The Official Blog of Graceland

Welcome to the official blog of Elvis Presley’s Graceland! You can take Elvis-inspired quizzes, get first-looks on events here at Graceland and how-to guides on everything you need to know about Elvis and his home. Like Elvis, we come with a little southern charm!

50th Anniversary: Elvis Presley’s “Paradise, Hawaiian Style”

Elvis Presley’s colorful, musical comedy, “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” turns 50 this summer. This movie, in which Elvis plays a pilot named Rick, was Elvis’ 21st movie, and the third (and final) one made in Hawaii. If you need a dose of Hawaii this summer, this is the movie for you. In “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” Elvis plays Rick, a charming helicopter pilot who starts a charter service with his buddy Danny (James Shigeta). A misunderstanding leads to Rick temporarily losing his pilot license, but when Danny and his daughter become stranded on a desert island, Rick must decide if he should risk his career to save his friend. There’s romance, too, of course, as Rick romances the glamorous “Friday” Judy Hudson (Suzanna Leigh). Rick also befriends a local girl, Jan (Donna Butterworth). “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” was filmed in Hawaii in the summer of 1965. A party was given at the Polynesian Cultural Center to celebrate the movie, and it was there that Herman’s Hermits singer Peter Noone interviewed Elvis, and the interview aired the following day on the radio. While in Hawaii, Elvis, Elvis’ father Vernon and manager Col. Tom Parker visited the USS Arizona Memorial, which Elvis had helped raise money to build. They left a bell-shaped wreath of 1,177 carnations – one for each of the servicemen who died during the Pearl Harbor attack. About the time that production was wrapping on “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” Elvis met a few other musicians you may have heard of: Tom Jones, who visited the set, and The Beatles, who visited Elvis’ Bel Air home a few weeks after production was completed. James Shigeta went on to star in many TV shows and films, including  “Magnum, P.I.,” “Murder, She Wrote,” and Die Hard,” and he voiced General Li in Disney’s “Mulan.” Suzanna Leigh, a native of England, also had starring roles in films like “Boeing, Boeing,” and a few classic Hammer films such as “Son of Dracula.” Jan Shepard starred in “Paradise, Hawaiian Style” as Betty, and this was her second Elvis film. She played Mimi in “King Creole.” Donna Butterworth, who stars as Jan, had a brief but fruitful film career, only starring in a handful of projects. She was nominated in 1966 for a Golden Globe Award for her role in “The Family Jewels.” Michael D. Moore directed “Paradise, Hawaiian Style,” and he was an assistant director of six previous Elvis movies. Love Elvis movies?...
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Elvis Presley’s “Wild in the Country” Turns 55

Drama, romance and – of course – a little music, Elvis Presley’s “Wild in the Country” had it all. “Wild in the Country” was released June 15, 1961, so in honor of the film’s 55th anniversary, let’s fill you in on some movie trivia. “Wild in the Country” stars Elvis as Glenn, a young Southern man with a dysfunctional family. After getting into a fight with his brother, he’s forced to go on probation. He meets Irene (Hope Lange), a counselor who works with him to get his life in order – like many young Southern men, Glenn has dreams of becoming a writer. The pair run into problems when nosy neighbors claim Glenn is involved with Irene, even though he’s romanced ladies his own age, like Betty Lee (Millie Perkins). Elvis flew to California for pre-production on November 6, 1960, and principal photography ended on January 1961. The original plan for the movie was that it would not be a musical, but eventually the songs were written into the storyline. Elvis recorded six songs, but only four were used. The “Wild in the Country” screen play was based on the novel “The Lost Country” by J.R. Salamanca. In the book, Elvis’ character, Glenn, is not an aspiring writer, but an artist, and Irene was a teacher, not a counselor. Hope Lange stars in the film as Irene the counselor, but she was really only 13 months older than Elvis. Millie Perkins, who stars as Betty Lee, later played the role of Elvis’ mother Gladys in the 1990 TV series, “Elvis.” Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson stars in the film as Davis. “Wild in the Country” is the film debut of Christina Crawford, adopted daughter of Joan Crawford. It was during the filming of this movie that Elvis and his manager Col. Tom Parker decided to help raise money for the USS Arizona memorial. Elvis celebrated his 26th birthday while making this movie. The cast and crew threw him a birthday party, and he was given a plaque that read, “Happy Birthday, King Karate,” since he’d just received his first degree black belt in July 1960. If you love Elvis movies, you’ll love the new VIP exhibit at Graceland. It’s “Elvis in Hollywood: From Teen Idol to Leading Man,” and it features everything from scripts to costumes. Check it out when you visit Graceland! And check out our Gates of...
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Elvis Presley in Canada

