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Presleys in the Press

Elvis Presley News

August 2010
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Mid August
  • Elvis Presley Fans Gather in Hometown for Memorial
    By Jack Phillips
    (, August 15 2010)
    Elvis Presley fans and followers are gathering at Graceland to commemorate the king of rock 'n' roll's death starting on Sunday night on into the next day.

    Temperatures there soared to the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark but it left die-hard fans unfettered.

    Presley died on Aug. 16, 1977 in his home and fans on Sunday started gathering outside the walls where he once lived, reported the Associated Press. The mansion and its accompanying estate are known as Graceland.

    On Sunday night, a candlelight vigil will be held to commemorate his life and what he accomplished.

    The vigil usually lasts all night long and draws several thousand people from around the U.S. as well as from around the world.

    "We were driving this small Volkswagen and they said on the news that Elvis Presley had died and I was crying in the back seat," Norwegian Elvis fan Rune Rindalsholt told Fox affiliate television station WTVA in Memphis, who was on a journey to visit the King's hometown.

    During Elvis Week, as it is called, fans held club meetings, had Elvis impersonator contests, and took part in other events. And yes, copious amounts of peanut butter and banana sandwiches -- one of his favorite foods -- were served around the city.

  • South Korean Elvis fan follows his dream with own memorial hall
    (, August 14 2010)
    More than 30 years after the untimely death of Elvis Presley, devotees worldwide are still paying fervent tribute to the King of Rock 'n' Roll.

    They don't come more ardent than South Korean Lee Jong-Jin, who sold two apartments to build his own memorial hall - halfway around the world from the world-famed Graceland museum in Memphis.

    The "Follow that Dream" hall at Paju north of Seoul, which opened a decade ago and is named after a 1962 Elvis movie, houses a huge collection of memorabilia. A 508 cm screen plays constant edited footage of Elvis performing in Las Vegas in August 1970. Visitors are strongly recommended to finish their tour by watching the film on comfortable red couches.

    Positioned between the screen and the seats are three sets of amplifiers, each reproducing different music styles from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s.

    Every inch of wall space is plastered with pictures and placards of Elvis, album covers and lyrics of his hit songs. Life-size models of the King, strumming a guitar or clutching a microphone, adorn the hall.

    "The memorial hall is non-profit, so I spend a lot of money trying to maintain it," said Lee, sporting a black shirt imprinted with Elvis's face and with his hair moussed back like his idol.

    Lee, who runs a Seoul publishing company, said although he has no money, he also has no debt because - believe it or not - "Elvis transfers money to the accounts" whenever the memorial hall needs it.

    The hall attracts many Japanese, American and British tourists but Lee said his aim is to pay tribute to Elvis rather than run a theme park-type operation. He does not sell snacks or drinks except on the days around the January 8 anniversary of the singer's birth in 1935 and the anniversary of his death on August 16, 1977. On those special occasions he offers steaks and other favourite Elvis dishes to visitors and members of the Korean fan club of which he is president. Lee spends around 30 to 40 million won (25,000-34,000 dollars) on each event.

    He painstakingly put together his 10,000-item collection in a variety of ways. Some of his 72 old (78 rpm) records came from US soldiers based in Korea.

    Parked outside the hall is a white Cadillac Eldorado that was part of the escort for Elvis's coffin. Five other cars similar to those once driven by him were bought at auction by Lee or members of his fan club.

    ... Lee said officials from Graceland, the singer's former home, once visited his memorial hall to check whether he was violating copyright by offering pirated DVDs or CDs. "They were surprised to see that I wasn't selling anything and that this place served a pure purpose."

    Lee described his passion for Elvis' music as "love at first sight." ... "I heard a melody and I realised that he was the one. It has been more than 40 years since then and I don't even remember what song it was."

    The music can even cure hangovers, he once told a radio programme. "Hundreds called me over the next few days and asked which particular song that was. The answer is, all Elvis songs. It's obvious that Elvis has become a big part of my life. Both my wife and my daughter love Elvis and love what I do for him because they also recognise Elvis is an honourable man."

    Asked his own age, Lee said he stopped counting when he turned 42 because "that is the age Elvis died". ...

  • Thousands turn out for Elvis Presley race
    (, August 14 2010)
    Elvis Presley was known for his dedication to local charities and his fans braved the heat Saturday to carry on that tradition.

