Author Archives: Phil Arnold

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

 

A Look at Some Elvis Scrapbooks

I continue to scroll through the ElvisBlog archives in a search for good posts to use again.  Because I acquired several Elvis scrapbooks at Elvis Week fan fairs and at record shows, I did posts about them starting in 2011.  Here is the first.  More will follow, alternating with other topics.

 

Throughout his life, Elvis’ adoring fans expressed their devotion by attending his concerts, buying his records, joining fan clubs, and keeping Elvis scrapbooks.  Look at the teenager below showing off her thick Elvis scrapbook to two friends.  At that point in her life, do you think she had any other possession she considered as valuable and precious as that Elvis book?

Twenty years ago, I bought an Elvis scrapbook at a record show.  One of the vendors had it in a box with a bunch of Elvis albums.  I took it home and studied all the pages.  Then I put it away in a cabinet crammed full of Elvis memorabilia.  

Then, last week a friend of mine showed me a box of old albums he got from his mom.  It was about 2/3 Elvis music, but it also had some old Johnny Cash, and Fabian, and a bunch of worthless stuff.  All the potentially valuable albums had been played to death and were in less than ideal shape.

However, in a bit of déjà vu, there was also an Elvis scrapbook in the box.  My friend let me take it home and photograph all the pages.  So, this week, we will look at the efforts of a true Elvis fan.  She was also a big Priscilla fan, as you will soon see.  Here is her Elvis scrapbook.

 

The cover has a black ink drawing of Elvis.  It was done by Dave Green, but I have been unable to find out anything about him.  I wonder if he was a high school friend with artistic talent who drew it for her. In any case, it’s a pretty good job.

 

Page 1 is all about young Elvis.  There’s the familiar toddler shot of Elvis in a pose with his hat at a rakish angle.  This photo has since been on the cover of an Elvis CD.  And last year, they came out with a T-shirt featuring this little Elvis wearing the famous 70s sunglasses. 

Just below is a non-descript photo of Elvis at a 1956 recording session.

To the right is young boy Elvis, again wearing a hat, but also two six-shooters in holsters.  Something about this picture has intrigued me for years.  Did you notice the two things that foretell aspects of Elvis’ future stage appearance?   Look at that big, wide belt.  It reminds you of the ones Elvis had with his jumpsuits, doesn’t it?   And look at his eyes.  If he’s not wearing eye make-up, what else would make his eyes look like that?  It’s been documented that Elvis wore eyeliner while performing at concerts in the 50s.  This is no casual photo.  It was posed, and I’m betting Elvis decided to dress up his eyes a bit for the shoot.  So, here are two things Elvis preferred as a kid that he carried forward and used as a performer years later.

Next is a rare photo of Elvis being weighed in Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas after he was inducted into the Army.  The photographer lined up the shot perfectly.  But how weird must that moment have been for Elvis?  Maybe it didn’t bother him after being in the spotlight for the previous four years and having a million photographs taken.  However, it does belie the belief that life in the Army for Elvis would be just like any other soldier.

Finally, there is a somewhat familiar photo of Elvis and his mother, Gladys.  I wish somebody that knows Photoshop would give Gladys a little bit of a smile.  She always looks so sad.  If she were happy, this would be such a cool photo.

 

Page 2 has just one photo – Bill Haley and Elvis.  Do you younger readers know anything about Bill Haley?  He was a country singer who slid on over to Rockabilly and Rock and Roll, and he was at the top of the heap until Elvis took over.  One look at this picture shows you why the kids dumped him and flocked to Elvis.  I love Bill Haley’s music, but look at that hair-do and bow-tie.  Then look at Elvis’ hair and outfit.  No contest.

 

 

Page 3 has four mid-fifties photos.  Natalie Wood was Elvis’ first Hollywood girlfriend, and she was a beauty.  She travelled back with Elvis to Memphis after the filming of Love Me Tender, and stayed for a week in Graceland during her visit.   The second photo was taken in Tampa, Florida in July 1955.  EPE has used this photo in various merchandising efforts.

