August 16, 2018…41 years later

This is (sadly) the 41st anniversary of the death of Elvis Aron (Aaron) Presley. I am among the ever decreasing persons who were alive during Elvis’ career. I can remember that day like it was yesterday and that is saying something as my medical diagnosis, along with my daily observations/frustrations, impair (to varying degrees) my memory.

August 16, 1977 was a bright sunshine day where I lived/was born/was raised and the same is true in Memphis Tennessee where Elvis had his primary home. The home he purchased with his mother and father being Gladys Love (Smith) Presley and Vernon Elvis Presley. The home that was removed from the city. A home that part of the acres adjoin a church. A home that the previous owners named Graceland. A home that was the confirmation of the promise Elvis made repeatedly during his childhood of “mamma one day I am going to buy you a nice house”. A home where Gladys had her chickens. A home that, with some exceptions, looks similar now as it was when Elvis bought it. A home that Elvis loved. It is also (sadly) the location where Elvis died.

My heart and prayers go out to; Billy Jo Smith, Lisa Marie Presley, the Presley family, Kathy Westmoreland, Sandie Kaye Stevens, Sandi Pichon, Jerry Schilling, and others who I extend this apology to for not naming them in this blog post.

I learned today that Aretha Franklin died today as well. Interestingly she was from Memphis and she died on the day as Elvis i.e. August 16th. People called Elvis “the king” or “the king of rock and roll”. People called Aretha “the queen of soul”. Worth noting is that there is audio of Elvis in concert in the 1970s whereby a woman holds up a sign saying “Elvis is King” and Elvis responded “there is but one king Jesus Christ”.

Future generations may have access to so much about the life, onstage and off, of Elvis Presley. I can attest to the fact that there is far too much incorrect information. Bias. Disrespect. Conjecture concerning Elvis. I have always believed in facts, firsthand sources, and context. I am not one of those that believed Elvis walked on water or that he was perfect or that he made all the right decisions. Elvis was a man blessed by God, as we all are, with talents. Elvis bravely pursued his talents and the rest as they say is…history. It is my hope that long past the day I pass that some of my insights, opinions, knowledge of Elvis is read and put into proper context. That they don’t feed into the lies and half truths. That they enjoy his music. His films. His TV appearances. His concert, and personal, recordings. There are some good life lessons to be garnered about Elvis as a man, a Christian, who had a heart and passion for those who were poor and disadvantaged. Elvis was born and raised in bitter poverty and he embraced people of all types and music of all types. Elvis knew firsthand the challenges of being raised for a period of time by a single parent as his father was completing his time in jail/prison (note: Vernon did everything humanly possible to take responsibility, compensate the injured party in full, To not ever get into legal trouble again. Vernon was ashamed and embarrassed about this and in no way shape or form did this one act dictate who Vernon Presley was as a man, a father, and a husband. And the ONLY reason I bring this subject up is that so many don’t know of Elvis’ life and all of the hardships).

Take care and may God bless you.

PHOTOS are; Elvis while in his US Army stint (1958 – 1960), Elvis with Priscilla at Graceland circa 1967, Elvis with Priscilla on vacation circa 1968, Elvis with the Clara Ward singers circa 1960s, Elvis in front of Graceland with his Rolls Royce circa 1960s, and some of Elvis’ cars at his home in Memphis Tennessee being Audubon Drive circa 1956.

WM Horse Army

WM Elvis wtih Priscilla his back n snowWM E Cilla (7)WM 1960s Elvis with Clara Ward sisters rare indeed 10WM CARS outside GRACELAND 1965 March 17WM AUDOBON DRIVE Elvis cars lined up

 

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Thoughts about Elvis’ legacy going forward

I have said it since I was much much younger that I am part (sadly) of the last generation who lived during Elvis’ lifetime. The future was unknown as Elvis was contractually obligated to do (approximately) 3 moves per year and he NEVER saw the scripts. Never had script approval. That’s right Elvis Presley the most successful actor in movie history, for the criteria being that every one of his movies made money for the movie studio NET which is almost impossible as movie studios accounting practices require a PHD, was bound to the script. The character. The locations. The songs. As Priscilla has stated, and so many of those close to Elvis watched, Elvis was absolutely 100% C R U S H E D by the increasing lack of quality movies. Man even me being a fan opted to go to the movies with a large frosty beverage and a heart attack large popcorn just to walk into the theater knowing Elvis had to be, at times, embarrassed. But give the man credit he did his best and if he used drugs then, and many say he did, this isn’t funny but I don’t know how else he got through SOME of these movies.