Elvis Presley performed in only one other country besides the United States, and that one country is Canada. Elvis made his first and last Canadian appearances in 1957. Young Elvis – having already released his first album and film in 1956, and had just purchased Graceland – arrived in Canada for the first two of these appearances in April 1957. Elvis’ first Canadian performances were at the Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. April 2, 1957. Elvis wore his stunning, sparkling gold suit for this show – and this was the last time he wore the full suit. For future performances, Elvis would only wear pieces from this suit, such as just the jacket, belt and shoes, and in some shows, just the jacket.     At this performance, Elvis accompanied himself on piano for “Blueberry Hill,” Fats Domino’s chart-topping hit. Elvis loved Fats and owned several of his albums. Elvis performed again in Canada the next day, April 3, at 4:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. at the Ottawa Auditorium in Ottawa. Elvis wore the gold jacket and shoes, but not the gold tie and pants. Elvis’ career was in full swing, but he was still a bit of controversial figure. Parents and religious officials were concerned about their kids listening to rock ‘n’ roll and the potentially dangerous influence Elvis had on his fans (a funny notion nearly 60 years later, huh?). A local girls’ school, the Notre Dame Convent, forbade its students to attend the concert and suspended eight of its students who ignored the rule. Elvis was booked to perform in Montreal, too, but that show was canceled due to civic concern and pressure from local Catholic officials. Elvis’ next Canadian concert was at the Empire Stadium in Vancouver on August 31, 1957. The 26,500 fans in attendance went wild for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. The stage was set up on the empty football field, but fans wanted to be closer. Thousands bypassed security to find a place in front of the stage on the field. The show had to be stopped twice for safety concerns. Elvis’ manager, Col. Tom Parker, suggested to Elvis that he tone down his show, but being a rock ‘n’ roll rebel, Elvis didn’t listen to him. He did shorten the set, though, and – for safety reasons – he fooled the audience. He gave his gold jacket to a crew member to...
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Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel: Elvis Presley on the Milton Berle Show

“Beware of Elvis Presley” Can you imagine such a headline? For a while in 1956, those sorts of headlines dominated the media, following Elvis Presley’s June 5, 1956 performance on the “Milton Berle Show.” Looking at his performance today, it’s downright tame, but in 1956, it was downright scandalous. They say there’s no such thing as bad publicity, and this performance proved that to be true. No matter what anyone thought about Elvis’ performance, everyone was talking about it, and suddenly, Elvis was in the spotlight. He was a star, a true rock ‘n’ roll rebel.   Elvis kicked off 1956 with his national television debut on the Dorsey Brothers’ “Stage Show,” and he’d make six total appearances on the program. On April 3, 1956, he made his first appearance on the “Milton Berle Show,” performing on the deck of an aircraft carrier. He returned to perform on the show again on June 5, and his fellow guests included “Sheena, Queen of the Jungle” star Irish McCalla, actor Arnold Stang and actress Debra Paget, who, in a few months, would co-star with Elvis in his first film, “Love Me Tender.”   In a fun skit, Berle played a record store manager trying to calm down a group of girls excited to meet Elvis at the store. When Elvis arrived, Berle mistook him for another excited teen, until Elvis proved he was the real deal. Elvis then sang his hit, “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You.” Elvis’ performance of “Hound Dog” was what had people talking the next day. Elvis had performed on television before, but he’d often had his guitar with him or had sang ballads. The world simply hadn’t seen him bust out his soon-to-be-famous moves. Toward the end of “Hound Dog,” he and the band tore into a half-time ending to the song, and he gave it his all, in full Elvis swagger, his hips shaking and and black hair shining. The girls in the audience swooned and squealed. Berle interviewed Elvis after his performance and asked him how he liked being the center of attention. Elvis, playing along with the skit, said he didn’t like all of the attention from his female fans and he wanted to date a quiet girl like Debra Paget. Berle introduced him to Debra, who, also playing along, squealed at the sight of Elvis and gave him a huge hug and kiss. The next day,...
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Smile! You’re at Elvis Presley’s Graceland

