I have been collecting Elvis Presley records, albums, photographs, video files, audio files, soundboard audio files, outtakes, concerts, concert tickets, and then there are what I consider to be, if I had to choose, the most meaningful Elvis Presley artifacts being his own handwritten notes, signatures, books with his handwriting, autographs, etc.
Some collectors put their money into Elvis’ “jumpsuits” which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars but my take is if you have the money good for you but a piece of clothing hanging up in a closet, or display case, is cool but not affordable and in my opinion sooooooooooooooooooo less meaningful.
Elvis Presley, contrary to others opinions, was not without his faults. Believe it or not Elvis had some self esteem/body issues. He thought his neck was too skinny and a little long. He thought the pores on his face, a result of teenage acne, were too large. In later years his weight ballooned and it was evident in his face (sadly), hands. body. feet, etc. Prior to joining the United States Army, after being drafted the 3rd week of December 1957 and the draft notice was hand delivered to Elvis at his beloved home in Memphis being Graceland, he had insecurities about his strength. Now, his legs were strong and he knew how to punch as is evident by his trial in Memphis in 1956 in a foray with a gasoline station attendant who took a cheap shot at Elvis and he got a large shiner/black eye in return AND Elvis loved physical contact in sports or playing around but exercise and weight lifting was not his thing.
When Elvis was in the US Army, sans the horrific lifetime scars of his beloved mother dying being Gladys Love (Smith) Presley who died on August 14, 1958, he increased in strength in every area and began taking martial arts in addition to his Army training. Elvis self confidence, in this area, was palpable. The fact that Elvis continued his martial arts training, even sponsoring America’s martial arts representatives in competitions/Olympics, in various styles was a testament to his love of not only the art but knowing, truly knowing, he could take care of himself.
In the 1970’s, while in Las Vegas for a 30 day concert stint, Elvis received a written death threat. For full disclosure Elvis had been threatened since becoming an informer and the most serious being with an east coast Mob boss became aware of Elvis spending time with a certain someone and ordered a hit on him. Yes, a real hit meaning he wanted Elvis killed. The story goes that Elvis took it to heart and reached out to Frank Sinatra, who was no fan of Elvis’ until Elvis appeared on his Elvis Homecoming TV Show Elvis’ first appearance after being honorable discouraged from the US Army, and Sinatra through his connections confirmed the hit was real. Sinatra used his connections, and the possibility that millions of fans would demand justice to anyone involved in Elvis’ death, and the hit was called off. The amount of $ 30,000.00 comes to mind but the who, what, when, where, etc. I cannot recall at this time.
Back to the Las Vegas threat. The FBI was notified, in addition to Elvis’ own bodyguards and exceptional relationships with police captains across the US, and upon review they informed Elvis the threat was real and told him to cancel his concert later that night. Elvis respected everyone concerns but he opted to perform saying “some of these fans will never be able to see me again and I don’t want to disappoint them”. But Elvis had two caveats. The first being that if there was any discernment of physical actions out of the norm that lethal force was to be used as a last resort. The second was that Elvis said “I don’t some some son of a bitch running around saying I killed Elvis Presley so you don’t hesitate to pull your guns and kill that s.o.b.”.
… to be continued