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Newsletter 20


     sid@elvisly-yours.com

July  2004

  www.elvisly-yours.com

please feel free to forward this Newsletter to Elvis friends


Celebrating Elvis, July 5th


Elvises at Piccadilly Circus July 5th


Driving around London singing Elvis songs

 
The cutest ETA in the world Jayden Hill, aged 3
Copyright planetjive with more photos

Londoners and tourists will remember July 5th 2004 when two bus loads of Elvis Tribute Artists entertained the public singing Elvis songs at full volume while driving through London's West End. We were celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll. On the Tour we stopped at Piccadilly Circus for a photo call with the world's media to launch the new, spectacular worldwide Project "Elvisly Yours Restaurants". Then, they walked into the London Trocadero for a Contest to chose the BEST Elvis to open the first Elvisly Yours Restaurant in London, hopefully in 2005.   

Some of the ETAs described the Elvis Day as the best thing they had ever experienced. We are grateful to "Corona Extra Beer" who donated use of the buses for free and supplied beer all day to the thirsty ETAs and to the London Trocadero for providing free space for the Elvis Contest and allowing us to collect money for charity.

The ETAs were seen by over 500 million people all over the world as film was distributed to 150 countries by British Satellite News. There was also filming all day by SKY News, ITN, London Tonight, BBC Wales, ITV and BBC 'Test the Nation'. There were interviews on Sky News, GMTV with me and 8 Elvises plus ten minutes on ITV News with me and the two winners, Paul Lillie and Mark Leen. Photos were syndicated all over the world by Associated Press and international photo agencies. We made sure the world knew it was the 50th Anniversary of rock 'n' roll and thousands and thousands of Londoners and tourists joined in all the singing, fun and laughter.

The Grand Finale was at 5pm with all Elvis Tribute Artists on the 'Corona Extra Beer' bus outside Elvisly Yours at 233 Baker Street, London NW1 singing "That's All Right" to coincide with radio stations all over the world simultaneously playing the song (11am Memphis time). Throughout the day the ETAs helped us to raise money for a cancer charity, the "Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre". It is against the law to raise money in the Street in July (ridiculous, but true) so we could only collect at London's Trocadero and just #500.00 was raised. Martin Elvis of Malta actually followed a lady through the Trocadero singing to her until she gave him a cheque. 

We would like to thank the following ETAs for giving their heart and soul at our Event on July 5th: 

Jay Ashton,
Black Elvis, Jack BradfordDanish Elvis, Chinese Elvis, Ian Coulson,  Neil Duncan,  
Emerald Elvis
,Elvis ShmelvisMama ShmelvisElvis Shmelvis JnrElvis Shmelvis Jnr 2, Brother Shmelvis, Grandpa Schmelvis,  Chris Mackey,  Maltese ElvisScott ElvisGraham Frain; Mark Goddard, Mike JemMike Jones, Gary King, Kings King, Liberty Mounten, Paul Lillie,  Dave Michael,  Danny Owen, John Reid, Deke RiversJasper Roberts, Geoff RobertsRay Siberini, Chris Taylor, Dean Lee Vegas, Robbie West  (click on a name to see details for each ETA)

We were badly let down when the original sound guy cancelled at short notice and Martyn Dias (Elvis Shmelvis) and his wife Sue at the last moment offered their help to supply sound. They were brilliant, providing sound on both buses, at Piccadilly Circus, in the London Trocadero and finally outside Elvisly Yours.

What is amazing was Martyn had to hump heavy equipment up and down the buses but also had to sing and managed to get into every photo shoot and all the film for the many TV cameras. His image was seen not only in various British papers, but all over the world and on all TV broadcasts in Britain and internationally. Sadly, four ETAs sent me hate mail after our fantastic event on July 5th. They were such bad losers and thought the contest was fixed because they never made the last ten finalists. The few who complained the most had their photos in many national newspapers and were seen by at least 500 million people in Britain and the world on TV, publicity most entertainers never get in a lifetime. We made tens of thousands of people happy in London July 5th and got London rocking and rolling to Elvis' music.

