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Presleys in the Press

Elvis Presley News

January 2009
Links are provided to the original news sources. These links may be temporary and cease to work after a short time. Full text versions of the more important items may available for purchase from the source. This site provides selected media reports. It does not claim to provide comrehensive coverage.

early January
  • Mouseketeer Cheryl dies at 64, linked to Lucky Starr, Presley
    (Canberra Times, January 12 2009, p. 7)
    The death in Los Angeles of one of the most famous of television's Mouseketeers, Cheryl Holdridge, has revived memories of a scandal which rocked the Australian entertainment business in 1960.

    While touring Australia in May 1960, Ms Holdidge had an affair with the Australian pop singer Lucky Starr (real name Leslie Morrison), who in 1962 was to have an international hit single with I've been everywhere.

    Ms Holdridge was still a month short of her 16th birthday. Starr was 19 at the time. In later life, Ms Holdridge would be linked in fan magazines and gossip columns with many other celebrities, including Elvis Presley. ...

  • Taking a page from the King's recipe book
    (, January 11 2009)
    American Institute for Cancer Research - Slathered with butter and toasted like grilled cheese, the King's PB&B sandwiches oozed fat. But if you use whole grain bread instead of white and coat it with cooking spray in place of butter, you have a comforting and irresistible treat with many health benefits.

    Peanut butter is required to contain at least 90 percent peanuts. While it is high in fat, most of this fat is monounsaturated, the same kind as found in extra virgin olive oil. Sticking with the USDA's two-tablespoon portion size makes a fine sandwich. Along with protein, the peanuts also contain resveratrol, the same antioxidant found in red wine.

    Using half of a medium banana in the sandwich adds an additional two grams of fiber. Include the two grams of fiber provided by the peanut butter and four grams in the two slices of whole-wheat bread, and you have about a third of your daily fiber needs. The fiber slows down the rate at which you metabolize the sugar and the more complex carbs in this sandwich, making it a healthy way to indulge a sweet tooth. Plus, bananas are rich in potassium, which is important for maintaining good blood pressure.

    While recently enjoying a PB&B sandwich with a glass of cold milk, I thought of an even easier and lower calorie way to enjoy this legendary food pairing. Skip the bread and simply whirl the peanut butter and banana with the milk to create a smooth and creamy milkshake. This icy treat is sure to conjure up Baby Boomer's memories of the soda shop, where soda jerks whipped up frothy drinks using an early immersion blender. My version includes a touch of molasses, a flavor that intensifies the peanut flavor and brings out the banana's sweetness.

    Tribute artist Mark Andrew performing at the Parkes Elvis Festival, Central NSW, Australia
    photo (c) S. MacDougall

  • Elvis fever shakes Aussie town
    ( / AFP, January 11 2009)
    The quiet Australian town of Parkes was awash with Brylcreem, gabardine and gospel on Sunday, as a record number of Elvis faithful met there to pay homage to The King, organisers said.

    Cooked up one summer's night at the local "Gracelands" restaurant, the Elvis Festival has exploded from a one-night event in 1993 to an annual five-day phenomenon attracting thousands of fans and curious tourists.

    Festival organiser Ellie Ruffoni said this year's crowd, many of whom dress as their musical hero for the event, was the biggest ever." We had 8 000 in 2008 and we know that we've got more than that this year," Ruffoni told AFP, estimating that about 9 000 to 10 000 people had made the journey to western New South Wales state for the event which coincides with Elvis's January 8 birthday.

    Take the Elvis Express

    "The word has spread a lot more. And I think people realise that you don't have to be die-hard Elvis fans to enjoy it."

    All the better if you are, though, to soak up the Presley-themed gospel services, the street parade, the "big hair" competition and possibly renew your wedding vows at a "Back to the Altar with Elvis" service.

    For the truly devoted there's even an "Elvis Express" train from Sydney, featuring five hours of aisleway serenades and prizes for the best dressed of the 400 passengers.

    In Parkes, every venue has an impersonator, manifesting their own particular brand of Elvis and crooning their favourite tunes.

