Tupelo to Vegas
Memphis, with Graceland, Elvis' private jet, and Sun Studios, is the obvious destination for those seeking Elvis. But one need not go far to touch other places graced by Presley's presence. Just a hundred miles down U.S. 78 is Tupelo, Mississippi -- the birthplace of the King.
The centerpiece of Tupelo's Elvis Presley Center is the two-room home built by Vernon Presley on a borrowed $180. This is the house where Elvis Aaron Presley was born (along with a stillborn twin), on January 8, 1935, and where some say a mysterious blue light was seen at the moment of the birth.
The Presley Center houses a park, a memorial chapel and a museum that boasts "one of the most unique private collections of Elvis memorabilia in the world." The collection includes various personal objects that once belonged to Elvis, including motorcycle boots and one of the King's famed jumpsuits from his Las Vegas act.
This is the house where Elvis Aaron Presley was born (along with a stillborn twin), on January 8, 1935, and where some say a mysterious blue light was seen at the moment of the birth.
Las Vegas has almost as much of Elvis chi as Memphis. There's nary an Elvis impersonator who doesn't do the jumpsuit, the gold lame, the sideburns and dark glasses that characterize Elvis in Vegas -- and we don't mean 1963's "Viva Las Vegas," when a considerably younger Presley cavorted on the big screen at the Flamingo Hilton with Ann-Margret.
But oh what other Elvis wonders await the seeker in the City of Gaudy Lights. There's the Las Vegas Hilton (formerly the International Hotel) where the Southern boy strutted those jumpsuits and where he lived in the 30th floor Imperial Suite, now known as (ahem) the Elvis Presley Suite.
The King himself walked these halls, performed on this stage -- and once allegedly shot out his television set because he didn't like a Robert Goulet song.
Downstairs just inside the casino entrance there is a 400-pound bronze statue, dedicated in 1978 by Presley's father, Vernon, and former wife, Priscilla. And not far from the statue is a glass case displaying a guitar and ... one of those trademark jumpsuits.
Elvis broke all Vegas attendance records and recorded his first live album during a four-week stint at the International in 1969.
Other Vegas Presliana can be found at the New Frontier Hotel, where the baby-faced Presley played his first Las Vegas concert in 1956 (he was apparently not well received, at least by the critics), the Aladdin Hotel where he married Priscilla Anne Beaulieu on May 1, 1967 (the room is reportedly untouched from that time, but no one knows for sure), and the Graceland Wedding Chapel, which has no real connection with the King except that grooms often don jumpsuits and costumed Elvis witnesses can be booked in advance as attendants.
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