See lots more photos from July 5th 2004 by clicking on "Elvisly Yours & Elvises Rock London"


Spectacular 'Elvisly Yours Restaurants'   coming soon...around the world !!

For the past nine months I have been working with a consortium of six companies to launch a new, spectacular worldwide chain of "Elvisly Yours Restaurants" and the word spectacular is not used lightly...just look at the architectural designs for the interior and exterior of the Restaurants...



Exterior of the Elvisly Yours Restaurant


Interior of the Elvisly Yours Restaurant

You enter through the legs of a 25 feet high, animatronic, 1950's Elvis who greets you with, "thankyouverymuch" and moves his hips and curls his lip. Everywhere you look will be fantastic images of Elvis, displays of jumpsuits and memorabilia and every detail about the Restaurants will be themed with Elvis in mind...the plates, the coffee mugs, menu, cocktail list, napkins, staff outfits, slide shows...everything Elvis. There will be the 'Jungle Room' and 'Blue Suede Heaven'  for private parties, the bar will be one of the longest in the world, wrapping around the inside of the restaurant in a huge arc. Each night there will be the best entertainment, featuring not only Elvis Tribute Artists but music that influenced Elvis with the best rock 'n' roll bands, blues and country stars, gospel and rockabilly. In the daytime there will be non-stop Elvis music and karaoke sessions so budding ETAs can get on stage and do their thing. 

The opening night will have two Elvis performances. The standard of the ETA Contest was very high and the Judges could not decide the ultimate winner so chose two winners, Paul Lillie and Mark Leen, the Emerald Elvis. Paul will represent the young Elvis and Mark the Vegas Elvis. There were many good singers in the Contest but what was also required was stage presence and entertaining the audience. Very few ETAs used the whole floor area and involved the audience in their act. Elvis wasn't just a brilliant singer, foremost he was an entertainer and related directly to his audience. So, getting down on one knee and kissing the hand of a lady all adds to the effect and the magic that Elvis created. The Judges chose Paul and Mark as the best entertainers with Elvis Shmelvis a close third. Many of the other ETAs may be given the opportunity to perform at "Elvisly Yours Restaurants".


Paul Lillie

 

 

 

 

 


       
Mark Leen

Each Restaurant will cost £3 million to build and equip and the consortium are talking to several interested parties of investors around the world. It is hoped to open the first in London then Tokyo, Berlin, Dublin and other world famous cities will follow. The ethos of "Elvisly Yours Restaurants" is to make sure the customer is "King" or "Queen". The food will be freshly cooked with only fresh ingredients (not frozen like most chains), the service will be excellent, the atmosphere befitting the "King of Rock 'n' Roll" and the entertainment of the highest standard. Each customer will be sent a birthday card on their birthday if they give their name and address; the ladies a rose as they leave the restaurant after an evening show, in appreciation of their visit. We want our customers to come back time and time again. See the feature about "Elvisly Yours Restaurants" in the prestigious "Sunday Times" of London, England. 


TRYING TO HOODWINK ELVIS FANS


Jack Soden and Sid Shaw



Believe it or not but Jack Soden, Chief Executive Officer of EPE Inc actually sent a letter to fan clubs around the world saying how much they were appreciated. Below you will see a copy of the letter and if you have a violin I suggest you take it out of its case and play a sad and wistful lament while reading this painful, hypocritical and untruthful garbage click here to read

Jack Soden hates Elvis fans, always has...always will. They are a nuisance to him and until Patsy Andersen was forced to resign because of Soden's meanness fans have not stood up to EPE. I just hope Elvis fans realise how much power they really have if they work together and co-ordinate their attacks. I believe Soden is the reason for all the unhappiness and bitterness in the Elvis World. Priscilla and now it seems Lisa have just allowed this megalomaniac to just get on with it threatening almost everyone in the Elvis World, making $millions for himself while stopping hundreds of shows and thousands of Elvis projects. Jack Soden managed to close the only Elvis Restaurant in America. I ask you... with over 600,000 people visiting Graceland  each year even in slow years how could you not make a success of an Elvis Restaurant in Memphis, Tennessee ? All that was required was a marketing package that included a tour of Graceland and a meal at the Elvis Restaurant downtown, then make the Restaurant really "Elvis friendly" and book the best ETAs. In fact there should be an auditorium at Graceland where the world's stars would want to perform.

