Graceland's Big Day

Graceland has new paint on the fences, freshly trimmed bushes and a cleaning job worthy of heads of state. "Every little detail will be pristine," said Graceland chief executive officer Jack Soden. "There's the joke that you ought to have a big party at your house at least once a year, because if you've got really important guests coming you go the extra step to make sure everything is perfect." For Soden, who has greeted 15 million guests in 24 years, "the fact is nobody can remember a day like this one." President George Bush and first lady Laura Bush are accompanying Japan's No. 1 Elvis fan, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, on a tour of Graceland. It is the first Graceland tour by a sitting U.S. president. Former president Jimmy Carter, who had left office, visited during his daughter's graduation from Memphis College of Art in 1991. That was on a winter day, a Tuesday, when the mansion was closed, said Graceland spokesman Todd Morgan. Morgan said Koizumi's visit will include eight rooms in the 15-room mansion with Koizumi seeing what other Elvis fans see. The distinction is that the mansion will be closed to other guests until about 12:30 p.m. while Priscilla Presley and daughter Lisa Marie Presley conduct the tour with Soden and Morgan -- all under the scrutiny of security teams from the White House and the Japanese Embassy. Morgan could not discuss security, but he said advance teams have been busy for several weeks "doing all of the things you would expect. It feels like we're living in an episode of 'The West Wing.' " He said Koizumi is not fluent in English and will use a translator regularly used by the White House for meetings with the prime minister. Graceland's pre-recorded audio tour is offered in Japanese, but Morgan said, "It was determined by all parties it would be a much more enjoyable experience to be a conversational tour with no headsets." Morgan said he is unsure who else might accompany Koizumi, but Soden said the prime minister's brother, Masaya Koizumi, is a likely guest. He said the brother helped organize installation of an Elvis statue in a Tokyo park. One Japanese newspaper correspondent offered to coach Soden on appropriate Japanese phrases to use in greeting Koizumi, but Soden declined the offer. "With my luck, I would think I had it down, then screw it up," he said. Morgan said it is traditional to offer gifts to visiting dignitaries. Graceland, one of the nation's busiest licensing agents, has hundreds of options from key chains and Teddy bears to leather jackets and a jukebox. Morgan said Graceland staff members were still debating Thursday what to present the Bushes and Koizumi. "If we told ahead of time it wouldn't be a surprise," he said, declining to be more specific about gifts being considered. As for the tour itself, Morgan said it will include the living room, music room, dining room, the Vernon and Gladys Presley bedroom, the kitchen, the pool room, the TV room, and the infamous Jungle Room. It will not include the upstairs which has the Elvis bedroom, a study, a "wardrobe room" and Lisa Marie Presley's nursery. Beyond the house, the tour includes trophy and racquetball buildings, Vernon Presley's office and smaller exhibit areas. Those exterior buildings include Elvis' gold records and jumpsuits. Regular tourists will be delayed by the prime minister's tour with tours of Graceland resuming at 12:30 p.m. The Elvis car museum in the Graceland Plaza shopping complex is being used as a national media center with public tours resuming there at 2 p.m. All other attractions will be open all day as usual. Morgan said the visit is "a very big day for us, not just professionally but personally. It's really special. Elvis has such universal appeal. These people go everywhere and meet everybody. "They lead fascinating lives, but it doesn't matter where they're from or what walk of life they're from, they still appreciate Elvis." By Michael Lollar / The Commercial Appeal
Source: Commercial Appeal / Updated: Jun 30, 2006 
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sunrecords56 (profilecontact) wrote on Aug 10, 2006report abuse
to the See See RIDER......YES IT WAS A GREAT DAY......i wonder if they arrested the Joker who put on Pricilla's face.....Bush looked good so it couldnt have been him....but that other guy hmmm.
see see rider (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 4, 2006report abuse
politics aside, it was great to see the prime minister of japan enjoying himself (even though he got his songs mixed up). it's funny new york, new york should bring up priscilla and her make over..a couple days ago we were just talking about how she look's like the "joker" from the first "batman" movie.
Crawfish (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 4, 2006report abuse
Thanks NYNYNY; nice to know there are others that just love everyone to love Elvis! And don't have to finish with some scowling comment. Cheers! We are all here because we love him and no other reason.