I miss Elvis.

I miss Elvis as a living breathing example of a man using his god given talents and worked hard to pursue his craft and against all odds being a great, and successful, entertainer for three DECADES. There will never be another Elvis because there will never be circumstances that Elvis leaned on to inflect in his songs. Yeah he had a photographic memory, perfect tune, 4 1/2 octave range, incredible voice, and to everyone who saw him said “he looks even better in person”. WHAT? Did I catch that? Looks better in person? Man I can barely get a respectable FB self photo to look anything like me and this man takes photographs that are almost unworldly.

You know I have spent a great deal of my time this past years further cataloging, indexing, enhancing what is there, etc. photos. It has been a positive distraction while battling the “C” word and all that goes with that and I got news for you jack it ain’t kids games.

*** Note – I type exactly as fast as I think and that is why I have so many typographical errors and I don’t want anyone puzzled to my meaning as I use words in my writing that I use in real life so relax man it ain’t so bad

I miss Elvis knowing he never allowed his music to be altered. Enhanced. Digitally auto tuned. Or any of the state of the art software they have now that can make a cricket sing America the Beautiful on par with, as an example, Whitney Houston. Elvis MOVED on stage. He had real musicians. He had real hand picked singers. He sounded as good, if not better, in person than in recordings. Amazing then. Amazing now.

Well, for now I gotta go. God willing I’ll see you soon

Take care and may God bless you

Jeff Schrembs

 

 

Elvis Presley and . . . Chess (Part 1)

 

Chess is a game that has been around (literally) thousands of years. It is thought to have primarily originated in India but components of China also lay claim. There is no confusion about Chess being played, studied, etc. in terms of military aspects with the “winner” limiting the opponents King so that it is trapped vertically, diagonally, and horizontally (i.e. checkmate) by one piece (the Queen) or combinations of other pieces such as; pawns, rooks, knights, and bishops. Basically, a class system summarized on a board.  Though I have played Chess all my life, and I am ok at it, it is a game that (up until the recent advent of high tech computers that can process thousands of calculations) is seldom mastered.

I encourage others to play chess for there are numerous benefits. You don’t need a lot of money and on computers, or with the assist of computers, you can play against a virtual opponent. Playing Chess forces one to look 1, 2, 3, etc. steps ahead which change fluidly in response to the opponents move(s).

Before I get to Elvis I want to make another point and that is since Chess is thousands of years old the game is over as specified herein but the Queen has the greatest power as she holds the greatest power, mobility, etc. I think it’s kinda cool that even back in the ages when women, in general, were second-class citizens that women (deservingly so) were openly given this status.

There are conflicting accounts of Elvis’ interest, or lack of, pertaining to Chess. But all agree that as an adult Elvis owned a Chess set as part of his decor. And everyone who knew Elvis, personally or professionally, remark about his quick wit, intelligence, photographic memory, etc some of which are great assets when it comes to playing Chess.

Pawns – in Chess there are more pawns (8) that any other pieces. The pawns represent the lowest class (not my opinion but in this context) but they can, in combination, be used to win the game known as “checkmate”.

Knights – they come in pairs and have a unique ability, or disability, wherein they move (forward or back) two spaces and then one space to the side. The name “Knights” is self-evident.

Bishops – they come in pairs and their unique ability (other than the Queen) is that they move diagonally, forward or backward, but they cannot deviate from the board color which they are initially placed before the game commences. The name “Bishop” is self-evident pertaining to a respected place in Christianity/Religion.

Rooks – they come in pairs and their unique ability (other than the Queen) whereby they can move forward or sideways in more than one space at a time. The name “Rook” is not known to me off the top of my head but it is sculptured in the form of a standing castle.

Queen – there is only one and as I have stated herein her powers are the greatest insofar as the ability to move (note – they do not have the power to move as the Knights do).

King – there is only one and every effort is made to protect the King. The King is limited to one space at a time.

