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Graceland Does The Backstep

By Rich WilsonNov 29, 2002
Recently, Elvis Presley Enterprises and Graceland took a short-lived stand against supporting any event that included Elvis Impersonators including "Elvis" festivals. The original stance was basically that EPE would not allow or condone the use of Elvis' name to be associated with any event that included the use of the jump-suited impersonators. Many of us who have long complained to Graceland about these guys being permitted to prance right through Elvis' own home dressed in jumpsuits and sunglasses gave a round of long-overdue applause to EPE, Inc.

Now, we find that after receiving all of 30 (yes I said thirty) letters from these festival promoters, EPE has suddenly had a change of heart and have agreed to let the mockery continue! What the hell is that all about?? I mean, they (EPE) have done so much to try and preserve and improve the image of Elvis over the past 20 years by trying to show the younger, more provocative Elvis and have even denied fans the CBS last concert because they felt it made Elvis look bad. It shocks me that after just 30 letters, they turn around and have Jack Soden say, "Let's forget about the hassles. This is something, frankly, we need to support! "

When was the last time anyone at Graceland took a walk across the street and saw some of these creepy-looking guys in home-made costumes? GOD! This past August, I was almost ashamed to be seen near Graceland while the news media was rolling cameras on these characters. Talk about embarrassment... yet these clowns claim that they are only trying to "pay tribute" to Elvis... BULL! It's a self-praising ego thing that is going on inside their Black Velvet Dyed brains... nothing more. "Paying Tribute" my fanny. These guys are all impersonators... not Tribute Artists. The term "Tribute Artist" has been around for a long time and it was not intended for impersonators. The only reason why the EP Impersonators grabbed onto "Tribute Artist" is because of the terrible stigma that became attached to the many laughable impersonators...no one wanted to be associated with "Elvis Impersonators" anymore.

Yes, I know a few good impersonators out there, very few... but there are far more that do only harm to the image and the positive promotion that EPE claims they are trying to protect. These guys (and some gals?) are short, fat, tall, skinny, bald, black, white, Asian, blind, smelly... whatever... I have seen every size and shape Elvis strolling around as if they were an actual clone of the king. They are embarrassing! I have to wonder what is wrong with these so-called Elvis fans that chase after these "imposters" and have their pictures taken with them. It's bizarre! And what is most disturbing is when they open their mouths to sing...it is then I find myself running for the hills because Elvis does NOT deserve to have his music treated this way.

It is my humble opinion that when EPE made an about-face and gave the go-ahead nod to the impersonator promotions, they turned their back on all of the work they have done to promote Elvis positively. People will always look at Elvis without the respect he deserves as long as these foolish, egotistical, un-talented, spotlight-grabbing clowns are allowed to walk and try to talk as though they were Elvis-himselvis!

If you agree with me on this subject ... please ... drop Graceland an email and show them that there are more than just 30 fans out here who deserve to be listened to!
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Reactions

Crawfish (profilecontact) wrote on Nov 14, 2003report abuse
Morning Guys, but sorry I am one of the fans that are not too keen on impersonators. On my visits to Memphis and in particular my first one I was delighted that I truly did not see one, not one impersonator. The Memphians that I have met are so so proud of Elvis I can't imagine they would be too welcome in general. It's like when we go to the TCB Concerts, why do some of you feel the need to dress up like Elvis (not in white suits, but the red baggy shirts, black trousers and belts?). We are all there for the same reason - because we either love, respect (or both) Elvis. I feel that impersonators just cheapen Elvis' image, it's just embarrassing and those people that aren't Elvis fans just love it - it makes all of us look daft. Please just be proud of the fact that you are a true Elvis fan. You don't have to look an idiot to do it!
TCBn with TLC Bet (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 27, 2003report abuse
Here we go again with the impersonator issue...why won't people just respect Elvis' wishes ? Here it is right from him in a letter dated July 19, '77 to an impersonator: "Dear David: Congratulations on winning the talent competition you were in and good luck on the show this Friday! I really do appreciate you as a fan...and mimicry is a sincere form of being a fan. Do develop your own (underlined) special talents and abilities though, David. This is a great compliment to me that you would work so hard on this act like mine but never neglect your own special abilities to be yourself also. Best wishes in the future and God bless you. Sincerely, Elvis Presley"
In other words, if you don't have your own talent, get lost !
kingrichard146 (profilecontact) wrote on Sep 16, 2003report abuse
You doing a disservice to the quality Tribute Artists that put on a professional show that provides the fans of Elvis with memories rekindled and precious, when you lump them in with the "clowns in jumpsuits". There are more than 10,000 ETA's around the world that want to entertain and emulate "the greatest entertainer" has ever seen in Elvis Presley. I attend many Elvis Fest performances where the winner is the closest to the spirit of Elvis in his voice his costume and his entertaining the audience. That is the true meaning of Elvis ie The Performance for the Fans by a true entertainer. Anything that comes close for todays fan is what we want and ignore the clowns that seem to make a mockery.

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