    Thousands of Elvis fans met at the gates of Graceland to kick off the 28th Annual Elvis Presley Run, Walk, Rock & Roll benefiting United Cerebral Palsy of the Mid-South.  Over 2,000 entrants from around the world joined in the family fun to raise money for UCP.

    Action News 5's Ron Childers was the Master of Ceremonies for the event, one of the many celebrating Elvis Week 2010.

    Organizers said the race was the only one that starts and ends at the gates of Graceland.

  • Elvis, the brand, still making big money
    (, August 14 2010)
    MEMPHIS - Elvis Presley is in play.

    CKx Inc., owner of the American Idol television program and 85 percent of Elvis Presley Enterprises, is mulling at least two offers to buy the company. At the same time, thousands of Elvis fans descended on Memphis for Elvis Week, the annual commemoration of the American music icon's life and death.

    CKx owns rights to the name, image, and likeness of Elvis Presley and the operations of Graceland, Presley's Memphis mansion. While the American Idol franchise is the company's main money maker, the Elvis brand is still an earner.

    Presley, who died in 1977, generated more than $60 million last year from royalties, licensing, and Graceland's operations.

    Two faces familiar to CKx have offered to buy it: Robert Sillerman, the company's former chief executive officer, and Simon Fuller, the British media mogul who created the Idol franchise before selling his company, 19 Entertainment, to CKx in 2005. Sillerman's offer, made public Wednesday, values the company at $512 million to $535 million.

    In an SEC filing, Sillerman said he plans to offer between $5.50 and $5.75 per share for at least 30 percent more of CKx; he already holds 21 percent.

    A sale is not expected to significantly affect the Elvis business, which grew 10 percent in 2009 compared with the year before.

    "There is upside and growth to Elvis, and I think anybody who would buy it is someone who's going to come in and believe they can take it to the next level," CKx CEO Michael G. Ferrel said.

    Elvis Presley Enterprises currently has 260 licensees, including SiriusXM, American Greetings, and Mattel. Last year's revenue from licensing and royalties rose 34 percent compared with 2008.

    Interest in the singer remains strong, and the brand is constantly being refreshed. For example, "Viva Elvis," a live Cirque du Soleil show based on the icon's life, has been a hit in Las Vegas since opening in February.

    More than 400 theaters nationwide showed the remastered film Elvis on Tour: 75th Anniversary Celebration on July 29. Elvis remains highly visible on the Internet, with a Facebook fan page boasting one million fans and a website that gets an average of 700,000 unique visitors a month, according to Jack Soden, president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

    The Elvis marketing machine seeks to attract younger consumers without abandoning its core audience of people 45 and older. Marketers are relying on fans who never saw in person the youthful, thin Elvis, or even the older, chubby Elvis to keep interest alive.

    Elvis' music is still the cornerstone of his success and the future of the brand. Recently, a Nike soccer advertisement featuring his ditty "A Little Less Conversation" struck a chord with the 18-to-34 demographic in Britain, a sign that the company's strategy to reach out to younger consumers is working, Ferrel said.

    "You don't have to reinvent [Elvis], change him into something that he wasn't, in the belief that he will be more relevant in today's culture," Soden said.

    Attendance was 542,728 last year at Graceland, the Memphis tourist attraction that features a tour of Elvis' home and grave. Revenue was down about 2 percent, partly due to lower e-commerce revenue and a slight decrease in per-visitor spending, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    So far this year, attendance is down 6 percent compared with 2009, with the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster discouraging tourists who would have stopped in Memphis on the way to beach destinations or New Orleans, Soden said.

    CKx said in March that it was in talks to sell the company after The Wall Street Journal reported CKx was close to selling itself to the private equity firm One Equity Partners.

  • Music notes: Elvis tributes airing on satellite radio
    By Melissa Ruggieri
    (, August 12 2010)
    Sirius XM's Elvis Radio is commemorating the anniversary of Presley's death with special programming this weekend. Tomorrow, from 3 to 7 p.m., Presley's childhood friend and Sirius XM host George Klein will share stories about the King with Presley cohorts James Burton (his concert guitarist), Mark James (who wrote many Presley hits) and Joe Esposito (his longtime road manager). On Sunday at 9 p.m. and Monday -- Aug. 16, the day of his passing -- at midnight, the channels will air the Elvis Presley Candlelight Vigil. Fans will be invited to visit Presley's gravesite and share their favorite memories. Elvis Radio airs on Sirius channel 13 and XM channel 18. ...

  • Elvis Presley would have 'rocked' as a senior citizen
    (, August 11 2010)
    Elvis Presley as a senior citizen?