Elvis Presley.

Pawn – To know Elvis you have to understand that he was born to parents who were not educated. I state this with great respect for Gladys and Vernon but it is a fact. They (Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon) were poor. Dirt poor. Bitterly poor. Without assets. Without means. Gladys could not read or write. She never had a drivers license.

What they lacked in education and means Gladys loved Elvis, as he did her, with her entire essence. Vernon loved Elvis but you just have to look at photographs, or videos, to see that Elvis is almost always touching Gladys when she is near. He holds her hand. He touches her face. He puts his arm around her.

SOLELY related to a class system in relation to Chess, and before Elvis gained monetary independence, the Presleys would be pawns. They have collective power. They cannot move freely as they are dictated to by their lack of means. Lack of education. Lack of political connections.

Knights – historically knights were sworn and dedicated (wholly) to the King. They were protectors. They had unique power and access. I would say that this is similar to the members of the “Memphis Mafia.

Bishops – since the name is historically rooted in Christianity the Bishop was assigned to look over their community. To be a person of honor. Of charity. A teacher of God, and when he walked the earth and afterward Jesus, to the rich and poor alike in their relationship with God. Though Elvis did not have a singular Bishop Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon (again before Elvis’ success) put great emphasis on their preacher/pastor very similar to a Bishop and they benefited from this pertaining to; church services, church gatherings, medical care, food/meals, as a fundamental social outlet

… to be continued

Elvis Presley December 31 2017

If one can imagine being the greatest entertainer in the world at 21 years old, blessed and keeping his promises made to his mother when he was a child of buying her a big house and never having to worry about money, etc. 1957 was a year of success on every level,  having created history in many entertainment fields such as; TV viewing numbers, record sales, and being in successful films everything (besides Elvis being away from Gladys for appearances/concert/movies) was going great in Elvis’ life onstage and off.

WM BIO Gladys   WM BIO 1956 Elvis with Gladys n kitchen rarereere8888888

1WM BIO 956 GRACELAND Vernon and Glayds V has hat rarere888888BIO 1955 3n1 of ELvis in photobooth smoothering1956 elvis gladys holding teddy bear rare indeedBIO 1956 Elvis with Gladys and Vernon fishing on boat     BIO Army induction Elvis with Gladys and Vernon full length his hand lovingly Gladys back head

But, after Elvis and Gladys and Vernon (and a few other persons) had decorated the home – put up the christmas tree (it was silver and the most expensive one available) – and prepared for Christmas which was upcoming a knock came to the door. Elvis Presley was officially served with US Army draft notifications. As Elvis opened the envelope he turned to Gladys who had been sobbing feeling the weight of the world. How? Why? Why now? The photographs, and I have them all, of Elvis reading the draft notification paperwork shows a stunned Elvis holding a little dog under one arm reading the paperwork again and again. Elvis tries to smile to lighten Grady’s burdens but his head is spinning thinking “my career is over – all of this is over”. Waves of emotions showed on Elvis, Vernon’s, and Gladys faces and body language. Elvis departed to get himself together so he could assure Gladys, his beloved mother, that all would be fine.

Knowing that this would be the last Christmas, and New Years, spent at home for two years the family that was born into bitter poverty had always survived…together. But, that was to change and change soon.

Unlike other entertainers Elvis would NOT go into the military as a goodwill ambassador, or do concerts for US civilians to buy bonds to support the military as so many others had done, but that Elvis would (with few exceptions) go through his tenure in the Army as did his fellow inductees.

Word soon spread among the family members, and close friends, and all failed to alleviate Gladys’ soulful mourning. She was inconsolable. The understanding between Elvis and Gladys and Vernon pertaining to everyone else was that they were not to speak about Elvis’ leaving but try to make the holidays one of precious memories, laughter, and togetherness. As was the case his entire life Elvis did everything 24/7 to let his mother know he loved her above all else (excluding God/Jesus) and it would be all right. She was physically, emotionally, and mentally devastated and the tolls it would take on her would manifest themselves each and every moment of each and every hour of each day without end. No one knew how much their world was to change nor did they even contemplate the fact that this would not only be the last Christmas/New Years at home but the last that Elvis, Gladys, and Vernon would be together at all for Gladys would (sadly) pass away approximately eight months later on August 14, 1958 at the age of 46 (note: Elvis never knew she was 46 years old as throughout his life he was told she was 4 years younger than she really was so when she passed Elvis believed her to be 42 years old. August, the second week of August, 42 years of age would sadly not be the only significant dates in the lives of a Presley dying for Elvis would follow her on August 16, 1977 at the age of 42).

