After enjoying our time in St. Louis, we headed south to Memphis to visit...
Elvis was only 22 when he purchased the colonial style mansion and the surrounding acres from a doctor and his wife for $100,000 in 1957.
The property was originally "Graceland Farms."
Elvis's last major remodel was in the early 70's and it shows.
We had heard that the house would be pretty tacky but we didn't think it was that bad. The interior just reflects the time period and a guy that could decorate his house any way he liked. It was actually pretty homey.
The formal dining room. Only the first floor and basement is open to visitors. The second floor has been kept private to honor Elvis's wishes.
The kitchen is dated, of course, but I'm sure it was state-of-the-art for the time.
Nothing says the 70's like carpet in the kitchen!
Note the security camera monitors. He had them in his bedroom as well.
The TV room, down in the basement, was supposedly one of Elvis's favorite places to spend time. The tour guide did mention that this was done by a professional decorator. He had three TVs so he could watch all three networks simultaneously, like the president! Note the creepy monkey...
The pool room, also a well-used room. The walls and ceiling are covered in a pleated fabric. The pool table obviously had lots of use. You can see the torn felt on the top right corner that happened when a buddy of Elvis tried a trick shot.
Back on the first floor, the infamous "jungle room." Yeah, this is pretty tacky but whatever. There's the rest of the monkey set under the window. Who hasn't wanted a waterfall wall and a carpeted ceiling?
Not to mention a fake fur couch with carved dragon arms? Go Elvis! The audio tour mentioned that he loved Hawaii and wanted to incorporate that into his house.
This room (probably because of the carpeted ceiling) had good acoustics so Elvis recorded his last two records here.
Did you know Elvis went through a gun phase?
There's a converted garage out back that had his father, Vernon's, office and this shooting range. Elvis also had horses and a fleet of golf carts and other motorized toys for everyone to race around on. He liked to have a good time.
"The Gold Hall"
Elvis got every kind of award ever conceived.
He was also very charitable and did a lot for the city of Memphis and countless organizations and individuals.
This is his leather outfit from the 1968 comeback special on NBC. He hadn't had a #1 song since '62 and was super nervous about doing a live televised performance. It was a smash hit.
And, of course, his jumpsuits are on display.
This was his racket-ball court! Now converted for the display of all his gold records, awards, and...
Another iconic costume is this gold lame suit. Supposedly this cost $10,000 to make!
You could even have your very own Elvis jumpsuit!
Hmmm, maybe not. LeTigre cost less than that!
The Meditation Garden...
and Elvis' resting place.
He's interred here with his parents and grandmother. There's also a marker for his twin brother who died at birth.
Flowers still arrive daily for Elvis, even 35 years after his death.
Elvis liked to live in style and travel in it as well...
Everything's covered to preserve it. The seat belts are 24k gold plated!
There's a lounge, a dining room, and...
a bedroom at the rear of the plane. There're also two bathrooms.
Elvis' TCB logo:
"Takin' Care of Business, in a Flash!"
For shorter jaunts, he also had this Lockheed Jetstar.
Certainly more basic but still colorful.
The audio tour mentioned that when Elvis found out Lisa Marie had never seen snow, he immediately flew her out to Colorado, played in the snow, and flew back that day!
And, of course, he had cars. Elvis loved cars and loved giving them away too. I could dedicate an entire blog to his Cadillacs, Lincolns, and Rolls Royces but I'll limit this to his favorite, a 1973 Stutz Blackhawk.
Elvis was driving this car when he passed thru the gates of Graceland for the last time on August 16, 1977.
He died that night at the age of 42.
So, overall, we really enjoyed Graceland and left with a better appreciation of the King. He was quite a guy: talented, likable, smart, generous, and.... imperfect. Certainly, and aren't we all? Our only negative observation is the rampant commercialism of his name. We passed thru no less than 10 gift shops filled with everything imaginable with Elvis' image and signature on it.
That's the tacky part of Graceland.
I'd take a powder blue jumpsuit though.
Next: Crashin' another party...