    Aug. 16 will mark the 33rd anniversary of Elvis Presley's death at 42. What do you think he would be doing had he lived long enough to become a senior citizen?

    After my recent trip to the Elvis birthplace in Tupelo, Miss., I am guessing The King would be hanging out with some of the great seniors who work there.

    People like Dick Guyton, who came out of retirement to become executive director of the Elvis birthplace complex. "Best decision I ever made," he said with an Elvis-style smile. Born and raised in Tupelo, he and Elvis had attended the same junior high school. Though they didn't really know each other, Dick recalled that they had the same sixth-grade teacher, Miss Kemp, and he always loved Elvis' music.

    Dick had been retired for several years from work in the building industry, when a friend, who was on the board of the Elvis Museum, asked him to take the job. "Well, I'll try it out and see how it goes," he said.

    That was eight years ago, and he never plans to retire from what he calls "the best job in the world."

    At 71, Dick, who brings the same passion to his leadership role at the birthplace, as Elvis did to his singing, listened attentively as I told my story of meeting Elvis when I was 13. Hearing that my three-hour wait in a hotel stairwell, after climbing 20 flights of stairs, was rewarded by a song and a chaste kiss from The King, didn't surprise him.

    "Elvis was a nice Southern boy who never forgot his manners," he said.

    When I asked where on the property Dick most liked to have his photo taken, he grinned broadly and said, "Follow me. You're going to love this." He walked me outside to the statue of Elvis at 13. Looking into the image of his young eyes, I saw myself at 13 and locked on to the memory of our meeting. I felt quite sure he would have been just as gracious to me today.

    There's no doubt about it, Elvis would have rocked as a senior.

  • Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center Welcomes Fans
    By Shelvia Dancy
    (, August 10 2010)
    The MED opened its doors to Elvis Presley fans on Tuesday, and dozens showed up for a tour of the trauma center that's named in Presley's honor. The tour is an annual event that's part of "Elvis Week" in Memphis, which draws thousands of people to the Bluff City - including Krystal Forbes, who flew from Albany, N.Y., along with her aunt and grandmother.

    "Me and my grandmother do this every year - we've been coming for a little over four or five years," Forbes said, noting this was her first MED tour. "They took us down to the Trauma Center and we got to see where it was and everything."

    Many make donations that earn them a plaque on the "Elvis Wall" inside The MED.

    "Over the years our fans have raised more than a million dollars, just for the Elvis Presley Memorial Trauma Center," said Tammie Ritchey, executive director of The MED Foundation. "The MED Foundation started with a donation from the fans. They donated money at the dedication ceremony and it was about $50,000." The money makes a difference for patients, and hospital staff. "Their dollars go directly to fund equipment that we use for patients," Ritchey said. "It goes to training for our front line, who have to be highly skilled in trauma. It's a very skilled industry, and it's a very expensive industry. And their donations really help save lives."

    Forbes knows she wants a career in medicine, and now she's thinking of pursuing that career in Memphis: close to her hero, close to his fans. "To see the amount of people here just for Elvis, and just for the Trauma Center right now, to help support it - it's amazing," she said.

  • Elvis Presley - Presley's Granddaughter Set To Shake Up Mad Max
    (, August 10 2010)
    ELVIS PRESLEY's granddaughter RILEY KEOUGH is set to star in the next MAD MAX movie, according to reports.

    The 21-year-old model, who is the daughter of Lisa Marie Presley, has starred in a handful of films, including The Runaways opposite Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning.

    And the beauty is set to boost her acting portfolio with a role in the latest installment of the series, Mad Max 4: Fury Road - which is set to start filming in Australia next year (11).

    Keough will play one of the Five Wives - a group of women Max has to save, according to the Associated Press. The part made famous by Mel Gibson will be played by Inception star Tom Hardy.

  • America's strangest roadside attractions: 12 car museums worth a detour
    (, August 6 2010)
    ... The National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection): Reno, Nev.

    More than 200 antique, vintage, classic and special interest cars are displayed in galleries and on themed ³streets² inside this downtown Reno museum. Highlights of the collection include one of the oldest American-built automobiles, the 1892 Philion steam road carriage, and many other rare and one-of-a-kind automobiles, including cars once owned by Elvis Presley, James Dean, Frank Sinatra and other celebrities. The museum also displays the 1907 Thomas Flyer, the car that won the 22,000-mile New York to Paris race around the world in 1908. ...

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