…to be continued

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 to everyone and may God bless you and yours…always.

Jeff Schrembs 2017/2018 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

ElvisCollectorWorldwide.freeforums.org

 

 

Unique mannerisms of Elvis Presley

Great entertainer. Check.

Great singer. Check

Successful actor. Check

Greatest recording artist in history. Check

Tremendously charitable throughout his life. Check

But let’s look at some of his (yeah he was human) mannerisms.

Elvis had a great and sincere laugh. He got tickled. There were times he couldn’t stop laughing. He had a quick wit. He had a photographic memory. He, in private moments or those when he was recording, used foul language. Some of the unreleased “takes” show Elvis using curse words and though it may be seemly to others it was a part of his personality.

He said; sir, mam, yes sir, yes mam, thank you, and he went out of his way to thank everyone from the guard at the gates to the engineers to the secretaries to the fellow musicians. He was thoughtful and one example of this is that he always sent flowers to Ann Margret every time her show opened. He was “country” in his heart, some mannerisms, and in some speech. But don’t get lost in that because Elvis had extravagances that many can only dream of (4 engine airplanes, custom jewelry, handmade clothes, personal hair stylist, best of the best hotel suites in Las Vegas and elsewhere, vacations to Hawaii/Bahamas taking along family/friends/co-workers and of course loved ones.

He LOVED his mother. He loved his father but the love he had for his mother was palpable. He showed his affection for her in words, gestures. kisses, hugs, holding her hand, touching her hair, etc.

Elvis had one leg shorter than the other. This allowed him to move his legs in ways not seen before (note – one of my legs is shorter than the others and I can mimic those leg movements BUT the pains it causes in the lower back/hips can be excruciating and sometimes immobile).

Elvis wore lifts in his shoes. He started doing this in the late fifties and definitely in the 1960’s and 1970’s. This put his height to 6’1 and borderline 6’2. Without lifts medical documents put his height at 5’10, 5’11, and in interviews Elvis said several times in response to “how tall are you” he said “right at six feet”.

As a young man, teen, and through the 1950’s Elvis had an INCREDIBLE metabolism. He was a vivacious eater routinely eating several cheeseburgers, several order of fries, a milkshake or two, and washed it down with a soda. Sweets were a staple. Down home country southern meals awash with lard, butter, etc. Some of the meals (note – many times Elvis would eat the same meals for weeks at a time) he enjoyed were; meatloaf, potatoes (mashed and otherwise), corndogs, hotdogs sometimes with chili, fried chicken, chicken and dumplings, etc.

Elvis was not a drinker. If he drank it would be in moderation and it was a whiskey, peach brandy, and a few times a taste of bourbon. Growing up in the south, and his father had a history of drunk binges (this was not something Elvis was proud of and sadly Gladys took to the bottle with increasingly quantity which may have contributed to her (sadly) deteriorating health.

Elvis had, at first, a cap on his front teeth (it was one of the two that are exactly in the middle of the mouth and are slightly bigger than the others) which overlapped part of the other front tooth. Elvis also had a permanent remedy by having an implant (note –  photographs of Elvis tooth, mould, and so many RARE photographs can be seen at our sister website of http://www.ElvisCollector.info). All in all Elvis took care of his teeth and they were a focal point of Elvis incredible looks.

Elvis had blonde hair. It started to get darker when he was a teenager. You can see in some of Elvis’ tv appearances and in Elvis’ first movie (note – it was the only movie that Elvis was not the headliner but was listed as a co-star) Love Me Tender circa 1956 that his hair was brown. But, starting in 1956, Elvis died his hair jet black. In later years, from what I can surmise by looking at countless photographs, Elvis died his hair blue black. This gave him a shine and enhanced his already almost inhuman great looks.

