Tuesday, June 17, 2008

At last: Elvis

I'm sure that every one of you out there has been waiting breathlessly for this post. After all, how could one visit Memphis without paying respects to The King. I should have posted sooner, but spent too much time trying to locate a photo of me and the Memphis sister-in-law (we're divorced) at Graceland 10 years ago. It has disappeared down the same rabbit hole as the picture of me with a Chinese lion in Beijing. Bother!

The Famous Niece from Memphis and I cruised the city to collect assorted Elvis mementos. Item: Sun Studios (above), where he cut his famous records. Elvis is a 2-plaque tourist attraction. Plaque #1 below; #2 is at Graceland. Who knows -- there might be a third and a fourth somewhere else. There is a statue of Elvis that I missed; it's at the Memphis visitors center.

Nearby is an empty building advertising one of his hits. No data on whether or not this structure actually was a down-at-the-heels hotel at one time.

The drive was long from the studio to Elvis prime; signs that we are arriving in the neighborhood above and below. The Estate/Amusement Park apparently does operate its own Heartbreak Hotel.

The Sign tells us we've arrived. Barely visible in the background is Elvis' private jet.

The gates (above) and the mansion (below). No, I didn't tour the buildings and grounds this visit. Once 10 years ago was enough time to dedicate to the essential tackiness of show biz glitz!

Ah -- here is plaque #2.

However, the dedication of the fans over the years is, to me, remarkable. Inscriptions cover the fence at the front of the property -- and part of the sidewalk, too. New messages take the place of those that have weathered over the years.

In one of her incarnations, my SIL (WD) was publisher of the weekly newspaper in Tupelo, where the rock & roll star was born. She gave me this copy of a special edition (complete with a report of a civic meeting attended by Klansmen in robes -- not mentioned in the daily) as a memento of my recent visit.

Plus a set of two Elvis T-shirts. How can I repay such thoughtfulness. Perhaps I'll gift her a Whiskey Row T-shirt of her very own or, even better, a selection from my stock of genuine Arizona scorpion paper weights.


Anonymous said...

Grand post. I do love the picture of you in the Elvis T-shirt.

Anonymous said...

You look mahvelous, Granny J, and your freshwater pearl necklace looks fantastic against the t-shirt's black fabric!

(Side note: RIP, Cyd Charisse.)

I enjoy traveling with you through your photos!

~Anon in AV.

Antipodean Curmudgeon said...

I was in contact with SIL(WD) prior to your visit and she hoped to show you the three Kings of Memphis, viz, Elvis, B.B. and Martin Luther--was same accomplished??


Artful RV Adventurer said...

How about repaying her with that "Goldwater For President" lapel pin you have hidden away? (smile)

Perhaps a Linda Ronstadt tee shirt would be more politically correct.
As always, a great post.

Granny J said...

steve -- I am most proud of my T-shirt collection...

anon av -- thanks for noting the fresh-water pearl necklace. Also the orchid for the day, which was Mother's Day, for the several of us down in Memphis.

bro -- didn't quite make the quota this trip...

mark -- if I had one of those buttons, I could probably do quite well on eBay, thank you! BTW, I do not do PC unless it really, really will make the S* hit the F*.

TomboCheck said...

Goodness that is a whole lot of Elvis! Very nice new threads. :)

Granny J said...

tombo -- consider how much more Elvis I'd have had had I taken a second walk through Graceland!!!

Anonymous said...

To heck with Elvis, the demographically-determined Fifties-chic faddism. I'm disappointed in you, Granny J. Big deal. So what.

Granny J said...

boonie -- I have to disagree. Elvis was a cultural phenomenon that the Suits couldn't have conceived, much less packaged and promoted in the beginnings -- that took a unprincipled, canny, Good Ole Boy. I was there; the times were one helluva lot more innocent, even amongst the marketing men of the record studios. Elvis was a shocker, a southern country music boy who took most of his cues, musically and physically, from black blues men. I recall debates about how he should be presented on TV -- preferably from the chest up, to protect our younger folks. Even my bro and my SIL (not yet WD), with two little girls, were concerned about the impact his style would have on the kidlets. Yes, by the time he went to Hollywood, he was one more cultural commodity, and yet he struck some kind of chord with as you put it, a demographic. The part I find remarkable is that the devoted following is still there.

Or are you merely accusing me of patronizing that following, which is probably a fair enough accusation.

Artful RV Adventurer said...

The Curmudgeon lives! Welcome back Boondocker...
taking on the"Queen," no less...

Granny J said...

mark -- so I was an innocent, not realizing that boonie had a rep as a curmudgeon (nothing wrong with that, BTW). I won't be so polite the next time.

Dave said...

We go back to Memphis every year. My wife grew up about a mile away from Graceland.

My thoughts about Elvis? Never was a fan of the 'king'. However, it irks me to think of the 'local tourist industry' that still feeds off of him in Whitehaven.

A really interesting place to visit is Elvis' home in Tupelo. I believe that the State of Mississippi bought the 'shotgun shack' he grew up in. The house is in a small park with a visitor center. Much less 'commercial' than Graceland.

BTW, love your blog. Dave in Lake Havasu

Granny J said...

havasu dave -- welcome! Like many, I have a sort of morbid fascination with Elvis & his times. Glad you like the blog. Do come again. And again.

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