Unseen Graceland: Beyond the Ropes

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to explore every inch of Graceland? Kind of like a “win the lottery” type golden ticket to Graceland that allows you to really check out every square inch, go through drawers and cabinets, walk around in the rooms and really take a good look at things? Before we get your hopes up, sadly, no such thing exists, nor will it anytime soon. Sorry if you thought this was the lead in to the end all, be all Graceland sweepstakes contest. However, we were able to take a look at a few unseen, off the tour path spots recently that we know true fans might find of real interest, especially if they have been on the tour more than once, OK, who are we kidding, more than a dozen times. First stop, the dining room. Little did you know that there is actually a doorbell type buzzer under the table so Elvis or whoever was at the head of the table could summon the staff in the kitchen. There were no cords to pull that rang bells in the basement like we see on Downton Abbey. Pretty fancy stuff for the 70s. Speaking of the kitchen, let’s take a look inside the cabinets. Here we see a glass etched with the name “Minnie” for Minnie Mae who was Elvis’ grandmother, not Minnie Mouse. However, we also see a glass from EPCOT at Walt Disney World in Florida. What this souvenir from the happiest place on earth really tells us is that Graceland was – and still is – a family home even after Elvis passed and opened to the public. Five years after his passing, the first visitors made their way through the front door of Graceland in June of 1982, however EPCOT didn’t open until October of the same year. A young Lisa Marie would often travel to Memphis and spend time at her childhood home with family, including her great grandmother Minnie Mae. In fact, someone lived at Graceland up until 1993, 11 years after it first opened for public tours. Today the Presley family still makes frequent visits to Graceland in Memphis, often having dinner at their famous home after tours for the day have ended when some of these very glasses may be put to use. In the kitchen we can also open a drawer to see where it appears Lisa Marie...
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All Elvis, All The Time. Elvis Radio: Guest Blogger

It’s amazing to think about how much has happened at Elvis Presley’s Graceland since 2004, when we began broadcasting LIVE from Graceland on SiriusXM’s Elvis Radio.  There are so many incredible memories, events and highlights with Elvis’ friends, musicians, family and especially with the millions of fans around the globe who love the King of Rock & Roll! Let’s shine the spotlight on some of the most memorable, as birthday boy George Klein (October 8, 1935) would say, from the “World of Presley”! Fans still marvel and talk about the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” at FedExForum during Elvis Week 2007.  Hosted by Priscilla Presley and a surprise starring cameo from Lisa Marie Presley and her incredible LIVE duet performance with her dad of “In The Ghetto” with an inspirational gospel choir.  The energy in the air for Elvis Week, whether it was the Candlelight Vigil, the Insiders VIP’s or the “Elvis 30th Anniversary Concert” made it feel like the whole universe was revolving around Graceland and Memphis. Priscilla Presley’s frequent LIVE visits on Elvis Radio over the years with Argo, Big Jim, and her long time buddy, George Klein.  As a matter of fact most recently on October 3, 2014, Priscilla spent almost 90 minutes one-on-one with George Klein as she was in town to be part of the Blues Ball’s salute to the “60th Anniversary Of That’s All Right Mama and Rock & Roll”. Lisa Marie Presley’s birthday broadcast with Argo on February 1, 2012, when she announced she would be back to record and film songs from her Storm & Grace album at the legendary Sun Studio, where Elvis first recorded in downtown Memphis, and her return on May 14, 2012 to share her brand new release with Elvis fans around the world with Big Jim Sykes. Elvis Week, August 13, 2006 Sunday Morning Gospel time Show with original Jordanaire member Gordon Stoker hosted by Big Jim Sykes, with a live audience of fans on the Graceland plaza. Listen here: http://blog.graceland.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Gordon-Stoker-Peace-In-The-Valley-Story-081306-2.mp3 Live coverage of the phenomenal Collingwood Canada’s Elvis Festival with the largest presentation of Elvis Tribute Artists and a Guinness World Record of the most ETA’s performing All Shook Up on one stage! And the absolute best part of ten years of Elvis Radio is spending time and getting to know the hundreds and thousands of Elvis fans that come to be part of the Elvis Presley experience...
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Royal Selfies from the King’s Castle

