Weapons Grade Elvis
September 16, 2014 8:27 PM   Subscribe

In “The Strange Tale of Graceland Too,” Richard Murff writes for The Bitter Southerner, “Among the King’s acolytes, it’s hard to seem crazier than the average Presleyhead. But Paul MacLeod went plumb overboard.”
posted by ob1quixote (8 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Graceland Too was a place of legend, and I think the thing I regret most about my otherwise-pretty-great time at Ole Miss was that I never made the traditional (drunken) 3am pilgrimage to visit the place. I would have liked to have met Paul MacLeod.

posted by asperity at 8:42 PM on September 16, 2014

I love that something called "The Bitter Southerner" exists.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:31 PM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I went there years ago and yeah, Paul MacLeod was the definition of overboard. When I showed up early on a Saturday afternoon he seemed to be still drunk from the night before and had to excuse himself to go put his dentures in (so loosely that I spent the rest of the tour convinced his upper plate was going to come flying back out at me).

The tour is a really interesting thing where you follow Paul around a dark house while he talks five million miles an hour about how awesome his stuff is, but his stuff is kind of meta. Many of his "artifacts" would be better described not as Elvis artifacts but as obsessed Elvis fan artifacts

I mean, he had regular "Elvis" stuff, but there were also piles of TV Guides with a clip on each page that referenced Elvis, bigger piles of VHS tapes, and at least half a dozen trunks filled with probably more of the same. Why? What would he do with them? And does a TV Guide with a listing for Viva Las Vegas constitute memorabilia?

That dark hallway full of photos is actually pictures of people who have taken the tour, which is funny because it's not pictures of Elvis, or even Elvis fans really, it's pictures of Graceland Too fans. And then if you go to Graceland Too you get to go down that weird dark dead-end hallway just to see those pictures and later you'll have your own picture taken which might appear in that very hallway and then you will have become a part of Graceland Too memorabilia.

But that's what was exceptional about it; it wasn't really a monument to Elvis but a monument to obsession.
posted by stefanie at 12:37 AM on September 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

I have never been able to understand the really devoted Elvis fans. I mean, you like his music? Not my taste, but that's cool. We all have different likes. But the worshipers? The ones who will spout some arcane fact of his life/careeer and look at you as if it's supposed to suddenly ignite a fire inside you? Or the 50-something dude who dyes his thinning hair jet black and wears it in that famous pompadour as best he can, complete with the Vegas muttonchops? As his everyday look? Scary, scary, scary, scary, scary.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:11 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've long said that I have Jesus and Elvis on the same shelf, in that I like the dude and his work, but the fans are all sort of crazy pants.
posted by dejah420 at 5:19 AM on September 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

I too went to OM, asperity, and I too never made the drunken trip to visit Paul. Plenty of my friends were "life time members", but I never went.
Kicking myself right now. I always figured there would be time to go.
posted by GreatValhalla at 5:49 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

I lived in Memphis for seven years, and by far the people who made the biggest fuss over Death Week, aka Redneck Easter, were local hipsters. The Elvis fans, for the most part, just drove into town, did the candlelight vigil, and went home; the "Elvi" (the imitators) were professional and semipro entertainers, for the most part. (The most outrageous pompadour that I ever saw--obviously a wig--was on Chris Ellis, who was at least at the time a local.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:47 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

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