Next is a rare right profile of Elvis showing the slicked back hair of his duck tail style.  The last photo is Elvis in a convertible in 1957.  I think this shot was snapped during the filming of Loving You, and the girl may be his co-star Lizabeth Scott.

 

 

Page 4 features all Army photos.  The small photo at the top is nothing special, but the second larger one is a good color shot of Elvis in uniform.  I like the line under the picture.  It says Elvis fans thought they’d lost him forever once he entered the Army.  Happily, he came back to us.

The other small photo shows Elvis pointing to his new Sergeant strips after getting promoted on February 11, 1960.  For a complete explanation of the ranks Elvis achieved in the Army, click here.  The last shot is Vernon with Elvis in his dress uniform.  The medals on Elvis’ chest are for expert marksmanship – one for rifle and pistol, the other for sharpshooting with a carbine.

 

 

Page 5 contains three pictures that are rather familiar.  The exception would be the first one, which shows Elvis in an Army uniform.  However, this is not from real life.  The large American flag background gives it away as a shot on the set of G I Blues.  The marriage reception photo of Elvis and Priscilla has gotten a lot of mileage over the years, same as that black leather picture from the ’68 Comeback Special.

The last photo shows Lisa and Elvis in a wonderful pose.  The text under the photo says Elvis spent the last night of his life playing with Lisa after giving her a special present.  I wasn’t aware of this, so I looked it up in Elvis: Day By Day by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen.  They say Elvis spent his last night watching TV until 10:30, and then going to the dentist to have his teeth cleaned and two small cavities filled.  (Only Elvis would have a dentist appointment at 10:30 at night.)  They report he wore a black DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) sweatsuit with two .45s stuck in his waistband.


It would be nice if the story about Lisa were true, but you’ve got to admit, Elvis spending the last night of his life getting his teeth cleaned while packing heat is just classic Elvis lore.

 

Page 6 is not about Elvis, as you can see.  It is a large color photo of Priscilla, and there are three more later on (plus some newspaper photos in black and white).  Unfortunately, they all show signs of age.  I have never seen any of them before, and they all appear to be glamour photos done by a professional.  Certainly, that’s not everyday apparel Priscilla is wearing.  She looks great in all four photos, but you’ll have to wait for Elvis Scrapbooks – Part 2 to see the others.

 

©  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.

 

The End of The Circle G Ranch

I had planned to update this Part 3 of my 2013 series on Elvis’ Circle G Ranch before reposting it.  Unfortunately, health issues with my wife have taken precedence.  Here is a bit of additional information sent to me by Lesley Pilling, Director of the Circle G Foundation:

In 2014 a company purchased the ranch.  They contacted us in 2013 and we worked with them confidentially for twelve months educating them on Elvis, the ranch and what the fans wanted to see happen.  They had great plans and we thought all our dreams had come true.

Sadly seven years later all they have done physically is to board up the cottage, cut the grass and paint the cross. 

 

Elvis’ idyllic times at the Circle G Ranch paused in late April 1967 when he returned to Hollywood for the last week of filming on Clambake.  When that wrapped up, Elvis and the gang did not go back to Graceland or Circle G.  Instead, they spent time in Palm Springs as the date for Elvis and Priscilla’s marriage approached.

On May 1, Priscilla and Elvis exchanged their vows at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.  After the reception, they returned to Palm Springs to start their honeymoon.  On May 4, they flew back to Memphis and spent the next two nights at Graceland.  Then, finally on May 6, Elvis and Priscilla returned to Circle G, and for reasons of privacy, they continued their honeymoon at the ranch house.

Backside of Honeymoon Cottage

 

It is unclear how many days passed until Elvis and Priscilla moved back to their mobile home by the lake, but their stay in the ranch house was long enough for it to be nicknamed their “Honeymoon Cottage.”

The various written histories of Elvis’ life have very little to say about what went on in May 1967, but there are hints that Elvis’ fascination with the cowboy life at the ranch started to wane.  The immense bills he had run up since purchasing the Circle G became an increasing strain.  Dr. George Nichopoulas had entered Elvis’ life that spring, and some historians consider that as a changing point in Elvis’ behavior and interests.  The overall good feeling among the Memphis Mafia started to crumble as jealousy about the trailers and trucks Elvis gave out caused bad feelings. At the end of May and early June, the Elvis biographers mention a number of activities that all indicate he was living at Graceland:  a second larger wedding reception, a bowling night party at Whitehaven Plaza, an all-night outing at the Memphis Fairgrounds.

