Clearly, the Elvis Presley Company, which runs Graceland and the surrounding amenities, has no truck with talk of Elvis being still alive someplace. And, honestly, as time goes on (Elvis would be 78 years old now) the question becomes far less pressing even for conspiracy theorists. But his spirit continues to walk through that house on the outskirts of Memphis: I felt it today.
We had had the whole previous evening to get in the mood for Elvis so we were ready and rockin’ as our tour bus pulled up. We all had an audio tour mp3 player hung around our necks and this was great, letting us take the tour at our own speed, though one couldn’t ask any questions which was a pity. As it happens, you get the idea that questions aren’t really welcomed as you go around Graceland: maybe too many people asked if the king was really dead or not.
Here the commercialization was turned up to 1000 degrees, but that didn’t matter: unlike in Ruby Falls, Tennessee, where the commercializaion was ruining the attraction, Elvis was built on it. His phenomenal career thrived and depended on that constant level of support, adulation and publicity tempered only by his various managers’ control over exposure. Thus, to see it displayed here in full force actually heightens the mystique and excitement. An Elvis or a Graceland minus the hype would only tell you half the story.
So we did a full tour including suits and airplanes and it was super. I guess it’s a pilgrimage for any music fan whether or not you’re crazy about Elvis.
We saw Elvis’s living room;
his dining room;
we saw the fabled Jungle Room (that chair was the young Lisa Marie’s favorite, and the back wall is in fact a waterfall);
his airplane, named after Lisa Marie;
and then, finally, after seeing his suits and records and TV room, we got to the great man’s final resting place.
Anyone doubting that Elvis still has the power to move has only to look at the number of people who were actually crying as they stood around this monument. One woman I saw in tears was fairly old… at least 65. It occured to me that she could have been one of the girls we saw Elvis kissing during a concert which we watched on video the night before at Heartbreak Hotel. Yeah, I know… the likelihood is low, but what else are myths made of? The king is dead; long live the king!