Hi Tom Brown here with another edition of Gates of Graceland, coming to you this time from inside the Archives Studio and archives means Angie Marchese.
Hello Tom Brown.
Hello there Director of Archives Angie and We have our white gloves and that means we have stuff that we can actually touch But the interesting part of this one is – she loves to do this to me – I have no idea What’s in these boxes. She would never let me see them as we were setting up.
And so I’m sitting here along with you To see what surprises she has in store for us, so Angie take it away.
So we are talking about Elvis and sports, which is a great topic because Elvis loved all kinds of sports. Yeah, you know big sports fan, big football fan, a big supporter of local sports here in town He was actually a season ticket holder for the old world football league the Memphis Southmen/Grizzlies back in the day, so I decided to go digging through the archives And I thought I would pull out a couple of different sports related items. Okay, and you know we know the three TVs down in the in the TV room, those were not to watch the news. No. Those were to watch football games. Yeah, Elvis was loving sports. So in the first box we have – These are actually the boxes from the archive.
They are literally from the artifact building, yes.
With the the acid-free paper? Acid-free paper and the ID numbers everything. So the first thing that I have And you could tell they were well-worn –
Wow. a pair of Elvis’ cleats. And they are still muddy and filthy dirty – just you would leave these by the back door when you came in Graceland. Yeah, you wouldn’t wear these upstairs. You take these off by the back door. And apparently he liked Dr. Scholl’s. Dr. Scholl’s, yes, a little comfort.
Comfort and speed, comfort and speed.
So here’s a pair of Elvis’s cleats I mean if you even look inside You could barely – you can probably feel it even better – if you put your hand inside you can feel that hole there at the toe. Oh my gosh.
I mean he wore these suckers out.
He really did. That is amazing. Mm-hmm.
And so these are just in the archives and you’ve kept them as is In archival condition as found.
As found. The reason why they’re in a box by themselves is because they are have all of this original Elvis dirt on them.
So would these have been worn in California where these worn around here at Graceland? They would have been worn around here at Graceland, Playing touch football in the backyard here or down at the park, the local park, and things like that. You know what’s interesting about it is Elvis with his guys They weren’t just heading out in the back and playing football. They had shoulder pads, helmets, cleats. I mean these are serious uniforms. These are serious guys. Not only did they have full uniforms, but They also had Handwritten football plays. Look at this.
So these are all written by Elvis. Of course Elvis is the quarterback. Of course he is. He is so serious about his football. Yes. I’m gonna These are my football reading glasses I have on. ‘The right blocking back has to make a good move to throw off the Linebackers. The flanker back has to move quick to get his block in.’ So these are what they would prep for before the game or for the game, like pregame.
Of touch football. Yeah, I have a feeling I know what Elvis’ touch football is like. Yeah, if you’re wearing pads that’s a tough game of touch football. ‘The flanker back has to move quick and make a good fake.’ Actually, these are very detailed little diagrams.
Look at this one – ‘This one sometimes can be bad -‘ Underline underline – ‘but they usually don’t run a pass play from this formation.’
Oh, so this is a this is an audible Calling it though at the line. Yeah Yeah, I mean yeah, so literally almost a complete handbook here.
But back in the day this was something that Elvis did to relax and so, to focus, I would think to focus, on things like this took his mind off –
– the serious Business of being Elvis. Yeah. This is just kind of the fun. This is the fun part of being Elvis. You know he had guys around him, so he always had a sports team ready to go. Yeah, what sport he wanted to play.
If it was football, if it was baseball, whatever it was, yeah. You’ve got people ready to go at your at your and command. You have a whole team, yeah. Now we actually have team photos in the archives as well so So we have Elvis’ handwritten football plays, His cleats and a team photo.
