Thursday, January 13, 2011
Dawn Buchanan recognized her mother, Delores Pipski, as the Kim Novak lookalike blond who Elvis has his arm around in the cocktail party photo. Buchanan alerted her mother, and both called The Detroit News.
Pipski was Delores Miklas then, a record librarian at WWJ Radio, which was downtown then. She was often invited to backstage parties by her bosses, and as an Elvis fan was especially happy to go to a party for him at the Fox. She worked a whole day at WWJ, then changed into a special dress and walked over to the Fox.
The singer hit it off with the record librarian, as is clear from the photo. "Most of the people at the cocktail party were older, there were only a handful of people he'd be attracted to, and me being 18 ..." Pipski says. Elvis' manager Col. Tom Parker took her aside later and invited her up to Elvis' dressing room. She went. There she and Elvis had a more private talk, in between his interviews with teenaged reporters. And yes, when they moved to a more secluded area, they kissed. "He was a hot kisser," Pipski recalls, with a laugh. "He was so gentle and sweet. We looked out the window of the lavatory and waved to the kids waiting below for the next show. We had a few smooches. I don't want to talk about that," she laughs.
Then the King asked her if she had any eyeliner. She didn't have any. "And I said 'Your eyes are beautiful just the way they are.'"
Clearly smitten with the Detroit girl, Elvis invited her back to his hotel. Col. Parker showed her where the car would pick her up. "He said, 'After the show he wants you to go with him.' But I watched the beginning of his second show, then I got cold feet. I knew there'd be hanky panky," Pipski said. She was just one girl in one city, and Elvis was on his way up, she muses.
Pipski married a year later and had six daughters, but she always loved Elvis's music. She preferred him in those earlier, innocent days, sensing a change when he "went Hollywood," that she didn't like. "When he first sang it was just beautiful," she said, of his 1956 persona.
Joann Menegaz Borri found out that photos of her and Elvis were in the paper and on the web when several of her friends recognized her photo in the News with the Detroit Times essay contest winners.(Their prize was to meet Elvis backstage before his Fox Theatre shows). Borri called from her North Carolina home. She was just 14 and about to enter Regina High School when she won the essay contest. She never told the nuns at school, "They would not have approved," she says.
"He was so down to earth, Borri said of Elvis. "He was the first star I ever met, and he wasn't a bit flamboyant. He loved music, he was consumed by it, and he loved singing and playing the piano for us. I remember sitting on the bench next to him, and he said 'Come on, sing!' I said I couldn't, and he said 'Anybody can sing!'" One of the songs he played, teasingly, was Pat Boone's "Love Letters in the Sand."
At some point Joann's mother got a message through that she needed to speak to her. When Elvis heard that she'd left her mother waiting outside, he protested, "You don't leave your mother outside!" He went with Joann out to the stage door and shook her mother's hand. "Do you know, when my mother was in a nursing home and had dementia...she could still remember that she shook Elvis' hand," Borri says.
Judy Hayes was also kissed by Elvis at the Fox in 1956, and for years, it been both a point of pride and the cause of much teasing from her six children. "I should have gone for it; I could have been Priscilla," she kids, referring to Elvis future wife.
Hayes, of Yale, Mich., now 71, was Judy Fesenmyer then, 16 and a sophomore at Detroit Denby High School when she won the essay contest sponsored by the Detroit Times (The Times closed in 1960, bought by The News).
Hayes remembers being amazed that her essay was chosen. I think they probably just picked five winners out of a hat, she says.
On Tuesday, The News ran several never-seen photos of Elvis in Detroit, including one of the five teen contest winners seated around a table with Elvis. We asked readers for help in identifying anybody in the photos.
The pictures of Elvis relaxing and performing in Detroit were unearthed by author Michael Rose, who is writing a book, "Spring of '56," about Elvis' breakout year, when he signed to RCA and exploded in the culture. Reviews of his May 25, 1956, show confirm that the Detroit press dismissed Elvis as a freak show, a hip-swiveling ex-truck driver. The word "hillbilly" was used to describe him in most reports, with no shame.
Two of Judy Hayes' six children, Scott and Pat, recognized their mom in the photo of the teen winners.
Hayes' memories of that meeting with the King are understandably vivid. She recalls being escorted backstage before the 4 p.m. show — Elvis also performed at 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., all seats $1.50 — to a room in the backstage basement. There the teenager was kissed twice by her idol, once on the forehead and once on the cheek.
Because Hayes' son Scott plays guitar and has a full head of hair, he's always teased that Elvis was his father, that he was born nine months after the photo of his mother and Elvis (Scott was actually born in 1964).