Bumper Cars

 

On June 9, Priscilla learned she was pregnant, and the next day, Elvis and friends and wives took off in a Greyhound bus and a caravan of cars for a road trip to California, including stops at Flagstaff, Arizona and the Grand Canyon.  On June 19, Elvis reported to MGM for the preproduction of his next movie Speedway.  A week later, filming began, and it lasted until August 18.  There were some breaks, but Elvis spent the time either in Las Vegas or Palm Springs, not back at Circle G.

It is evident that about this time, Colonel Parker’s earlier prophecy came true.  Elvis simply lost interest in his new toy and moved on.  According to the excellent reference Elvis—Day by Day, written by Peter Guralnick and Ernst Jorgensen, “With Elvis’ interest in the Circle G having waned almost to the point of nonexistence, Vernon begins to sell off pickup trucks, mobile homes and cattle.”

Elvis did spend some time at the ranch in August and September, but instead of riding horses, his new hobby was target shooting.  However, by the end of September, Elvis decided to put the ranch up for sale.

On November 4, 1967, two thousand fans and collectors came to Circle G for a public auction. The sale of tractors, trailers, TV sets, equipment, and miscellaneous items raised over $108,000.

Two fans with old Elvis guitar case purchased at Circle G auction

Two fans with old Elvis guitar case purchased at Circle G auction

 

During the 1967 Christmas season, Elvis and the gang said an extended farewell to the Circle G Ranch.  They continued to ride the horses not already shipped back to Graceland.  The house trailers were all gone, but the ranch still provided an excellent location for hayrides and snowball fights.  Finally, on May 20, 1968, Elvis sold the Circle G Ranch for $440,100 ($2,900,000 in today’s dollars).

 

There are some people who say the Circle G Ranch was not that important in Elvis’ history because of the short time he owned it, and the even shorter time he spent there.  They say it does not belong in sphere of reverence fans show for other places in Elvis’ life that are preserved and open to the public:  Graceland, the Tupelo home, Sun Studios.

Park-like atmosphere around Elvis’ Tupelo birthplace home

Park-like atmosphere around Elvis’ Tupelo birthplace home

 

I never had an opinion one way or another about Circle G until I started research for this ElvisBlog series.  But, you can’t read all the things Priscilla and Elvis’ buddies said about the ranch in their books or interviews without realizing that the short Circle G period in 1967 was arguably the happiest time in Elvis’ life.

How wonderful would it be if this gorgeous property could be restored and shared with his legions of fans?   Who could resist the opportunity to walk around the grounds and check out the ranch house, the stable location, the lake, the woods, the riding trails, the bridge, the cross, and especially the house trailer area by the lake?  I think it would be impossible share this special world and not feel the same peace and serenity it gave Elvis.  It would be a rare fan who could leave the Circle G Ranch without understanding how Elvis’ time there must have been incredibly happy.

Unfortunately, nothing was ever done to make this dream a reality for the first forty-plus years after Elvis’ time at the Circle G.  And abuse and inattention have taken their toll.

 Vines Growing on Ranch House

Ranch House Bathroom

Circle G BBQ Grill

 

Fortunately, a dedicated English fan named Lesley Pilling stepped forward in 2010 to spearhead an effort to save the Circle G Ranch.  The Circle G Foundation’s vision for ranch is to see it open as an attraction for Elvis fans.  Their objective is to tastefully restore the site to how it was when Elvis knew and loved it; enabling visitors to enjoy the tranquility of the site, just as Elvis did.  They envision walking trails, horse riding and other outdoor activities, plus a Visitors’ Center, museum and gift shop in the old ranch house.  There is also a longer-term plan to provide a small amount of short-term accommodation, perhaps in the form of log cabins around the lake.

