Pump up the volume: Elvis Week 2011 begins

Elvis Week officially kicks off today in Memphis. Of course, Elvis Week really occurs all over the world – wherever there is an Elvis fan. Most of us take a little extra time to remember and enjoy the music.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in Memphis, I envy you, but also hope you have a fantastic time. Elvis Presley Enterprises and others put on a variety of events, so it always looks like there is something for everybody.

Perusing the schedule, one thing that I’d definitely attend if I was there is Saturday’s screening of the 2000 documentary Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll, which was written and produced by none other than Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick. Guralnick, along with Knox Phillips (Sam’s oldest son), will speak after the film.

In honor of Elvis Week, the O.co (Overstock.com) entertainment blog yesterday featured a fun Elvis infographic. Check it out.

Have a great week, everyone. Remember to crank up the Elvis!

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August 12, 2011, Update: Check out MJ’s fantastic post about visiting Graceland during Elvis Week 2007 on her blog.

Update #2: And here’s another one. This one is from the Elvis Today Blog with Thomas’ memories of Elvis Week 2005. The funny thing is, this was written shortly after Elvis Week 2007 – referenced in MJ’s post above.

August 18, 2011, Final Update: To bring things full circle, here are a couple of great blog posts from Memphis resident Deena Dietrich about Elvis Week 2011.

From Blogs To Books/From Books To Movies

Thanks again to Thomas for taking over as guest conductor last week. I decided to just take the whole week off from keeping up with Elvis news and writing the blog. Honestly, what I learned during my week away from The Mystery Train is that I need time off from here more often, despite how much I love it. Taking a few steps back made me realize that sometimes this fun little hobby consumes too much of my life.

Last Train To Memphis: The Movie That Wouldn’t Die

With that being said, I did have a chance to go back and catch up on the news. One of the main stories to hit the Elvis sites last week was talk of a movie version of Last Train To Memphis: The Rise Of Elvis Presley, Peter Guralnick’s definitive early Elvis biography. The book was first released in 1994, seventeen years ago. I believe Hollywood has been trying to turn this into a movie for almost that long.

I can actually remember covering the Last Train To Memphis movie for the fan club newsletter I wrote back in the early to mid 1990s. My last story on the subject was something to the effect of “Unfortunately, plans for a movie version of Last Train To Memphis have been put on hold.”

Over the years, the project has continued to garner a mention out here in web land every now and then. IGN Movies even reviewed a rough draft script for Last Train To Memphis by Jim Uhls (Fight Club) back in 2000. None other than The New York Times listed a now-abandoned Last Train To Memphis incarnation with Mike Newell directing, Leonardo DiCaprio producing, and John Goodman appearing in an unidentified role (perhaps Colonel Tom Parker?). Long-time Elvis friend Jerry Schilling was also attached to the project as co-producer.

Here we are, well over a decade later, and plans for the movie have apparently been put back on the track, with John Fusco set to write a new adaptation for producer Steve Bing (“John Fusco Takes His Shot At Early Elvis” — Deadline Hollywood). Fusco‘s biggest credit to date is 1988’s Young Guns, while a few of Bing’s past productions have been documentaries. He also wrote the Chuck Norris Missing In Action series of movies.

My hope is that Last Train To Memphis: The Rise Of Elvis Presley will not be yet another conventional dramatization of Elvis’ life, but instead a definitive documentary using archival music, footage, and photographs to tell the story. After all, the only person who can really do Elvis justice is Elvis himself. Johnny Depp need not apply.

An ultimate Elvis documentary would fill the void left by the now-dated This Is Elvis and Elvis: The Great Performances. If they do this movie right, there’s a sequel already waiting in the wings in the form of Careless Love: The Unmaking of Elvis Presley, Guralnick’s somewhat disappointing 1999 follow-up that covered the remainder of Elvis’ life.

Sometimes, initiatives take flight right out of the Projects That Will Never Happen Department, and maybe that will be the case with Last Train To Memphis.

Live like Elvis – at any budget

ElvisBlog was one of several sites to cover one of Elvis’ former homes going on the rental market. The southern California residence that then-newlyweds Elvis and Priscilla used in 1967 can be yours for just $25,000 a month and includes, amazingly enough, “floor-to-ceiling walls throughout.”

If $25,000 a month is too much for you, then perhaps you might want to furnish your own version of Graceland instead by perusing eBay’s local classified advertisements (“Recreate Graceland Forever!” — The eBay Classifieds Blog). The Jungle Room is pretty cool, especially since two of my favorite albums were recorded there, but I think Elvis’ TV Room is more my style.

Judging a blog by its book cover

Finally, be sure to check out the ultra-slick cover to Thomas’ forthcoming book, which compiles his first 271 posts on the Elvis Today blog. It also features one never-before-published article. Hey Thomas, I’m just wondering, who is going to star in the inevitable movie version of the Elvis Today blog?