They could of and should have replaced Soden with a chimpanzee. It doesn't take brains to run Graceland. The power of the name "Elvis" will attract 600,000 people a year to Graceland and a chimpanzee would have been much cuter, more honest, cheaper to feed and would not have cost the many $millions that Soden has cost EPE. A chimpanzee, let's call him "Scatter" in memory of Elvis' chimp, would not have alienated almost all Elvis fans around the world, alienated Elvis' family and friends and given EPE such an awful name in show business. Now that the fans have got Soden 'on the run' Elvis Week is the best chance to run Soden out of town marked "Return to Sender". It is time for a change. Why is it in America Presidents can only have eight years in office but Soden has been in power for 22 years? I think, in life generally, it is believed when you have power for too long, you get tired, lazy, predictable and there has to be change. Now is the time for change at EPE...the fans can and must get Soden replaced by a more caring, understanding CEO and someone who loves Elvis and his fans.

There should have been 200,000 Elvis fans in Memphis for the 50th Anniversary of Rock 'n' Roll but Soden and his cronies have so alienated Elvis fans that only a few thousand turned up (from 2,000-8,000 were quoted).


      Courts Wine Bar Elvis Event August 5th

  50's Picnic in the Park  Shoreditch July 25th


The childishness and stupidity of BMG

I was approached by the marketing company for BMG to assist with the promotion of DVDs for the '68 Comeback, Aloha Concert and launch of "That's All Right". I was asked to quote for a range of products and to work together on July 5th. I explained we had planned to have 50 ETAs touring London on double-decker open top buses and the PR company loved the idea. I suggested they should contribute to the travelling expenses of the ETAs, provide some Elvis goodies and help the charity we were fundraising for, the "Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre".  I told the PR company since 2002 I was informed by executives at BMG they were not allowed to associate with Elvisly Yours because EPE would be upset. If EPE say "boo" the execs at BMG "jump"...how sad, how pitiful? Nevertheless, the PR company said not to worry because his contact at BMG was his own man and supposedly had 'balls'. I was told to contact this BMG macho man  and set everything up. I emailed, I phoned, I left messages. I never heard from BMG again or the PR company. Meanwhile, we had two busloads of Elvis Tribute Artists touring the West End of London on July 5th and at 5pm singing "That's All Right" giving BMG and their stupid partners EPE worldwide publicity worth $millions.

You would think Jack Soden, Gary Hovey and maybe even Lisa Marie Presley would think hell, if we can't beat this guy, we won't join him but we will turn a blind eye because if he is successful promoting the 50th Anniversary of 'Rock 'n' Roll' we can make a lot more money. But instead they affected our publicity, even though it was massive it could have been even greater. It is very important to get the Press Association to photograph your promotions since they supply photos to all the British media. 

For, probably, the first time ever on a major Elvis promotion the Press Association (PA) did not photograph our Event, with all the Elvises. I even went to the Press Association offices on Sunday July 4th to encourage PA to send a photographer on July 5th. Their representative from the Picture Desk, who knew me,  said they had no spare cameramen because they had too many at Wimbledon for 14 days without a break. The only cameraman they had spare HAD to go to HMV on Oxford Street to photograph a BMG promotion. I told him "we had 50 Elvises" and how could that compare with a store promotion? I was told they HAD to photograph BMG's promotion otherwise PA would not be invited to other promotions with major BMG artists. The Press Association never sent a photographer along to our day long celebration...I never saw any photos from HMV in the national press, either. However, we did have Associated Press syndicate photos around the world and several major international press agencies. If BMG had not been so childish and stupid and instead encouraged PA to cover our event rather than threaten them photos of all our Elvises touring London, entertaining the crowds at Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Parliament Square and the London Trocadero would have appeared in many British papers and all related to the release of "That's All Right" thus helping their own promotion. I think they call it "cutting your nose to spite your face". It would be nice if BMG having got $millions of free publicity around the world because of Elvisly Yours gives a large donation to the Lynda Jackson Macmillan Centre, but don't hold your breath.