Here at the king’s castle, we love Instagram. We love seeing pictures of Elvis fans rocking and rolling at Graceland, taking selfies in front of the house, snapping a kaleidoscope-like shot in Graceland’s many mirrors or taking a family portrait in front of the blue Graceland sign. We’re on Instagram, too, and we share our favorite moments and photos of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll. As the travel season kicks off, we can’t wait to see what creative photos Elvis fans come up with next. We ask that fans use #Graceland so we can easily find your photo in Instagram. In that tag, you’ll see photos from lifelong Elvis fans, celebs who visit Graceland to even a few world-traveling inanimate objects. Wait – what? Some creative fans have brought along their stuffed or plastic touring companions to Graceland, and we’ve seen them all, from puppets to stuffed animals to Legos to dolls. Check out a few recent favorites: When Elvis fan misslocalinda visited the king’s castle, she brought along the most appropriate traveling companion – #travelingelvis. According to her Instagram, #travelingelvis has also visited New Orleans and New Mexico. This world-traveling teddy has its own Instagram account – teddytravelling, of course – and it’s been to Spain, Miami, New Orleans and Chicago, as well as the Bluff City. This doll named Penny – found on Instagram as adollnamedpenny – is a Canadian doll who has seen the world. Penny has traveled to Iceland, Brazil, Germany, Cuba, China and Hawaii – a favorite vacation spot of the king himself. Enrique Monkey (on Instagram as enriquemonkey) is from Spain, lives in England and recently visited Graceland. Enrique has also enjoyed the sights in Hollywood, Iceland and Slovenia, and he’s toured the Grand Canyon and the White House. patrick_the_starfish2016 – the Instagram account of a plush version of the “Spongebob Squarepants” character Patrick – stopped to sign the wall at Graceland. In addition to Memphis, he’s also toured Oklahoma, New Orleans and St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, we love photos with our living, breathing Elvis fans. Graceland is the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll experience, so you’ll want a photo of yourself here somewhere to capture the moment. Whether it’s at the famous wall, in the Jungle Room or at the blue Graceland sign, you have to snap a selfie to share with your friends (and, of course, make them jealous). Last year, our Elvis Week...
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Elvis Presley’s Day Off

Picture it: Memphis, Tennessee. The sun is shining, there’s a cool spring breeze, and the smell of honeysuckle (and maybe a little barbecue) is in the air. The weather has been gorgeous in the Bluff City for the past few weeks. In fact, it’s been the perfect weather to blow off responsibilities – deadlines, emails, assignments and the like – and enjoy everything Memphis has to offer. As the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley didn’t have average responsibilities; his office was anything from the concert stage to the movie set to the recording studio. But when he wanted to take the day off and have fun, Elvis spent his time at local parks and movie theaters. If Elvis were to have a Ferris Bueller-style day off, what would he do? How did Elvis spend his days off in Memphis? When Elvis wanted to have fun in Memphis, he could usually be found at a movie theater, at the Fairgrounds and at a park playing football. He often had to go late at night or rent a theater or park out at night so he could enjoy his time without being mobbed by thousands of fans. He’d often arrive at about midnight and stay until 3:30 or 4 a.m. – sometimes until dawn. Despite his efforts, fans still often found out about his late-night adventures. In a British fan magazine in June 1962, it was reported he spent one night in Memphis playing football, watching “West Side Story” at a local theater, the Memphian, and enjoying the rides at the Fairgrounds until dawn. Elvis also rented bowling alleys, like the Whitehaven Plaza, and rollerskating rinks, such as the Rainbow Rollerdome. He’d often rent these spaces for a matter of days or weeks at a time, just as he did with movie theaters and amusement parks.   In July 1960, Elvis enjoyed time with friends at McKellar Lake with a new waterskiing boat he’d recently purchased. That same month, he rented out the Fairgrounds to enjoy with his girlfriend, Anita Wood, and friends. The movie theater was Elvis’ home away from home. He loved just about every genre of film. Long before the days of DVDs and BluRays, the only way to see a film was in the theater, so Elvis often watched some of his favorite movies multiple times in a theater. He visited several theaters in Memphis, but the...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland – Top 20 Moments

