Thursday, July 31, 2008

Elvis Is Back!

Forty years ago 33 year-old Elvis Presley put on what many feel was the greatest performance of his career. Although commonly referred to as the '68 Special or the '68 Comeback the spectacular production was simply titled Elvis.

Now, I wish I could write about what it felt like to share NBC's studio with the King of Rock 'n' Roll on that hot Thursday in Burbank California and hear him energize the crowd with classic hits like "Hound Dog" and "Heartbreak Hotel". I would even settle for being able to write about how it felt to see Elvis in his stunning black leather outfit sitting in a cozy circle next to Scotty Moore and DJ Fontana and belting out classic hits like "That's All Right" which made the 1-inch speaker on my 9-inch black-and-white television rattle on a cold Tuesday in December of 1968 when the show first aired. Sadly, I cannot. Unfortunately as an Elvis fan, I didn't come to existence until four years after his death (and hadn't even heard of the '68 Special until 2005). Now, the closest I have ever get to the Comeback Special is seeing it play in the visitor center across from Graceland's gates in Memphis as I wait for the bus to take me to Elvis' front steps for another tour of the house, which is where you can find me in two weeks.

Although I will never truly get to experience Elvis as so many of his fans did, I am lucky enough to get to help preserve his legacy. As Product Manager for our Elvis trading card brands I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know some of those who were close to him. I must admit, when I hang up the phone after talking with Scotty Moore, DJ Fontana, or James Burton I often sit in silence for a minute and think about how surreal it is to talk to someone who was that close to perhaps one of the most famous entertainers in the world. And when I received the Elvis-worn Japanese kimono that we purchased for our latest trading card release, I swear you could feel Elvis' presence in the office.

It's a pretty powerful thing to hold in your hands a piece of clothing that he once wore, and one of the joys of what we do at Press Pass is getting to share that feeling with our collectors. Many of you probably can't afford to go out and purchase the red western shirt that Elvis wore in the movie Stay Away, Joe or a weekend Army pass that Elvis signed while he was in Germany serving our country. However, you don't have to because we get to bring a piece of him to you. When we tossed around the idea of cutting up shirts that Elvis once wore for a trading card my initial thought was "No way!" It just seemed so wrong. But as I got to know Elvis through my research and I found out more about the man he was, I realized that Elvis' fans meant the world to him, and he recognized that they were the ones who helped him along his rapid rise to fame. I also learned that Elvis was a giver. He always gave to his friends, his family, and his fans. So when I was faced with the dilemma of whether to let an Elvis shirt sit in a dark attic in some collector's house, only to be seen by a handful of people, or let thousands of Elvis' fans and admirers own their very own piece of Elvis, the choice was pretty simple.

You can own your very own piece of Elvis history with our latest trading card release Elvis By The Numbers which releases next month. If you're lucky enough to be at the Elvis Expo in Memphis during Elvis Week, stop by the Press Pass booth and you can be one of the first to open the newest release. Check our website for more information on Elvis By The Numbers.

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