However, the Circle G Foundation’s ambitions run much deeper than just creating another Elvis ‘site’ for fans to visit.  The Foundation aims to create on-site facilities at the ranch catering to the disabled and disadvantaged as well as service veterans and others in need. They feel it is very important for Elvis fans to do what we can to continue Elvis’ charitable and humanitarian legacy and create something Elvis would be proud of — and the ranch is the perfect place.

The Circle G Foundation is truly international in scope.  They have Ambassadors in the USA, UK, South Africa, Australia, France, Germany, Italy and Canada and have received support from Elvis fans on every continent.   The Foundation believes Elvis fans are the best, and saving the Circle G would be a wonderful tribute to him.

Circle G Foundation Logo

 

The Circle G Foundation’s website contains a huge amount of information, so rather than reproduce it all here, I strongly success you visit it.

As you check out all the sections of the site, you will grasp how critical the situation is with the structures on the ranch.  We are in real danger of losing them, and time is not on our side.

Be sure to click on the link “Our Vision For The Ranch,” which goes into considerable detail.

Vision for the Circle G

The Vision is still a work in progress and I have suggested to the Foundation that more emphasis needs to be given to the area where the house trailers and the BBQ grill were located.  The concrete foundations are still there in the ground, and Lesley Pilling advises she has information on who was in each trailer.

Another thing you can do is visit the Circle G Foundation Facebook page and ‘Like’ it.  There are now over 4,200 Likes and the next goal is 5,000.

 Grazing pastures at Circle G

 

Another place to visit on the site is the “Store.”  You can help the cause by purchasing Circle G merchandise.  For now, the prices are listed in Pounds (remember, it’s an English site), but when you pay by credit card or PayPal, everything is converted to dollars.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is donate to the Circle G Foundation.  There are details on the site about how the money will be used and what will happen if it can’t be spent on the Circle G.  Please click on “How You Can Help…” and give serious thought to donating generously.

Here’s a long shot, but if you happen to have $3,900,000, you can purchase the Circle G Ranch and work with the Foundation to bring this dream to a reality.

 

View from back of ranch house showing the cross

We’ll end with one last photo.  Imagine if you could walk out of the Visitors Center and take in the view that Elvis had in 1967.  Imagine if you could walk around the 163 beautiful acres and enjoy the things that made Elvis so happy.

Or, imagine that the old ranch house and cross had rotted and crumbled to the ground.  Man, I sure hope we can save the Circle G.

 

©  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.

Happy Elvis in His Own Little Ranch World – Circle G Ranch, Part 2

I would like to repeat something I wrote last week:

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“Elvis had his own little private trailer village tucked away in the far reaches of his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi.  His foray into cowboy communal living is an interesting story, especially because spring 1967 was probably the happiest period of his life.”

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At least, that was the conclusion I came to after doing tons of research on the Circle G. Here is a repost from 2013 where I spell out the factors I believe bolster my case.

 

Elvis riding in front of lake

Elvis wearing cowboy gear at the Circle G Ranch

 

Elvis’ two long uninterrupted periods at the ranch were in February (including the first four days of March) and April, 1967.  He probably also spent two other short periods at Circle G in March, sandwiched between his time in Hollywood for Clambake filming.

February was fun for Elvis because he bought horses for himself, Priscilla, Vernon, and most of the Memphis Mafia.  He also bought pick-up trucks for everybody, tractors and other farm equipment, those nine house trailers, and made repairs to the stables and had lights installed on the bridge over the lake.

 

Circle G stables in decline -- decades after Elvis’ time at the ranch

Circle G stables in decline — decades after Elvis’ time at the ranch

 

It has been estimated that all this, plus the cost of the ranch, came to almost a million dollars [Editor’s note: $8 million in 2021 dollars].  Elvis’ father Vernon, who looked over his son’s finances, was afraid Elvis’ spending on the ranch would bankrupt him.  Vernon went to Col. Parker for advice, and he received a very prophetic answer that Elvis would soon tire of his new plaything.

