jueves, 31 de mayo de 2012

Elvis Clothing at the Most Recent Auction


Elvis Clothing at the Most Recent Auction

If you like to follow auctions of rock and roll memorabilia, some of the best are presented by Gotta Have It.  Bidding ended March 25, 2011 on their Rock & Roll Pop Culture Auction, and it contained about a hundred Elvis items.   Now, here is a look at items from Elvis' wardrobe that collectors picked off.
Karate Gi:
This is one Elvis collectible that would be fun to own.  You could easily slip into it and admire yourself in the mirror.  You can't get much closer to Elvis than that.  Although he owned six of these Karate Gi's, this one brought well above the $7-8,000 estimate.  It inspired the third most active bidding for Elvis clothing items and topped out at $11,042 (including auctioneer's fee).  The other man in the photo of Elvis wearing it is Kang Rhee, who was Elvis karate instructor for seven years.
Red Jacket, Black Pants and Black Shirt from Viva Las Vegas:
Without seeing the title above, would you know what movie Elvis wore this coat in?   You should remember it from Viva Las Vegas, because Elvis wore four versions of this one-button Bolero coat in the movie –   black, yellow, blue and the red one offered in this auction.  Elvis favored the red Bolero coat for numerous publicity stills.
The auction lot also included the black pants and black shirt, and had the most active bidding of any Elvis clothing item.  The pre-auction estimated price of $4-6,000 seemed ridiculously low, and the winning bid of $22,039 confirmed that.  The outfit generated more bidding than any Elvis item in the auction.
The coat is size 42, which is no surprise, but the pants had a 32" waist.  Elvis was still one trim dude back in 1963.  The long sleeve black silk shirt bears the "Jerry Rothschild, Beverly Hills" label with "Elvis Presley" handwritten on the label.
According to the auction site, "Seldom does a complete movie worn outfit come to market.  Elvis loved the movie-style outfits and he took all of them home with him after finishing a film.  A photo of Elvis wearing the yellow version of the bolero jacket in front of his piano in the music room at Graceland accompanies this lot."
Denim Jacket from Stay Away Joe:
This jacket went for $5,100, which was only about half of the estimated price.  Perhaps some bidders were skeptical about it, because just one year earlier a Stay Away Joe outfit of jacket, pants and yellow shirt went for $41,434 at another Gotta Have It auction.
Why would the winning bidder of that lot split up the set?  However, the labels inside this jacket say "MGM Studios" and Elvis name, so maybe there were several of them.  Perhaps, that would also reduce desirability to this year's bidders.
Leather Jacket with Coyote Trim:
This jacket had a lot of bidding activity, but it still topped out at just $4,569.  The auction website explained that Elvis had purchased at least three custom-made versions of this coat from Lansky Brothers in different leather colors, including black and white.  However, they were unable to produce a photo of Elvis wearing the brown version, so the white model was shown.  Too bad, because that probably kept the final price down.
Khaki Jacket from Live A Little, Love A Little:
Elvis wore this light-weight grey jacket in several scenes in the movie, and the auction offered many photos of him wearing it.  On top of that, the labels inside bear the name MGM Culver City Studio, the production number of the film, and Elvis' name and size.  A letter of provenance from Elvis' buddy Charlie Hodge was provided, too, so with all that backing up the jacket, it went for $5,148.
Blue Shirt with Yellow Scarf:      
This hand-tailored navy silk shirt was very popular with bidders, and the final price of $13,682 more than tripled the pre-auction estimate.  It came with several photos of Elvis wearing it, which could be incorporated into a nice display case.
Black Velvet Kaftan: 
This beautiful long velvet kaftan features heavy gold embroidery down the front, arms and back.  It had a lot of bids and brought in $6,229, but this price indicates that collectors are unwilling to shell out as much for Elvis collectibles in today's harder economic times.   Last year, Gotta Have It also offered an Elvis kaftan, and it brought in $9,214.

