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

 

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.

 

The Lost Elvis Album

In the early 60s, Elvis got into a regular routine. He made movies, and a soundtrack album was released for each. In addition, he went to Nashville every spring to record at RCA’s famed Studio B.

These annual sessions in Nashville produced a cache of songs to be released as singles. Each year after the spring Nashville sessions in ’60, ’61, and ’62, Elvis released a new non-soundtrack album. Col. Parker decided they would not include any hits. He was correct in believing the fans would still buy the albums anyway, and then later all the hits could be included in one of many Elvis “Best Of” compilations.

So, the cycle for albums following the spring Nashville sessions was this:

1960 – Elvis Is Back

 

1961 – Something for Everybody

 

1962 – “Pot Luck.”

Things went differently after the recording sessions at Studio B on May 26-27, 1963. As usual, a new 45 release followed within a month. “Devil In Disguise” was the A-side, and it went to #3 on the charts. The B-side was “Don’t Drag That String Around,” written by Otis Blackwell (“Don’t Be Cruel”). Another good song, “Witchcraft,” was the B-side to “Bossa Nova Baby,” released in October that year.

However, in 1963, no regular non-soundtrack album was released. Pretty strange, considering that they had 13 brand new songs in the vault. It’s an interesting story.

 

Actually, RCA had scheduled an album using these recordings to come out that fall, but then they decided they had enough new hits to make Elvis Golden Records, Vol 3, so they issued it instead.

 

Why bother with untested studio material when a greatest-hits record is a sure thing?

 

Next up was the Fun In Acapulco soundtrack release in November ’63, but two extra songs were needed for filler. “Love Me Tonight” and “Slowly But Surely” were pulled from the remaining unused spring ’63 Studio B recordings.

 

By April 1964, it was time for the Kissin’ Cousins soundtrack album. This movie was also short of enough songs for a full album, so again two songs from the May ’63 Nashville sessions were used: “Long Lonely Highway” and “Echoes of Love.”

That was the death knell for the concept of an album of all the May ’63 Studio B recordings .Two more songs made it into the standard album Elvis for Everyone in 1965. Four of the remaining songs were used in the soundtrack albums for Double Trouble in 1967 and Speedway in 1968.

At that point, all thirteen songs from the planned 1963 Nashville sessions album had been released in one way or another.

 

Finally, in 1991, twenty-eight years after the songs were recorded, RCA decided to right a wrong and released a CD of the May ’63 sessions. It is appropriately titled The Lost Album, and I would rather own it than a lot of the Elvis CDs containing “Previously Unreleased Recordings.”

Elvis was just 28 in 1963, and he was still rocking pretty good. The session featured three guitar players (led by Scotty Moore) playing on each song, and it had a double drum kit: DJ Fontana and Buddy Harman. Elvis also had Floyd Cramer on piano, Boots Randolph on sax, Bob Moore on bass, and the Jordanaires and Millie Kirkham on vocals, truly bringing the group assembled there up to all-star status.

For my money, I think the best song on The Lost Album is “Memphis,” written and first recorded by Chuck Berry. I also like “Devil In Disguise,” “Witchcraft,” and “Slowly But Surely.” The rest of the songs are well described by Earnst Jorgenson in Elvis Presley, A Life in Music. He said they.

“were all passable, and their flawless, pleasant sound make them records Elvis fans could enjoy.”

 

In 2007, RCA rereleased it with a new title and much more appealing cover art:

 

By either title, this really qualifies as a long-lost Elvis album.

So, if the concept of an unreleased Elvis album from 1963 interests you, check out either The Lost Album or For The Asking. You’ll be in for a treat.

 

© 2021 Philip R Arnold All Rights Reserved www.elvisblog.net

 

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

 

The Elvis/Star Trek Connection — Part 2

This is the rest of the 2009 post on the nine actresses who appeared in Elvis movies and Star Trek episodes.

 

Laurel Goodwin:

  Laurel Goodwin was the biggest omission in ElvisBlog’s original “Star Trek Elvis Connection”.  She played Laurel Dodge, Elvis’ love interest in Girls, Girls, Girls.  Actually, it was more like “the winning love interest,” because Stella Stevens was a former flame that still hoped for a future with Elvis’ character, Ross Carpenter, and she kept popping up throughout the movie.  The dance that Elvis and Laurel did (pictured above) is one of my favorite scenes from his films.  It must have been difficult to come up with a dance routine that was funny, but this one was.