Vernon and his stepsons David and Billy Stanley at the Circle G stables

Vernon and his stepsons David and Billy Stanley at the Circle G stables

 

As George Klein said in his book Elvis – My Best Man, “In becoming a ranch owner and turning the Memphis Mafia into a bunch of ranch hands, Elvis had given himself a tremendous challenge, which he threw himself into fully.  Making plans for the ranch, Elvis seemed more energetic and in charge than he had in a long time.”

And Joe Esposito said on his TCB Joe website, “So Elvis cast himself in the role of ranch foreman. He no longer looked like a famous singer and movie star. Wearing a cowboy hat and sheepskin jacket and sitting tall in the saddle, he was a dead ringer for the Marlboro man. Every morning he saddled Rising Sun and rode out to issue instructions to the contractor on how to do things and where everything should go.”

Elvis planned and oversaw the placement of the house trailers down by the lake, as well as the work to bring electricity, water and sewage to the site.  So, February 1967 was a time of buying and giving and planning and building.  Of course, Elvis combined that with riding horses, so he was certainly a happy man.

When Elvis arrived back from Hollywood in early April, the Circle G ranch was now set up and operating the way he wanted.  So, April 1967 was when Elvis got to live his dream and share it with his buddies, especially those who received house trailers from him.  Let’s take a look at some quotations by people who were there during this special time.

Priscilla:

“What seemed like a new life had begun. I look back at those weeks as a remarkable lull in the middle of a storm. Elvis was between pictures. I’ve never seen him so ‘free’.  He was having fun… He liked it when everyone was together, and he got upset when they wanted to leave… It wasn’t unusual to see him walking around the property, knocking on doors, waking everyone up, or checking on the horses in the early morning hours.  He was having a ball, and there were days he didn’t even want to take time out to eat… On Sundays we had picnics, and all the girls chipped in on potluck.  We rode horses, held skeet shooting contests, and combed the lake for turtles and snakes.  There was fun, laughter, and a lot of camaraderie…  It was almost like a commune effect.”

Elvis on horseback kissing Priscilla

Elvis on horseback kissing Priscilla

 

George Klein:

“Elvis may have been having trouble steering his career the way he wanted it to go, but now he had a place where he could live the way he wanted to, surrounded by the people he wanted around him, far from the call of Hollywood or the influence of the Colonel, or even the needs of the fans at the Graceland gates.”

Mike McGregor:

“One of the fun times on the ranch was when it snowed, and they took the tractors and sleds and drove around and tore them up.  One night one of the cows had a calf, and they were so excited and everyone had to go see the calf.  When one of the horses had a colt, you would have thought [it was] royalty.”

Charlie Hodge:

“That was where we had an awful lot of fun.  And Elvis loved to get out. He’d wear a big old jacket, a western jacket and his cowboy hat, you know.  They would ride horses all over the property.  Picnics were frequent.  The girls all got along pretty good.

Jerry Schilling:

“It was really beautiful at first.  Sandy and I had a little trailer in front of the lake… You’d wake up in the morning, the horses would be drinking out of the lake; Elvis and Priscilla would ride over, and we’d go for a ride, then have breakfast.

“It was like we were all just friends.  They spent a lot of time by themselves, and when they came over it was just like neighbors dropping by.  We’d go out riding and maybe have a little picnic, and it was as if things had kind of calmed down for a little while.”

Joe Esposito:

“On weekends, we threw giant barbecues. The wives prepared all the food, except for the meat, which I cooked on an open grill. We had great times.  Elvis felt very comfortable in his own little ranch world and usually hated being torn from it.”

 

View of trailer area from bridge

Obviously, views like this helped Elvis feel comfortable in his own little ranch world.  The land beyond the edge of the lake is where Elvis had the house trailers installed.  In the bottom left of the picture is a small part of the bridge Elvis had built over the lake.  You can see the bridge on this aerial view.

Aerial shot showing bridge and cross

 

Another arrow marks a seventy-five foot lighted cross erected by the previous owner of the ranch, Jack Adams.  He was one of the biggest used-aircraft salesmen in the world, and he installed the cross to be a highly visible landmark when he flew over the ranch at night.  (An alternate story says the cross was honor his daughter who drowned in the lake.)  Elvis noticed the cross from the main road while on a horse buying trip, and within twenty-four hours he had purchased the ranch, including a herd of Gertrudis cattle and all the furnishings in the ranch house.  That house is barely visible at the top left, the second structure in from the corner.  Much more visible are the red roofs of the stables and storage building.

