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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2021
I want to share with everyone that Jesse phoned me late this afternoon and we had a very enjoyable conversation. He said that he is doing pretty well today. He said that he did enjoy Halloween and had many Trick or Treaters. So many that he ran out of the large amount of treats that he had on hand. He said that word must have gotten out that he was giving out good candy. Jesse said that he was sorry that he did not get a chance to call me last week and said that he will call as often as he can. His call was a beautiful ray of sunshine on our day as always. My deepest appreciation to Jesse.
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2021
My best friend M J sent an update regarding the Graceland Gospel Music Festival which begins tonight. It is going to be available for live streaming. You can read the cost and details below.
NOVEMBER 3-5, 2021 AT THE GRACELAND SOUNDSTAGE
SHOWS at 7:00 pm NIGHTLY | DOORS OPEN at 5:30 pm | PRE-EVENT at 6:00 pm
My thanks to M J for her update about this event which is sure to be very enjoyable.
SENT TO JESSE THRU THIS POINT
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2021
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2021
This week will be a good one for those of us who love Elvis/Jesse as roughly 280 PBS (Public Broadcast)TV stations will be airing the documentary “Elvis and the USS Arizona”.
The Imperial Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 inflicted a brutal blow on the U.S. Pacific fleet but only two active ships were a total loss – U.S.S. Oklahoma and U.S.S. Arizona. Oklahoma was eventually refloated but was too badly damaged to repair and return to service. Arizona, however, had been devastated by a cataclysmic explosion caused by a bomb crashing through the deck and igniting the ship’s forward magazine. Nearly 80 percent of Arizona’s 1,512 crewmen were lost with most of them being entombed in the sunken ship.
The wreck immediately became a memorial as passing ships rendered honors to the Arizona and her crew throughout the war. Proposals to erect a permanent memorial were promoted as early as 1943 but it was not until 1949 that an organized effort began to take shape following the creation of the Pacific War Memorial Commission (PWMC). As the PWMC considered ideas to formally recognize the role of Hawaii during the war which would include a memorial to the Arizona, Admiral Arthur Radford had a flagstaff placed on the wreck in 1950 and ordered that the colors be raised at the site every day. This modest memorial was later expanded to include wooden platforms and a commemorative plaque. Requests for Federal funds to improve the memorial in the early 1950s were denied because U.S. military actions in Korea were deemed a priority.
In 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Public Law 85-344 that allowed the PWMC to raise money on the Navy’s behalf for the construction of a memorial to the Arizona. Several designs were considered before architect Alfred Preis’s plan to build a concave marble bridge that straddled the wreck was selected. A fundraising goal of $500,000 was set and the initial response from the public was promising. An episode of the popular TV series This is Your Life dedicated to Medal of Honor recipient Rear Admiral Samuel Fuqua sounded the initial call for donations, generating $95,000. However, the project quickly stalled as donations dried up. By the start of 1960, only $155,000 had been raised. The drive was in desperate need of a swift and hard kick.
“Colonel” Tom Parker read about the struggling campaign in a newspaper and spotted an opportunity. As Elvis Presley’s manager, he was eager to get a bit of positive publicity for his client who had been out of circulation for a couple years after being drafted into the U.S. Army. Parker surmised that a benefit concert for the USS Arizona Memorial would raise much-needed awareness of the fundraising campaign while also demonstrating that Elvis still had drawing power. Elvis was not only pleased to be able to perform for an audience, he was a patriot who genuinely believed in the cause and wanted to help.
The PWMC accepted Elvis’s generous offer and began making arrangements with the Navy to use the 4,000 seat Bloch Arena at Pearl Harbor as the venue for the concert. It was the same arena that had hosted the “Battle of Music” the evening prior to the attack in 1941. The “Battle of Music” was a spirited competition to determine the best ship band in the Pacific Fleet. Although they had been eliminated from contention, the band from Arizona was present and played dance music for the attendees. They would never perform again. The entire band was killed in the explosion on the ship the next morning.