 

On Star Trek, Laurel appeared as Yeoman Colt in an episode that contained Spock, but not Captain Kirk or any of the other familiar Enterprise crew members.  That’s because she was in “The Cage,” the one hour pilot that was produced to sell NBC on the series.  Parts of it were used for flashback scenes in a later two-part episode, but “The Cage was not broadcast intact until 1988, twenty years after the series ended.  I like Goodwin’s look in this better than in the Elvis movie.  That’s Jeffrey Hunter as Captain Pike.  Don’t you bet he and Laurel Goodwin would have had significantly better careers if they had kept their roles when the series went into production?

 

Nancy Kovack:

Nancy Getting Elvis' Eye in Frankie and Johnny

 

Nancy Kovack also had a major role in an Elvis movie.  She played Nellie Bly, the “losing Elvis love interest” in Frankie and Johnny.  (Not to say Elvis’ movies were formulaic, but do you notice the pattern here?)  Nellie Bly was immortalized in the song as the girl who caused Johnny (Elvis) to do Frankie wrong.  Actually, Johnny just believed Nellie was a good-luck charm for his frequent gambling, but Frankie and the riverboat owner (Nellie’s former boyfriend) thought otherwise.  Skullduggery ensued, and Johnny discovered the real a good-luck charm was the one Frankie gave him.  He carried it in his breast pocket, and it saved him from a bullet to the chest.  Of course, Frankie and Johnny got together at the end of the movie, but Nellie did okay too, as she went back to the riverboat owner.

 

On Star Trek Nancy Kovack played Nona in “A Private Little War,” and got to wear the nifty warrior witch outfit you see above.  Nona was the wife of Tyree, leader of the Hill People on the planet Neural.  However, she wanted power and betrayed him.  She stole Dr. McCoy’s phaser and sought out the leader of a rival faction, but ended up being stabbed to death.


Julie Parrish:

Julie Parrish played Joanna, an employee of the Kahala Hilton hotel in Paradise, Hawaiian Style, but she did not play an Elvis love interest.  However, she was part of a scene that requires much willing suspension of disbelief.  She had Elvis’ character (a helicopter pilot named Rick) transport a consignment of pedigreed dogs to a dog show.  The dogs freaked out and Elvis lost control of the helicopter.  Before he could gain control, he ran a car off the road and into a ditch.  Well, the driver of that car just happened to be a big shot in the Federal Aviation Administration (oops).  Gee, what a coincidence.

 

Her Star Trek role was as Miss Piper, Starfleet Adjutant to Commodore Mendez on planet Talos lV in the two-part episode “The Menagerie.”  This is the show where parts of “The Cage” were shown in flashback.  Captain Pike was also in the newer plot, but he had been badly disfigured by delta rays.  Fortunately, Julie Parrish’s figure was just fine, and it was well displayed throughout the story.

Emily Banks:

The credits for Live A Little, Love A Little list Emily Banks’ character as “Receptionist.”  I know it’s hard to notice with that voluptuous stand-up occupying so much of the photo above, but look closely, there is a receptionist here.  Hey, Elvis, don’t stare.  Emily Banks fared a bit better with dialogue, as she had enough lines to be the fifth woman listed in the credits.           

For her Star Trek appearance in “Shore Leave,” Emily Banks played Yeoman Tonia Barrows and got to do considerably more acting.  When some of the Enterprise crew beamed down to Omicron Delta for badly needed shore leave, a mysterious energy field (they show up at lot, don’t they?) caused strange things to happen individually to each crew member.  For Yeoman Barrows, it was a visit from Don Juan.  Too bad for Dr. McCoy, who thought scoring with her would be the perfect form of R&R.

 

Shari Nims:

Shari Nims was listed way down on the credits of Easy Come, Easy Go as Mary, although this name was never revealed in the film.  In fact, her only part came in the Easy Go-Go nightclub scene where Elvis sand “I’ll Take Love.”  Elvis was rocking so good that Mary came up on stage, grabbed a tambourine, and boogied along with him.

