Celebrating Elvis Presley’s ‘Spinout’

Buckle up: Dangerous curves ahead! Elvis Presley’s colorful 1966 musical romantic comedy saw Elvis, starring as the singing, race-car driving bachelor Mike, dodging three beautiful, marriage-minded women. “Spinout” is Elvis’ 22nd feature film, and the sixth time he teamed with director Norman Taurog, who directed nine Elvis films. Let’s take a look at one of Elvis’ most fun flicks, which will get some love at this year’s Elvis Week – but more on that in a bit. “Spinout” was released in late 1966. Elvis’ co-stars in this film include Diane McBain, Shelley Fabares, Dodie Marshall, Jack Mullaney and Deborah Walley. In the movie, Elvis is a single, singing race-car driver who loves his bachelor lifestyle, but he runs into trouble when he meets three women, all of whom are looking to become his wife. Hilarity ensues as he tries to avoid a walk down the aisle – oh, and he has to race a few cars, too. If Elvis playing a guy named Mike sounds familiar, it should: This was the third film in which Elvis played a character named Mike. In “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” he was Mike Edwards, and in “Fun in Acapulco” he played Mike Windgren. In “Spinout” – the final film in which he’s a Mike – he’s Mike McCoy. “Spinout” was an especially fun movie for Elvis, who, when he wasn’t starring as a race-car driver on screen, loved slot car racing off-screen. He loved it so much that his wife Priscilla purchased a slot-car racing set for Elvis to have at Graceland in 1965. Later, he purchased a larger professional track and he enclosed what was a patio area to house the track. After he grew tired of the hobby, he turned that building into a space to house his awards and trophies – fans know it today as the Trophy Building here at Graceland. The “Spinout” soundtrack includes “Stop, Look and Listen,” “Adam and Evil,” “Beach Shack” and “Never Say Yes.” The soundtrack is Elvis’ 27th album. Elvis recorded the soundtrack in February 1966, just as principle production on the movie started. Elvis’ “Spinout” co-star Shelley Fabares starred alongside the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll a year earlier in “Girl Happy,” and in the following year in “Clambake.” Shelley also starred on “The Donna Reed Show,” and actor Carl Betz played her father on both the TV show and in “Spinout.” A very young Rita Wilson, who went...
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Ways to Save at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Elvis Presley’s Graceland is an absolute must: It’s a must-see, must-tour, must-experience travel destination. There’s only one place in the world that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll called home, and that’s Graceland. From his iconic gates and wall covered in fan signatures to his famed Jungle Room and everywhere in between, Graceland is an unforgettable rock ‘n’ roll adventure, a sacred place for remembrance and a glimpse into the life of a music and pop culture legend who lived like no one else. There are several ways to experience Graceland, too. Die-hard fans will want to experience it all on the VIP tour, while casual fans with little time may choose to only tour the mansion. It never hurts to save a few bucks, too. Here are some excellent ways to experience the king’s castle and save your hard-earned money when planning Graceland getaways. Graceland’s Summer Family Savings   Now through August 31, families can save up to $40 on their Graceland experience. Get a discount of 50% off each child or student Platinum Tour for each adult Platinum Tour ticket purchased. The Platinum Tour – our most popular – takes fans through the mansion, Elvis’ car museum and other exhibitions at the Graceland Plaza. Click here for offer details and information on how to score this excellent deal.   Get Closer to Rock ‘n’ Roll Package   Our Get Closer to Rock ‘n’ Roll Package is the best way to experience Graceland AND Memphis. The package includes two nights at Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, two VIP tours of Graceland, two tickets to Sun Studio, Stax Museum of American Soul Museum and the Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum, lunch for two at the Hard Rock Cafe on Beale Street and free shuttle service to Beale Street. This incredible package even offers an Elvis gift pack and Graceland Insiders membership. Oh, and this package saves you more than $120 off the regular price. Sweet. Book this package today!   Book a Hotel Package   Get a hotel, tour Graceland and save some money with our hotel packages, which are designed for just about any kind of traveler. The Graceland Package and Graceland VIP Entourage Package are great for those who want to focus on Elvis and Graceland, and stay at Heartbreak Hotel. In love? The Love Me Tender Package is for you. It includes a night at Heartbreak Hotel, tours of Graceland, a...
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Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Our Favorite Memories of 1993 Elvis Stamp

