Attention Elvis fans: New attractions at Memphis' Graceland, Presley's former home and mecca to legions of devoted fans, have just opened or will soon debut.
On Jan. 8 (the King's birthday), an exhibit chronicling 1956, a pivotal year for the performer, opened in a refurbished space in the estate's trophy building. It was 55 years ago that Elvis recorded his first hit single, Heartbreak Hotel. He also released his first album, filmed Love Me Tender, and created his first splash on national TV (including the infamous Ed Sullivan Show appearance).
"It was the year Elvis went from being a regional name to the national stage," says Graceland publicist Kevin Kern.
Before appearing on Sullivan's show, Kern says, the host had vowed he'd never book Presley. He reconsidered after the twitchy-hipped performer went on rival Steve Allen's show and topped Sullivan's ratings.
"There was a natural publicity machine around Elvis," Kern says. "He was unlike anything else."
Elvis! His Groundbreaking, Hip-Shaking, Newsmaking Story, an expanded version of an exhibit that has been on display at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., will open on March 1 at Graceland.
CAPTIONGraceland EnterprisesHe apparently still is. Opening March 1 at Graceland is Elvis! His Groundbreaking, Hip-Shaking, Newsmaking Story, an expanded version of an exhibit that's been at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum since last year. Cool artifacts include the drug enforcement officer's badge presented to him by President Nixon, one of his army uniforms and the white "American Eagle" jumpsuit from his 1973 "Elvis Aloha from Hawaii" broadcast.
"More people saw that show than saw the first moon landing," says Kern, who's an endless source of Elvis fun facts.
Graceland Enterprises is gearing up for major events in 2012, the 35th anniversary of Elvis' death. (Five and 10 year anniversaries draw the largest crowds, Kern notes).
"Elvis has been dead for 34 years and he made more money last year than a lot of live rock stars," he says.
As they say, The King is Dead. Long Live the King!
Source; USA Today / EpGold