June (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 2, 2006report abuse
Any way you slice is awesome. Lisa-Marie is a walking Elvis, what a beauty. Looks like everyone was having a great time. Wonderous occasion.
newyorknewyork (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 2, 2006report abuse
Well said Crawfish, whatever happened in the past happened, we can't change that, so let's just celebrate the greatness of "Elvis Presley" all together!
Crawfish (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 2, 2006report abuse
I dont know why people are getting so upset! It is fantastic that a two presidents want to visit Elvis' home and grave; a shame the Japanese fella felt obliged to sing - but then we have all felt like that when there! - live and let live. I hope they enjoyed it and the Presley's looked great - I am sure someone will slam me for this simplistic view but (and I absolutely love politics!) why not think "glass half full ..... and not half empty!" all the time. They are they because Elvis was ELVIS! Isn't that enough?
newyorknewyork (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2006report abuse
Graceland once again looks beautiful. What has Priscilla done to her face?
SuziB (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2006report abuse
Short sleeved Hawaiian shirts? Those ridiculous shirts so beloved by classless and sartorially inadequate Americans? Kozumi has class... How to spot an American, Hawaiian shirts and completely clashing checked trousers, neither of which fit properly...topped off by a baseball cap....Somehow, not Kozumi in the slightest, or anyone with taste and class....
Devon (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2006report abuse
Was so happy to see that the P.M. had a good time at Graceland, but as for bush makeing the statement that he had never been to Graceland before and was hopeing that the P.M would like to see it only tells me that why would he have to waite to go. Anyway real cool for the Elvis family and all who are there to keep the dream alive.
efan4ever (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2006report abuse
I thought we were not allowed to use flash photography. By the way great publicity for EP.
corey3rd (profilecontact) wrote on Jul 1, 2006report abuse
Nic Cage has been upstairs in Graceland. he's spoken about being upstairs during one of the Elvis weeks and looking down at the folks with the candles. I'm not sure if Jacko ever made it up the staircase. Got to say that the President and PM really needed to get better outfits on their visits. They looked really uptight in their suit pants with the tight belts and shirts with the cuffs barely pushed up. Would it have hurt them to wear short sleeved Hawaiian shirts? They looked dressed for some office pep talk and not a tour of graceland. Got to say that PM did seem awed at the visit like I was during my time - even though I had to stay behind the ropes.
riddrie (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
being from scotland i do not have any political opinions on how other countries run their country it was just nice to see graceland being visited by such important people and one of them being a big elvis fan
GeeBee (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
Actually, Elvis, in his press-conference at Madison Square Garden, when asked about his political opinion, said he's just as soon keep his opinoins to himself, that he was an entertainer and did not want to express any political opinions, although he did say he thought it was okay for others to do so.
byebye (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
Allthough I think this visit is very good, and I have no problem with president Bush going there. I sense some double moral from the "EP News staff" here when stating "lets keep politics out of this"!? I mean, how do you give your opinion about a presidental/prime minister visit, without taking consideration to politics, good or bad??! Sure, there is a verbal line you dont want to have that is abusive to the guidelines here. But I also dont think people are obligated to follow a strategic $ policy from a superstar and his manager either. Especially since it obviously wasn´t a consistent attitude towards the public. EP himself took contact with Nixon, and it certainly had a lot to do with politics I´m sure...:)
Tony C (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
I was disappointed to read the certain postings have had to be deleted because of political comment. I cannot understand why people would make such comments on this site, which is supposed to be about Elvis. Regardless of anyones personal feeling towards President Bush, he should be applauded for the huge honour he is bestowing on Elvis, an honour that also shines on those of us that love him.
Steve V (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
corey3rd - Gosh - Do u think Michael Jackson & Nicholas Cage have been in the King's bedroom??
corey3rd (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
even if you're the head of the country, you still can't get snuck up to Elvis' bedroom. I guess the only chance you have to walk up the stairs is to marry Lisa Marie.
ElvisNews (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
We deleted some contributions. Although there were no guidelines about politics, we don't want them on this site. Thanks to one memember for this phrase: "let's keep politics out of this. Our man himself was very particular about this, remember "I'd like to keep my political views to myself.""
MauriceColgan (profilecontact) wrote on Jun 30, 2006report abuse
The publicity prior to the visit of the VIPs to Graceland has already been astounding! President George W Bush and Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, no matter their politics today, have given Graceland priceless publicity. The sales of Elvis's wonderful music cannot help but benifit. Even here in Irelandtoo.

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