Bubba Ho-Tep

We were invited to a special private screening of a film coming out in the UK in October called "Bubba Ho-Tep". The PR company for the Studios wanted to have an opinion about how Elvis fans would react to the film. I believe it is on DVD in America but Elvis fans in Britain will have to wait until October 2004 when it is on general release.

It is based on a Bram Stoker short story and the film will have Elvis fans divided. If you love Elvis, warts and all you will enjoy the film. If you are the sort of person who would vote for George W Bush then don't go and see Bubba Ho-Tep. I have been told by all of Elvis' friends Elvis used profane language in private and this film is full of profanities, sexual innuendos and crude language. The audience of about forty journalists were laughing all through the film. It is a comedy, horror spoof and I bet Elvis would have loved to have played the part of "Elvis".

It is an Elvis film but very different to any other Elvis film you have seen. The film's story line is supposedly, Elvis got tired of stardom and his life style and he changed places with an Elvis impersonator who looked exactly like him so even his bodyguards did not know the switch had taken place. The fake Elvis dies at Graceland in 1977 and the real Elvis goes on the road as an Elvis Tribute Artist until he has an accident and falls off stage and ends up in a coma for some 20 years or more. Elvis is now about 70 and is living in a rest home thinking about his life and what he left behind, with many flashbacks. It just so happens this rest home is plagued by an evil Egyptian Spirit of a Mummy. Elvis and his friend at the home, John F Kennedy, take on this evil spirit who is sucking the souls out of the old people at the home. This JFK is black and believes President Johnson had him dyed all over, then got him out of the way to become President and actually faked Kennedy's death. It helps to have a vivid imagination watching Bubba Ho-Tep and it is only a film.

Elvis and Kennedy are played brilliantly by Bruce Campbell and Ossie Davis (aged 87) and the film was directed by Don Coscarelli. Aging Elvis took Campbell two hours of make-up every day and one hour to take off. There are a lot of cute scenes in the film and an amusing script. With Elvis' 70th birthday coming in January it was interesting to imagine what Elvis would have been like compared to Campbell's portrayal on the screen. We enjoyed the film but can imagine some Elvis fans would find the language offensive but Elvis used cuss words all the time in real life. Also, seeing Elvis fighting the evil Egyptian spirit with a Zimmer frame may not be some Elvis fan's cup of tea but I believe Elvis would have enjoyed this film, bad language and all. I am sure it is not licensed by EPE and one good reason to go see it.


Elaine Dundy's book "Elvis and Gladys" 
has been re-issued


                 Please inform us if you change your email address



Eileen Weston and Joe Pirzada at Elvisly Yours
with the Original "That's All Right" Stamper 

An Elvis Moment in Time

We have been informed 1,500 radio stations around the world played "That's All Right" at 11am Memphis time on July 5th 2004. We never did hear from the promoters of this worldwide event and I don't know anyone in Britain who had heard. Bill Burk was quite disappointed with the promotion in Memphis as so few fans were there. But Elvisly Yours certainly got London rocking with the help of the best ETAs in Britain, a couple of "Corona Extra Beer" open top buses, a great sound system courtesy of "Elvis Shmelvis" and space for our ETA Contest  provided by London Trocadero. Publicity for our Elvis Event went all around the world.