With the venue secured and the show scheduled for March 25, 1961, Parker set ticket prices ranging from $3 to $100 and announced that everyone would have to buy a ticket to see the show. Rank usually has its privileges but Parker seemed to take pleasure in rebuffing admirals and generals who approached him about complimentary tickets. When he said he everyone had pay, he meant everyone had to pay. Even the performers. Elvis bought a $100 ticket for himself then bought dozens more to give to staff and patients at a military hospital.
To reduce out of pocket expenses, Parker tried to sell networks the rights to broadcast the concert as a television special but was unable to secure an agreement. Fortunately, Paramount signed Elvis to star in “Blue Hawaii” which paid for him and his entourage to relocate to Honolulu for the filming of the movie which coincided with the benefit concert.
It is apparent that Elvis did not view the concert as merely a career enhancing photo opportunity. He came prepared to give the audience the best performance he could. He brought a talented band including several members from a group of accomplished session musicians known as the “Nashville A-Team.” Guitarist Hank Garland, bassist Bob Moore, pianist Floyd Cramer and saxophonist Boots Randolph (whose “Yakety Sax” has become synonymous with comedian Benny Hill) joined Elvis’s regular drummer DJ Fontana and guitarist Scotty Moore. Moore was no stranger to Pearl Harbor, having spent time there while serving in the Navy years earlier. The show would also include performances by the local comedic act Sterling Mossman, Elvis’s backing vocal group the Jordanairs and Grand Old Opry star Minnie Pearl.After a brief introduction by Rear Admiral Robert Campbell of the 14th Naval District, Elvis took the stage as hundreds of teenagers screeched in excitement. The King looked resplendent in his signature gold lame jacket with silver sequin lapels. He let out a brief screech of his own in response to the ecstatic audience before launching into his hit “Heartbreak Hotel.” All accounts state that Elvis was in peak form, giving an enthusiastic and energetic performance that included favorites “All Shook Up,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Are You Lonesome Tonight” and “It’s Now or Never.” He finished the show with a rollicking version of “Hound Dog” during which he slid across the stage on his knees. The 15 song set and 45 minutes of stage time were among the longest of his career. The concert would also be his last for 8 years.
The benefit was a resounding success. Ticket sales accounted for $47,000 with additional donations ($5,000 coming from Elvis) pushing the total take to over $60,000. Funding for the memorial was still well short of its target but the electricity of Elvis had generated the jumpstart the campaign needed. Money began to flow from other sources. The combination of public funds and private donations (including $40,000 from Revelle raised through sale of model kits of the Arizona) reached the goal of $500,000 by September, 1961 – just 5 months after the concert. Construction on the memorial was completed by the end of the year.
The USS Arizona Memorial was officially dedicated on May 30, 1962. Elvis certainly took pride in his role in building a permanent memorial to the crew of the Arizona and made several visits to the site on subsequent trips to Hawaii. The memorial has reached its own iconic status and welcomes 1.5 million visitors a year.
Elvis did not forget the Arizona, and the Navy did not forget Elvis. When Elvis passed away in 1977, the Navy showed is gratitude by placing a wreath for him at the U.S.S. Arizona Memorial.
The Alamos and nothing could be worse
— Elvis Presley, “He’s Your Uncle, Not Your Dad”
Because this appears to be airing at various times this coming week on the different PBS TV channels, I recommend that everyone check on your PBS channels to find the day and time of the airing in your area. We have our DVR set to record and I am really looking forward to watching it. I think it is tremendous that the decision was made to air this during the week of Veterans Day.
This show did not air on Monday night on our channel as was shown in our guide. Very disappointing! It looks like it will air later this week though.
The World War II Foundation held a world premiere for its newest production, “Elvis and the USS Arizona,” and honored the late Sen. John Warner at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. this past week.
Warner received the foundation’s Senator Bob Dole World War II Leadership Award, presented annually to “an individual of the Greatest Generation or their family who as an individual reflects the values of self-sacrifice, public service and everlasting commitment to our nation’s principles of freedom and democracy.”
The presentation was made to Warner’s wife, Jeanne, by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough, with keynote remarks by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley. CNN’s Jake Tapper served as master of ceremonies.
