Graceland Too, Pt 2
Holly Springs, Mississippi
Paul is trying to catalog every time Elvis has been mentioned on television. Ever. It appears that much of the work involves reading back issues of TV Guide. He shows us a binder with part of 1992's research in it -- much of it in the form of TV Guide synopsis prose. The TV Guides he has are in mint condition, and very valuable.
Also here is a locked display case with his most precious prizes, including the most valuable record in the history of the world, a cardboard Elvis 45 of which only a dozen copies still exist. It also contains a cup that Lisa Marie drank out of, credit cards and other one of kind items. But the case is not well designed, and it is hard to see any of them clearly.
Affixed to the ceiling are trading card wrappers now worth $5K apiece on eBay. Everyone laughed when he saved them. But would he ever sell?
He shows us his "1st Place Best Home, Holiday Lighting Contest" award from the town, but can't understand why he's not mentioned first in the town guidebook. Sorority girls from Ole Miss are constant visitors. 5 Chinese and Japanese girls karate chopped down his TCB mailbox: he hands us a heavy piece of it. This segues into a discussion of the giant stuffed panda bears he was going to give to a local Chinese restaurant but which remain in his workroom next to his poster of Bruce Lee, who loved the martial arts like Elvis did.
McLeod feels the need to get a book out. All of John Grisham's books are connected to Elvis. Bill Clinton and JK Rowling got $10mm in front money. They all get paid 4 times a year. He just needs someone to help him.
"Do you know someone who doesn't hate money? Who doesn't just like it? Someone who loves money?" To hammer it home, shows us pictures of shovels and rakes and dollar signs." We look up and "Hmmm," thinking about potential contacts. "Now hold on!" says McLeod.
The shoulder taps have become a pregnant shoulder grab. We meet his eyes so he'll start talking again and let go. "Get someone down here and we'll all get rich. If I lie to you I hope I suffer the most horrible death imaginable."
Next, he starts asking you to read fan correspondence out loud. "We got all these comments from people from every planet city county. I didn't ask anyone to say any of them." We oblige: "We at the seminary had a discussion of which place we would most like to see"
He shows us pictures he's taken of his visitors: "Priscilla's limousine, Cybil Shepard's limousine. You don't remember Rerun from What's Happening? Here's a picture of the youngest Elvis impersonator, 12 days old. Look at his arms up like that."
"A bus pulled up and out jumped a bunch of professors and they gave me this," holding up an autographed University of Arkansas t-shirt. "Can you read this out loud please," handing us an autographed cast poster of "All Shook Up"
MacLeod says the longest tour he's ever given was 12 hours. "A Belgian who was upset that Graceland wouldn't tell him anything, just put headphones on his head." After two hours, you feel like anything less than 12 is a victory.
"You like the movie Jailhouse Rock? Yes? Well it's all wrong." He sings along with the videotape, as Elvis sings the title song, genuinely enjoying the moment. Then he pauses it, pointing out the inconsistency between Elvis's prisoner number on his various uniforms.
By the time we see the backyard, it doesn't surprise us that he's going to turn the whole thing into a prison yard, a la Jailhouse Rock. Old basketballs lie on the ground, painted gray to resemble balls and chains. "I got 150 gallons of navy battleship gray paint for the backyard, then the Navy Blue Angels put an X in the sky over my head" - he shows us a picture of the X.
Back inside, we start making our way back toward the front door. Graceland Too's been open since 1990, and pictures of all the visitors line one hall. We pose for ours. Nearby are the first flowers ever put on Elvis's grave. We can feel the tour's denouement -- a welcome breeze.
"I told CNN I'd give up my life to bring Elvis back. I've only been loved by a few, while Elvis was loved by millions. I mean that. Women heard me on CNN and wrote me poems. Please read this out loud."
"I've been in 300 books and the New York Times 10 times. How did my son and I get into Time Magazine, People Magazine? Can you imagine doing this all hours of the day? Thirty-one thousand binders? Cause you have to. Cause it makes you happy. Elvis might have left the building in Memphis, but he'll never leave here."
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