Part 23: Memphis, TN and Graceland


Navigation Links
 Trip Home Page     


The Trip

Threatened with death or worse, I was drug kicking-and-streaming to visit the epicenter of white trash mystique, Graceland.  For those of you who do not reside on this planet or are just visiting, Graceland was the home of Elvis Presley epic rock-and-roll singer.  Once a residence, now it has been turned into a mecca for the faithful, crowded with acolytes seeking to be closer to their King.  From my personal, heretical perspective, it is now a vehicle for "tourist mining", a method of separating tourists from their hard-earned dollars.  Like any refined mining operation, each tour ended in a gift shop that was hawking Elvis shot glasses, spoon rests, tee shirts and replicas of his signature sunglasses.

Tour prices were $32 to walk through the downstairs of his house, $36 to see the house plus automobiles and airplanes and for the truly saintly $70 to get all of the aforementioned with a personal priest to anoint you with the essence of Elvis.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

From the visitor center, we were told to board a shuttle bus that drove us across the street and up a low hill.  The entire trip could not have been more than 100 yards.  But, given the demographics of the normal customer base, I think the bus was a requirement.  The grounds were nicely kept, but the house was much smaller than I anticipated.

Each visitor was equipped with an audio set to provide narrative on the precious items within.  While suffering the droning voice of the announcer, I spotted this veteran with a high-tech prosthetic leg.

The items within the house were from their original time period: mid sixties and seventies.  Note the TV on the far wall.

The style is best described as eclectic.

The purple velvet bed spread totally makes this room unique in a cheesy sort of way.

An interesting china cabinet.

The kitchen was modest and like the kitchen of any large home except much less nice.  The paneling is Home Depot quality and is in the dark colors that were representative of the period.  The carpet was just plain odd.

A downstairs bar.

Next to the bar was the TV room.

The upstairs "Africa" room with bizarre carved chairs.

The green shag is similar to something I had in my fraternity house in the early seventies.

A view of the rear of the house.  Note the vandal bars on the windows.

The pool was very small and it looks as if the grout needs some work.

An out building contained the exercise room.  And for those of you that know Elvis in his later years, this room was rarely used.

The exercise room also had a sitting area with a piano.

Several rooms were dedicated to Elvis' awards.

The fountain near the pool was interesting.

Horses were kept in the pasture in the front of the home.

When the house tour was over, I was led to the car museum.  The museum, like the house, was rather unremarkable.

A nice specimen that was owned by several Hollywood and Nashville luminaries including both Elvis and Charlie Rich.

This car was a gift to Elvis' wife.

Another nice specimen, but without much information.

No description needed.

This Jeep would look good in Pritchett Canyon in Moab.

Again, no description required.

Finally, a real car.  This was a custom 6-door Mercedes limo.

Elvis had several planes, this one is a Convair 990.

I will not return here again, even under duress.  The owners of the concession did a remarkable job of glossing over Elvis's demise via a drug overdose.  The most notable understatement was the claim that he died of "heart failure" and the current tours prevent tourists in the upper portions of the home where the death occurred "out of respect".

I am guessing that the owners are grossing about $150K/day minimum from gate receipts, gift shops and food.  Not bad for exploiting a dead guy's life.

Next, we are continuing west toward Arkansas and then the Rocky Mountains.

Navigation Links
Previous Adventure
Top of this Page
  Next Adventure
Trip Home Page  
Bill Caid's Home Page

Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2010, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.