 16, 2012

The inspiration (and many of the photos) for this blog post came from the wonderful website Too Much Monkey Business. There were two bloopers from Viva Las Vegas, including this one with Elvis wearing that yellow coat again.

Bandaid on Elvis' Finger

Bandaid on Elvis' Finger

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Strange Google Searches that Brought People to ElvisBlog: Posted April 26, 2009

The original blog platform for ElvisBlog had a neat feature. It enabled you to trace back to Google and see what people were searching for when they clicked on the link to ElvisBlog. There were several about Viva Las Vegas, and this one seemed too stupid to be true.

Strange Google Searches on Elvisblog

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The Elvis / Star Trek Connection: Posted August 23, 2009

This blog post featured actresses that appeared in both Star Trek episodes and Elvis movies. Teri Garr starred in Star Trek episode # 55 titled “Assignment Earth.” For years before this she was a dancer trying to break into acting. She appeared in six Elvis movies, including Viva Las Vegas.

Teri Garr Viva Las Vegas

Can you pick her out? Second girl from the left.

 

Fans Speak Out on Product Tie-Ins: Posted July 29, 2007

I regularly read the News link on Elvis.com, and frequently the news is about new Elvis tie-in products. It is sometimes interesting to read the thoughts of Elvis fans on Comments, such as these concerning the commercial where the Elvis’ famous song lyrics were changed from “Viva Las Vegas” to “Viva Viagra.”

Teri Garr Viva Las Vegas

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Caption Contest # 4 Winner: Posted December 8, 2008

This is probably my favorite shot from Viva Las Vegas.

Elvis Caption Contest #4 Winner

 

Bonus Picture:

I found this on the internet recently. It was new to me, so it may the same for other fans.

Ann-Margret With Gun

 

That’s it. Hope you enjoyed our 50th anniversary tribute to Viva Las Vegas.

 

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

 

 

Where Did All The Comments Go?

Hello friends:

For some reason, all 2,718 comments since the beginning of ElvisBlog no longer appear after the posts. It was brought to my attention by a regular commenter nine days ago, but I don’t know how long it has been going on.

I submitted a ticket to my blog platform Help Desk five days ago, but I haven’t heard back yet. I apologize to anyone who posted comments but never got to see them. They definitely were approved and responded to.

Thank you for your patience while I try to get this issue resolved.

Phil Arnold

Another Thursday Night Elvis Movie — Blue Hawaii

Hi folks.  I know this is being posted late, but hopefully it will remind you that there’s an Elvis movie on Turner Classic Movies tonight at 8 0’clock.  Not just any movie. Blue Hawaii.

Let’s mark the occasion with another look at the 50th Anniversary Movie Pictorial for Blue Hawaii.  I did this back in 2011, so the movie is now 60 years old.

 

 

Blue Hawaii was released fifty years ago in November 1961.  It was Elvis’ seventh film and was his most commercially successful movie, in spite of a rather skimpy plot.  There is lots of great scenery, and 26-year-old Elvis looked in top form in his skin-tight swim trunks. Plus, there’s no shortage of skimpily-clad young ladies cavorting on the beach.

 

Movie Posters:

    

 

Lobby Cards:

 

 Scenes from the Movie: 

Elvis arrives in Honolulu and stages this kiss to make girlfriend Maile (Joan Blackman) jealous.   Elvis kisses three other co-stars in Blue Hawaii.

 

Elvis and buddies play music while Maile is stuck in the surf with no bathing suit top. 

The famous wedding on a raft moving down a canal.

 

Down Time on the Set:           

     

          

 

Foreign Posters: 

          

German Posters

     

French Poster  

                      Italian Poster

Movie Press Book: 

Cheese Cake Photos:           

        

Joan Blackman looking good

Elvis Kissing His Co-Stars:

Rebellious teenager Ellie plants a kiss on Elvis

The teenagers’ chaperon has a strange way of telling Elvis she has fallen in love with his father’s boss.  Maile sees it and gets the wrong idea, of course.

Elvis and Maile sort out the confusion and get married

©  2011    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

I hope you all enjoy Blue Hawaii tonight.

