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Dragon Man’s Crush on the 1950s

Poodle dress under plastic wrap.On our whirlwind tour of Dragon Man’s Military Museum, we spotted a few Elvis-Presley-as-GI photos near one of the armored personnel carriers. Elvis? Was tattooed tough-talking Mel “Dragon Man” Bernstein a fan? “I have a small Elvis collection,” he said. “Would you like to see it?”

That “small” tag was Mel’s idea of a joke. Mel never does anything small.

He walked us into a room the size of a house, packed with Elvis-abilia — Mel even owns one of The King’s guitars — but packed even more with 1950s mementos.

Elvis memorabilia.Doo-wop music crooned over loudspeakers as Mel showed us perfectly restored gas pumps and bicycles; record players, candy machines, pinball machines; vintage oil cans still full of oil; 50-year old unopened bottles of Coke. License plates, lunch boxes, and hub caps hung from the ceiling and lined the rafters.

“I love all this stuff,” Mel said. “It brings back a lot of memories.”

On one side of the room were all of Mel’s old cars: his ’28 Roadster, his ’30 Coupe, his ’55 Chevy, his 800 horsepower dragster. On the other was Mel’s vintage “poodle outfit” collection, modeled on 25 glamor mannequins, some sitting in a recreated Soda Shoppe with a dummy of The Fonz.

Elvis girl fan mannequins.“You know what ruined it?” Mel said. “1964, when the Beatles came. Ruined everything. Stupid haircuts. Drugs. They blew the whole thing.”

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RoadsideAmerica.com Team Field Report

Dragon Man's Military Museum

Address:
1200 Dragon Man Dr., Colorado Springs, CO
Directions:
US 24/Platte Ave. to the east edge of the city. Turn right onto Hwy 94. Drive east for around six miles, then turn left onto Curtis Rd. Drive north for one mile, then turn left onto Dragon Man Drive.
Hours:
Sundays, May-Oct., for a public tour that begins promptly at 10:30 AM. (Call to verify)
Phone:
719-683-2200
RA Rates:
The Best
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