    "I think there are some people who head out there just to see the spectacle of the festival and celebrate life," committed Elvis fan Greg Page told AFP. "I think it captures a lot of people's imaginations - why people would run around in 40 degree heat in jumpsuits? I think there's a fascination with the festival itself."

    Lots of memorabilia

    Page, a founding member of children's act The Wiggles, developed an acute case of Elvisitis when he visited Presley's Gracelands home on a break from touring in Memphis 10 years ago. Touched by the "human side" of Presley, Page began collecting Elvis memorabilia; personal and stage clothing, jewellery and costumes from his movie roles. His collection is now believed to be the world's largest outside the US, boasting The King's last Cadillac, his marriage certificate to Priscilla and the first contract he signed with manager Colonel Tom Parker. "There's only two copies of that in the world, and the other's at Gracelands [sic]" said Page.

    The entertainer this week put his collection on show in Parkes in an exhibition it is hoped will be a permanent fixture in the town. The silver-and-burgundy Cadillac's not there yet but fans can get a taste of Presley, who Page credits as the father of glitz. "All the rap stars today are wearing all that bling," joked Page. "Elvis was ahead of his time."

    Among his favourite pieces on show is a golden lion's head necklace, with 24 diamonds, two emeralds for eyes and a ruby tongue. Presley bought it in 1971, and wore it to a meeting with US President Richard Nixon. There's also a gold lame suit, designed for Elvis by celebrity tailor Nudie Cohn and given by the artist to singer Elton John.

    At the Parkes radio telescope with tribute artist John Collins, Central NSW, Austalia
    photo (c) S. MacDougall

  • Fans gather at Graceland to mark Elvis Presley's 74th birthday
    (The News, January 9 2009)
    Fans gathered for a cake-cutting on Elvis Presleyıs 74th birthday and got word of two new residents at Graceland. ...

  • Happy 74th birthday, Elvis Presley!
    ( / AP, January 9 2009)
    Fans gathered for a cake-cutting on Elvis Presley's 74th birthday and got word of two new residents at his Graceland mansion.

    Presley's ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, led several hundred fans in singing "Happy Birthday" on Graceland's front lawn Thursday and announced that two rescue horses - named Max and Bandit - have taken up residence on the grounds of the famous white-columned house.

    Elvis, who died at Graceland in 1977 at age 42, maintained stables and riding pastures for horses at his longtime Memphis residence. With the addition of Max and Bandit, Graceland now has four horses residing in its eight-stall barn.

    Following the sing-along and the reading of proclamations, fans lined up for pieces of birthday cake handed out at Graceland's sprawling souvenir shopping center.

  • Lucky Seven: Nine nationally renowned artists display work at Preston Center
    (Sun-News , January 8 2009)
    The Legendary Stamps Quartet, featuring Ed Enoch, will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday at the Fairacres Baptist Church, 5100 W. Picacho Ave. Admission is free, however, due to limited seating, tickets are required.

    The Stamps Quartet has been around since 1921. In 1969, Enoch and Richard Sterban joined Bill Baize, Donnie Sumner and Nick Bruno, and The Stamps Quartet became the back-up group for Elvis Presley.

    The current group is made up of Steve Warren, Jack Toney, Ed Hill, JD Sumner and CJ Almgren. Free tickets are available at the Mesilla Valley Pro Music, 919 Valley Drive.
    For information, call (575) 526-3680 or visit

  • Big League Stew wishes Elvis a very happy 74th birthday
    By 'Duk
    (Yahoo! Sports, January 8 2009)
    One thing you might not know about ol' Duk is that I'm pretty much an Elvis freak. No joke. I have a ceramic bust of The King that once bought at a garage sale for all of one dollar to prove it. Since Elvis turns 74 years young today, I thought I'd share some links that involve both Elvis and baseball. Since he was more of a football fan, these were a little hard to find. Still, here's betting you'll devour 'em faster than these PB, bacon and banana sandwiches.