Both kaftans would have probably brought in higher bids if any photos of Elvis wearing them had been provided.
White Doctor's Coat from Change of Habit:
This cotton long-sleeved doctor's coat is one of many wardrobe items that Elvis kept after the filming of his movies were completed.  It sold for $4,153 and is not as impressive looking as some of the others, but the new owner can tell an interesting story when he shows it off.  According to the auction guide, "Elvis played the role of Dr. John Carpenter, a doctor from Shelby, Tennessee who runs a free clinic.  After the film wrapped, Elvis chose his character's name as one of his favorite aliases when making reservations for hotel and airlines.   When he traveled to Washington D.C. later in 1970 for the famous meeting with President Richard Nixon he used the name "John Carpenter" for the American Airlines reservation."
Copper and Brown Satin Dressing Robe:
Another in a never-ending line of clothing selections Elvis purchased at Lansky Brothers clothing store in Memphis.  Note the initials above the left breast.  According to the auction guide, "Joe Esposito recalls Elvis coming downstairs in his Beverly Hills home "looking like Hugh Hefner."   Joe and hairdresser Homer Gilleland both provided letters of provenance, and the robe/smoking jacket went for $5,271.
Blue Pajamas:
Although no photograph of Elvis wearing these pajamas was provided, they have the initials "EP" embroidered onto the left chest pocket and laundry tags with Elvis' name stamped onto them sewn into the pants. These pajamas come with a letter from Elvis' very good friend, valet and wardrobe manager, Richard Davis.  The top bid on these pajamas was $2,835.
Red Velour Shirt from Girl Happy:
This shirt did well in the bidding and went for $8,216.  According to the auction website, Elvis gave the shirt to Homer Gilleland, and it came with a letter from Homer as well as a photo of Elvis wearing it in the movie Girl Happy.  I wondered why the picture was in black-and-white even though the movie was in color.  So I got out the DVD to screen capture the shot as it appeared in the film.  Look what I found:
Uh, Ooh.  The shirt in the movie is actually blue.  You sure have to be careful when you bid on Elvis stuff at these auctions.
                                                 Philip R Arnold,

miércoles, 30 de mayo de 2012

Elvis scrapbook in the Smithsonian Institution


Did you know there is an Elvis scrapbook in the Smithsonian Institution?  Back in January 2010, the Smithsonian opened a special Elvis exhibit titled One Life: Echoes of Elvis in the National Portrait Gallery.
The scrapbook they displayed was created just after Elvis died. It was found in a warehouse in Chicago, and the fan who assembled it is unknown.  A Smithsonian spokesman stated, "The devotion with which it was collected and labeled indicates how shocked Presley's fans must have been at his early death."  He also said he had confirmation that there were thousands of similar Elvis scrapbooks.
Page 11 has all late 50s photos.  The top one may be hard for you to figure out, but this is a photo of Elvis in the Army.  He is tying his shoes while getting dressed in his fatigues.  That's his belt hanging over his neck.  The picture to its left is from one of the Ed Sullivan shows in 1956.
The bottom photo is obviously from Jailhouse Rock.  I like the text below the shot, because it states that many people think it was Elvis' greatest all-around performance.  I'd put it number 2, right behind King Creole.
Page 12 has three unexciting photos of Elvis.  The right one is of Elvis leaving a concert and getting in a limo.  The driver had to sneak past the fans to get back to the hotel.
The two articles are interesting.  The top one came out just after Elvis' death, and according to the hand-written note, it is from a Catholic newspaper in September 1977.  The article contains the usual biographical information found in every Elvis news account after he died.  But, this also talked about Elvis' faith.  "He was a young man of good intentions, a kind of man who had spiritual yearnings and a love of Jesus Christ."  I like how the Catholic newspaper gave Elvis a pass on his assorted discretions because he had good intentions
 Well, even though Elvis was on the decline six months before his death, the fans still came to his shows, and they still got rowdy, just like in the early days.  Elvis still had it.
Page 13 has two photos of Elvis holding guns.  The one with the pistol actually has this caption: "Elvis… and his boys liked shooting guns during parties, ranging from hand guns and rifles to Browning Automatic Rifles."  
The bottom section is an ad for a set of three Elvis eight-track tapes.  Sign of the times.
Page 14 has two color pictures of Elvis in jumpsuits.  Looks like old Elvis could still put a charge in the fans, although he's got quite a gut in the smaller picture to the right.  I didn't know Elvis threw pink scarves to the fans, but what else could he be holding?  Definitely doesn't look like a bra or panties.
The bottom photos show younger Elvis with an unidentified woman, and a shot taken in Hawaii in 1972.
Page 15 is the third large color photo of Priscilla, but with cute little Lisa Marie in it, too.  Lisa looks to be about four-years-old.  If so, that would put the date around February, 1972, the month Priscilla left Elvis.  Based on all the pictures of Priscilla I have seen, I would say that whole breaking-up period was the least photographed time in her life.  So, this is a rare picture.  Priscilla would have been twenty-seven then, and I've decided she was at her peak of beauty in these scrapbook pictures.  Too bad they are all so badly aged and discolored.