Elvis broke his finger playing football. It was his pinky finger. The advances in hand/finger surgeries didn’t improve greatly until the 1990’s and certainly now so Elvis was told by his surgeon that there could be a permanent disfigurement on the pinky. Elvis asked the surgeon “can you set it somehow so I can play the guitar”? The surgeon made an off hand comment causing Elvis ( note – accounts vary but this is the essence of what was said) to say “you don’t have to listen to my music but playing the guitar is part of my job”.

Elvis’ body shape, meaning his torso waist and shoulders, was in the shape of the letter. Those who dressed him for the movies, concerts, etc. have proclaimed that “Elvis had the perfect canvas to dress him for he had a slender waist with large shoulders forming an almost perfect V. The upper part of Elvis’ legs were strong and muscular. Everything looked good on Elvis. For concerts he preferred the color white but one of his favorite colors was blue and he was bummed a little that he couldn’t wear blue more often on stage but he affirmed that the color white played off well with the three primary colors used in his concerts. Worth noting is that Elvis thought the pores on his face, and especially on his nose, were too large. He thought this calves/bottom part of his legs were a little small. He popped his collars up to cloak the acne (note – as a teenager/young man he had terrible acne on his face and back of his neck. He underwent medical procedures, starting in 1956, to clear up the acne and the lessen the scarring that acne leaves behind) on the back of his neck. He also thought he had a “skinny” or “elongated” neck (note – firsthand accounts vary in the severity of Elvis being self conscious about the shape of his neck but everyone agrees he had an issue with it).

Elvis was self conscious about his weight/appearance that he would, when he could be seen by fans/others, wear a t-shirt when swimming. When doing things on the water. Elvis was visually muscular but he was strong. A stark contrast can be seen in many photographs with Tom Jones, on vacation, where Tom is totally comfortable shirtless and even though the temperature/humidity was hot Elvis wore t-shirts.

Elvis would comment to those close to him, when watching his movies/concerts/etc, to “get that fat ass or look at that fat ass”. He was VERY weight conscious about his weight and it was evident during the early and surely the late 1970’s and his weight shocked fans viewing the photographs of Elvis wearing a track suit with Priscilla, Vernon and a few others walking after the final court appearance circa October 9, 1973. There is no doubt that, and the medical aspects of this cannot be understated as it contributed greatly to his problems with his metabolism which once allowed him to naturally burn the calories, the problems in his marriage took a huge toll on Elvis psyche (note – like so many of us his medical/emotional/physical/monetary contributed severely to him eating unhealthy or in larger portions). Increased eating, like it is for millions, was drastically increased when he was sad and for many reasons starting mildly in 1972. Elvis was a few pounds heavy and Elvis was told, and this was rare because Elvis often was surrounded by “yes” persons, “that Elvis had to lost 25 pounds” for the 1973 Aloha from Hawaii concert which was the very first worldwide telecast via satellite and was seen around the world with a total viewing audience of a BILLION people (note – by far this is the greatest television accomplishment especially taking into consideration the population of the United States/word was far less than now and there was only one screen to view this and it was via a TV which many people, for various reasons, did not have access to a TV. If, in 1973, there were as many “screens” as now along with the same population, there is no doubt that the total worldwide viewing audience would vastly increase).

Another point is that there were cooks on hand at Graceland 24 hours a day. The pantry, fridge, freezer, etc. was always stocked with the foods/beverages that Elvis wanted. This included ice cream and I bring this up because in 1977 Elvis weighed the most and for the last week of his life (i.e. August 16, 1977) Elvis “dieted”. In the late hours/early morning hours the last 24 hours of Elvis life one of his cooks saw a sadness in Elvis and said “honey are you sure you don’t want something to eat a snack a sandwich”? The cook said “Elvis’ responded with a half-smile giving off part of his great facial expressions/smile and then said maybe a cookie or two and some ice cream”. She made, or recently had made, the cookies from scratch and she brought up two scoops of ice cream and five cookies. The remnants of Elvis’ bowl/plate showed he enjoyed the ice cream and ate all the cookies except one and a half.