At the backstage Pepsi party, Hayes thought Elvis was "uppity," but quickly realized he was bashful. "They had a piano in the basement of the Fox, and he played the piano a little bit," she says. "He talked to us … we were so excited. In one photo, he's got his arm around me." That photo was taken to school, oohed and ahhed over. Much-fingered and tattered, it's in her home safe.
At one point Elvis was waving his arm around with a Pepsi in his hand, spraying some pop accidentally on his hair. Hayes also remembers that as handsome as he was, she wasn't so sure about Elvis' color choices.
"We were brought up to be color-coordinated back then," Hayes says. "He either had on black pants and brown shoes or brown pants and black shoes, plus a red shirt and a green jacket. I thought, 'OK … this is what everybody is going crazy about?'" Aida Carlesimo called in to identify her cousin Diana DiGregorio, who is sitting directly to Elvis' right in the photo of the contest winners. DiGregario has passed on, but Carlesimo, who was three years older (at 19) and had taken Diana to the Fox that day, remembers well how her cousin got to meet Elvis. "She was excited," Carlesimo recalled. "I remember she had pictures of him all over her ceiling and in the bathroom."
Joann Borri has some inside information about that "Pepsi party." Although the Detroit Times billed it as a Coke party backstage,Borri says Elvis preferred Pepsi and insisted that it be served. "He said 'Up north you all like Coke, but in the South we like Pepsi.'"
Reader Marshall Saltzman e-mailed in to say he thought that the boy sitting immediately to Elvis' right might be his friend Bob Schneider, but he can't be entirely sure without seeing the photo blown up. Schneider, Saltzman says, was a student at Mumford High and won tickets to see Elvis. He died in a car crash a few years later, Saltzman says.
Several News readers phoned or e-mailed in attempting to identify the downtown arcade where Elvis was shown shooting a toy gun. Several thought it might be the Penny Arcade, but reader Douglas Denhardt believes it was an arcade located in the lower level of the Fox.
Denhardt admits he played hooky from school one day to go to the Fox to see "The True Story of Jesse James" starring Robert Wagner in 1957. "My brother-in-law took me to see the movie, and I remember all these arcades and games down by the men's room," Denhardt says.
Rescued Chilean miner Edison Pena, a big fan of Elvis Presley, sang songs by The King to help keep alive the spirits of his colleagues until they were rescued in October. This week he made a cameo appearance at 'Viva ELVIS' in Las Vegas.
1. Save the Last Dance for Me
2. Sweet Little Sixteen
3. I Love You Because
4. What'd I Say
5. Good Rockin' Tonight
6. C.C. Rider
7. Be Bop A Lula
8. Good Golly Miss Molly
9. It Won't Happen With Me
10. Cold Cold Heart
11. Hello Josephine
This is actually the "Duets" LP, released in December 1978, minus 2 tracks, "Am I To Be The One" & "Sail Away." It didn't chart on Billboard.
This LP certainly generated controversy, as it contains Orion, aka Jimmy Ellis, who overdubbed vocals on all these original early '60s cuts Jerry did for Sun sometime in 1978.
Sun Records owner Shelby Singleton had him don a mask about a year after Elvis died, causing some people to think he was actually Elvis. His voice also sounded remarkably like Elvis.
Two singles from this LP, with Orion's overdubbed 1978 vocals, actually charted on the country charts. "Save The Last Dance For Me" went top 30 at #26 C&W, while "Cold, Cold Heart" made #84 C&W. By the way, both of these songs were released as 1961 A-sides by Jerry Lee, yet they didn't chart at that time.
Later, in December 1979, another album overdubbed by Orion came out on Sun entitled "Trio Plus." The trio was Jerry Lee, Carl Perkins, & Charlie Rich.
The original vocals & backing tracks were left intact, the only new (1979) sounds were Orion's vocals. Again, it didn't chart. "Be Bop A Lula," "Good Rockin' Tonight," & "Money" were originally on this album.
Dealmaker Jamie Salter, who already markets Bob Marley-themed merchandise, has agreed to acquire the rights to another dead celebrity: Marilyn Monroe.
Salter’s New York-based firm Authentic Brands Group LLC and media company Neca Inc. are buying Marilyn Monroe LLC from the late star’s estate, Salter said. Anna Strasberg, who is the administrator of the estate, will be a minority partner in the venture, which will control, among other things, the actress’s name and images of her lips and eyes, he said.