There is some confusion about which Elvis buddies had trailers along the lake.  They were primarily for married couples.  There is no doubt this included Jerry Schilling and his wife Sandy, and Elvis’ cousin Billy Smith and his wife Jo.  Both wives were nearly the same age as Priscilla, and they all spent a lot of time together.

Richard Davis, Red West, Joe Esposito, and Mike McGregor were probably beneficiaries of Elvis’ trailer generosity.  Some reports even say that one trailer was for Elvis’ grandmother Minnie Mae, but no references about her actually staying in it have surfaced. No matter who occupied the trailers, here are three photos showing what the views out their front windows looked like.

View from part of the trailer area shows the 75 ft cross

View from part of the trailer area showing the cross

View from another part the trailer area.

View from another part the trailer area.

Maybe the best view of the lake from the trailer area. The bridge was lit at night.

Maybe the best view of the lake from the trailer area. The bridge was lit at night.

 

Let’s close with another quote from Priscilla.  “I loved cooking his eggs and frying his bacon. I even loved doing laundry. We shared a new intimacy. After breakfast we’d saddle up our horses and ride them through the hills. Sometimes he’d ride alone. I remember one day I happened to look out of the window. It was twilight. The sky was aglow in misty blue and radiant pink. There was Elvis walking Rising Sun, his Golden Palomino.”

Elvis on Rising Sun

Elvis on Rising Sun

 

“I saw them as silhouettes against the darkening sky. Elvis was walking slowly; I could practically hear him breathe. His breath was easy, his body relaxed. At that moment I was convinced my husband had actually found peace.”

 

So, what do you think?  Was the spring of 1967 the happiest time of Elvis’ life?  Sure seems like it to me.

 

©  2021    Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister    All Rights Reserved    www.ElvisBlog.net

 

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Elvis’ Circle G Ranch

When I introduced the last post, I mentioned how much time and work went into putting it together, and I was glad to use it again.  There is another topic that took way more time… Elvis’ Circle G Ranch. That was OK, because I got enough material for three posts back in 2013.   All will be up for you to read, starting with Part 1 now.

I checked to see what’s happened to the ranch in the past nine years.  Not much. It’s still in private hands, and unfortunately the Circle G Foundation reports:

“We have waited too long for the owners to repair, protect and preserve the Elvis elements; and we continue to be increasingly concerned about the condition of the cottage, cross, bridge, stables and BBQ.  Many winters and years of inaction are taking their toll.”  

There is good news. The Circle G Ranch has been recognized by its inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places.  And the foundation has a significant success:

“This year The Circle G Foundation with the amazing generosity and support of you dedicated Elvis fans around the world are going to erect a State Historic Marker to commemorate Elvis time at the ranch. That is something we should all be very proud of.  We are doing this for Elvis!”

I hope you enjoy these old posts.

 

I once mentioned that Elvis had his own little private trailer village tucked away in the far reaches of his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi.  His foray into cowboy communal living is an interesting story, especially because spring 1967 was probably the happiest period of his life.

When the Circle G Foundation asked me to write an article about the ranch, I started searching the web and various Elvis books to learn all I could about the ranch.  I found lots of Circle G Ranch pictures, and the most common topic is some variation of this:

 

Grass in Front

This is called the ranch house, and it has declined a lot in the forty-five years since Elvis was last in it.

 

Street right in front

I didn’t help when the highway was moved practically up to the house.  It was a flower shop when this picture was taken.

 

Back side of house

After decades of neglect and abuse, the Circle G ranch house is ripped up and falling apart.  The inside photos are even sadder.  If the Foundation gets enough support to entice a wealthy fan/benefactor to buy this place, they plan to rehabilitate the ranch house as the Visitors’ Center for their projected amenities at the ranch.