3764 Highway 51 South, Memphis, Tennessee. The house at that address – now better known as 3764 Elvis Presley Boulevard – has become more than just a house. It’s the home of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley. Millions of fans have made the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll pilgrimage to his home to celebrate and honor him, to light candles in his name and to write messages to him on the wall. Musicians, world leaders and dignitaries have found inspiration on its grounds. This past week, Elvis Presley’s Graceland celebrated 20 million visitors since the house opened to the public in 1982. That’s just the latest milestone during the house’s celebrated and storied lifetime. To continue our 20 Million festivities, check out Graceland’s Top 20 Moments. 1939 – Graceland Built Dr. Thomas Moore and Ruth Brown Moore built Graceland in 1939. The home was named Graceland in honor of Ruth’s aunt, Grace. Learn more about Graceland’s history.   1957 – Elvis Purchases Graceland In March 1957, 22-year-old rock star Elvis Presley purchased Graceland and its grounds for just over $102,000. Elvis had just skyrocketed to fame thanks to hits like “Heartbreak Hotel” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” and he’d already made his first film, “Love Me Tender.”   1957 – Graceland Gates Installed One of the most iconic features of Graceland is its gates, which feature Elvis’ silhouette and music notes. The gates were installed at Graceland in April 1957, and Elvis often greeted fans and signed autographs at the gates. Today, it’s one of the most popular locations for a selfie for Graceland guests. Learn more about Graceland’s gates.   1960 – Elvis’ ‘Home from the Army’ Press Conference at Graceland  Elvis was drafted into the Army at the height of his fame in 1958. When he returned home from active duty, he held a press conference in his father, Vernon’s, office at Graceland. He tells reporters he has no plans to leave Memphis and that “I’m going to keep Graceland as long as I possibly can. …Somebody asked me this morning what I missed about Memphis, and I said, ‘Everything.’”   1968 – Lisa Marie Presley Comes Home from the Hospital Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s daughter Lisa Marie was born on February 1, 1968, in Memphis. Elvis and Priscilla brought Lisa Marie home to Graceland a few days later.   1976 – Elvis Records in the...
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Elvis Presley’s Graceland by the Numbers

Put on your party hats, Elvis fans – we’re celebrating. This week, Elvis Presley’s Graceland celebrated 20 million visitors to the king’s castle since opening to the public in 1982. That’s 20 million who have passed through the famous gates of Graceland, 20 million who have rock ‘n’ rolled in the Jungle Room, 20 million who have admired their reflection in Graceland’s mirrors, 20 million who have paid their respects to the king. We have plenty of ways you can help us celebrate, and we’ll get to that in a minute. First, learn more about Graceland’s numbers – because 20 million is just one of our many fascinating numbers. Built in 1939, Graceland is currently 77 years old Graceland has been open to the public for 34 years 20,000,000 visitors have toured Graceland since opening to the public Fans from more than 140 countries have visited Graceland Approximately 3,000 groups (both adult and student) tour Graceland annually The Graceland tour is translated into 9 languages 55 performance groups performed at Graceland in 2015 More than 815 celebrities have visited Graceland 450 rooms at the new Guest House at Graceland (Want to know more about The Guest House at Graceland by the Numbers? Watch this.) Graceland Details: Elvis lived in Graceland for 20 years Elvis was 22 years old when he purchased Graceland Graceland is 17,552 square feet Graceland sits on 13.8 acres of land Elvis purchased Graceland for $102,500 The sofa in the living room is 15 feet long and the coffee table is 10 feet long 14 TVs in the mansion 5 staircases 3 fireplaces 1 pool, which is 10 feet deep 2 lions in front of Graceland 4 horses currently live at Graceland 1 jukebox, which holds 100 45s 3 record players 1 pull-down movie screen 350+ yards of fabric in the Pool Room, which took 3 people 10 days to hang 19 pillows on the sofa in the TV Room In the Graceland Archives: 88 jumpsuits 90,000 images 3,000 pieces of wardrobe 1,000,000+ documents On display are: 14 Grammy nominations 3 Grammy Awards 18 Golden Boot Awards 9 cars 3 Harley Davidson motorcycles 2 Rolls Royces 1 dune buggy 2 super trikes 1 golf cart 2 airplanes 1 grass mobile 1 black leather suit The numbers continue with our 20 Million Elvis Fans Celebration! We have 3 ways to celebrate: 1) Enter our Graceland’s 20 Million Elvis Fans giveaway....
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The King’s Horses