    • Not counting Lance "Fat Elvis" Berkman, Elvis Pena is the only Major Leaguer in history to share a first name with The King. He had a combined 49 ABs in 25 games with the Rockies and Brewers in 2000-01.
    • Jim Presley, an All-Star with the Mariners in 1986, is the only one to share his last name. 
    • Kirk Presley, The King's third cousin, was drafted eighth overall by the Mets in 1993 and also hailed from Tupelo, Mississippi. Despite signing for a $900,000 bonus, Kirk never reached the bigs. He currently coaches the Tupelo 49ers American Legion baseball team. 
    • Bitsy Mott was the starting shortstop for the 1945 Phillies. His sister later married Col. Tom Parker, which led to a stint as Elvis' bodyguard and appearances in at least two of his movies.
    • In 1978, Donruss produced a 66-card Elvis Presley set, which you can bid on at Ebay here. (Bid currently stands at a whopping $3.31.)
    • But if you're going to buy only one Elvis item, make sure it's this baseball jacket, which will run you $234, but will be worth every single penny. 
    • Elvis played a six-show run at the Astrodome in 1970, drawing 207,494 people. 
    • As documented on the Stew last season, an Elvis impersonator was arrested at Wrigley Field after running on the field and sliding on the tarp.
    • The White Sox hold an "Elvis Night" each August, featuring impersonators and Flying Elvii.
    • Elvis inspired The Honky Tonk Man, whom I met at a Brewers' spring training game.

  • Pay tribute to Elvis by eating like The King
    By Bernice Torregrossa
    (, January 7 2009)
    Every year, many music fans commemorate the birthday of Elvis Presley, who would have turned 74 today. Although he died more than 30 years ago, the iconic figure lives in on the media - on countless anniversary specials, music tributes and year-round memorabilia. But perhaps most tangibly, Presley lives on through those who remember him as one of their own.

  • Happy birthday! Elvis still lives
    (Pasadena Citizen, January 7 2009)
    If Elvis Presley were/is still alive, he would be/is celebrating his 74th birthday Thursday. Many people believe his eccentric nutritional habits contributed to his early demise, but one of the cookbooks devoted to re-creating Elvis' favorite recipes makes it clear his diet wasn't really very different from the typical Southern fare of the Fifties. In "Are You Hungry Tonight? Elvis' Favorite Recipes," author Brenda Arlene Butler details the meals Elvis ate at his home, Graceland, and asked for on tour. Butler describes his lifelong tastes in food being formed at an early age, eating his mother Gladys' traditional southern cooking.

    "Gladys cooked all the traditional Southern favorites. Grits and black-eyed peas were served, ham and bacon were an occasional treat, and there was always fried chicken, cornbread, mashed potatoes and plenty of homemade country gravy," she discovered. "Be regular and orderly in your life so that you may be violent and original in your work," Gustav Flaubert once wrote. Elvis Presley followed that advice at the dinner table, sticking throughout his life to familiar, well-cooked foods and channeling his creative impulses into music, not food.

    Although Elvis' excesses are better remembered today in the food world, as in the massive "Elvis Platter" served at Chuy's restaurants throughout Texas year-round and the even more caloric specials they will offer on his birthday, he was also a connoisseur of fresh produce.

    According to Butler, "A sure way to the King's heart was with a big plate of sliced beefsteak tomatoes. Freshly sliced tomatoes were a true favorite of his, and no meal served in his memory should begin without them."

    Other Southern vegetables, especially okra, greens and yams were also in frequent rotation on the Graceland menu. Most vegetable recipes of the postwar period called for "side meat," ham hocks or bacon grease, and Elvis' favorites are no exception. The good news for 21st-century cooks is that the meat can be left out of his recipe for savory collard greens without losing the tang of fresh greens.

    Researching Elvis' favorite foods was a labor of love for Butler, an ardent fan who saw him perform in Las Vegas more than 30 times. "He was the embodiment of the American dream," she enthuses in "Are You Hungry Tonight?" She combed records at Graceland and interviewed members of Elvis' entourage to get beyond the stereotypes of his well-known indulgences.

    Butler does include meticulous directions for re-creating Presley's most famous culinary indulgence, the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. In her account, "At some point in the 1950s, Elvis became fond of one dish which is now most frequently associated with him. He probably did not invent the fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, but he certainly made it his signature food." It was an apt signature, because the sandwich, like Elvis Presley, was a true American original.