Philip R Arnold

lunes, 28 de mayo de 2012

Memories of Elvis — By Some of His High School Classmates,


This is the time of the year when seniors are graduating from high school all over the country.  Fifty-nine years ago, Elvis graduated from Humes High School in Memphis.
Humes High School
Virginia Eddleman
"I had study hall with Elvis Presley (the flirt).  He would blow kisses across the room at me.  Once I thumbed my nose at him and said some smart remark back.  Everyone knows how Elvis loved "GOSPEL MUSIC."  At Ellis Auditorium, the Statesmen Quartet felt sorry for him because he couldn't afford a ticket and let him in the back door.  My brother Jerry, my sister Darlene and I were called "The Eddleman Trio."   We started singing acappella at ages 7, 8 and 11.  After Elvis became famous, it occurred to me that "we" were singing on the stage while Elvis was sneaking in the back door.  He later sang on the same stage at benefit concerts."
Bobbie Horne
"Elvis Presley and I were good friends and he liked to come over to my house because my mother would make him toasted cheese sandwiches and his beloved peanut butter and banana sandwiches.
After graduation, when Elvis was beginning to make a name for himself as a singer, I received a phone call from Miss Ginny Allensworth asking me to come over to Humes and help Elvis with his English because he had been invited to sing on the Ed Sullivan Show.  I laughed and said, "Miss Ginny, Elvis wouldn't listen to me when we were in school and I doubt if he would listen to me now."  I did meet Elvis at Humes and he agreed to let me coach him.  After talking for a while, he said, "Well, if you are so intent on helping me, why don't you come to New York, too, to be sure I do it right."  I ended up backstage at the Ed Sullivan Show and got to see Elvis perform."
Donald Morris
"Elvis and I weren't buddies outside school hours, but we did have a few good moments at school.  In Miss Allensworth's 12th grade English class we had assigned roles in one of the ever popular Shakespearean plays.  Elvis, who sat behind me, and I, when our speaking parts came up, would pour it on with exaggerated southern accents.  Miss Allensworth warned us once, but being the showmen we were, we couldn't resist doing it again.  She sent us out into the HALL for the rest of the period.  Being sent in the HALL during class without an excuse was like being sent to purgatory – and if Mr. Brindley happened by – well watch out.  Fortunately, it was close to the end of the period and we escaped unscathed.  This was probably an early example of Elvis at his showmanship best."
Montage for 50th Reunion
Betty Jean Moore
"My cousin, Dorothy Jackson, and I were monitors stationed outside the entrance to the library to make sure that students checked out their books properly and to maintain order in the hall between classes.  Whenever Elvis Presley walked by we would look at each other and laugh and giggle. (We both had a crush on him.)
One day he walked up to Dorothy and asked her why we laughed when he walked by. She was so dumbfounded that she blurted out "It's because we think you are so good-looking." I guess he was surprised also; he just broke into a grin and walked away. I was just sitting there with the reddest face that a girl could ever have.  From then on whenever I would see Elvis coming down the hall, I would stick my face into a book and not look up.
Elvis and I were in Miss Alexander's homeroom in the 11th grade.  She taught music, so the classroom was a music room.  She divided our class into an "L" shape with boys on one side and girls on the other side.  Elvis sat in the front row next to a guy sporting a Mohawk haircut.  I sat in the second row of girls so I could see him very well and I often stared at him because there was something about him that I really liked.  He didn't dress or act like the rest of the boys.  He always had a lock of hair hanging to the side of his face.
He had a serious expression most of the time during the beginning of the school year.  But, later in the year, he surprised us by playing his guitar before school several mornings.  He didn't sing; he just played.   We really enjoyed the impromptu jam sessions.  Elvis was very polite and respectful to all the teachers.  He always addressed them as "Maam" and "Sir".  He seemed very shy and I identified with him since I was shy, too.
I remember him driving a maroon convertible; I believe it was a Lincoln.  Sometimes he wore dark colored pants with a stripe down the sides.  I found out later that they were part of his movie usher uniform."
George Carros
"I met Elvis at Humes but I knew him better at the cafe.  He was a very polite young man who neither looked nor acted like the rest of the guys.  He would come into the cafe with a bunch of young girls from Lauderdale Courts and play the juke box, eat chips and drink cokes.  His hair hung down in his face and he was often dressed in very bright colored pants.  The girls liked him even then.  He always called me "Champ".  The last time I saw him was right after his mother died.  We ran into each other on Beale Street.  We had a nice chat, shook hands and he said "Bye, Champ" and got into his waiting limo."
Carolyn Woodward
"I was in Miss Mildred Scrivener's 12th grade home room with Elvis.  He never had any school supplies.  He borrowed paper from someone every day.  He looked so different from the other boys who had crew cuts and blue jeans.  He wore black pants and his hair always hung down in his face.  He was always very polite."
Group Picture in Humes High Library (1950) - Elvis Top Right
George Blancett (No Photo)
"Larry Curle and I had Miss Moss' 5th period American Problems class together with Elvis Presley.  One day Miss Moss got so fed up with Larry and me she told us to take the rest of the day off and go to the athletic room.  She allowed Elvis to tag along.  The three of us went riding in Larry's red 1940 Studebaker that didn't have a reverse gear.  During our ride around town, we went somewhere to get Elvis' guitar; he sat in the backseat playing and singing.  Larry and I were both impressed with his songs.  We talked about the upcoming talent show where Larry and I were appearing with several boys doing gymnastic things.  Elvis said, "I'll warm them up for you."   When that night came, he did warm them up!  After a couple of his scheduled songs, the audience response demanded he sit on the apron and sing a few more.  The show really finished when Elvis did, but we went on and performed our act without much distinction."
Betty Diepholz
"I was President of the History Club in Miss Scrivener's 12th grade class.  She assigned me the task of getting Elvis to sing at our class party at Overton Park. He did and we all enjoyed the party and the singing.  A few of us, including Elvis, climbed into L.D. Ledbetter's car and went downtown to enjoy the Cotton Carnival.  We rode the rides and hung out on the steps of the downtown library to listen to Elvis sing again.  This attracted a crowd – the police came along and dispersed the crowd and we went home.  Later, when we were signing yearbooks, we laughed about that night.  Elvis wrote in my book 'Remember Me – Elvis'."
Ed (Rob) Robinson
"I have in my office right now a magazine rack that Elvis and I made together in woodshop."
Auditorium at Humes High School
Carole Kimbrell
"Virginia Eddleman's family had beautiful voices and sang gospel music. She took me to hear them once when Elvis was singing on the same program. Soon after that my sister June and I ran into Elvis at the Suzore #1. He sat down beside me and after a while I felt his arm slide across my shoulder. I was so scared that we moved to another row. One night he was singing at the Humes Talent Show. My friend Rose left me to watch the white elephant booth while she went up and checked out the talent.  Elvis sang while I was taking care of the booth so I never did hear him sing at Humes."
Dwight Malone
"Elvis was different.  Most boys had crew cuts and wore tee shirts and blue jeans.  Elvis would appear at school in a pink jacket and yellow pants and a duck tail haircut.  He was quiet, very courteous and largely stayed to himself.  I did play touch football with him on the triangle at Lauderdale Courts.  He was not fast, but he had very quick movements.  He had those swivel hips even then.  When he caught the ball, he was difficult to tag.  He could swivel out of reach in a moment.  To tag him, a player had to grab him and hold on until he could apply the tag.
Elvis and Warren Gregory were close friends.  During the summer months Elvis and Warren would sit on the street curb, strumming their guitars and singing country songs.  Frankly, in their early attempts, they were not that good.  It was at the Humes Talent Show in April, 1953 that I realized that Elvis could really sing.  There were no swivel hips.  His props were a chair, a guitar and a loud costume.  He put one foot on the chair, strummed the guitar and sang his heart out.  To me, that was when rock and roll was born.  The ovation was thunderous and long."
Georgia Avgeris
"Elvis Presley was our neighbor in Lauderdale Courts for many years.  He really liked my mother's homemade hot Greek bread, and ate more of it than I did.  Mama liked him, but did not understand the way he dressed.  Elvis worked at Loew's State and I worked at the Malco, so we exchanged free tickets.  We had a lot of fun with that.  He made sure I got the best seat available.  We had several classes together and in our senior year, we were in the same homeroom.  He sat behind me and threw gum wrappers at me to get my attention."

viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Elvis and Us. Elvis exhibit in England


In October 2011, a new Elvis exhibit opened in England.  It is titled "Elvis and Us," and is stocked with a wonderful selection of items loaned by EPE.  Some of the rare artifacts have never even been displayed at Graceland.
The venue housing "Elvis and Us" is "The Beatles Story" in the Fab Four's hometown of Liverpool.
The news report and links on Elvis.com/news do not mention what was moved out to make room for the Elvis exhibit, but it certainly covers a lot of space.
Of course, fans will do self guided audio tours with head phones.
And a short film featuring an interview with Priscilla seems inevitable.
What would an Elvis exhibit be without a jumpsuit or two?
Other items from Elvis' wardrobe and jewelry are a must, too.
You didn't think Graceland would miss a good opportunity to sell Elvis merchandise, did you?
So far, all the pictures here have been about Elvis exclusively, but the exhibit does connect him and the Beatles wherever possible.  This wall shows the effect Elvis had on the young lads in Liverpool in the late 50s.  The striped shirt on the left was worn by Elvis in Jailhouse Rock.
The big Elvis/Beatles connection was the one time they met at his home in Bel Air, California on August 27, 1965.
This wall echoes the words Elvis spoke when the meeting got off to a stilted start.  The white bass guitar is the one Elvis strummed during the visit from the Beatles.
One of special items in the exhibit is the pool table from the home in Bel Air, which was used by Elvis' buddies and one or two of the Beatles that night.  It has never previously been offered for public display.  The Beatles' mop-top hairdos adapted better to a Q-ball design than Elvis' pompadour did.
So, if you are planning a trip to England any time in the next two years, be sure to include a day trip to Liverpool and take in "Elvis and Us" at "The Beatles Story" museum.
  2011    Philip R Arnold