Remembering the Attack on Pearl Harbor

As much as Elvis Presley gave back, he could have been nicknamed the King of Generosity. This week marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, millions visit the USS Arizona Memorial, thanks, in part, to Elvis. More than 2,400 were killed and 1,178 were wounded in the surprise military strike conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy  against the United States naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona was sunk, and 1,177 of its crewmen were killed. The attack led to the United States’ entry into World War II. Elvis performed for service personnel and their families at Pearl Harbor on November 11, 1957, his last public performance before he entered the Army. Elvis was drafted into the Army that year, and he served two years before being honorably discharged in the spring of 1960. Later that year, Elvis and his manager, Col. Tom Parker, learned that there was a fundraiser for a memorial to the USS Arizona, which was sunk at Pearl Harbor. The pair decided to raise money for the memorial with a benefit concert. Col. Parker announced the concert on January 11, 1961, at the Hawaiian Village Hotel in Honolulu. Every dime raised at the concert would go to the benefit, he said, and even Elvis himself would have to buy a ticket to get in – and he did. “You know,” Parker told the crowd, “Elvis is 26, and that’s about the average age of those boys entombed in the Arizona. I think it’s appropriate that he should be doing this.” Elvis’ trip to Hawaii was all about TCB – not only was he going to raise money for the memorial, but he also started filming “Blue Hawaii.” Elvis flew to Honolulu with his co-star for the show, Minnie Pearl, on March 25, 1961. Fans lined up to greet him, of course, and he spoke at a press conference. The show took place that night at Pearl Harbor’s Bloch Arena, and Elvis was accompanied by the Jordanaires, Scotty Moore and D.J. Fontana. Seats closest to the stage sold for $100, while other tickets were sold for $3-10. It was Elvis’ last public performance until his iconic 1968 television special. It was also the last time he wore his gold lamé suit. Elvis’ concert raised awareness of the fundraiser, and the remaining funds needed were raised quickly. The memorial was completed a year later, and...
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Unseen Graceland: In the Details

In October, we took you “Beyond the Ropes” with our first Unseen Graceland post. We’re back again with another Unseen Graceland feature, and this time we’re focusing on the details of Elvis’ home, cars and more. Thousands of fans visit Graceland, the car museum and other exhibits on the property, and they see so much, but there’s still even more to discover. From hidden fixtures to used appliances, let’s dig into the details of some of Elvis’ most beloved parts of his home.   The kitchen was a busy hub at Graceland, and Elvis was always happy to have his guests’ favorite meals prepared for them. Fans simply walk through the kitchen on the way to the basement, but if you open the drawers – and we ask that you don’t, because the drawers are beyond the ropes – you’ll find all of the utensils that were used to cook delicious meals at Graceland. As fans move from the dining room to the kitchen, they walk by – and usually don’t even notice – a staircase that leads upstairs. That’s OK, because upstairs is off limits, but fans do miss this stunning light fixture that hangs in that stair way. The beautiful jewels provide a colorful show when it’s turned on. Hay, hay and more hay – what else can you expect to find in a barn loft? The horses here at Graceland, several of which are rescues, would surely love this photo. The horses currently kept at Graceland are Bandit, a rescued Quarter Horse; Candy, a Tennessee Walking Horse; and Max, another rescued horse. A Golden Palomino named Tucker is here in honor of Elvis’ Golden Palomino, Rising Sun, which inspired him to name the barn the House of the Rising Sun. Now let’s take a peek inside Elvis’ rides – there are plenty of surprises in the car museum. Elvis’ pink Cadillac is a sight to behold. The cool thing is, it’s just as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside. Elvis purchased his famous pink Cadillac in 1955 and later gave it to his mother, Gladys. The matching pink interior still looks flawless. The “E” in the floorboard is the perfect finishing touch. It’s definitely a Cadillac fit for a king – or his mama. Elvis had the latest and greatest technology of his time, including this smooth car phone in his Mercedes limousine, on display at the car museum....
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Merry Mail: Elvis’ Christmas Cards from Celebrities

Imagine making a list of your Christmas card recipients, and one of the people on that list is none other than Elvis Presley. Plenty of celebrities and entertainers sent cards to Elvis and his family during the holiday season. Some cards included personalized notes, but some didn’t. Some included family portraits. Some were funny; some were sacred. Elvis kept these special cards, and sent some out himself, which often included happy holiday wishes from  his manager, Col. Tom Parker. The Colonel was fond of sending telegrams to wish stars a happy holiday or happy birthday, as well as wishing them a good opening night on a performance. He often signed such messages from himself and Elvis, but he also sent Elvis a “Happy Thanksgiving” message one year. (Click the photos to enlarge.) Elvis received a sweet card from actress Jayne Mansfield, her husband Matt Cimber and her four children. Another card with a family portrait is this gem from the Nelson family, sent at Christmas 1967. It’s from Rick Nelson and his wife Kris, and their (at the time) three children, Tracy and twins Matthew and Gunnar. Elvis also received this card from his drummer, DJ Fontana, and his family. Comedian George Burns wanted to wish a happy holidays in many languages. Singer Sammy Davis Jr. sent Elvis a beautiful spiritual scene. Some celebrities couldn’t resist a laugh, even at the holidays. Bob Hope and Sophie Tucker’s cards surely made Elvis smile. As the year rounded out, Elvis didn’t just receive holiday mail, but also Happy New Year cards and messages. Here’s a telegram to the Colonel from “Casablanca” director Michael...
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Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans 2014