From what you know, if you were on the team playing against Elvis, was it like the Harlem Globetrotters kind of game, where it was a close game But then at the very end the Globetrotters always won? Or was this a game that if you beat Elvis You could be on a team that beat Elvis. You could be on a team that beat Elvis. Elvis was very competitive. Yeah And so he didn’t like to be beat, and they were supposed to be friendly games. But you know someone’s always keeping score. Yes and they got serious. This from the guys who used to get in the roller rink and spin around as fast as they could to ‘Whip It’ to see who would fly off the end at high speed high speed. That’s the fun part of roller skating, right? Okay, so we have a couple of more. We’ll go through some documents here first. That we have See this is why we have the white gloves because you don’t even have these in paper. These are literally just pulled out of the filing cabinet. So this is for York Arms Company Which was a sporting goods store here in Memphis where Elvis did a lot of shopping at. This one is actually for thirteen junior only pants It looks like red or blue and Then 13 shirts, there the Elvis Presley Sluggers. 13 royal blue caps on the front of the jersey it says EP. It costs one hundred and seventy-five dollars So this is one of the sporting teams he sponsored. And so those are the uniforms for a local team that he was sponsoring. The Elvis Presley Sluggers. He was very active in the community doing things like this. Yeah, and then we have a couple other. These are not football – These are not football-related receipts They are, again, from York Arms: 15 pairs of softball pants 15 jerseys six different numbers Sewn on jerseys or six-inch numbers sewn on jerseys, 15 pairs of socks, 15 caps, one mark? One glove yeah, I don’t–what mash? One glove. I don’t know what that is. I don’t know what that is, and one and one-fourth dozen softballs. Okay, three hundred and forty-three dollars. And I love this it’s Elvis Presley care of Vernon Presley so when Elvis would go off and make these orders He would call or whatever one of the guys would call. How many times did Vernon know a bill like this was coming in? Probably maybe a tenth of the time. I think Vernon was surprised a lot when he got bills in the mail.
I’m thinking, Maybe so, because all these little itemized things and it says care of Vernon Presley. Yeah, it’s like, here you go, Dad. Let him take care of it back in the office. Yeah. So now we’re gonna change sports now. We’re shopping at another sporting goods shop. This one’s in California on Wilshire Boulevard This is what I was telling you, this receipt has a James Bond connection. Can you figure out why? Let’s see, let’s see. And it’s signed by Elvis, so Elvis actually picked this up himself. Okay Having a hard time reading that right. It’s it’s a Walther PPK. It’s a pistol.
It’s a pistol – the gun of choice of James Bond.
A Walther PPK. James Bond, yes. This looks like maybe November of 72? Yep. Yep, the Walther PPK cost him four hundred and fifty dollars. And the best thing about receipts like this is this actually has the serial number on it, so if this gun doesn’t happen to be in our collection, we can actually match it to the original gun by serial number. And it looks like, did he did this in person? Because it looks like he signed for it.
He personally picked out those guns.
And again It was a charge so Vernon’s getting this bill later in the mail.
Yes he is. Yes, Elvis bought another pistol.
And now we’re back at York Arms. This is what would be fun about this receipt is that it’s for five cases of Skeets. Oh boy to be a neighbor in this neighborhood growing up. Signed by Joe Esposito. August 31st 1967 So you can you can really go into your archives and into the schedules and the calendars – so August 31st – Would this have been around Circle G time?It would have been around the Circle G time, so the guys were probably out at the ranch or here at Graceland.
I’m saying hopefully at the ranch But you never can tell you never can tell and somebody went skeet shooting. Yeah
Well Doug sold 20 bucks worth of skeet to Elvis Presley. Salesman Doug. And also a cleaning kit And the cleaning kit, two cleaning kits, yes. Safety first. So he sent Joe out to to get that.
Yes. And there’s an ammo tax of 15 cents. Never forget your ammo tax. York Arms. I’ll bet Elvis had a loving relationship with York Arms. Yeah, because actually we have receipts back on the collection back to the 50s with Elvis shopping at York Arms. Yeah, so if you had a if you had a gun shop or a sporting goods store, especially a car dealership in Memphis, nine times out of ten You would have seen Elvis. Eventually Elvis is coming through. Elvis is making it his way down the road. Well, we’re jumping sports again.
His seventh degree black belt is for kenpo karate Now we know that Elvis started studying karate in the army in 1958 Yes, and continued to study at his entire life in 1974 he was awarded his seventh degree black belt from Kang Rhee and also from Ed Parker. I was going to say, On recommendation of Ed Parker. So he had a 7th degree in kenpo and in Taekwondo eventually earning the eighth degree of both.