Authentic brands, which is backed by Leonard Green & Partners LP, is shopping a reality show based on Monroe, who has been dead almost 50 years, and plans to sell makeup, lingerie and other products that carry her name, Salter said.
“Every female celebrity has tried to emulate her in some way,” said Salter, who declined to say how much his firm paid for the name. “Marilyn Monroe is the brand.”
Dead stars and their associated business generated $2.25 billion in North American revenue in 2009, says Ira Mayer, who runs The Licensing Letter, which tracks licensing deals. UBS, PSA Peugeot Citroen and Cie. Financiere Richemont SA’s Montblanc have all hitched their brands to dead icons.
“The interest in dead celebrities by brands is only growing because it’s a known quantity,” said David Reeder, vice president at GreenLight, a unit of Corbis Corp. that represents the estates of Steve McQueen, Johnny Cash and Andy Warhol. “There’s a lot of private-equity money looking to buy entertainment properties.”
‘Face of Marilyn’
Authentic Brands is in talks with mass and luxury retailers to sell a line of Monroe-branded lingerie, cosmetics and home products, Salter said. The proposed reality TV show, “Who is The Next Face of Marilyn,” would feature contestants vying to represent the Monroe brand.
Last year, Salter, 47, agreed to buy TapouT, Silver Star Casting Co. and Hitman Fight Gear, three apparel brands that cater to fans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, the mixed martial arts network.
He got into the dead celeb game in 2009 when he and his former employer Hilco Consumer Capital partnered with the estate of Bob Marley to sell merchandise under the late reggae singer’s name.
Since then, the Marley enterprise has launched a line of earbuds and headphones, featuring collections called “Freedom” and “Jammin,” under the House of Marley brand.
The partners also sell Marley’s Mellow Mood, a "relaxation drink" made from green tea, Valerian root extract and other ingredients by the Marley Beverage Co. It’s for sale in 2,000 U.S. supermarkets, Salter says.
‘Prolong Celebrity Life’
Marilyn Monroe is the latest dead celebrity to launch a new career. A photo of the late actorMcQueen appears in UBS’s “We Will Not Rest” television campaign, which celebrates achievers. The John Lennon estate has deals with Citroen and Montblanc. Last year, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. sponsored the “Experience Hendrix” tour, which featured artists performing music associated with guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.
“You want to prolong the life of the celebrity, and licensing is a powerful means of accomplishing that,” Mayer of The Licensing Letter said.
CKX Inc., an entertainment conglomerate that produces “American Idol,” has an 85 percent interest in Elvis Presley Enterprises, which controls the late musician’s estate. Lisa Marie Presley, his daughter, remains a shareholder. New York- based CKX has since signed with Sirius XM Radio Inc. for an Elvis channel, just inked a deal with Liquid Comics to develop an Elvis character and expanded the relationship with International Game Technology for Elvis slot machines.
CKX also cut a deal with Cirque du Soleil to stage a tribute show called “Viva Elvis” at the Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Since opening last February, the show has brought a new audience to the Elvis brand, said CKX Chief Executive Officer Mike Ferrel.
“The family felt they had taken the brand as far as they could,” Ferrel said in a telephone interview.
Monroe would be 84 had she lived, and her image may not resonate with a younger generation, says Michael Stone, founder of the Beanstalk Group, a New York brand consultant that has worked with Procter & Gamble Co. and Ford Motor Co.
“The people who grew up with Marilyn Monroe are in their 70s now,” said Stone. “How does a Marilyn Monroe compete with a Celine Dion fragrance when Celine can be in the commercial?”
The social media revolution has exposed younger audiences to celebrities, including ones no longer in the public eye -- or even alive -- says Salter’s partner Joel Weinshanker, president and chief operating officer of Neca, which handles licensing for such films as “The Lord of the Rings” and “Twilight.”
‘That Wall’s Disappeared’
“There always used to be a wall between a movie star and a fan, between a musician and a fan,” he says. “In the 21st century, that wall’s disappeared.”
Monroe’s Facebook fan page has about 355,400 friends and features film clips. The two dealmakers plan to devote part of the Marilyn advertising budget to Facebook.
It’s easy to damage the brand of an iconic star of yesteryear, says Mayer. He points to the commercial that ran during the 1997 Super Bowl U.S. football championship, in which Fred Astaire danced with a Dirt Devil, a vacuum cleaner brand since acquired by Techtronic Industries Co. At the time many viewers expressed revulsion, and the spot made worst lists of Super Bowl ads.
Reviving dead celebrities for profit requires taste and authenticity, says Salter. “That’s how we create value,” he says. “Everything we do must have authentic DNA.”