Elvis and Priscilla started out using the ranch house immediately after purchasing the property on February 9, 1967.  But Elvis liked having his buddies around, and he figured the way to do that was to buy eight house trailers and have them installed on poured concrete pads near the lake.  Plumbing and electrical power systems were installed, and a septic system was dug.  It was like Elvis had built his own little “Memphis Mafia Village.”

 

Better guess at location

This is an aerial view taken some years after Elvis owned the Circle G.  The ranch house is essentially hidden by tree cover at the top left of the picture.  The building and swimming pool in the peninsula jutting out into the lake were not there when Elvis was.  The upper oval marks where the house trailers were located.  During Elvis’ time, there appeared to have been more trees along the fence line behind the trailers.  The arrow above shows the approximate location of the famous E P barbeque grill.

BBQ

 

Priscilla probably was very happy to have the accommodations for the guys set way back on the 163 acre property.  The roll of the land created a high spot of pasture that blocked the view of the lake and the trailers from the house.   However, Elvis seems to have really loved hanging out with his buddies in the trailer area.  As a result, on March 3, he ordered one more two-bedroom trailer for him and Priscilla.

Two days later, he took off for Los Angeles for the planned start of filming on Clambake.  However, there were production delays and Elvis suffered a minor concussion from a fall in the bathroom of the Rocca Place home he rented.  A week later, Jerry Schilling got married in Palm Springs, and of course, Elvis and Priscilla attended.

Elvis probably returned to the ranch for a few days before principle filming for Clambake finally began on March 20.  His trailer would have been set up and functioning when he arrived there, so this is when Elvis’ Circle G experience changed from the ranch house to the house trailer.

Circle G Trailers 1

Circle G Trailers 2

Circle G Trailers 3

Circle G Trailers 4

Circle G Trailers 5

 

Sorry for the poor quality of these pictures.  I was lucky to find any at all.  It’s almost like Elvis banished cameras from the ranch when he and his buddies were there.  The website where I found these photos offers proof this was one of the Circle G trailers Elvis bought, but they can’t say for sure it was the one Elvis and Priscilla used.  However, we do know Elvis had a front porch built on theirs, so this may be it.

Clambake filming paused sometime in early April 1967, and Elvis was able to enjoy about three straight weeks on the ranch.  It could be argued that this was the happiest time of his life.  We will look into this in more detail next week with Part 2 of our series on Elvis’ Circle G Ranch.

 

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

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NOTE: I am reprinting two original comments that spell out my erroneous location of the fireplace. They didn’t go easy on me, but  they also told some other interesting things about the back end of the ranch property.

James Berne 

Dear sir, I am sorry to inform you but your location of the famous “EP” barbeque grill is not in the location that your map suggests. Unless it was moved later on, which I doubt, because it is made of concrete and bricks ! I know this for a fact because I live directly behind the property – and have for ten years and I took a walk around the grill yesterday! It is not on the east side of the lake, but south of the lake and south of that road that you see coming onto the property ( from Hwy 301). It is closer to that first group of trees that you come to – coming down that road, south of the road ( or on the right side of the road. It looks exactly as the picture shows with the smokestack knocked down , the “P” is missing but the “E” is still there, and I know this because I took the exact same picture with my phone! sincerely James

 

val dickerson 

Yes Phil James is correct in the location of the outdoor fireplace and also the location towards the eastend of the property is not where the trailers were located. They were located directly alongside the fireplace running west to east along side the main entrance roughly 50 or so yards from the miniature golf course which is just south of the main ranch house. You can still see the remnants of the golf course on your pic above, look for the small white spotted area just below the ranch house then look just below and to the right of that is the fire pit which is nowhere near the condition of what your picture shows. the P is completely missing. You can actually see the pit on your pic if you look closely right above the tree line and south of the main entrance road. Im still trying to figure out what your seconde circle is towards the bottom in that patch of trees because the only thing there are 2 sheet metal barns

Happy Star Wars Day… Elvis Style

Here’s a repost from 2017.  I like to go farther back, but this post took a tremendous amount of time to do, so I’m gonna get another use out of it while I can.