Man, I have much to say on this topic but I have to go now. Though this is not related, and some may not appreciate me saying so, I encourage everyone to have the specific blood tests to check your thyroid levels every six months. Your thyroid manages everything from your metabolism to your mood to your lack of energy to your sleep to you gaining weight to how your look at yourself and/or life. Just about everything can be adversely effected by issues with your thyroid (note – I believed, like millions of others do, that my blood tests including the full spectrum of checking my thyroid. I believe that my thyroid contributed greatly to my health issues, personal interactions, actions, etc. for at least a year before it was diagnosed that my thyroid levels were awful. It got increasingly worse and contributed (which I am forever sorry for taking full responsibility for everything I said, did etc. and I am not proud of this) to the deterioration of my marriage/relationships. When I heard the news that I had thyroid cancer I almost didn’t believe it. I had been going through internal/mental/emotional/physical hardships that I mostly kept to myself. When I had my first surgery to remove the very very very large tumor on the right side of my thyroid they checked the left side (note – it is better in all ways to have part of your thyroid rather than none and this organ is very important/crucial) and it too confirmed carcinoma i.e. cancer and my entire thyroid had to be cut out). This was unexpected by my physicians, surgeon, and by me. I have been aggressive personally, and an advocate for as many people as I can be, in getting medications/health care/etc., for my thyroid levels (note – yes even though I have no thyroid it is crucial to the body so taking daily medications is mandatory. I still have ups and downs, pertaining to my thyroid and so many other adverse effects associated with thyroid disease, but I have good doctors/surgeons/specialists and I do everything I can to be physically and emotionally healthy.

Thanks for visiting this site and please let others know, via all social media outlets, about this site and about our other sites/blogs/websites such as http://www.ElvisCollector.info.

*** we hope you enjoy these Army related Elvis Presley photographs that are very rare, unique, and cool

Take care.

Jeff Schrembs

1977 Elvis live Unchained Melody

In 1977 I had been an Elvis Presley fan for (approximately) two decades. When I learned, through the “must have” tv viewing essential guide called TV guide which let you know in advance what programs were playing on each tv station time and date, that Elvis’ concert entitled “Elvis in Concert” (i.e. this concert footage was taken on June 19 and June 21 1977) was airing on October 3, 1977 it was a bittersweet reality that this would be the last (known) footage of Elvis onstage…forever.

I, and the nation and much of the world, was still in shock about Elvis dying on August 16, 1977 even though we knew Elvis had been enduring great, and in some cases debilitating, health issues (i.e. mental, physcial, and emotional).

Watching, on a now unthinkably small tv screen that was approximately 24 x 24, Elvis perform on “Elvis in concert” I was shocked to see the adverse effects his medial issues were having. But, I was amazed at his vocal abilities.

If you listened, as I did, to every song on the “Elvis in Concert” album you would be left with the impression that this was a man with incredible vocal range – inflections – feelings – and who was (wholly) unique. Man, he could sing.

Watching “Elvis in concert” it was clear that Elvis gave his heart and soul to his audience as he always had. I believed, and do to this day, that instead of performing (and I knew the incredible financial pressures he was under along with other personal/professional pressures) he should have been under the care of the world’s greatest doctors/hospitals with the never ending mantra from those he loved/trusted being “no amount of money is worth your health Elvis so please please stay committed to these treatments” (note: there is no doubt that many tried, time and again, but Elvis had the desire and ability to obtain medical care and medications…or not. A man cannot be kept from himself and decisions, whether made under duress of not, have consequences). Also, unlike today there were no state of the art treatment facilities where stars and/or those with means could recover without any adverse effect on their careers. The stigma of being labeled “a drug addict” was (in most cases) a kiss of death for one’s career and though I know that Elvis did not consider himself one AND I greatly dislike this connotation associated with Elvis his dependency on medications for very real medical diagnoses were something Elvis dealt with 24/7 and 1977 it had gotten..worse.

Bravely Elvis went before his audience knowing the cameras would be capturing Elvis in ill health but in spite of these hardships he went forth, as he had for decades, and gave the best performance possible.

Via YouTube is the very moving rendition of “Unchained Melody” a song that was previously a national hit for the Everly Brothers among others.

Take care and may God bless you.

 

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Elvis Presley & Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. January 2017

68 special in white odd angle.jpg

The upcoming weeks mark the well deserved federal holiday of Martin Luther King, Jr. “day”. In my opinion Dr. King, Jr. was an incredible leader who put his own well being in jeopardy standing up for not only what was right but to obtain justice for the masses.