Graceland loves to celebrate “firsts,” but on August 12, 2015, we’ll be celebrating the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s second commemorative stamp. The first Elvis Presley stamp, which debuted in 1993 and featured a young Elvis, currently holds the record for the most popular U.S. commemorative stamp of all time. Thousands of Elvis fans and stamp enthusiasts from around the world gathered on Graceland’s front lawn on January 8, 1993, Elvis’ birthday, as special guests Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley revealed the Elvis stamp image.  After nearly 1.2 million votes were cast in the contest jokingly termed “Decision ’92,” America had spoken and the choice was clear: the face of young Elvis won by nearly 75 percent. In fact in that year more people voted for their favorite Elvis stamp than voted for President.       The cold, wet weather that day couldn’t keep fans away as a US Postal Service van sold postage stamp sheets and issued cancellations at the Graceland Plaza. At 12:01 a.m., the first Elvis stamp was sold here at Graceland and started a national frenzy of people buying the Elvis stamp. Special guests such as Tennessee Governor Ned McWherter, and Mayor of Shelby County Bill Morris—a close friend of Elvis’—drew a crowd so large that extra seating was available in the Elvis Presley Car Museum, where guests sat on vintage automobile seats and enjoyed a cocktail reception, live music and more.   This ceremony marked the first time Lisa Marie Presley spoke publicly at Graceland. She had just had her second child, Benjamin Keough, but made time to come to her Memphis home to thank all the Elvis fans there at 12:00 a.m. on a rainy January night. Although Lucille Ball and her character Lucy Ricardo are each the subject of a stamp, Elvis remains the only individual to have two commemorative stamps dedicated to him. The dedication ceremony for the second Elvis stamp is August 12, 2015 at 8:00 a.m. on the front lawn at Graceland during Elvis Week 2015. Priscilla Presley and Postmaster General Megan Brennan will both be guests at the ceremony. The public is encouraged to attend this event and use the hashtag #ElvisForever. Are you planning on coming to Graceland for Elvis Week? Do you have a favorite 1993 stamp memory? Share it with us in the comments section...
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Elvis Presley’s “Tickle Me” at 50

Yes, it’s Elvis – as a singin’, swingin’ cowboy! Elvis Presley’s “Tickle Me” turns 50 this month. “Tickle Me” was released June 30, 1965, followed by a nationwide release on July 7. The movie, a musical-Western-romance-comedy, has fans LOL’ing with its sight gags and Elvis’ innate comedy timing. “Tickle Me” was Elvis’ 18th movie. It was released between “Girl Happy” and “Harum Scarum.” Elvis, who was 29 when he filmed the movie, plays Lonnie Beale, a singing rodeo rider who moonlights between rodeos as a horseback-riding instructor at a weight-reducing dude ranch for wealthy women. His co-stars include Julie Adams, Jack Mullaney, Jocelyn Lane and Merry Anders. His friend Red West also has a small, uncredited role. Though “Tickle Me” is fun from start to finish, its behind-the-scenes story is a bit more serious. The film was produced by Allied Artists Studio, which at the time was in deep financial trouble. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, cut a deal to make everyone happy: He cut Elvis’ normal $1 million pay for 50% of the profits. He also saved money by releasing a soundtrack full of already-recorded songs, rather than recording a whole new soundtrack. Another cost cut was made by filming the movie on a studio back lot instead of filming on location. All of this cost cutting, plus the film’s success at the box office, saved Allied Artists Studio for a while longer. Elvis’ leading lady, Jocelyn Lane, stars in “Tickle Me” as Pam Meritt. She retired from acting in 1971 to become a real princess when she married a Spanish prince. Today, she designs jewelry. Julie Adams, who stars as Vera, has enjoyed a decades-long career in Hollywood. Many movie fans know her from the classic horror flick “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Norman Taurog directed “Tickle Me” – in fact, he directed the most Elvis movies, with a total of nine. Norman also directed “G.I. Blues,” “Double Trouble,” “Girls! Girls! Girls!” “Blue Hawaii,” “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” “Speedway,” “Live a Little, Love a Little” and “Spinout.” Norman worked with many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, Deborah Kerr, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin. He directed six Lewis and Martin films. The tag line for “Tickle Me” is everything any film-goer would want in a movie: “It’s Fun! It’s Girls! It’s Songs! It’s Color! It’s ELVIS!” Sounds like a winning combination. Col Parker got RCA to...
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A Father’s Day Tribute: Vernon Presley

One of the constants in Elvis Presley’s life was his father, Vernon Presley. Elvis’ dad was always there, raising his son in Tupelo, supporting his early career in Memphis and working behind the scenes as his son became the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This Father’s Day, on Sunday, June 21, we celebrate Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley. Jesse D. and Minnie Mae Presley welcomed their son, Vernon Elvis Presley, into the world on April 10, 1916, in Fulton, Mississippi. As a teenager, Vernon met the lovely Gladys Love Smith at church, and quickly fell in love. The young couple wanted to get married, but a little detail slowed them down: Vernon’s age. He was 17, and Gladys was 21. They changed their ages on their marriage license to say he was 22 and she was 19, and the pair were married in Verona, Mississippi, by a Pontotoc County circuit clerk on June 17, 1933. Vernon, his brother Vester and their father built a two-room house for the growing Presley family. Gladys gave birth to Elvis (and his twin, Jessie, who was stillborn) on January 8, 1935, in the home. Vernon worked odd jobs and manual labor to support the family. They never had much money, but they had plenty of love. The Presleys went to church and loved singing gospel music together around the family piano. Elvis was very close to his mother Gladys, but he was close with Vernon, too. On Elvis’ 14th birthday, Vernon gave Elvis a paperback book of cartoons by George Price, and he inscribed it: “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n through with joy and love and good times too, Daddy.” Elvis kept this book and brought it with him to Germany when he served there in the Army, but he lost it there. Elvis was so close with both of his parents that he brought them along for the ride when he became a superstar. Vernon and Gladys Presley moved in with Elvis when he purchased Graceland in 1957. Vernon managed his son’s business affairs in an office behind the mansion. Graceland was truly a family home. Vester and Vernon Presley, who worked at the gates of Graceland, often greeted fans at the gates. Elvis’ grandmother (and Vernon’s mother) Minnie Mae lived there, as did Vernon’s sister, Delta, who also helped open Graceland to the public. Many of the documents pertaining to Graceland and Elvis’...
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