The film, produced by Tim Gray and narrated by Jim Nantz with Kyle Chandler, will air on public televisions this fall. It recounts the contribution made by the wildly popular performer, Elvis Presley, and his sold-out performance on March 25, 1961, at Bloch Arena on Naval Station Pearl Harbor to raise money to complete the USS Arizona Memorial. Presley was in Hawaii filming his movie, “Blue Hawaii.”
The Elvis Presley benefit raised over $60,000 for the USS Arizona Memorial and brought awareness of the fundraising effort. The memorial was completed and officially dedicated in 1962. Presley would visit the Arizona Memorial every time he performed in Hawaii.
Today, the USS Arizona Memorial is the most visited location in Hawaii, thanks in large part to Elvis Presley.
The mission of the nonprofit World War II Foundation is to tell the personal stories of those who were swept up in the most devastating conflict known to man and make these films accessible for free to students, educators, classrooms and the global public.
“Our documentaries rank in the top five of most requested programs nationally on American Public Television stations,” said Gray.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2021
The animated series “Agent King” is still in the works and I have seen several announcements that it will come out in 2022. This has drug on for such a long time that I am sure others, as myself, have about given up on ever seeing it. But, work on it is ongoing as shown in the below Help Wanted Ad for a background painter for the series. If there are artists reading this, perhaps you will want to put in an application.
- Must have strong working experience of Photoshop
- Previous experience as a background painter for episodic animation required as this is a senior level role
- Strong portfolio samples complex, high quality background paintings for animation
- Ability to paint lined and un-lined backgrounds
- Ability to paint high quality cinematic scenes
- Strong understanding of realistic perspective and lighting
- Strong ability to render different materials
- Strong ability to paint with textured brushes
- Applicants from BC and available for full-time preferred
- Paint and render backgrounds to match the existing style of the show.
- Revise work based off feedback from the background paint supervisor, art director, supervising director and/or client.
- Meet production deadlines and communicate quickly with production if falling behind.
- Assist background paint supervisor in reviewing files.
- Perform BG paint retakes and revisions.
- Field questions from the BG paint team and offer feedback.
- At the moment we are still working remotely with a possibility of working in the office in the near future for local artists.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 2021
Below is the full tape of Elvis’ March, 1961 USS Arizona Memorial Show. This is an audio-only tape accompanied by photos from that time. He sounds amazing, of course!! This was a truly wonderful show done for a very important cause. My respect for Elvis is endless.
You may visit the below link to see the above photo and a huge collection of Elvis Army photos. I highly recommend this site…the most interesting collection of Elvis’ Army life photos that I have ever seen. There are 4 parts to their gallery.
SENT TO JESSE THRU THIS POINT
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2021
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 11, 2021
I love these photos of Elvis and his Mama with the little donkeys so much and want to share them here. You can see the affection in Elvis’ face for the little baby donkeys. The smile on his Mama’s face is priceless…she was in her element and loving it so much.
Animals are such a wonderful blessing in this nasty and hate-filled old world we live in now-a-days. Thank God for creating animals to be our true friends.
Elvis With Donkeys at Graceland
Donkeys at Graceland! Elvis was given donkeys, but because the fence around the property wasn’t finished yet, he kept the donkeys in the empty swimming pool!
The Presley family added even more animals to their farm when Elvis, Vernon and friend Lamar Fike drove a limousine to Germantown, just outside of Memphis, to buy more chickens and ducks. Lamar sat in the back of the limo with the birds to try to control them, but they flew around and made a mess. They cleaned and fumigated the limo, but it was never the same, and the vehicle was eventually replaced.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2021
Just want to share with everyone that while Tom and I were away this afternoon, Jesse did phone. He left a message for us on our machine. I was so disappointed that we were not home to speak with him. I certainly did feel good getting to listen to his message though. He sounded well and that made me happy.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2021
Below is a bit of news about the upcoming movie by Baz Luhrmann. There is now a date for this film to begin running in theaters. I will have to watch to see what things look like as details unfold about this film before I decide whether to be eagerly anticipating the movie or dreading it. Right now, it seems that my opinion can go either way.