I have, on several occasions, read the writings of Dr. King, Jr. and those he wrote while he was in jail (like so many of his writings) were powerful and stirred my emotions. What an incredible leader.

Decades ago I was honored, by marriage, to have stayed in the suite in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel. This was the same suite that Dr. King, Jr. wrote his “I have a dream speech”. Though the wedding took every moment the significance of Dr. King, Jr. being in the same suite was very…humbling. I have great memories of that time, and that love, I (in far too many ways) I took for granted. But, this post is about the connection(s) between Elvis and Dr. King, Jr.

Elvis grew up poor. Elvis never saw one’s color nor did he tolerate those who treated others with anything but respect.

Elvis grew up in the church moved by preachings, the choir, and the church filled. Elvis grew up a southerner and endured everything that being a southern man, at the period in history, entails. Elvis loved the church and was a deeply spiritual man. The same can be said of Dr. King, Jr.

Several firsthand accounts confirm that Elvis had respect, and admiration, for Dr. King, Jr. and his non-violent approach.

On April 4, 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered by a coward. And he was murdered in Elvis’ beloved city of Memphis in Tennessee which upset Elvis greatly. One would think that living in the 1960’s, which I did and all the turmoil and the decade had earlier brought the murder of America’s President John F. Kennedy and months after Dr. Kings’ death came the murder of Robert Kennedy, that “nothing would be shocking” as the country was “numb” by back to back killings bringing anger and uncertainty. But, when it came to the death of Dr. King, Jr. millions of people then and now mourn and that includes this writer.

During the 1960’s Elvis was locked into movie contracts which played out to be approximately three per year. Not many people know that Elvis had to star in movies regardless of the quality, or lack of, the scripts. Elvis had no say over the movies he starred in and the 1960’s were, in many instances, frustrating for Elvis.

Elvis was presented with an opportunity to have a TV special that would air around the Christmas season in 1968. I have written about aspects concerning this special in great detail so what I will say now is that Elvis, with the guidance of the talented producer/director, realized that this was the chance for him to return to a live audience (which he was kept from for approximately 8 years) as well as showcase his first love in entertainment and that was singing/performing.

When the time came, after great momentum, for Elvis to decide how to end the TV Special, which would be sponsored by the Singer sewing company and titled “Elvis”, Elvis wanted to express his feelings. His pulse. His sensitivity. His release from years of pent up anger/frustration. Elvis shared this with Walter Earl Brown, a great song writer, and together they used direct quotes of Dr. Kings, they came up with one of the greatest songs in the world…”if I can dream”.

Not only was the song beautiful but Elvis poured his heart and soul into the song. There are two versions of this song from the 68 special and one was Elvis in front of the audience in black leather and he never looked, or sounded, better. The other was Elvis, dressed in a white 1960’s fashionable suit, singing in front of large red lit letters that spelled out “E L V I S”. The version of Elvis in white is my personal favorite version of this song. I encourage everyone to watch Elvis performing this song and affirm that, with every pore and vocal inflection, Elvis shared a soulful message with the viewing audience all the while paying respect and love to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The TV ratings were a success and catapulted Elvis back into superstardom as a singer/performer. Out of the thousands of songs Elvis knew, and he had a photographic memory, he could not of picked a better song than “if I can dream”. I believe it is one of Elvis’ greatest performances and certainly was a meaningful song for him as a man and as an entertainer.

It is hard, at times, for me to believe that it has been 49 years since Dr. King, Jr. took breath upon this earth. And it has been, as of August 16th of this year (i.e. 2017), 40 years since Elvis took his last breath. Both of these men had failures, shortcomings, and regrets but they were both wholly unique and they rose to infamy for what they stood for – what they believed – and how they chose to live their lives. I miss them both and my prayers are always with the family, and loved ones, of these great men.

Take care and God bless you.

Jeff Schrembs

http://www.ElvisCollector.info

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Christmas 2014 (by Jeff Schrembs)

Christmas has always been bittersweet for me.

Seems like all of the “bad” stuff in my life, and I plead guilty to self inflicted bad acts, happens from late September through late December.