 

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

 

Happy 4th of July, Elvis

Happy 4th of July - Fireworks

I have done seven posts over the years on ElvisBlog that celebrate Elvis and the 4th of July. They were all pictorial essays, and the best pictures seem to have shown up in the later years.  People got better on Photoshop, I guess.

However, the earlier ones, starting in 2009, are so deep in the archives that you may have not ever seen them. So, lets look at the best images from the first five.

 

2009

 

 

 

A lot of Photoshop people have come up with clever ideas with patriotic Elvis themes.  If anyone who created one of these picture has a problem with them being seen on ElvisBlog, let me know and I’ll take them off.  Actually, I’m hoping you’ll be proud to have lots of Elvis fans appreciating your art.

 

 

The 4th of July was an important date for Elvis.  In fact, it is the date that his career got started.  On July 4, 1954, at Sam Phillips suggestion, Elvis went over to Scotty Moore’s house and did an impromptu audition.  Bill Black also dropped in, but he and Scotty were not overly impressed.  However, Sam Phillips decided it might be worth another try at the studio.  On July 5, Elvis, Scotty and Bill recorded “That’s All Right,” and the rest is history.

 

 

 

I just noted that these are patriotic pictures, but they don’t actually say anything about the 4th of July.  That improved somewhat the next year.

 

2010

At the start of this long holiday weekend, here are a few images that combine Elvis and the symbols of American freedom.

    

              

                                   

 

Of course, the 4th of July weekend is also a time of summer fun, so some images salute that aspect of it.

 

 

Here is one last image that does not have Elvis in it, but it is so outstanding I wanted to include it here.

Unlike all the other posts, this one was titled Happy Independence Day, Elvis

 

2011

Again, only two direct references to the 4th of July.  I found so many images later on that featured that message along with Elvis and the patriotic pictures.

 

2012

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There were only three pictures in this 4th of July post.  I guess I was real busy that holiday.

 

2014

Elvis Red and Gold 4th of July

Back in 2009, I posted the first ElvisBlog pictorial salute to Elvis on the 4th of July. It was supposed to be an annual thing, but I notice I skipped last year for some reason.

Notice how Elvis has on his American Eagle jumpsuit in the above picture, and there is an image of a real eagle, too. Over the years, four other of our Elvis 4th of July pictures have also contained eagles. Of course, the American Eagle jumpsuit shows up in many of these patriotic pictures, including three this year.

 

Elvis in4th of July Hat

This one is more fun. It looks like Elvis has been invited to an Alice in Wonderland tea party.

 

Lisa in Red White and Blue

I love this photo. Look at little Lisa all dressed up in red, white and blue.

 

Soldier Elvis 4th of July

These designs with Elvis in uniform could work with several holidays, but it says “Happy 4th of July,” so it belongs here.

 

Elvis 4th of July Kaleidoscope

Another good use of the American Eagle jumpsuit in this busy, but colorful, kaleidoscope design. This must have taken a lot of time to put together.

 

Elvis Happy Fourth of July

I kind of like the simplicity of this one.

 

Elvis 4th of July Penant Flag

I think this is one of those hanging pennants you can buy. It should last forever if you bring it out just once s year for a few days.

 

Red White and Blue Graceland

How about Graceland decked out in red, white, and blue? I hope it’s not going to be like the Christmas decorations that stay up until January 8. Too long.

 

Elvis God Bless America

See what I was saying about the quality of the pictures as the years progressed.

 

Rockin 4th of July

 

From ElvisBlog to all the Elvis fans out there

 

20 Elvis Movies on TV in July

 

There are five Thursdays in July, and cable channel Turner Classic Movies is airing four Elvis movies on each of them.  They are grouped into different categories each night.  For example, this Thursday, July 1, the theme is “Seeing Double.” The films sort of fit:

Kissin’ Cousins – Elvis plays two distant cousins who look alike

Double Trouble – The title says it all

Clambake – Rich Elvis trades places with a poor water-ski instructor

Live A Little, Love a Little – Elvis struggles to keep up with two jobs

 

Here is the complete line-up for all five Thursdays in July on TCM:

My only complaint is that the movies are aired at 8, 10, Midnight, 2am.  If they are going to feature Elvis movies, why not show them at times we fans can actually see them.  I’ll watch the 8pm shows, but after that I’ll be in bed.  And they are not repeating any of them a second time at a friendlier hour.

