Jim E Curtin
The name Jim E Curtin is well known in the Elvis world not only as a super collector but also as an entertainer and author. Jim is said to have known Elvis Presley from 1970 to 1977. He began his tribute show to Elvis in 1975. Elvis is said to have given him a jumpsuit.
In the early ‘70s, after spending his adolescence fanatically collecting virtually every Presley recording, foreign and domestic, Curtin, by then in his early 20s, decided he had to meet Elvis. He knew he needed a special plan, so he saved every cent he could from his job in a grocery store, and ordered a $2,000 custom-made Gibson guitar, which had "Elvis Presley" and two crowns inscribed on the fretboard.
Then, in September 1974, he bought two plane tickets to Las Vegas, one for him and one for the guitar. After spending a week in the Las Vegas and attending all of Presley’s shows at the Hilton (often paying the maitre d’ up to $200 for a front row seat), Curtin managed to track down Vernon Presley, Elvis’s father, in one of the casinos and begged him for an opportunity to meet the King.
Miraculously, at 5 a.m. one morning Curtin was summoned by the elder Presley to Elvis’s hotel room. There Curtin met Presley, reverentially told him how much he loved him, and presented him with the guitar. He also had several photos taken with Elvis, but he later found that none of the shots would develop because of a camera malfunction. So he “had no proof of that meeting,” says Curtin. “To this day I lose sleep over it.”
At the King’s concert the next night, however, Presley publicly thanked Curtin for the guitar. The Vegas trip cost Curtin $5,000, but the black $2,000 Gibson acoustic now hangs in the Trophy Room at Graceland.
A year after that near-religious experience, Curtin went back to Vegas with more expensive gifts in an effort to finagle another meeting and more pictures with Elvis, but by then Elvis had gained a lot of weight and would not allow any picture taking. As a consolation, Presley gave Curtin one of his ostentatious jumpsuits, and to this day it remains one of Curtin’s most prized possessions. “I’m thinking about getting buried in it,” he says without a hint of irony.
Curtin later followed several Presley tours around the country and saw the King perform a total of 51 times. He also met Elvis three more times and shook his hand 33 times (“32 times with the right, once with the left”).
During the mid-70’s, before the term “Elvis impersonator” even existed, Curtin was dressing like Elvis, and in 1976 he began singing Elvis songs with a band at various Philadelphia area clubs. When Presley died a couple years later, the demand for Elvis impersonators skyrocketed, and Curtin was performing his tribute all over the mid-Atlantic region. In his heyday in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Curtin had a dozen different fan clubs.
Over the years, Jim built up his Elvis Empire of Elvis memorabilia including over 25,000 photos of Elvis ,over 10,000 collectibles of Elvis, over 5,000 records of Elvis from all over the world ,10,000 feet of unlreased concert footage on Super 8mm film ,3 original stage-worn jumpsuits once belonging to Elvis and hundreds (if not thousands) of other items.
Jim E Curtin Auction Catalog
Back in 2006, Jim sold much of his collection at auction. Here is some information on the items included in that auction. "This is the personal collection of Jim 'E' Curtin III, a lifelong Elvis fan -- but, not just any fan. Mr. Curtin has been the foremost Elvis impersonator for many years performing live before thousands nationwide. Additionally, he has authored numerous books on The King, and recorded several music CD's -- all the while amassing personal items related to this 20th Century pop culture icon -- a phenomenal accomplishment for someone who genuinely idolized the legend.
Mr. Curtin's collection is extraordinary for its content and rarity, as well as its massive quantity. There are thousands of original SUN and RCA record albums (both American and foreign labels, some autographed by Elvis) over 100 promotional records, an extensive sheet music collection, thousands of magazines, thousands of postcards and advertising posters, and hundreds of pieces of Elvis memorabilia produced by Elvis Presley Enterprises.
From Elvis' concerts, there are original ticket stubs, programs, backstage passes, worn scarves, guitar picks, belts, buckles -- highlighted by three stage-worn jumpsuits and costumes. These elaborately, designed suits are well documented and coveted by the most avid collectors. One such suit is the nail- mirrored, white jumpsuit Elvis wore in concert at the Houston Astrodome on March 3, 1974 before a record-setting 88,000 fans. This suit was personally presented to Jim Curtin on March 31, 1975 by Elvis backstage in Las Vegas."
One of Jim's books about Elvis
You can find Jim's books on Amazon for affordable prices. See below.
Curtin passed away on June 27, 2011.The cause of death and funeral arrangements are unknown as of now. As soon as we get more info, we will update this story. Our deepest sympathies go out to Jim's family and friends. God Bless you Jim. Rest in peace!
Source; Megan Murphy - backinmemphis.blogspot.com / EpGold
The correct date of Jim's passing is June 25th
He died from a heart attack and suffered from leukemia.
Services/funeral information to be posted on Jim E Curtin (A Memorial) facebook page.