       

There was a bit of real acting by Sheri Nims as Sayana in “The Apple.”  Kirk led a landing party to Gamma Trianguli VI, where they noted an abnormal electromagnetic field (geez, another one) was causing subsurface vibrations.  When they investigate further, they discovered the flower-child-like people of Vaal, including Sayana, who had no concept of love or sex.  Do you think maybe the Enterprise crew educated them?

 

Tanya Lemani:

Tanya Lemani did not appear in an Elvis movie, but she was featured in the ’68 Comeback Special.  She had significant screen time as a belly dancer in the segment where Elvis sang “Little Egypt.”

         

She had a much larger part playing Kara in the Star Trek episode “Wolf in the Fold.”  Kirk, McCoy and Scotty beamed down to the hedonistic pleasure planet Argelius II, and went to a favorite café.  Kara’s dancing infatuated them all, especially Scotty.  When she came over to their table, Scotty put his best moves on her and she agreed to leave with him.  As you can see in the picture above, Scotty was really pleased with this development.  Unfortunately, Kara was attacked out on the street and stabbed to death.

.

©  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.

 

The Elvis/Star Trek Connection — Part 1

This is a repeat of a post from 2009. Part 2 will follow soon.  Because I put so much time and research into doing these, I’m glad to get a second usage of them.

You may find it hard to believe, but there are nine actresses that appeared in both Elvis movies and Star Trek episodes.

 

CELESTE YARNALL:

Some of you may have met Celeste Yarnall at an Elvis Week, because she has become something of a regular guest there these past few years.  She appeared briefly in Live A Little, Love a Little, from 1968, just four films from the end of the Elvis movie string.  His movies were starting to get bad, but this one was so stupid it was funny.

         

             

Yarnall played Ellen, a model he met at a party.  One of the ways Elvis (Gary Nolan) convinced her to come back to his apartment with him was by singing, “A Little Less Conversation.” 

When Elvis gets her home, Bernice, another woman with an eye on Elvis, creates a ruckus while vacuuming, totally breaking the mood.  Ellen gets mad and insists Elvis take her home.

One year earlier, Celeste Yarnall appeared in a Star Trek episode titled, “The Apple.”  Instead of being hit on by Elvis, this time it was Ensign Chekov.

    

                             

She escaped Checkov’s advances, and later, Captain Kirk consoled her by showing her his giant horn.

 

TERI GARR:

Teri Garr appeared in six Elvis movies:

Kissin’ Cousins  1963
Fun in Acapulco  1963
Viva Las Vegas  1964
Roustabout   1964
Girl Happy   1965
Clambake   1967

However, her screen time was not as an actress.  At this early point in her career, she was a dancer trying to break into acting.


Viva Las Vegas

   Roustabout 

              Kissin’ Cousins

Girl Happy

Editor’s note: This is the photo generally offered as proof that Teri Garr appeared in Girl Happy, but there have been sceptics who said it doesn’t look enough like her.  So, when I was working on a post about the movie, I used pause and single-frame advance and found this.

That’s definitely Teri Garr, and you can see she is wearing the same blouse as in the beach dancing shot.

 

Teri Garr got one of her first acting jobs in Star Trek episode # 55 titled “Assignment Earth.”  Captain Kirk and Spock travelled back in time to 1968 Earth to stop Gary Seven, a villian who was trying to explode an oribal bomb over Asia.  Teri Garr played Roberta Lincoln, a ditzy blond in a very short mini-skirt who was hired by a henchman of Gary Seven to supposedly develop a new ecyclopedia.  In the end, she became suspicious and helped save Earth.

              

 

YVONNE CRAIG:

Most Elvis fans know she was one of the Tatum sisters in Kissin’ Cousins, but she appeared in an earlier Elvis movie in a small part.  Yvonne Craig had a small role in It Happened at the World’s Fair, released in 1963.  She played Dorothy Johnson, a love interest of Elvis’ character, Mike Edwards.  While her scene with Elvis was short, it could be called pretty hot, as you can see by these stills.

              


Two movies later, Yvonne Craig showed up in a much larger role in Kissin’ Cousins.  Do you think Elvis might have really liked her first performance and put in a good word for her?   Anyway, she played Azalea Tatum, who had to fight with her sister Selena for Elvis’ attention (Air Force Captain Josh Morgan).  Azalea finally ends up the winner in the Elvis sweepstakes.