    "He was a God-fearing man who served in the army when he was called and who stayed simple," said David Heickman, who spent Wednesday afternoon looking for guitar books for his 13-year-old granddaughter, a budding musician.

    That personal identification with the man who was born in Tupelo, Miss., drove a truck for a living and then conquered the world with his talent and persona struck a chord with a generation.

    "I remember hearing about how close he was to his mother and that always made him seem like one of us," said the 70-year-old Heickman.

    Janie Orozco was there - at the Houston Coliseum in 1956 when she was 18 years old. "I remember a lot of people being there and a lot of screaming," she said. "My sister was screaming, but I was too embarrassed to scream because I was with my boyfriend." Orozcoıs boyfriend became her husband and 52 years later, he still remembers the screaming and the price of the ticket: $2.25. "I wasn't a big fan, but he was the first one to make that kind of music popular," he said.

    On Wednesday, Mary Martinez was searching for her Elvis pin, the one she wears on his birthday every year. "I wear it as a tribute to him," she said. Martinez's son was born the day Presley died, Aug. 16, 1977, and she said she always knows how long it's been by her son's birthday. "He (Elvis) was so good-looking and he was the king of rock and roll," said Martinez. ...

  • Elvis hits 74
    (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, January 3 2009)
    On Jan. 8, 1935, the eventual King of Rock 'n' Roll was born in Tupelo, and Elvis Presley's hometown has a trio of events scheduled for the 74th anniversary of his birth. On Thursday, the Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum will celebrate the day with cake and punch.

    "We'll start at 1:30 p.m.," said Dick Guyton, executive director of the Elvis Presley Memorial Foundation. "We'll have enough cake for about 200 people."

    In addition to the chance to sing "Happy Birthday" to Tupelo's favorite son, people will get free access to the Birthplace house throughout the day. "It's like Elvis giving back to the community," Guyton said. ...

  • Elvis items up for auction
    By Jennifer Rivera
    (WPTV, January 3 2009)
    A piece of Elvis history is up for auction this weekend in Boca Raton. A gold 1968 Cadillac Fleetwood Eldorado was owned by "The King" himself. It's being sold at the Boca Raton South Florida Collector Car Auction at the Royal Palm Polo Grounds. The car comes complete with a bullet hole in the fender, and it's drawing quite a crowd!

    "It's very unique and will probably always be worth a lot of money to people for one reason or another, but especially because Elvis owned it," said auction visitor Charles McKenzie, "It's one of a kind."

    Elvis fans can also bid on a shirt worn by Elvis or even a strand of his hair!

    The auction features hundreds of rare, vintage and collector cars. It wraps up Sunday. Gates open at 10:30 a-m. Admission is $20.

  • Sin City's Identity Stripped by Recession: Thanks to a Reeling Economy, Glitzy Vegas Is a City in Limbo
    ( / Associated Press, January 1 2009)
    This is not just a place people are born and live. Las Vegas is an enterprise. It is a deal people enter, a set of givens agreed upon: More is better. Biggest is best. To live in Las Vegas is to stake your future on this enterprise -- for better or worse.

    For the past 20 years, it has been for better. The unemployment rate was minuscule. Gleaming new casinos were built on "old" casinos like so many sandcastles on a beach. Hundreds of neat stucco houses promised a palm tree or a pool or both for nearly everyone with a paycheck. In Las Vegas, average people are versed in the statistics that impress relatives from back East and testify to the success of this enterprise: 39 million visitors, almost 140,000 hotel rooms, 10 new schools a year. It was a place that not only believed its own hype, but depended on it.

    And so, it has been a shock as, quietly and slowly, everything has changed.

    Like many U.S. cities, Las Vegas is watching its economy reel. Home values have plummeted. Foreclosures have exploded. Unemployment is the highest it's been in at least 20 years. For the first time in decades, the population has stopped growing. Casino projects are on hold. Planes full of free-spending tourists are landing with less frequency. Long the embodiment of American confidence, the city is now in limbo. In Las Vegas, the economic mess is also an identity crisis.

    "Jackpot Town!" the headline read.

    And above it was the smiling face of Jesse Grice. He was just 27, six years into his career as an Elvis impersonator. A young Elvis Presley. A fit, fresh, gold lame Elvis, on the cover of Time Magazine.

