Did you know, that yesterday was Elvis’ birthday. We wanted celebrate it in some way, and thanks to the cool people over at www.picollecta.com, we have this awesome (and somewhat bizarre) list of Elvis memorabilia. You can read the original article here, and you’ll never believe some of the items listed below!
10) His mother’s hairdresser cut his hair
Despite being the world’s biggest star and the officially-titled King of Rock and Roll, there was only one man Elvis trusted to cut his hair: the same man who cut his mother’s.
Homer M. Gilleland was the in-store hairdresser and colorist at Goldsmith’s Department Store in Memphis, more used to dealing with the blue-rinse brigade than music royalty. But Presley wanted a barber he could trust, and chose the same stylist his mother Gladys had always used. For more than twenty years ‘Mr. Gill’ was on call for Elvis, willing to travel to any location to tease the world’s most famous quiff back into shape. And throughout the years he kept many of the trimmings, building up an impressive collection of locks. He gave a jar full to Elvis’ childhood friend Thomas Morgan, Jr., who later became Administrative Assistant to the Sheriff of Shelby County (Memphis) Tennessee and commissioned Elvis as a Special Deputy. The jar sold at auction in 2010 at Heritage for a hair-raising $16,730.
9) He loved pretending to be a cop
Elvis’ obsession with law enforcement was legendary. He was made honorary Police deputy in numerous states and counties, acquiring official badges from across the U.S and building a huge collection at his Graceland home. He even famously met with President Nixon to offer his services as an undercover FBI agent, and asked to be made a Federal Agent-at-Large for the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs—a position that didn’t actually exist, but for which Nixon gave him a badge anyway.
One of Presley’s favorite tricks was to attach a police siren to the top of his car and pull over speeding motorists. According to friends to rode along with him, Elvis would flash unsuspecting drivers to pull over then give them a lecture about speeding. Instead of a ticket he’d present them with an autograph, then drive off into the night leaving confused motorists at the roadside questioning their own sanity. One of Elvis’ own police sirens sold in a special auction at Graceland in January 2015 for $2,000.
8) A real-life mad doctor bought his tooth
The always image-conscious Elvis was embarrassed about a gap in his teeth, and had a crown fitted by his Memphis dentist Henry Weiss. Weiss kept a model of Elvis’ teeth along with spare crowns for emergencies, including an incident in which the King cracked his tooth on a microphone and a replacement crown was flown to Las Vegas.
In 2012 one of Elvis’ original crowns, complete with the full dental model, was sold from Weiss’ collection at Omega Auctions for $8,150. The winning bidder was the self-styled celebrity dentist Dr Michael Zuk, who has made a name for himself buying the teeth of dead celebrities. His latest bizarre business plans include using the DNA of figures such as John Lennon to create perfumes, with the eventual goal of cloning the stars to create what we guess would be a cross between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Jurassic Park.
7) He forgot to keep the first record he ever made
Elvis’ remarkable music career began with a thoughtful gift to his mother Gladys. In June 1953 the 18-year-old Elvis walked into Sun Studios with the intention of recording two songs for his mother, ‘My Happiness’ and ‘That’s When Your Heartaches Begins’. When the studio receptionist asked him what kind of singer he was and who he sounded like, he replied “I don’t sound like nobody”.
Presley paid the four dollar charge and, after recording the songs, had them pressed onto a unique, two-sided acetate record. However, as his family didn’t own a record player he took the acetate to the home of friend Ed Leek to listen to it. Upon hearing his voice on record for the first time, Elvis apparently got excited and ran home, completely forgetting to take the record back for his mother.
Some experts have cast doubt on Presley’s story that the record was a gift for Gladys. For a start, there were cheaper places to record than Sun Studios, and the fact that she didn’t even own a record player to hear it on made it a slightly less thoughtful present. But if Elvis planned to simply get a record deal it worked, as label boss Sam Phillips took note of the young singer and signed him up the following year.
The original acetate remained forgotten at his friend’s house for years, and eventually appeared at a Graceland auction in January 2015. It sold for a record price of $300,000, making it the most expensive record in the world.
6) He performed with guns hidden in his boots
One of Elvis’ main passions in life was guns; he loved hand guns and rifles of all calibers, and at the time of his death owned 38 firearms including a machine gun. He also gave countless weapons away as gifts to his friends, and more than 300 Elvis-owned guns have come up for sale at auction.
In the later years of his career Elvis became more paranoid, and never left home without packing heat. In the early 70s the FBI investigated threats made against his life, and four men rushed the stage to attack him at a midnight show in Las Vegas. He began performing with a small Derringer pistol hidden in each of his boots, and was known to leave his guns lying around (including one incident when Tom Jones discovered Elvis’ gun left on top of a toilet cistern, and had to give it back to him wrapped in a towel).
Presley had permits to carry concealed weapons, but to travel with them he needed the correct documents filed in every state he visited. These licenses, featuring his personal details and fingerprints, were kept at a local Sheriff’s office until the holders passed away, when standard practice was to shred them. However, one of Presley’s gun permits issued in California in 1970 managed to escape the shredder, and today it remains the world’s only known full set of Elvis’ fingerprints. The permit sold at a Fame Bureau auction in 2008 for $46,000.