Back in August while Elvis fans and the Graceland staff were all celebrating Elvis Week 2014, we missed the news that the word “selfie” has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. So was twerking, but we won’t go there, for now. Selfie wasn’t even a word when the version of Microsoft Word being used to write this blog entry was created, therefore it still shows up with squiggly red lines underneath it. Just so you know, the definition of “selfie” according to the Oxford Dictionary is: A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media. Around Graceland, we see plenty of selfie action, daily. When employees see guests taking selfies, we offer to snap a photo and sometimes the offer is politely refused in preference of the extended arm close up. With the realization that selfies are here to stay, we have suggestions for the best selfie spots on your future visits to the King’s castle. Take a look at these #Graceland selfies submitted by our guests to @VisitGraceland on Instagram.      ...
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Peeking Inside the Vaults of the Graceland Archives

The Presleys weren’t hoarders, but they also didn’t get rid of many things they owned pre- or post-fame, including report cards, receipts and grocery store lists. Thankfully most of their collection was organized and today all of those documents, furniture, clothing and more are part of the famous Graceland Archives. Launched during Elvis Week 2014, a fascinating new addition was made to the tour offerings at Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, and no we aren’t talking about the new iPad tour which is ALSO pretty neat. The newest attraction added to the Graceland tour, the first in over 20 years since the Elvis Presley Automobile Museum, is the Graceland Archives Studio Experience. After finishing the mansion tour, visitors are taken by shuttle to a new state of the art archives facility where they get a unique presentation of artifacts that are found in the vaults of the Graceland Archives. A variety of shows have been developed to take visitors on a journey through the archives that utilize the various categories that include audio, video, documents, textiles, etc. While one show might focus on his time in the Army or his groundbreaking debut in Las Vegas with his tablecloth contract and a jumpsuit, another show may focus on his movies with a presentation of costumes, publicity photos and personal scripts. One audience favorite show about Elvis being an early adopter and features his Zenith remote from a 1957 TV called the Space Commander 400, and of course his famous briefcase phone is included in this technology-focused entertaining show. On any given day, you don’t know what show you will see, but you can be certain that there will be two different shows presented in one day, a morning and afternoon show. For hardcore Elvis fans who arrive first thing in the morning for a tour and purchase the Platinum Tour, be sure ask the ticket agent when you arrive how you can be sure to see the afternoon show during your visit. One of the great things about this new attraction presentation is that you can actually get up close to the artifacts, no gold ropes separating you from the cherished items, so close you could almost touch, however we advise you don’t get handsy with the artifacts. Seriously, don’t touch. Pictures are allowed, but no flash photography. It has been amazing to see faces light up just being so close...
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Homecoming: Return to Tupelo

Memphis is Elvis mecca – home to his famous mansion Graceland, Beale Street where he would buy his clothes and soak up the blues, and of course Sun Studio where he would cut his first record that put both Elvis and Sam Phillips’ tiny studio on the music map. When you read a book though, you don’t start in the middle, which is where Elvis and Memphis intersect. You start at the beginning, and that can be found in Tupelo, the birthplace of royalty and the would-be King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Tupelo is by no means an American metropolis, nor is it a one stoplight town, but somewhere in between and perfectly pleasant to visit. A vibrant community of people who all know, or know of each other – it is the South after all. Sweet tea is on the menu in every restaurant in town and if you are nice and just as charming as the Tupelonians you encounter, you might get a hug before you leave the city limits along with a “Thanks for coming, y’all.” This may all sound cliché Southern, but Tupelo is anything but cliché, offering a unique look at the roots of rock ‘n’ roll. Born January 8, 1935, Elvis Aaron was the surviving twin born to Gladys and Vernon Presley. Jessie Garon was stillborn and buried near the shotgun shack in Tupelo where the Presley brothers were born. Today, that historic home is part of the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum in Tupelo that tells the story of how he learned to play his first guitar purchased at Tupelo Hardware and was inspired by the music of his church and the Shake Rag community. While the Presley family moved to Memphis when Elvis was just 13, he never forgot where he came from, returning to Tupelo in September of 1956 for a memorable performance at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show. In 1943, a young Elvis stood on a chair at a microphone  to sing “Old Shep” in the youth talent contest. Elvis came in fifth place and received $5.00 in fair ride tickets. As an international star, he made his triumphant return to the same fair in his hometown of Tupelo 11 years later, this time surrounded by the National Guard to help keep the crowd, mainly young girls, under control. Even after that triumphant return to Tupelo, Elvis would on occasion drive down...
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