    As he tells it now, even then in November 1998, he could not believe his luck. He'd loved this town since he was a teenager in Dallas, when his father, a salesman, sold enough Tropicana orange juice to win a trip to Sin City, then returned with tales of the fantasy land in the desert.

    By the time Grice arrived in 1993, the fantasy had grown larger. The Mirage -- gambling tycoon Steve Wynn's new beacon of luxury -- had changed the definition of casino. The era of attractions, of pyramids and tigers and pirates and mini-European cites, had begun. And yet, Grice was stunned to find the Elvis market untapped. "I thought I was in heaven, man," he says in a voice that echoes The King's every inflection, only an octave higher. "Fifteen years ago, if you was going to struggle, this was the town to struggle in."

    Grice became a character like the city itself. He held nothing back. He was hungry. He made friends easily and promoted himself with charm. He made lots of money, fast, calling himself Jesse Garon, the name of Elvis' stillborn twin brother. In 1996, Grice bought a Graceland -- a 4,000 square-foot rambling ranch with a squat palm tree out front and a kidney bean-shaped pool in back. He paid an ironworker to recreate the gates of Elvis' Memphis mansion. "Las Vegas was beyond good to me," he says.

    After years of seeing his home's value soar, Grice took a gamble, using equity in his house to invest in a downtown bar, hoping for long-term security. But the gates of Graceland couldn't keep out a developing national recession. As the bar's business slowed and he started to fall behind on mortgage payments, his Graceland began losing value. The bank took it back in October. Grice sold his collection of memorabilia on the front lawn. He put the Graceland gates in storage and moved away.

    Now, in a city that's also changed, an older, rounder, jumpsuit-era Elvis sips a midday martini in his condominium. He's upbeat about living more simply, his new beginning, a new wedding chapel venture.

    Still, he now says of the second-chance capital: "I think it's become an unforgiving town. I feel sorry for the fool who comes here to try to make it as an Elvis impersonator or anything else. It's just a tough town all round. "Look how many years we were up, up, up, and the ride had to end at some point. Well, it just ended."

  • VETERAN COMEDIAN WRITES: Make 'Em Laugh [Book review]
    (Las Vegas Review-Journal, January 1 2009)
    Sammy Shore's new book offers observations, backstage stories and poignant moments.

    Veteran comedian Sammy Shore forged a career as the go-to opening act for a slew of show business legends, chief among them Elvis Presley. And while it's those years with Elvis that are the ostensible focus of Shore's new memoir, "The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh: A Life in American Comedy" (TCB JOE Enterprises, $34.99), that admittedly memorable gig just scratches the surface.

    In his funny and highly readable book, Shore offers interviews with Sid Caesar and other comedy pros and a slew of backstage stories. But he also offers observations about such varied subjects as technology, the fine points of sweat and the trials and joys of parenting, along with extended comic riffs on aging that any boomer or senior would relate to.

    ... More than anything, "The Man Who Made Elvis Laugh" is a celebration of show business, fatherhood and family, told through Shore's down-to-earth, sometimes even curmudgeonly, perspective. ...

  • It's 'Elvis time': Auburn man gives fans a night with the King
    By Mark LaFlamme
    (Lewiston Sun Journal, January 1 2009)
    Heather Greene is too young to remember the era of Elvis Presley and is not familiar with a lot of his music. And yet, behold the power of the King. Elvis impersonator Robert Washington took the stage at Fast Breaks on Wednesday night and within seconds, Greene was dancing in the aisles.

    "It's good music," she said, as Washington belted out "Good Rocking Tonight." "It gets you going. I'm into it." So were dozens of others at the Lisbon Street bar. By the third song, most of them were bobbing up and down, singing along or some combination thereof. Clad in a pink blazer, sideburns sculpted just right, Washington meant to put on a good show, the kind of Elvis tribute he's been delivering for 25 years. "It's New Year's Eve," Washington said, 10 minutes before his set began. "It's more of a party. I don't expect everyone to be watching my show."

    Wrong. Though the crowd consisted mostly of 20-somethings, born long after Elvis died, the room became electrified as Washington stroked his first chord. ...

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