ELVIS: The Exhibition – The Comeback Years and Graceland


Elvis during the 1968 Comeback Special leather suit
Elvis during the 1968 Comeback Special

Following years of making Hollywood movies and their associated soundtracks in the 1960’s, Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8th, 1935 – August 16th, 1977) had not performed a live concert since 1961. So after a 7 year break he made his mighty return to the stage during his 1968 comeback special: Elvis (a must see!) which was also televised live and ultimately lead to him performing for many years in sold out shows in Las Vegas, numerous successful concert tours and the 1973 special Aloha from Hawaii (another must see!) which was broadcast around the world via satellite. The King was back and much of this late 1960’s period is covered in the displays of the impressive ELVIS: The Exhibition, which is presented by Graceland and displayed in the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino.

In my previous post I discussed the displays on the early career of Elvis Presley, now lets take a look at his comeback period commencing in the late 1960’s. The exhibition includes photos, memorabilia, mementos, clothing (costume designer Bill Belew who made the famous jumpsuits that Elvis wore on stage from 1969 to 1977 also designed Elvis’s off stage clothes in the 1970’s too), jewelry, documents, letters, personal items and a glimpse into Graceland, his Memphis home (purchased in March 1957 for $102,500 USD). This is all accompanied by information boards and multimedia displays playing his music, interviews, movies and more.

Graceland the home of Elvis Presley

Graceland Elvis the Exhibition Las Vegas
The Graceland Years
Elvis moves into Graceland in 1957, the cheque is his first mortgage payment. His daughter Lisa Marie came to call Graceland home 11 years later
Elvis moves into Graceland in 1957, the cheque is his first mortgage payment. His daughter Lisa Marie came to call Graceland home 11 years later
Elvis was married to Priscilla from 1967 to 1973. Lisa Marie Presley was born February 1st, 1968 Elvis the exhibition westgate las vegas
Elvis was married to Priscilla from 1967 to 1973. Lisa Marie Presley was born February 1st, 1968
Elvis and Priscilla Wedding China 1967 Elvis the Exhibition Las Vegas
Elvis and Priscilla Wedding China 1967
Elvis's famous sunglasses, jewelry (he loved elaborate rings), gold watch and classic shirts as he would have worn around Graceland Elvis The Exhibition
Elvis’s famous sunglasses, jewelry (he loved elaborate rings), gold watch and classic shirts as he would have worn around Graceland
Classic late 1960's early 1970's over the top fashion worn by Elvis Las Vegas Elvis the Exhibition
Classic late 1960’s early 1970’s over the top fashion worn by Elvis
Elvis Presley The King of Rock and Roll
The King of Rock and Roll

There is even a couple of cars owned by Elvis on display at the exhibition: a 1962 Lincoln Continental (purchased in Las Vegas and customised to suit Elvis – white with an alligator gold top. Note the rear doors that open away from the front doors) and a mean looking black 1971 Stutz Blackhawk (the Blackhawk was crashed by a hired driver in 1971 but is now fully restored and looks fantastic – it was the first one sold in the United States and presented to Elvis in Las Vegas in 1970. Legend has it the car was meant to go to Frank Sinatra but Elvis charmed the car dealer to sell it to him instead!).

The cars are joined by a 1957 Harley Davidson motorcycle that Elvis once rode – he was apparently a keen big bike enthusiast. These are all good looking machines and seem to fit into the style and persona of the man that was.

Cars and Harley Davidson Elvis the Exhibition las vegas
The vehicles of Elvis
1962 Lincoln Continental Elvis the Exhibition Las Vegas
1962 Lincoln Continental
1971 Stutz Blackhawk Elvis the Exhibition Las Vegas
1971 Stutz Blackhawk
1971 Stutz Blackhawk Elvis the Exhibition Las Vegas
Where the man once sat in 1970’s sartorial style
1957 Harley Davidson Elvis the exhibition laas vegas
1957 Harley Davidson

One of the last things you see in the exhibition is the famous white suite Elvis wore during the 1968 comeback special whilst singing “If I can Dream“. One of the docent’s told me that Colonel Tom Parker had intended to cut up this outfit to give swatches of the material away, when someone purchased a record. Luckily it was saved by a friend of Elvis and later returned to him (the guy didn’t like the fake pockets apparently)!

Elvis: The Exhibition - 1968 comeback special white suit
1968 Comeback Special

Elvis was back! In my next post we will cover the glorious jumpsuited Las Vegas years of the 1970’s. The shows were over the top in presentation but in the end that amazing voice was all anyone cared about. Thank you very much!

Advertisements

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Thanks for these pictures.

    1. Deano says:

      My pleasure. I am back in Australia at the moment and my Brother and I are watching the DVD of Aloha from Hawaii!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s