5) He worried about VPL
In 2012 a rather unsanitary piece of music history came up for sale at Omega Auctions. The auction of rare Elvis memorabilia included a pair of the King’s unwashed Y-fronts, worn on stage during a concert in 1977. The light blue undergarments had been chosen by Elvis specifically because they would show beneath his tight-fitting jumpsuits; yes, even the King of Rock and Roll was afraid of VPL. However, it seems nobody wanted to remember Presley through a pair of his stained and soiled underpants, and they failed to meet their reserve price of more than $10,000.
4) His dodgy personal Doctor inspired a Simpsons character
Although autopsy records remain inconclusive, most believe Presley’s death was caused in part by the enormous amount of prescription drugs he took on a daily basis. The combination of uppers and downers are thought to have either caused or exacerbated Elvis’ high blood pressure, liver damage and enlarged colon, and accounted for two previous overdoses before he was found dead in August 1977.
The man behind the medicine cabinet was Presley’s main physician Dr. Nichopoulos, who had a somewhat questionable approach to prescriptions. A report following Presley’s death stated: “In the first eight months of 1977 alone, he had [prescribed] more than 10,000 doses of sedatives, amphetamines and narcotics: all in Elvis’s name.” After having his license first suspended, and then finally revoked in the 1990s for rampant over-prescription, Dr Nick made a living with a morbid traveling exhibit showing off his doctor’s bag with some of the medications he prescribed for Elvis. He finally sold much of his memorabilia at auction, including the infamous bag which brought $16,000 at Julien’s in 2009.
Years later Simpsons producers used him as partial inspiration for the shady medical practitioner Doctor Nick Riviera, who has a medical degree from ‘Hollywood Upstairs Medical College’ and spent the 70s acquiring prescription drugs for attractive women.
3) Someone tried to sell his autopsy tools
In 2010 fans were shocked when perhaps the most gruesome items of Elvis memorabilia in the world came up for auction: the tools used during his autopsy.
A senior embalmer at the Memphis Funeral Home had kept the items, presumably as a macabre memento, since Presley’s funeral in 1977 and finally offered them for sale over 30 years later. The set included rubber gloves, forceps, aneurysm hooks, lip brushes, needle injectors and an arterial tube. Also up for grabs were documents including the preparation room case report, body tags and the coffin shipping invoice, all marked with Presley’s details.
“It’s really about owning a piece of the celebrity themselves,” a spokesperson for the auctioneer Leslie J. Hindman stated, “and how much closer can you get than the actual embalming instruments?”
Thankfully, before anyone had the chance to acquire the world’s most depressing rock and roll museum exhibit, the parent company of the funeral home pulled the items from the sale; not, however, due to the matter of poor taste, but because there were questions over the authenticity of the tools.
2) His body was almost stolen…or was it?
Elvis’ grave at Graceland has been visited by millions of fans who make the pilgrimage to see his final resting place. However, it certainly wasn’t his first resting place. Elvis was originally buried in a crypt at the Forrest Hills Cemetery in Memphis, inside a 900-pound copper coffin, but his body was quickly removed after an attempt to steal the King’s body was foiled just weeks after his funeral.
However, in a surprising twist years later one of the three men accused of the theft suggested the entire plot was cooked up by the Presley family themselves. Ronnie Tyler, who later became an FBI informant, claimed the family knew his grave would be a popular tourist attraction, but were not allowed to bury him at Graceland due to zoning issues. He said they planned the ‘theft’ with local law enforcement, to convince the state to allow his burial in a more ‘secure’ location: e.g., one they could charge people to see. The plan apparently worked, and Elvis’ body was reburied at Graceland in October 1977.
The original Forrest Hills crypt where Elvis was first buried went up for sale in 2012 through the Beverly Hills auction house Julien’s. But prospective bidders were out of luck, after an Elvis fan site organized a petition of 10,000 signatures to halt the sale and leave the family crypt empty.
1) He really, really hated Robert Goulet
Elvis had a habit of shooting television screens if he didn’t like the show he was watching, and one performer in particular was said to enrage him more than any other: Robert Goulet. The vendetta stemmed back to his Army days, when he received a letter from his then-girlfriend Anita Wood with an added line from singer Goulet suggesting he was taking ‘good care’ of her.
He carried the grudge for years, until one night at Graceland he saw Goulet appearing on the Johnny Carson Show. Furious, he pulled out his pistol and shot the TV to pieces, then signed the top of the destroyed set with the inscription “F*** ROBERT GOULET IF HE CAN’T TAKE A JOKE E.P.” According to Elvis’ stage manager Charlie Hodge, he then said “Hell Charlie go sell it, it’s worth more now anyway!” Apparently it was, as the bullet-ridden set sold at a GottaHaveRockandRoll auction in 2013 for $14,495.
In a beautifully ironic turn, Elvis’ ex-wife Priscilla starred in the hit 1991 comedy film The Naked Gun 2 1/2 in which her character Jane has an affair with a villainous oil executive played by Robert Goulet. Elvis would have been please to know his character is later eaten by a lion.