The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll was a cowboy at heart. And if home is where the heart is, his heart was at Graceland – especially at Graceland’s barn. Elvis and his family owned several horses during their years here at Graceland, and there are still horses that live in the stables behind the king’s castle. When Elvis wasn’t working, he loved to spend time riding horses all over the Graceland grounds. In celebration of the 144th Kentucky Derby next week, let’s meet the horses who call Graceland home. It was almost destined for Elvis to own horses. In 1957, Elvis purchased Graceland, which included the barn behind the mansion itself. The barn, like the house, was built in 1939. Graceland was originally a cattle farm, and the barn actually had air conditioning before the mansion did, to keep the prize bull cool. When Elvis moved in, he kept a few animals in the barn – he owned a few horses and a donkey. But he became a serious horse owner in 1966. That Christmas, Elvis purchased a Quarter Horse named Domino for Priscilla, his soon-to-be wife. He also purchased a horse named Sheba for Priscilla’s friend Sandy, so the pair could ride their horses together. Elvis soon bought a horse that would become his favorite, a golden palomino Quarter Horse named Rising Sun. Of course, the barn had to get a new name, too, and it became House of the Rising Sun. It wasn’t long before the barn was full of horses. One of Elvis’ favorites was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Bear. He also loved Mare Ingram, a grand mare he named after Memphis Mayor William B. Ingram. He purchased horses for his friends and family, too. A few of Elvis’ horses include Ebony’s Double, Beauty, Buckshot, Lady, Golden Sun, Star Trek, Sun Down, Thundercloud, Memphis, Flaming Star (doesn’t that name sound familiar?) and Traveler, who had been previously owned by Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary. Elvis’ daughter Lisa also had her own horse, Moriah. The last horse Elvis purchased was a Tennessee Walking Horse named Ebony’s Double. Alene Alexander rode Ebony’s Double in the horses’s retirement ceremony in 1983 at the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. Alene started working as a tour guide at Graceland when it opened to the public in 1982, and she still works at Graceland as the stables ambassador. She and her...
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Stop, Look and Listen: Elvis Presley’s Stereos

Every April, the world celebrates Record Store Day, which focuses on vinyl records and the physical shops that sell them. This month’s Gates of Graceland episode shows off a few of Elvis Presley’s favorite 45s. But what’s a record without a record player? Elvis loved music, and he made sure you could hear it all over Graceland. He could play selections from his extensive record collection anywhere, whether he was in his bedroom, downstairs in his colorful TV Room, in the Jungle Room and even in his own racquetball court. Let’s take a look at  some of the stereos and record players here at Graceland. The TV Room at Graceland was really Elvis’ place to enjoy entertainment. In addition to the room’s three TV sets, this room is also home to a stereo, jukebox and record player. Elvis owned thousands of records, and most of them were housed in the TV Room. At Graceland, music is actually built right into the walls. Check out the jukebox in the TV Room: It’s easy to spot Elvis’ music in the TV Room, but the record player in the Jungle Room is hidden. Find out where the record player is in the Jungle Room in this “Hidden Graceland” episode of our web series, Gates of Graceland:   Anyone who’s been inside Elvis’ Racquetball Building knows it wasn’t just used for that sport. It also includes a pinball machine, piano, and this stereo system: This system is made by Crown International – pretty fitting for the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, huh? A fire destroyed most of the Crown manufacturing facility in November 1971. It was rebuilt as soon as possible, and this stereo is one of the first ones manufactured following that fire. Another record player that’s housed inside Graceland is the one in Elvis’ bedroom. This is that record player, complete with the record Elvis left on it. That record is an untitled one by The Stamps. What else did Elvis listen to? Check out this month’s Gates of Graceland episode:   Want to know more? See where Elvis listened to music, where Elvis relaxed, where Elvis called home, where Elvis lives – visit...
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