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Shrevenport Honours Elvis


GOING DOWN MEMORY LANE

Thank You Card 
From Heaven

In life there are certain events that send shivers down your spine and one such event happened in January last year before Mark Leen's 'Aloha from Killarney' Show.

I had a card addressed to Mark Leen from an unknown person left at the Elvisly Yours Shop in the Trocadero. Unfortunately, this card got mislaid when we moved out from the Trocadero in January 2000. I eventually found the card January last year and I gave it to Mark. As he opened the card in front of me and Maureen I casually asked Mark who it was from and with a strange look of astonishment on his face he said, "Leyton Sommors".

Leyton was our dear friend and the most amazing Elvis look-a-like in history. Leyton was with me at the UK High Court and Court of Appeals when I beat EPE in a landmark legal battle and Leyton's presence assured us publicity all over the world. Leyton Sommors died in December 1999 and three years after his death I was delivering his thank you card to Mark. Leyton was thanking Mark for his kindness in giving him a ticket for the " Virtual Elvis Concert" at Wembley. I did not know who had left the card at my shop as I was not there when Leyton handed it to one of my staff. When I heard the name "Leyton" shivers went down my spine and Maureen started to cry. It was a message, a sign, a blessing from our friend in "Blue Suede Heaven" and Mark gave his best performance ever at his fantastic 'Aloha from Killarney' show. Leyton was a true friend and we spent many happy days with him and he is sadly missed by us.

Mark got married in June to his lovely bride Linda and it was the 'Wedding of the Year' in Tralee. For the brave, it started at 1pm and finally finished at 6am the next day. Tralee will be talking about this great wedding for years.

Our first visit to Memphis

In December 1980 we made our first visit to Memphis. We arrived quite late from New York and immediately rented a car to drive down Elvis Presley Blvd and see Graceland even before we had booked into a hotel. In 1980 there were no Elvis Presley Blvd street signs. At the time they had all been stolen by souvenir hunters. So we were driving up and down roads trying to find EP Blvd without much success. At 10pm at night there are no people walking the streets to ask, gas stations were closed and in frustration we were just about to give up when we drove right past Graceland. It was lit up and looked beautiful. Opposite Graceland there was a small shopping mall and just one store open. I was very interested to see the souvenirs being sold because my main reason for being in Memphis apart from paying respects to Elvis was to buy Elvis memorablia for the fans in England.

Whilst I was busy checking out the shop for souvenirs, magazines books etc unbeknown to me Maureen was experiencing real trauma. Remember it was about 10pm at night and the lady in the store beckoned Maureen to come to her, then whispered in her ear that she thought the guy in the shop was going to rob her and that she had called the police and could Maureen stand close to give her support. The supposed robber got suspicious and made his exit. But, within minutes a policeman rushed into the store with his gun drawn  saying, " you got trouble here, mam?"

I was completely oblivious to all this commotion, being wrapped up in my research of the Elvis memorabilia. Poor Maureen was petrified. In those days British police never had guns and her first experience of good, ol' Memphis, Tennessee was possibly being robbed and in a shoot out. We were in town for two days and the weather was awful so Maureen spent most of the time sitting in the car with the door locked. What was so surprising to me on that visit was the quality of the Elvis memorabilia was so poor. There were very few products and the images of Elvis were awful and I bought mostly magazines that were well received by UK fans. In 1981 I started shipping British Elvis souvenirs to Memphis and eventually opened a warehouse there and supplied Graceland exclusively with British made Elvis products.



Photo of Leyton and Larry Geller 
sent to Mark Leen

Thank you for your kindness and understanding. I will never forget this Show and if it wasn’t for you and your kind  thoughts I could have missed out. 
Many thanks,  Leyton Sommors T.C.B.

The note on the card from Leyton to Mark



Sid, Wayne and Bobby by the pink Cadillac
on display, at the back of Graceland 
in the early days


Graceland


Towing the 'Lisa Marie' to Graceland

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Sid Shaw
www.elvisly-yours.com
 

Copyright Elvisly Yours 2004