 

Anyway, if you plan to watch “Kissin’ Cousins” at 8 this Thursday, you might enjoy an Elvis Movies 50th Anniversary Pictorial I posted back in 2014

 

Serious reviews of Kissin’ Cousins lament that it was the start of a bad trend in Elvis movies – low-budget, quickie-filmed, light-weight fluff. Some even call it his worse movie. I don’t care. I like Kissin’ Cousins for one reason: Yvonne Craig.

Elvis Kissing Yvonne in Kissin' Cousins

I don’t think any other actress sizzled on screen with Elvis as hot as she did. Those two radiated lust in Kissin’ Cousins and also in It Happened at The World’s fair.

Elvis Kissing Yvonne Craig in World's Fair

 

Although Kissin’ Cousins was filmed after Viva Las Vegas, it was released first on March 6, 1964, making it Elvis’ 14th movie. Sources say it was filmed in three weeks at a cost of only $800,000. By comparison, Viva cost $4,000,000 and took two months to film. Guess which one made more profit for the studio, Elvis, and Col. Parker. After Kissin’ Cousins, the dye was cast for future Elvis movies.

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Movie Posters:

 Poster

 Kissin Cousins 3

 

Shots from the Movie:

Elvis as Josh and Jody

Elvis Presley plays a dual role in Kissin’ Cousins. Dark-haired Elvis plays Air Force officer Josh Morgan, but as blond-haired Jodie Tatum, he appears as a girl-chasin’ mountain Romeo. Josh is assigned the task of persuading the Tatums, his distant relatives on his mother’s side, to sell their Tennessee mountain land for use as a missile site.

 

Yvonne and Pam Standing in Jeep

Jodie’s two cousins are Selena and Azalea Tatum, played by Pam Austin and Yvonne Craig. Both vie for Josh’s attention, but Azalea wins out about halfway through. Josh pulls off a little match-making with one of his Air Force buddies and Selena, getting her out of the competition.

 

Tatum Girls Painting Their Nails

Most Elvis movies have pretty girls parading around in scanty bikinis, but they are usually on a beach in Hawaii or Florida. In Kissin’ Cousins we get them in the Smokey Mountain woods and inside the Tatum cabin.

 

Lobby Cards:

 Lobby Card 1

Lobby Card 2

 Lobby Card 3

 Lobby Card 4

 Lobby Card 5

 Lobby Card 6

 Lobby Card 7

 Lobby Card 8

 

Publicity Shots:

 Elvis Picking Up Yvonne and Pam

Oops, there’s those bathing suits again.

 

Elvis Running with Yvonne and Pam

Hey, this is starting to be a trend.

 

Elvis With Lovlies in Kissin' Cousins

Come on. Is this the only kind of publicity shots they took? (No, just the ones I chose)

Elvis as Jodie and Josh in Kissin' Cousins

Okay, okay. Here a little trick photography of the two characters Elvis played.

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Back Stage Photo:

Elvis On Set With Pam and Yvonne

If you study this photo for a moment, it appears Yvonne might have had some designs on Elvis away from the script, too.

 

Foreign Posters:

 

French Poster

French Poster

German Poster

German Poster

I used Google Translate to look up the translation of this title to English. They said it is The Wild Broads of Tennessee. Seriously – check it out.

 

Italian Poster

Italian Poster

This one translated to The Mount of Venus.

 

Strange Language

I don’t know how to type this title into Google Translate, so who knows what it means.

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Kissing the Co-Stars:

 Elvis Kissing Cynthia Pepper

Both of Elvis’ characters wound up with the girl. Here, Jodie is kissing Army Corporal Midge Riley, played by Cynthia Pepper.

Elvis Kissing Yvonne Craig in Kissin' Cousins

And Josh about to lock lips with Azalea. But you have to go back to It Happened at the World’s Fair for the best kiss between Elvis and Yvonne Craig.

Elvis kissing Yvonne Craig in World's Fair

Well, that’s it. Did I mention that I really like Yvonne Craig?

 

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