 

Star Wars Day

By now you have probably heard that today, May 4th, is Star Wars Day. ElvisBlog is happy to join in this celebration.

So, what does Elvis have to do with Star Wars, you might ask. To be honest, not much, except in the minds of clever Photoshop jockeys.

Darth Vader 68 comeback Special

I don’t know someone came up with this idea, but I love it. Darth Varder in Elvis’ black leather outfit. Too cool.

Here’s another Vader image inserted into a classic Elvis photo:

Elvis-Darth Vader

There’s another version of this where Darth Vader replaces Elvis, not Nixon, but that’s lame compared to this.

 

He isn’t the only Star Wars character to get the Elvis treatment:

Yoda Elvis

How about Yoda in an Elvis jumpsuit? I don’t think the artist totally captured Yoda’s face here, but it is so much better than this next one.

Elvis and Yoda

Yoda looks like an escapee from the Muppets, and Elvis/Luke Skywalker looks part Asian.

 

Remember this famous photo of Han Solo?

Famous Han Solo Picture

Could anything be more natural to get the Elvis treatment?

Elvis-Han Solo

And here is Elvis/Han with a different Elvis head.

Triple Elvis-Han Solo

Of course, you recognize the overlapping multiple images pioneered by Andy Warhol. Like this:

Andy Warhol -- Double Elvis

Why not steal this technique with Han Solo images?

Double Han Solo - Andy Warhol

 

Do you remember the Gamorrean guards who were employed as security forces for Jabba the Hutt? How do you like them guarding Elvis and Graceland?

Elvis and two Gamorrean guards

 

Of course, Jabba the Hutt was a bad guy who tried to make Luke Skywalker walk the plank into the dreaded Sarlacc Pit. How did somebody get the idea to replace him with Elvis? In the gold lame suit, no less.

Elvis at the Sarlacc Pit

 

Elvis even replaces Princess Leia in one Photoshopped picture. Remember the hologram image where she tells Luke and Obi-Wan about the Empire taking her ship and then passing on her father’s instructions to them?

Elvis as a hologram

 

I thought Elvis replaced someone in this shot at Chalmun’s Cantina in the pirate city Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine. However, I watched the clip on youTube, and Elvis was added into the empty space next to Han.

Chalmuns Cantina located in the pirate city of Mos Eisley on the planet Tatooine

 

This next picture is LEGO Elvis in a Star Wars storm trooper/jumpsuit combo outfit. How else would you get Elvis Troopers?

StormTrooper-LEGO-Elvis

 

And finally, do yo you remember this from the beginning of the first Star Wars movie?

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away

Well, even it has been copied for the design of an Elvis T-shirt.

Elvis Has Left the Planet

It’s been fun discovering the many ways two major forces in pop culture could be connected.  I hope all ElvisBlog readers have a happy Star Wars Day.

 

May the force be with you

 

 

© 2017 Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister All Rights Reserved www.ElvisBlog.net

 

 

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The Elvis Side of the Moon

Over the years I’ve had fun collecting variations of this iconic Jailhouse Rock image of Elvis.  There were enough to do a post back in 2012, and to expand with lots of new ones on a repost last November.

Here’s one I stumbled on yesterday:

 

Certainly there are some Elvis fans who know what original image inspired this.  But for the rest of you, here it is:

Dark Side of the Moon

It is the front cover of the 1973 Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. This is a historically significant album because it remained on the Billboard Top LP list for 957 weeks. That’s over eighteen years.  Wow.

 

So, I think an excellent name for the new picture would be Elvis Side of the Moon, and like you, I see it as a variation of an Elvis image.

 

However, Pink Floyd fans would consider it a variation on their album cover, which has been done a lot by some clever Photoshop jockeys.  These are my two favorites.

 

 

So, would you like to see another Elvis / Pink Floyd connection?  Check this out.  It is concert video of David Gilmour, singer and lead guitarist of the band, singing Elvis’ hit “Don’t”.  The guitar part in the middle is totally unique.

 

 

Well, let’s get back to Elvis images to end this post.

Polka Dot Jailhouse Rock.  What’s next?

 

 

©  2021    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.