Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Branson to Graceland

We stopped in Branson Missouri on the May 6 & 7 May.  There is a lot of good entertainment in Branson, but usually there are only one or two big name celebrities performing on any given day.  The majority of the shows (there are 30-40 in town!) are tribute acts. During our visit the only name entertainment shows were  Larry's Country Diner with Daly and Vincent; and the Mickey Gilley show. We enjoyed the Gilley show, however, Larry's diner was sold out. On our second day in town we opted for the Frankie Valli tribute show "Jersey Nights".  Both shows were worth the admission price. All the theaters bar photography during the shows.

We left Branson on May 8th traveling through northeast Arkansas to Memphis Tennessee.  Entroute we passed some rather depressing tornado damage.

We arrived in Memphis pitched camp at the military campground on the nearby Mid-South Naval Support Base.  The park there is a full  hook-up park with very nice concrete sites.  A good price at $20.  The next day we traveled across town to Elvis' mansion at Graceland.

Graceland is not by any means expansive like Biltmore. It is a fascinating home, if for no other reason than it is a time capsule to the 1970's.  The house appears to have been meticulously maintained as it was at Elvis' death in 1977.  On the date of Elvis' death Ina and I were going out to dinner for our wedding anniversary. But I digress. 

The living and dinning  rooms are quite formal.  However, other rooms of the house have very interesting colors and textures.  The television room in the basement has three TVs and a large collection of single 45rpm records. 

The room at the back of the house called the "Jungle Room"  had really unique furniture.

There is also a major wing of the mansion which is devoted to Evis's gold records. It is at this point that one begins to understand the scope of Elvis' success.

I wonder how many people today heard this record when it was a number one hit.  As a kid, I had this record - a 45rpm single.  Lord,  I must be old! :)

Elvis built a handball court in a building in back of the mansion.  Here, is the room  adjacent to the court where Elvis played this piano on the day that he died.

The handball court itself is now filled with more gold records and night club jump suits.

There was quite a crowd at Elvis's grave.  Beside him are graves of his grandmother, his father and mother.

The small monument at the head of Elvis' grave is a memorial to his still-born twin brother.

Across  the street from the mansion, is a collection of Elvis' cars.  Although the famous pink Cadillac which he bought for his mother is there, this 1971 Stutz Blackhawk is one of the more interesting ones.

This Conver 880 four engine jet was used primarily to ferry Elvis and crew from Memphis to his Las Vegas shows.  After the first Las Vegas performance, Col Parker, (Elvis' manager) negotiated a five tour contract at $500,000 per tour in the hotel coffee shop.  They wrote the contract on a tablecloth.  The tablecloth is on display at Gracelend.  

The Graceland tour is worthwhile even your not much of an Elvis fan.  His impact on today's entertainment industry is truly amazing.

The Pink Cadillac

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