Ultimately, Salter may add to his roster of dead celebrities, he says. Another that may eventually be up for grabs: Hendrix.
One of the organisers of an Elvis Presley convention in Birmingham has been charged with attacking the son of the King’s guitarist after the event. A man suffered a broken nose and cheekbone following an alleged assault at the Hilton Metropole hotel, near the NEC, early on Sunday.
The victim was understood to be US citizen Jeff Burton, the 48-year-old son of guitarist James Burton, who played with Elvis from 1969 until Presley's death in 1977.
The man charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm in connection with the incident has been named as Michael Cawthray.
The 43-year-old, from north Wales, is a director of the European Elvis Championships, the event which was taking place at the hotel at the time. He is also has his own Elvis tribute act.He is due to appear at Solihull Magistrates’ Court this month. Both men were staying at the Metropole, where 80 Elvis impersonators had been vying to win the championships.
A West Midlands Police spokeswoman said: “Police were called at 4.25am on January 9 to reports of a man bleeding in the lobby area of the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the NEC.
“A 48-year-old man was taken to Heartlands Hospital with a broken cheekbone, a broken nose and cuts to his face. He remains in a stable condition at the hospital.
“A 43-year-old man was arrested nearby on suspicion of assault and has been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. He has been bailed to appear at Solihull Magistrates’ Court.”
As well as Elvis, Louisiana-born James Burton also worked with Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Joe Osborn, and Roy Orbison.
He formed the James Burton Band in 2008 and has performed with his son Jeff, who sings and also plays the guitar.
Please keep the Burton family in your thoughts and prayers!
The recently discovered lost jukebox 45s were purchased by collector Henrik Knudsen at auction and the details published in the February 2010 issue of Record Collector magazine article by Megan M Murphy, The Secrets of Elvis's Jukebox.
Vee-Tone Records, working in conjunction with Megan M Murphy and Henrik Knudsen, have produced The Memphis Jukebox Volume Two which contains some of the of the hottest Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Rockabilly, Rock n Roll, Rockin Country and Doo Wop ever recorded.
This collection documents and showcases the music enjoyed by the most successful recording artist of the 20th Century.
1) Boyd Bennett & The Rockets - You Upset Me Baby
2) Bill Haley & The Comets - Hot Dog Buddy Buddy
3) The Jodimars - Well Now Dig This
4) Eddie Fontaine - Cool It Baby
5) Warren Smith - Rock 'n' Roll Ruby
6) Carl Perkins - Boppin' The Blues
7) Ricky Nelson - Waitin' In School
8) Jerry Lee Lewis -Breathless
9) Gene Vincent - Be-Bop-A-Lula
10) Webb Pierce - I Ain't Never
11) Marty Robbins - I Can't Quit
12) Bo Diddley - I'm Bad
13) Little Walter - My Babe
14) The Drifters - Hyptonized
15) Fats Domino - I Still Love You
16) Ruth Brown - I Wanna Do More
17) Piano Red -Rock, Baby
18) The Spiders - Witchcraft
19) Big Joe Turner - Flip Flop And Fly
20) Eddie Bo - I'm Wise
21) The Clovers - If I Could Be Loved By You
22) The Moonglows - Most Of All
Buy your signed copy today!
To all the fans of my mother Myrna Smith, I wanted to give you all a great big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all that you did for my mother. Not only when she was ill, but all the support you gave her during the years of touring, as well as, listening and purchasing her music. Many of you followed her closely and she loved you for that. My mother was a wonderful lady. My life with her will never be forgotten. I have watched my mom from day one of her time with Elvis and the people from Graceland, showing many people what a great entertainer should project. My mom, although had friends by her side all the way to the end, always understood our special relationship. I will always love and respect my mother for who she is and what she became. Her grandson had the opportunity to sit with his Grandmother long before she became too ill and shared with her his aspirations to follow her entertainment footsteps. Thank you all for the respect while the family was grieving and we appreciate your well wishes and condolences. I have included the memorial information below and would love to hear from you or see you there. For people who cannot make it to the memorial, we will be taking all emails and posting them at the memorial for people to read. We may even read a few there. Sincerely, Martin Smith Myrna's Memorial: First Christian Church of North Hollywood 4390 Colfax Ave. North Hollywood, CA 91604 818-763-8218 (please send flowers directly to the church) Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org Time: 11:00 AM - 1:00PM Date: 1/29/2010 Refreshment will follow. We appreciate the fans that had done so much for Myrna and a special thank you to Carole Drexler who has been a valuable friend of the family.