This was not a celebrity black belt. This was this was an earned black belt. These guys don’t kid around even if you were celebrity They’re not gonna give you a degree like this if you don’t know what you’re doing. Exactly.
Yeah, so August 14th 1974 This was one of those things I bet he was so proud of because so it was an accomplishment and he was such a one of the first actors to really embrace karate and to embrace karate and martial arts in film. Yes, and he was very serious about it, very serious about the technique and the study of it. And this kenpo karate a symbol here. We’ve seen that on his guitars.
We saw it on the Aloha from Hawaii guitar. That’s right. Yeah, yes, and there’s also some patches that he had on some of his personal wardrobe. So it meant a lot to him. Absolutely amazing. It’s great you’ve taken care of all this. So, speaking of karate we’re gonna open up a box there.
Here we go. We’re going to the big boxes now, opening up the archival box direct from the archives of Graceland It’s one of his karate gis.
Oh my gosh. Look at this made in Korea. I don’t know how much I can take it out.
You can take it out. Look on the back. There’s a patch on the back. Mm-hmm. Yep, and there’s a patch on the front right here. Mm-hmm. You got a patch on the sleeves and There is the kenpo karate patch. There’s pictures of Elvis wearing this gi in the late 60s early 70s with Ed Parker. Yeah. And the form and flow that the gi gave him when he was Practicing karate and executing karate was something that he really wanted in his stage clothes. And this was the inspiration behind The first outfits that he wore in Vegas in 69, was the karate gi, the two-piece tunics. Yes, yes, this was the inspiration and I want to just show if we can turn This way to show The patch on the back, yeah. Absolutely amazing. And not laundered by you. Well worn well as you can see, yeah, because you can see all of the wearing along the sides Yeah, so yeah, well worn, well used. It’s amazing. Do you ever think about the fact that when Elvis was here, and he was using these, he was throwing them in the corner, using them?
Living life with them. Actually, I’ll let you put this one back in the box. I will lift it up.
Lay it carefully down.
Tell us about the boxes they’re in. They’re not on hangers.
They’re not on hangers. The boxes themselves are all acid-free boxes, the tissue is acid-free as well and we do a six-month inventory of all the wardrobe so we check the boxes to make sure that everything in the boxes is okay. But we also flip the wardrobe so if you have multiple things in a box you don’t have all the weight on one side of the box or the other the entire time. You flip it so you don’t have creases and weight and stuff like that and so it’s equally distributed. so every six months we’re up here in the artifact building flipping shirts and flipping wardrobe and double-checking to make sure there’s no issues and things like that and knock on wood everything’s been okay. store it away We don’t just put it away and forget about it. And these are some of the boxes that are seen now in the Archives Experience at Elvis Presley’s Memphis. These are the boxes that we use. We have one more box here, and I think we’re going back to football in this box. Oh, yes. This is actually Elvis’ personal –
Oh my god, this is like a very famous Top that we’ve seen in One of the photos with the group there. And again if you turn it around Elvis was lucky number 7. But you can see all the sweat stains From perspiration, yeah it actually cut actually stained the number. And I’m wondering was there shrinkage, or he was just this – This was his size, when he took that photo and when they were playing football. So people who talk about EPE that was the original EPE. Elvis Presley Enterprises and his team. And then – There you go, you’ve got the other piece there.
Pads and all. So we have the football pants that go with the jersey. Look at that. Yeah Pads and all. Just for a friendly touch game. Yes, yeah, you know just in case I fall on my knees or someone else’s. Oh my goodness.
So those are just a couple fun things I thought I’d pull out of the boxes and give you a chance to explore here in the archives. And surprise me, and surprise everybody else. It’s fantastic You never know what you’re gonna see when Angie brings out the archival boxes and you know that when you got the gloves There’s gonna be something good.
It’s gonna be something good.
Thank you so much for this. You’re welcome.
And I’m sure probably at some point in the future these items may be rotating through and on display. So you can see them in person. Thanks for joining us. We’ll be back real soon. You