Growing up I saw, as was the case the other 364 days of the year, how different my grandparents were on the “sides” of my family. One had animation, full blown christmas decorations, and beauty and the other had “lets all get together as a family”. I enjoyed them both but, for some reason(s), always felt…alone.

As a father I always made an effort for my children to have a great christmas. I have so many memories, still left in my mind and others recorded, of the days before – the day off – and the garbage trash bags being filled with wrapping paper. I watched the christmas video from 2009 but I could only get through 2 minutes as my heart was, is, and god knows if ever it will change…irreparably broken. I mention 2009 because out of all the presents my little girl loved playing with was not the presents but the boxes. With the ribbons and bows. With the wrapping paper. At the time I made this recording, and I was always the one taking the photos and videos rarely being in them, I never imagined how my life would turn within the year.

They say that depression spikes this time of year. Certain statistics bear this out. I don’t really know what is harder; never having a chance to make things right or the role that one played in making things…wrong. I equate it to a one hour QVC special where the host is selling dirt. Yes dirt. For one hour they gush about dirt. Then the next hour dirt is the “todays special” and dirt now is available in 6 easy payments. You get caught up in watching how special they make dirt look and before you know it you regret everything about it and you are mad at yourself for falling for the “manufacturers list price of a pound of dirt being $225.00” then “marked down to $99,95”. It is truly a “lose lose” situation all the way around.

Anyway I was fortunate to have some really good christmas’ spent with those I loved, and still do, the most. It wasn’t all of the animated christmas figures I collected (jealous?) nor the activated matching teddy bears that mesmerized everyone under four foot tall. It was that the mother of my children made it special. She was the reason. She did 99.9% of it. She was the rock. She was…everything.

TIme goes by and those you worried about, raised, loved, gave them baths, put them to sleep, cried over, and loved grow up and before you know it are addicted to screens. Video screens. TV screens. Tablet screens. Every type of screen but a door.

*** Random thought alert *** – I just remembered a christmas when my son was about 10 years old and he got the latest video system and game. He got this game, back when modems where attached to the phone still around 2004, and I remember that it enabled him to join other kids his age. It showed their “screen names” and they were so cute. Such as; I love puppies, daddy’s girl, I like pink, almost 9, etc. And in this game they are parachuting and trying to win a flag. Well, I checked in on my son and he was all in on the game. He yelled out demands for beverages and treats. He LOVED this game. Anyway as he sips on soda, and rips open snacks, he tells me to get out of the way and I try to make “heads or tails” about this game and then (after about 15 minutes) he finds time to show me his character. I almost fell out of the (bottom of the bunk) bed. His character was not “I like kittens”. It wasn’t “I like juice”. It wasn’t G rated. It wasn’t R rated. It was XX rated. And as my eyeballs were trying to fall out of my head I saw that at the bottom of the screen was a live “chat”. It was obvious that the little kids parents had become aware of my sons choice of adjectives. So being 6 foot 1 and around 215 pounds (at the time now I am less than 180) I did what any big man/father figure does…I went and told my wife. She was sitting on a stool and when she laughed her body would move. She spat out her coffee. She thought it was hilarious. Her laugh was unique and it lit up a room. Well, it wasn’t until my son passed out on the bean bag, with crumbs on his face and plastic wrappers in his hands and 2 liter coke bottles to the left and right (by the way how did he get those 2 litres?) that I was able to “rename” his character and put a password on it. I thought he would sleep about 8 hours but in the middle of the night I heard “DAD. DAD. WHAT DID YOU DO”? To prove to him I was in control, and he would listen to his father, I (again) did what anyone in my situation would. We negotiated ending up with me buying him a “cheat code”, which he took full advantage of, in return for a “G rated” character name. Those were the days.

Well, this story would not be complete (oxymoron for this post went way off course) without a “shout out” to National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I still have nightmares, not really after all it was funny in hindsight, about the time I loaded up all of our beach vacation suitcases/etc. while the SUV was IN the garage only to have it pointed out to me (again with the laugh) that my SUV now could not back out of the garage because I had 350 pounds of luggage on top.

Christmas. Memories. May you have many many more of them and enjoy them to no end.

WHAT. I wrote this on my Elvis Expert Blog? Come on Jeff. My apologies to those expecting Elvis. Here is a rain check and not from…QVC.