       

These roles were tame compared to her character in a Star Trek episode in 1967: “Whom Gods Destroy.”  Yvonne Craig played Marta, a green-skinned inmate at the Federation asylum on Elba ll.  She was delusional, seductive and skilled in exotic dance.   The evil Garth of Izar coerced her to carry out a plot to assassinate Captain Kirk.  

She got alone with Kirk, started to seduce him, and then pulled a knife and tried to stab him.  He fought her off, and Spock arrived to help subdue her.    After the failed assassination attempt, her master, Garth of Izar, ended her life by blowing her to bits with a new explosive.


        

I love this line from Spock after the assination attempt:

“She seems to have worked out an infallible method for ensuring permanent male fidelity.  Interesting.”

 

©  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.

 

Was This Elvis’ Best Birthday Present Ever?

This is a reprint of a post from 2013.  I have added a couple of new photos.

 

Perhaps you have seen this photo on the internet.  I run into it from time to time, but nobody has ever included a caption or text explaining the story of Elvis and this old car.

It turns out, there is quite a story.  While doing research on an upcoming article in Elvis International magazine, I found something in the book “Baby Let’s Play House: Elvis Presley and the Women Who Loved Him,” by Alanna Nash.

 

The book stated that Elvis’ father purchased him a 1942 Lincoln Zephyr for his 18th birthday.  That’s the car in the photograph.  It cost $50, which was a lot of money back in 1953, especially for a man of modest means like Vernon Presley.

 

A restored 1942 two-door Lincoln Zephyr

 

Elvis owned hundreds of Cadillacs, Lincolns, and other fancy cars in his life, but it is unlikely that any of them had the kind of impact on his life that this worn out old Lincoln did.  The reason is simple.  The car sparked a big jump in Elvis’ social life. It enabled him to go out on dates with teenage girls.

According to the book, in the first three months after his 18th birthday, Elvis used the Lincoln for at least five different dating opportunities:

Driving to a party and giving a pretty girl a ride to her home afterward.

Going to the “Teen Canteen” at McKellar Lake and enjoying hamburgers and shakes.

Attending the All-Night Gospel Singings at Ellis Auditorium to see the Statesmen and the Blackwood Brothers perform.

Parking on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River and watching the water roll by.

Taking in a movie at the drive-in theater in West Memphis, Arkansas.

The last two on the list would seem to be perfect places for serious making-out, which the book says Elvis enjoyed during this period.  You can bet Elvis loved having his own car.

Elvis had enough money to pay for his gas and dating expenses, because he worked part-time at night ushering at Loew’s movie theater and selling soft drinks at Ellis Auditorium.

So, when it came time to attend his Senior Prom on April 17, 1953, Elvis used some of those earnings to rent a shiny new, dark-blue Chevy.  The next day it was back to the old Lincoln again, and certainly Elvis longed for the days when he could afford to buy his own fancy new car.

 

 

That happened twenty-three months later when he purchased a 1954 pink and white Cadillac, but Elvis had to cherish his happy memories of dating in the car he received for his eighteenth birthday.

 

©  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.

 

Elvis and Dr. Seuss

Bet you never thought you would see Mr. Potato Head, The Muppets, and Dr. Seuss all in the headlines in a just a ten day span. You do know there is an Elvis connection with the first two. We just finished up a three-part series on Elvis Mr. Potato Head. And, two years ago, I also did three blog posts about Elvis and The Muppets.

So, when the news came out about six of Dr. Seuss’ books, I wondered if I could find anything connecting Elvis and Dr. Suess. I came across this.

 

Hoo knew the Grinch was an Elvis fan. I guess the text is a reworking of a lyric the Grinch did in the movie. If anybody knows the real lines, please put them on Comments and I’ll share.

This design has been used on coffee mugs and T-shirts. If interested in one for next Christmas, Google Elvis Presley Grinch, it will take you right there.

So, I am pleased about finding an Elvis connection with Dr. Seuss. Years ago, I posted about the Elvis connections with LEGOS and Barbie Dolls. I wonder if there’s anything coming that will put them in the headlines, too, and I can repost all that old stuff.

 

©  2020    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.