Ready or not, the holiday season is here. If you’re shopping for the Elvis fan in your life (or for yourself), never fear – here are the Top 10 Holiday Gifts for Elvis Fans. From CDs and DVDs, from jewelry to collectibles, Shop.Graceland.com has it all. You’ll keep your Elvis-loving friends and family from having a – pun intended – “Blue Christmas.”   1) 2014 Elvis Presley On Stage CD – $19.99 It all comes back to that incredible voice and those fan-favorite songs. In spring 2014, Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises presented a new tour, “Elvis Presley – On Stage,” which performed in 35 European cities. Through the seamless combination of a live band, singers and orchestra with the iconic voice and video imagery of Elvis, the result was an immersive stage performance that demonstrated why Elvis was the greatest entertainer of the 20th century – and beyond. This two-disc, 32-track CD features songs performed on the “Elvis Presley – On Stage”  tour. Tracks include “Hound Dog,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” “The Wonder of You,” “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” “In the Ghetto and “How Great Thou Art.” Elvis’ gift to the world was his music, and you can pass this gift along to the Elvis fan in your life. See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   2) Christine Alexander Women’s Spa Jacket- $145 The amazing detail and craftsmanship make this upscale jacket a true show-stopper. The “Elvis: Aloha from Hawaii” image on the back of the blended hoodie is made of clear and hermatite Swarovski crystals and metallic tone embellishments. Elvis’ American Eagle jumpsuit is garnished with red rim-set crystals, and his iconic signature on the front of the jacket  is applied in the same crystal treatment as the back image.  Prepare to be stopped on the street and asked where you bought this fashionable piece: Only at Graceland! See this product on Shop.Graceland.com.   3) Lowell Hays Gold Plated TCB Necklace – $60 Now you too can feel like one of Elvis’ VIP with this classic, must-have TCB necklace. Elvis and Priscilla originally designed the TCB and TLC necklaces given to Elvis’ friends. In 1971, Elvis flew Lowell Hayes to Las Vegas to perfect the designs. He did, and from that time on Lowell made all of the necklaces for Elvis. These necklaces are made from the original mold layered in warm 18K gold and 24” rope chain. How...
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Giving Back

Many folks have given thanks for Elvis Presley’s generosity. Not many people realize what a generous and giving legacy Elvis left behind. Not only did he give the world his time and talent, he also gave back to those in need. He donated thousands to charities, nonprofits and those who needed a helping hand. Elvis started giving back as soon as his career began, and this was a trend that continued throughout the rest of his life. Early in his career, he donated toys to a Marine drive for children and gave $1,050 to Humes High School so that all 1,400 students could go to the annual E.H. Crump Memorial Football Game for the Blind. In 1959, he donated blood at the Wartturm Barracks in Friedberg for the German Red Cross. Never one to forget his roots, Elvis performed in his hometown, Tupelo, in 1956 and 1957 to raise money for a youth center and park. Following a devastating tornado in McComb, Mississippi in January 1975, Elvis performed a benefit concert for the city in May of the same year. At the show, Elvis presented a check for more than $100,000 to Mississippi Governor Bill Waller. In 1961, he performed a concert to build the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor and raised more than $65,000. And 12 years later,  Elvis donated the proceeds from his 1973 “Aloha from Hawaii” satellite-concert to the Kui Lee cancer fund. He loved Memphis and wanted the best for the city. On Dec. 1, 1967, he pledged $10,500 to the Memphis Jewish Community Center Building Fund and paid a $2,500 installment on that date. On Dec. 12, 1966, he donated checks totaling $105,000 to various Memphis charities. September 29, 1967 was declared “Elvis Presley Day” by Memphis Mayor William Ingram and Tennessee Governor Buford Ellington in recognition of the King’s many charitable contributions. A massive wooden plaque was given to Elvis by the City of Memphis in recognition for his contributions to more than 50 local charities. That plaque, along with numerous checks he wrote to charities, are on display at Graceland. Elvis was known to give plenty of gifts – there are countless stories of surprising friends, family and even total strangers with brand new cars – but he also helped his friends pay their medical bills (and often sent personal get-well notes, too). In 1974, he contributed to a fund for singer-songwriter Ivory...
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