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Sunday, May 2, 2010

2010 SPRING TOUR DIARY: Part Three

From March 9 through April 8, 2010, I toured the Southeast US, doing booksignings, slideshows, school talks, and visiting comics shops and bookstores. It was great trip, maybe the best roadtrip I've ever taken! For what it's worth, here are some photos and recollections of my time on the road.

John P.

Click here for Part One
* * *
Okay--  some of you are going to have to pardon me on this leg of the tour diary, because I am a HUGE Elvis fan.  After Cairo (See Part Two), I hauled ass down I-55, through Missouri and Arkansas, to get to Memphis to see Graceland, and hopefully Sun Studio.  And I did.  And that's pretty much all I saw of Memphis.  I didn't even get to go to the Soul Museum.  BUT that just means I have a real good excuse to get back down there sometime soon.
I ended up spending pretty much the entire day at Graceland...  they were basically sweeping me out with a broom at closing time.  So what follows is less a tour of Memphis than a tour of Graceland.  My apologies to non-Elvis Fans (who ARE you???), but the show must go on...
Waiting out front of Graceland, for the tour to begin.

Front Room, with Piano and Television.

Wallpaper in the front hallway.

The upstairs is off-limits to the public...

Front Door from inside (iron bars protect it from the outside).

Buddha statue in Dining Room.


Mirrored walls and ceiling, in staircase to basement.

Mural in TV Room.

Bar in TV Room.

The Pool Room.

Detail of Pool Room ceiling, covered in close to 400 yards of fabric.

The Jungle Room.

Waterfall and pool.

View from behind the house.

Vernon Presley's office.

Outside the office, one of the old stables had been used as a target-shooting room by Elvis and his buddies.

Rear view of the house.

Gold Lamé Suit, the Trophy Room.

Some of Lisa Marie's toys.

Black Leather Suit from the '68 Comeback Special.

Some Elvis Fan Art.

The converted raquetball court.

A Gallery of Elvis Belt Buckles:

Elvis' Silver Cloud Rolls (previously owned by Michael Landon and Charlie Rich!).

Elvis' Pink Cadillac, his first.  His mom liked it so much he vowed to never sell it.

Elvis' John Deere Tractor.

Elvis' Airplane...

...the "Lisa Marie"

Elvis' leather wristband from the Comeback Special.

* * *

As I mentioned, I was being swept out the door at Graceland at closing...  and I only had a few minutes to make it to Sun Studio before they closed.  I got in the car and drove up Elvis Presely Boulevard into town, and found it surprisingly easily.  Even more surprisingly, the door to the corner shop opened when I pushed on it!  (The studio itself had already closed for the day.)  Inside, the nice rockabilly kids let me look around.  I picked up a Charlie Rich Sun Sessions CD as a souvenir, and walked out into the dusk.

My plan was to spend all of the next day in Nashville, a three or four hour roadtrip, so I had just a little time to hang around in Memphis. I drove downtown and found Beale Street. What a mess!  Plus there was a Grizzlies game about to start, so I took a quick look, and then headed east out of town.

A few hours into the night, I stopped at a large truck stop, just as it started to rain. Hard. I spent the night in the car, dreaming sleepily of Memphis, as the steady, cold rain came down. I was in Heaven...


"Deep in my heart, there's a trembling question..."

Click here for Part Three and a Half



  1. Any idea what the "CTB" & lightning bolt on the airplane signify?

  2. TCB = "Taking Care of Business" -- Elvis' personal motto.

    Also, there is a lot of talk about how hugely influenced as a little kid Elvis was by the superhero Captain Marvel, Jr. Many people guess that the Lighning Bolt motif came from that fascination:

    "The musician Elvis Presley was a big fan of Captain Marvel Jr., and styled his trademark haircut after that of the comic book character and some of Elvis' stage outfits (with a half-cape similar to those worn by the Marvels) and his TCB logo (with a Marvel-esque lightning bolt insignia) also show inspiration from Captain Marvel Jr. Elvis' childhood collection of Captain Marvel Jr. comic books still sits in Graceland displayed by the fans."

    --Captain Marvel Jr. Wikipedia page.


  3. I have often heard people fuss about how kitchy Elvis' decor in his house is... but, hell, think of the time frame he lived in and when he left this mortal coil.
    Two things surprised me though: 1) How small the interior of the house is, and 2) how much I enjoyed it. I'm not really a big Elvis fan. That's my wife's thing.
    Since coming back, I've actually watched a bunch of Elvis movies... something I wasn't inclined to do before getting my brain Elvis-ized at Graceland.
    If I ever find where my wife hid it, I've gotta post our tourist picture of our little family in front of a fake backdrop before taking the bus across the street to Graceland.

  4. Yeah, it was a little surprising to me too-- The King of Rock and Roll's house is nowhere near as big as the current average-sized suburban McMansion.


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