I couldn’t be in Memphis for Elvis’ 83rd Birthday Celebration as I was just there for New Year’s, so I tried to make my home this weekend as much like Memphis as I could. And by that I mean I just listened, watched and read about Elvis. It was only Elvis from Friday afternoon through tonight – no other tv shows or movies or music or anything. Just Elvis! Elvis! Elvis! like it is when I’m in Memphis. I even put off my Bravo shows and the Golden Globes – I recorded them and will watch Tuesday.
The Elvis Birthday Celebration in Memphis started Friday January 5th and runs through today Monday Elvis’ Birthday January 8th. After work Friday, I began my Elvis Birthday Celebration by watching the first ever Memphis Mafia Reunion in 1992 hosted by George Klein at Alfred’s on Beale Street, an event I go to whenever I’m in Memphis for Elvis Week. I purchased this DVD from Richard Davis’ wife Kim. It was great, everyone looked so young 25 years ago on the 15th anniversary of Elvis’ death. In addition to George Klein in attendance were Richard Davis, Dick Grob, Billy Smith, Sam Thompson. Bardahl and RUFUS THOMAS! Red West showed up at the very end with about 15 minutes left. Cliff Geaves was supposed to be there, but never showed. Sadly, there was no mention of Jerry Schilling. They told the story of watching Elvis and Ann Margret having sex, and how Elvis caught them watching. George said Priscilla and Jerry did not like the tv movie Elvis and Me, and took many scenes out of it and almost sued ABC. They were slamming Larry Geller’s book saying they don’t remember any of that happening. I followed that by watching Elvis by the Presleys – the great documentary with Priscilla and her parents and Lisa and Jerry Schilling telling their stories with Elvis accompanied with all sorts of footage and home movies. Then I watched Paradise Hawaiian Style in bed.
Saturday I continued the Elvis Birthday Celebration by re-reading Priscilla’s book Elvis and Me while listening to Elvis Radio. Elvis and Me was the first Elvis book I ever read – back in the 1990s. I started re-reading it in Memphis last week over New Year’s and finished it Saturday. In it, Priscilla wrote the first time she saw Elvis perform live was Opening Night at The International in Vegas in 1969, but during Elvis Week in August she said the first time she saw Elvis in concert was when she was in the audience for the ’68 Comeback Special. Also, Priscilla wrote she was sick when Jerry Schilling asked her how she was doing and Elvis got angry with him. But Jerry has always said Elvis and Priscilla were having an argument when she came downstairs and he asked her if she was alright. As I finished Priscilla’s book, she posted her father had died on Thursday. I remembered back to October 2016 during the Opening Weekend of the Guest House at Graceland when I was SO excited to see her parents when I held the door to Delta’s open for them. As soon as I finished the book, I watched the movie Elvis and Me. Unlike the book, I watch Elvis and Me at least twice a year every year as it’s my favorite. I love this movie, even though now I know some of it was false but a lot of it is exactly how Priscilla wrote it in her book. Next I watched King Creole in bed. Elvis played a very dramatic role in King Creole and it still did well at the box office. The Colonel always said Wild in the Country and Flaming Star did poorly because they were dramatic roles showing Elvis’ fans didn’t want to see him in those dramatic roles – they preferred his light comedy/musicals. And this was his excuse to keep Elvis in those movies he hated. Anyway, it just got me thinking.
Sunday morning I continued my Elvis Birthday Celebration by listening to Elvis Radio while re-reading Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis, or the ‘Elvis Bible’ as it referred to in some circles. I haven’t read this book since it came out in the 1990s. Thought I should read it again and get the facts straight before continuing on with others’ memoirs and their account of what happened. In between reading and organizing my Elvis records, I watched Loving You, Change of Habit, Kid Galahad and Clambake. Then I watched Blue Hawaii in bed and still couldn’t sleep so also watched Girls Girls Girls.
This morning, January 8, 2018, on what would have been Elvis’ 83rd Birthday, I woke up early and started watching It Happened at the World’s Fair. I streamed the Birthday Proclamation while at work – it only last about 15 minutes if that. After work, I am going to watch my favorite two Elvis movies Girl Happy and Wild in the Country and my favorite Elvis documentary This is Elvis – saved the best for last, to watch on Elvis’ actual birthday. When I go to bed I’ll finish World’s Fair and if I can’t sleep I can watch GI Blues or Roustabout or some of the ones I watched last weekend in Memphis.
It was a great Elvis Birthday Celebration Weekend even though I couldn’t be in Memphis for the actual celebration. Last year to celebrate Elvis’ Birthday, I watched all 31 of his movies in chronological order – some were tough to get through. I did take some notes and will be blogging my thoughts here in the coming days, so be on the look out!