Below is a very brief trailer which Luhrmann posted on Twitter today:
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2021
I have just completed adding a new video to my YouTube channel.
Some PBS TV channels did not carry the Elvis and the USS Arizona Memorial documentary last week. I am sharing it on my YouTube channel and here on my website so Elvis fans who were unable to view it may do so.
I really found this documentary to be very educational, interesting and heart touching.
Elvis and the USS Arizona
Nov 17, 2021
Elvis was instrumental in raising funds for the USS Arizona memorial in March of 1961. This video is a documentary of that time and events. This aired on roughly 280 PBS TV channels the week of November 11, 2021. I heard that some people were not able to find this show on their PBS channels. Therefore I want to share it so that those who missed viewing this very special and touching documentary may do so.
Just one of the many reasons that Elvis always was, and Jesse will always be, my hero.
SENT TO JESSE THRU THIS POINT
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2021
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2021
My good friend Dennis F. Miller just called to remind me of the Christmas Lighting ceremony which will take place tonight at Graceland at 5:55 PM Memphis time…6:55 PM Eastern Time. I thank Dennis so very much as I would have missed it had he not called. Below is the countdown as shown on Livestream where we may all watch it tonight.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2021
I have good news to share: Jesse called me a little bit ago and he is well and sounded great. We had such a nice chat and I enjoyed it immensely. Jesse still loves to watch football and has been doing that. We were both bemoaning winter being upon us again and I reminded him that he does have football. You may recall that he once said “the only good thing about winter is football“. I brought up the topic of the New England Patriots having his profile on their helmets and that I don’t generally watch football but took an interest in that team because of their logo. Then Jesse mentioned the fact that there are those like myself who believe that the Statue of Liberty looks like him. So, I said that it DOES have his face and that I think that is very significant…I reminded him that he used to say that “there are no coincidences; everything has a meaning.” He liked that I remembered that. As always, his call lit up my day and made me so happy.
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2021
My good and long-time friend Chris S. shared the below video with me. As you will see, it is an interview on TV with Tom Hanks who is playing the part of Col. Parker in the upcoming movie by Baz Luhrmann. Chris and I take some offense at the term “scoundrel” being used in reference to Col. Parker.
I want everyone to know that Jesse thought the world of Col. Parker right up until the day that Col. Parker passed away and continues to remember him with much appreciation that he took the secret to his grave. Jesse told me himself that he didn’t know what he was going to do when Col. Parker died. Those of you who have read Jesse’s book “The Truth About Elvis Aron Presley – In His Own Words” will recall that Jesse explained that Col. Parker was the mastermind behind the plan for Elvis to escape the life that was making him so sick and miserable. We all owe Col. Parker a huge amount of gratitude that only the Elvis image passed away on August 16, 1977 and that the man has lived on to this very day as Jesse.
I, myself have a great deal of respect for Col. Parker who has been so badly misjudged and blamed for things which did not happen. One such instance is the fact that Elvis was overworking and pushing himself so hard to do so many shows and tours near the end. Dick Grob, in his book, states that he was there and heard a conversation between Elvis and Col. Parker in the later 1970’s. Dick wrote that Elvis told Col. Parker that he wanted him to book all the shows that he possibly could. Col. Parker did not want to put Elvis through the grueling schedule and did not want to carry out Elvis’ plan of overworking. Dick wrote that he heard Elvis tell Col. Parker that he was going to do that amount of touring and shows and if Col. Parker would not take care of it for him, he would find someone who would. We have to remember that Elvis knew he was going away. It is my guess that Elvis was trying to make as much money as he could in preparation for his exit from the “Elvis image“.
I thank Chris very much for sharing this video with me. I did enjoy it and I believe my visitors will as well.
“He Was Both A Genius And A Scoundrel” – Tom Hanks On Portraying Elvis’ Manager, Colonel Tom Parker
Dec 17, 2020
Tom Hanks portrays Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker in the film “Greyhound” and he credits Parker with making Elvis a household name to this day.
I want to wish everyone a most blessed and happy Thanksgiving. I am so very thankful for all of the visitors to my website and for everyone who loves Jesse as I do. May you all be safe, well and happy.